CR Mittal wrote:
> Translated* into English, Lune de Miel reads:
First, thank you for for taking the time to supply Professor
S. Jathaul's translations of Eliot's French poems.
Second, please excuse my changing the subject line of the thread.
In my (very old) mail reader HTML in a message being responded to
causes the mailer to blow up. Since I had to just send a message
I figured that a new subject line would help differentiate between
the various poems.
I would like to discuss "Lune de Miel" because, despite my very
limited French, I have a few issues with the translation. Below I
will supply Eliot's original, Jathaul's translation and then an
attempt of mine.
TSE> Ils ont vu les Pays-Bas, ils rentrent à Terre Haute;
SJ> They saw the Netherlands, they are returning to High Land;
RP> They saw the Low Countries, they are returning to Terre Haute;
In the line above, Jathaul went way too far with the translation.
Both Pays-Bas and Netherlands mean "Low Countries" but the
Low Countries also include Belgium and Luxembourg. Terre Haute
is the name of a smallish city in Indiana, a mid-western state
of the U.S. Jathaul's translation loses the pun. Of course if
one doesn't know the French meaning of "Terre Haute" then my
translation isn't up to snuff either.
Perhaps someone can comment on the mid-western "hicks" honeymooning in
TSE> Où se trouvent la Cène, et un restaurant pas cher.
SJ> Where they find the Last Supper and a cheap restaurant.
RP> Where they find the Last Supper and an inexpensive restaurant.
Above: pas cher or inexpensive doesn't mean cheap. But mostly
this is quibbling. I really wanted to mention that in the original
"Last Supper" is really one word, Supper. The capitalization
changes the meaning. This one is tough to translate but in the
original French the wordplay between Supper and restaurant is a
TSE> ... Saint Apollinaire
TSE> En Classe, basilique connue des amateurs
TSE> De chapitaux d'acanthe que tournoie le vent.
SJ> ... Saint Apollinaire
SJ> En Classe, basilica known to lovers
SJ> Of capitals of acanthus which turn the wind.
RP> ... Saint Apollinaire
RP> En Classe, basilica known to lovers
RP> Of capitals of acanthus turned by the wind.
In a number of Byzantine churches the Corintian columns have the usual
acanthus leaves motif but they are unusually depicted as being blown
by the wind (or by the Holy Spirit but perhaps the carvers were just
showing off :-)
Below are some links I collected for various items mentioned in the
poem. Note that in the texts linked to that there is also a church
named Saint Apollinaire Nouvo in Ravenna.
Lune de Miel (in French):
Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe:
Has a very nice photo of the apse's mosiac.
Ravenna Mosaics (has seperate sections for the two Apollinares):
I think the following was from Google's cache of
From the outside, then, the building appears as a simple and neat
involucrum, dressed with elegant brickwork, in its form, a faithful
reflection of the interior space.
Inside, the basilica is characterized by a spaciousness that gives the
feeling of entering a dimension which is both abstract and
transcendent, imposing in its grandeur and majesty. It is divided into
three naves by two rows of twelve columns, all of the same veined
Greek marble, originating in the Sea of Marmara (A.Agnello), resting
on dadi decorated with a lozenge motif, something very common in
Constantinople and in the Eastern world generally.
The interior space is well-proportioned: the central nave being equal
to twice that of the side naves. Apart from the priceless columns on
their dadi, the fine capitals are worthy of attention for their motif
- referred to as "acanthus leaves stirred by the wind", from the
impression they give of the sculptured leaves being swollen as if by a
breath of wind.
They are also referred to as "butterfly-form" from the way the leaves
are counterpoised two-by-two, reminiscent of the wings of a
butterfly. These leaves are characterized by a minutia of perforations
which create chromatic and chiaroscuro effects: rows of flowers bring
out the lines of the leaves and the vein patterns. Similar capitals
are known in Greece and Constantinople.
Arcanthus blown by the wind:
Byzantine capitals are of endless variety; the Roman composite capital
would seem to have been the favourite type they followed at first:
subsequently, the block of stone was left rough as it came from the
quarry, and the sculptor, set to carve it, evolved new types of design
to his own fancy, so that one rarely meets with many repetitions of
the same design. One of the most remarkable is the capital in which
the leaves are carved as if blown by the wind; the finest example
being in Santa Sophia, Thessalonica; those in the Cathedral of Saint
Mark, Venice specially attracted Ruskin's fancy. Others appear in St
More on Corinthian capitals:
Good collection of pictures of Ravenna:
This shows the columns in Saint Apollinaire en Classe but the detail
can't be seen. The above shows Dante's tomb too.