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On Translating Slovo о Polku Igoreve by Dennis Ward

It has been contended that it is possible to translate anything from any language into any other. Manifestly the truth of such a statement depends on what is meant by 'to translate' and even on what is meant by 'language'. In a certain sense, it should be possible to translate, say, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity into Choctaw or Xhosa, but the translation would in fact be no more than a long-winded, circumlocutory attempt at an explanation. A translation could be made into these languages only by recreating the languages, by providing them with new words, and by investing already existing words with new meanings, and the translation would then be not into Choctaw or Xhosa, but into Choctaw + or Xhosa -f. Translation of highly technical material, even into one of the 'great' languages of the world, may entail, indeed usually does entail, an extension of the recipient language, since new concepts are frequently involved. Apart from concepts and new ideas, other things too - articles of clothing, foods, drinks, instruments, institutions, functions - may also entail an extension of a recipient language, though often enough such extensions, taking the form of loan-words, never go beyond the stage of usage limited to references to the specific culture wherein the referends occur. The translation of works of literature, more especially of poetry, may offer the recipient language not so much an extension by way of new words as an extension by way of new modes of expression, new phraseological groupings. Translation is an act of creation, especially in the last case.

As far as poetry is concerned, total transference from one language into another is impossible. The line of Pushkin's 'O deva-roza, ya v okovakh' cannot be entirely translated into English. The bald meaning of the line can be conveyed in English, but the repetition of the voiced labial fricative, the assonance of 'roza' and 'okovakh', the phonetic similarity and contrast of the two halves ['djeva-'roza] and ['java' kovax], and the four rhythmically identical units ['djeva], ['roza], ['java], ['kovax] - in sum, the intricate and delicate balance of this line cannot be rendered into English if one is to retain the bald statement of meaning.

It is a truism to say that the first thing that must be conveyed in a translation is the meaning of the original. Meaning is the basic element on which is laid the design, the other elements of poetry. The meaning of a word may be thought of in terms of structuralist linguistics as the function of the word, the sum total of all the syntactical positions it may occupy. In such lexically rich languages as Russian and English however there are numerous groups of synonyms and - which is even more of a pitfall for the translator - quasi-synonyms. A word in one language may fit into more or fewer syntactical positions than an apparently corresponding word in another language, and in this respect the number of total correspondences between two languages is usually not very high. The translator frequently has to be content with very close approximation. The aspect of meaning discussed above, which may be called 'denotation', is frequently supplemented by the aspect of meaning known as 'connotation', i.e. what nuances a word carries, whether it is archaic, pompous, slangy, etc., and even what echoes of other words it suggests.

To these two aspects of meaning may be added - and this is often especially palpable in poetry - the peripheral element of the phonetic 'shell' (obolochka) of a word: what is the peculiar phonetic 'flavour' of a word to a native speaker, what echoes of other words - and contexts - it evokes simply by its sound; what rhymes, what assonances, what alliterations, what rhythms, and even what is evoked by its component phonemes. This peripheral element however is nebulous and indefinable: it cannot be grasped and therefore it cannot be translated - and even if it could be grasped, it could still not be translated, simply because of the fact that two languages are never the same. If perfect control of the rendering of denotation is considered to be unity, then the control of the rendering of connotation will usually be less than unity, and the control of the peripheral element will be zero. In other words, some aspects of meaning are untranslatable - or are translated, as it were, by accident - while other aspects are translatable, some to a high, some to a low degree. The translator tries to raise that degree to its highest function, but he does well to bear in mind that it will never reach unity in all aspects.

In addition to translating the meaning, the translator of poetry has, of course, to render into the recipient language as much as possible of the diction of the original ('diction' being used here in a wide sense, to include all the linguistic devices of the original). Strictly speaking, as far as poetry is concerned, diction may also be thought of as part of the meaning: a simple prose rendering of a poem, even in the language of the original, does not give the whole meaning of the poem. The total meaning of the poem is given only by the poem itself. The rendering of the diction of the original is the severer part of the translator's task, since meaning in the sense discussed above is discovered and rendered by the translator by virtue of his knowledge of the two languages involved, with the assistance of the tools of his trade - the dictionary and thesaurus. When dealing with meaning the translator is following beaten paths, whereas when dealing with diction the translator is often very much a lone explorer.


