Nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free

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nkaper

Senior Member
russian
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/26/pg26-images.html
Paradise Lost

To whom our great progenitor. Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine instructer, I have heard, than when Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills
Aereal musick send: Nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free; Yet that we never shall forget to love Our Maker, and obey him whose command

I can't understand the line. In a Russian translation it is "nor knew I knot that I was created in such a way as to act freely in both my will and deeds". But what the original actually says? Maybe there is inversion and normally it would be something like "Nor knew I not will and deed to be created free" that is "Nor knew I not that will and deed were created free"? Like this "to be" in the original is placed before that to which it refers.
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There is inversion after nor. Also it is a very Latinate object + infinitive structure. I think it means something like Moreover I did not know that I was created free in both my will and my deeds.

    I know him to be a good man = I know that he is a good man. (This one is ordinary current English!)
    I know him to be created free = I know that he was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not him to be created free = And I did not know that he had been created free
    Nor knew I not me to be created free = And I did not know that I was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not to be created free = And I did not know that I was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not both my will and deed to be created free = I did not know that both my will and my deeds were created to be free.
    Nor knew I not to be both will and deed to created free = I did not know that I was created to be free in both my will and deed.

    Do you find any of these steps particularly unconvincing?!
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    And I was unaware that, when he was created, mankind was given the ability to think and do as he wishes.

    You will see that there is inversion. The style is not the style of current English.
     

    nkaper

    Senior Member
    russian
    There is inversion after nor. Also it is a very Latinate object + infinitive structure. I think it means something like Moreover I did not know that I was created free in both my will and my deeds.

    I know him to be a good man = I know that he is a good man. (This one is ordinary current English!)
    I know him to be created free = I know that he was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not him to be created free = And I did not know that he had been created free
    Nor knew I not me to be created free = And I did not know that I was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not to be created free = And I did not know that I was created as a free being.
    Nor knew I not both my will and deed to be created free = I did not know that both my will and my deeds were created to be free.
    Nor knew I not to be both will and deed to created free = I did not know that I was created to be free in both my will and deed.

    Do you find any of these steps particularly unconvincing?!
    Firstly, as I understand, in the last example you wrote an unnecessary "to" before "created". So the last example is the original line from PL.

    I have no difficulty understanding the other lines from your explanation, but seeing that "Nor knew I not me to be created free", as you write, means " And I did not know that I was created as a free being" I'd expect that "Nor knew I not to be both will and deed created free" would consequently mean "I did not know that both my will and my deeds were created to be free."
    But it is only "Nor knew I not both my will and deed to be created free" that you render into "I did not know that both my will and my deeds were created to be free."
    So I don't understand how the last of these two differs from the first:
    Nor knew I not both my will and deed to be created free
    Nor knew I not to be both will and deed created free

    (except that you used "my" in the first line)

    Moreover, I now can't understand why it is so that Adam[he] didn't know. There are two negatives in the original "nor" and "not", which I thought made the meaning positive (as also my Russian translation suggests).
     
    Last edited:

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So I don't understand how the last of these two differs from the first
    Sorry I am not very clear what the question is here.
    There are two negatives in the original "nor" and "not", which I thought made the meaning positive (as also my Russian translation suggests).
    The line breaks like this:
    ... Nor knew I not
    To be both both word and will created free.

    Because of the line break, I assumed that "not" went with "knew" so that it means that I did not know that I was created free. I think that this line breaks makes it more difficult to understand it as I did not know that I was not created free.
     
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