Blow blow thou winter wind

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by moodywop, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    How would you translate "unkind" in Shakespeare's:

    Blow blow thou winter wind

    thou art not so unkind

    as man's ingratitude

    crudele, tagliente?

    Carlo
     
  2. silvietta

    silvietta Senior Member

    Lecce
    Italy-italian
    tagliente mi sembra più appropriato...

    Spira spira vento invernale
    tu non sei tanto tagliente
    quanto l'ingratitudine umana...

    Che dici? l'ingratitudine crudele mi suona male...
     
  3. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Sì, e poi tagliente va benissimo per descrivere il vento gelido dell'ingratitudine...

    Carlo
     
  4. silvietta

    silvietta Senior Member

    Lecce
    Italy-italian
    Posso chiederti che cosa è di Shakespeare?
    Silvia
     
  5. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    I versi sono dall' As You Like It di Shakespeare
     
  6. Elisa68 Senior Member

    Italy Language:Italian
    Perdonatemi l' intrusione....cosa ne dite di aspro?
     
  7. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Hey

    It took Shakespeare to get you out of hiding. I knew you wouldn't resist the challenge. Yes, I like "aspro" too. Isn't this great?

    Carlo
     
  8. Since I'm not Italian, I have to rely on the dictionary. But based on that, I would have chosen crudele.

    To me, this describes the maliciousness "unkind" seems to ascribe to the wind -- along with the painfulness, etc.
     
  9. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Hi carrickp

    "Crudele" is indeed the word most translators have chosen to use when translating these lines.

    Carlo
     
  10. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    "Unkind" in Elizabethan English didn't mean cruel so much as perverse-- unnaturally cruel. Possessed of a quality that goes against nature. It's a very strong word compared to the way we use it today. We still use "kind" to mean one's essence or nature, as in "I'm not that kind of man." But it's still weakened, as befits our culture which says "mistakes were made" when someone-- oh, kills one's friend or murders an anointed king. Or substitute any crime peculiar to our times, it seems a day doesn't go by that the news fails to casually expose us to some new twist on the unthinkable.

    Never is a crime committed because an unnatural act is "in someone's nature." There aren't really bad people, right? Just people whose conditioning was in error-- the rapist and the murderer are victims of an unprogressive upbringing.

    So a politically-incorrect remark might be branded as "unkind." And an HIV-positive rapist pedophile who has a shrine to Damballah the Devourer in his apartment and body parts in his freezer-- has "made unfortunate choices." Not only is the Shakespearean use of unkind untranslatable in other languages, it is almost beyond explanation to contemporary speakers of English.
     
  11. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Fox


    If we carry on like this a Literary Forum will have to be founded. But after all we're still dealing with language - the highest form of language.

    According to the Norton Anthology the theme here is "the contrast between nature and man's willful behaviour".

    The following senses of "unkind" were current in Shakespeare's time but not now. They are labelled ME - E17 in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary:

    1. Contrary to the usual course of nature

    2. Lacking in natural gratitude

    3. Vile, wicked, villanous

    4. Not according to (the laws of) nature, esp. unnaturally wicked or cruel

    Carlo
     
  12. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Surely the ME doesn't stand for Middle English? The OED is calling early and modern English Middle English now?
     
  13. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Fox

    This is the new edition of the SOED. Here's what it says in the introduction:

    OE Old English -1149

    LOE late Old English 1000-1149

    ME Middle English 1150 - 1349(or, in some contexts, 1469)

    LME late Middle English 1350 - 1469

    - E17 indicates that the word was only in current use until the early 17th century.
     
  14. No. 3 and No. 4 are closest to the meaning in the quote, IMO. That's why I suggested crudele.
     
  15. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Ah, so it's a time frame-- from ME until the early 17th (which would be early Modern English).

    And definition #1 is definitely the primary Elizabethan meaning. But in terms of courtly erotic poetry, women who were "unkind" in English were said to have crudeltà in the Petracan tradition that was being imitated. So the translation is right if not accurate, if that makes sense-- "unkind" in any context other than a cavalier love poem/song about a maiden's ungenerous refusal would be more problematic.

    I think I remember the ditty:

    Vivan tutte le vezzose
    amorabiliamorose (a word you don't see every day)
    che non hanno crudeltà
    che non hanno crudeltà

    I don't think it was a canonical motet-- must've been a drinking song.
    .
     

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