Both parts of the translator's task, discussed in general terms above, present themselves in an exacerbated form with regard to Slovo о polku Igoreve. Fortunately, the first part of the translator's task in rendering Slovo о polku Igoreve into English is considerably facilitated by the enormous volume of research and commentary which has already been produced on this work. During the past century there has been a proliferation of commentaries, handbooks, and articles, many of them devoted to textual elucidation. Indeed, it would probably be true to say that no other single work in the whole of Russian literature has had so much attention paid to it as Slovo о polku Igoreve, certainly no work of similar length. Moreover, dozens of translations into modern Russian, into other Slavonic languages, and into non-Slavonic languages, have appeared during the same period. It would seem, therefore, that translation of the meaning is entirely straightforward. Speaking by and large, this is true, but there are fairly frequent instances in Slovo о polku Igoreve of several varying interpretations of a single word or phrase. All that the translator can do in these cases is to select that variant which seems to him more justified in the context, or to produce a new variant, which, again, the context would seem to justify. There can certainly be no question of giving more than one variant in a translation, unless the translation is a so-called 'explanatory translation', which is, in effect, a special kind of commentary.

The obscure or corrupted passages of Slovo о polku Igoreve present the translator with a special case of the problem mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Again, the translator must select one of a number of extant variants or produce a new one of his own. In the latter case the best methods is the well-known one of taking the printed text and, by removing the word-divisions, produce a 'monolithic' version of the passage under consideration (e.g. свистъзверинъвъстазбидивъкличетъ) and then try to evolve a 'reasonable' version by re-splitting the text into words. The translator usually finds, as have previous translators and commentators, that it is necessary to introduce modifications into the version resulting from removing word-divisions in order to derive some meaningful possibility. The fewer and smaller such modifications, the better, since the translator must be wary of adding too much to the text.

Before making his choice of variant however the translator must decide whether or not he should in fact attempt to translate the corrupted passages. They are few in number and small in extent and their excision would not in fact entail a great loss. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the decision must be unequivocally affirmative. The object of translating is to present to the reader in the recipient language as much as possible of the fabric that the native reader of the original is presented with. The native reader of Slovo о polku Igoreve is faced with a number of obscure passages which, together with other features, make up the entire fabric of the original and constitute part of its 'flavour' or appeal. To deny the foreign reader any part of this is to do him a disservice or at least is not to give him his full measure.

Furthermore, the translator of Slovo о polku Igoreve may be satisfied if his renderings of corrupt passages do not make immediately apparent sense in Engilsh, so long as the resultant English syntax is reasonable. It would obviously be ridiculous to try to render in English the corruption of the really obscure passages, but something of the obscurity may be left, if only by way of phrases or sentences the meaning of which is not immediately apparent. To this extent some of the obscurities of the original may be reproduced, at least partially. Any further elucidation would then be relegated to a separate commentary or to footnotes, though the latter are best avoided in a 'literary translation', since they divert attention from the text itself during the process of reading.

The basic element of diction is the vocabulary used. In spite of the archaism of Slovo о polku Igoreve the proportion of words denoting objects, institutions, etc., which are so archaic as to be quite unfamiliar to the modern reader is very small. A rapid glance through the text reveals the following words which denote unfamiliar objects, institutions, or concepts: паволокы, орьтъмами, крамола, которою, харалужныя, смагу, беле, гриднице, забралы, паполомою, болони, былями, засапожникы, чага, ногате, кощей, резане, шереширы, сулицы, стрикусы. This is not an exhaustive list (no two commentators would, in any case, agree entirely on what constituted archaism in this sense), but it is a fairly full list and reveals that out of a total number of с 2,000 words only perhaps thirty or so denote unfamili-arly archaic objects or institutions. Most, if not all of these words can however be rendered into English by words which are still in use and have little or no archaic taint about them, and it is desirable that the translator should take advantage of this possibility.

It is in fact generally desirable that no attempt should be made to reproduce in one's translation of Slovo о polku Igoreve an archaism of language, indeed that every attempt should be made to avoid such archaism. If the translator uses words which have in English an archaic nuance he cannot be sure that he is conveying the right nuance of archaism, he cannot avoid, so to speak, confusing different degrees of archaism. In an English trans lation of Slovo о polku Igoreve one cannot allow the use of even the second person singular pronouns 'thou', 'thee', 'thy', with their inevitable concomitants 'wast', 'wilt', 'hast', 'shouldst', etc. Pronouns in the second person singular are found in an older English as a natural idiom, but they are not found as such in modern English, except in dialects and liturgical usage. In Russian, in the Slavonic languages in general, in French, German, and other languages of Europe these pronouns are used without any archaic nuance. In English such pronouns do have an archaic nuance and, more especially when used in conjunction with the appropriate verbal forms, may arouse in the reader, except in narrowly circumscribed contexts, a certain tension or sensation of discomfort - the idiom becomes 'unnatural'. Such a sensation must be rigorously avoided, since in translating Slovo о polku Igoreve into English one's object is to recreate for the English reader something living and natural. The archaism is sufficiently rendered by the subject-matter, and the idiom of the translation must be psychologically neutral - it must be contemporary. In this respect, all translations must eventually be superseded and new ones must be made continually.

The transposition of Slovo о polku Igoreve into modern Russian presents a somewhat different case. Transpositions into modern Russian frequently have archaic, even highly archaic words. This is akin to the historical stylisation of language used, for example, with considerable skill and to great advantage by Pushkin in Boris Godunov. It can be advantageous in the transposition of Slovo о polku Igoreve in that, while giving an impression of mediaeval antiquity, it allows the writer to retain much of the fabric of the original. The use of such a technique even in transpositions into modern Russian however demands great caution, so that it should not lead to occasional slight obscurities or lack of smoothness in reading and comprehension arising simply from the vocabulary used.

In my translation of Slovo о polku Igoreve I have departed from the principle of neutrality and contemporaneity of vocabulary in one particular instance, namely in my translation of the word polk. The modern English equivalent of this word is 'regiment', which will certainly not do in this context, since its meaning is far too specific, viz. 'a number of battalions bound together in one unit by a common name and common traditions'. In Old Russian the word has the meaning of a large band of warriors and also, occasionally, the meaning of a raid, an attack carried out by such a band. It seems unnecessary to me to distinguish between the two meanings in translating Slovo о polku Igoreve (it is, in any case, only in the title that the meaning 'raid' is feasible) and I accordingly translate polk both in the title and in the text by the same English word, using moreover the word 'host'. This word is used here in the meaning of 'armed host' and in this sense is admittedly archaic, specifically Biblical. I chose this word, since it does not carry any suggestion of modern military organisation, rather indeed the converse: it suggests a large armed band in a fairly remote past, but does not at the same time suggest any type of armed force of any particular epoch in British history. In other words, it conveys a degree of archaism without however being so archaic as to set up in the reader the feeling of tension mentioned above or so specific as to give the reader a false impression. Moreover, the word 'host' is monosyllabic, which is very useful in attempting to convey the rhythms of the original in English, and - it might not be too bold to suggest - has something of the same nuance as the word polk has in this context for the Russian reader.

It is perhaps not out of place here to add some remarks on the reasons for my choice of the word 'wizard' as a translation of veshchiy. 'Wizard' is not often used as an adjective in English, though its use as such is quite within the canons of English usage. The meaning of veshchiy is 'wise, prophetic, weird, uncanny', the word is etymolog-ically connected with 'wizard' and has something of the same chain of meaning as this word. Moreover, there is a phonetic similarity and both words are disyllabic with the stress on the first syllable, which is again very useful for rhythmic purposes (The use of 'wizard' in R.A.F. olang as an adjective of approbation ('wizard prang', 'simply wizard, old boy') is perhaps a little disconct i ring. If the word 'wizard' in general takes up too much of the comic aura lent it by its use in such phrases as those quoted above, then another word will have to be substituted for it in the translation of Slovo о polku Igoreve).

The syntax of Russian differs greatly from that of English. Because of the inflected nature of Russian, word-order is freer than that of English, where word-order is more often significant than in Russian. The word-order of Slovo о polku Igoreve is freer than that of modern Russian prose, since apart from differences in structure between Old Russian and Modern Russian, Slovo о polku Igoreve is a poetic work in which word-order is influenced partly by considerations not relevant in prose. The peculiar syntax and word-order of Slovo о polku Igoreve are part of its special texture or fabric. Some attempts, therefore, should be made to convey something at least of these special features when translating Slovo о polku Igoreve into another language, though these attempts must remain within the limits of, in the present case, English syntax and word-order. In brief, there may be some, but there must not be too much 'poetic inversion', since this is a mannerism of a poetic style which is now largely outmoded in modern English poetry and which, therefore, gives an impression of 'poetising'. The limits to which the translator can go in this respect cannot, of course, be definitely drawn: they derive from the subjective impression of the translator as to what sounds reasonable and what sounds false or extreme. At the same time these limits are also subject to other considerations, among which is the necessity to reproduce something of the rhythms of the original.

The rhythmic quality of Slovo о polku Igoreve is one of its outstanding features. Attempts have been made to demonstrate that Slovo о polku Igoreve was written in verse (E.g. F. Ye. Korsh, Issledovaniya po russkomu yazyku, I - II, St Petersburg, 1909, II, 6; E. Sievers,'Das Igorlied metrisch und sprachlich bearbeitet' (Berichte tiber die Verhandlungen der sdchsischen Akademie, Phil. hist. KL, 78, Leipzig, 1926, pp. 1-55)), but modern commentators are generally agreed that Slovo о polku Igoreve has no definite or establishable verse-form or metre, but consists of rhythmic units of varying length. N. K. Gudzy writes: 'nuzhno, odnako, skazat', chto vse popytki razlozhit' "Slovo" na stikhi ne mogut byt' priznany udachnymi (N. K. Gudzy, Istorya drevney russkoy literatury, 6th edition, Moscow, 1956, p. 138).' He writes further of 'sledy pesennogo sklada' (N. K. Gudzy, op. cit., p. 139), and certainly the identical rhythms of symmetrical phrases, the strophic structure of Yaroslavna's lament, the refrains, the alliterations, assonances, rhymes, and quasi-rhymes leave little doubt that the work was meant to be sung or chanted to an instrument accompaniment. Gudzy is also of the opinion that it is doubtful whether the whole of Slovo о polku Igoreve was composed in verse, since it is unlikely that the extensive historical references would be cast in verse or rhythmically disposed lines (N. K. Gudzy, op. cit., pp. 138-9). Be that as it may, an attempt should be made to render the rhythms of the entire work into the language into which it is being translated, even though some of them may be prose rhythms, since the translator's task is to convey as much as possible of the original. Moreover, by investigating the rhythms of the apparently prosaic passages he may well find traces of verse-like rhythm in these very passages.

Many translations of Slovo о polku Igoreve have been made, in which either the length of the rhythmic units remains fairly constant, or in which there is a preponderance of short lines. It is true that, with certain exceptions, the determination of the length of line (rhythmic unit) is largely a subjective matter, depending on the personal feeling of the translator, but a preponderance of short lines leads to monotony and does not properly convey the rhythmic variety of Slovo о polku Igoreve. Often enough versions with a preponderance of short lines sound like a poor imitation of Mayakovsky. It seems to me that the lines vary from the very long (twenty or more syllables) to the very short (half-a-dozen syllables). By and large, the short lines are found in the passages depicting tense, dynamic scenes (e.g. the battle and the escape of Igor') and often the shortness of such lines is inescapable because of the parallel syntactic constructions:

 Пути имь ведоми,
 Яругы имъ знаеми,
 Луци у нихъ напряжени,
 Тули отворени,
 Сабли изъострени.

The longer line however seems to predominate (thus reserving all the greater effect for the short lines, when they occur) and is particularly noticeable in the tender lyricism of Yaroslavna's lament:

 Ярославна рано плачетъ въ Путивле на забралъ, аркучи: 
 'О ветре, ветрило! Чему, господине, насильно вееши? 
 Чему мычеши хиновьскыя стрелкы на своею нетрудною крилцю на моея лады вой?
 Мало ли ти бяшеть горе подъ облакы веяти, лелеючи корабли на сине море?
 Чему, господине, мое веселие по ковылию развея?'

It may be objected that each of the rhythmic units as so interpreted is, in fact, a sentence. It is indeed undeniable that the long lines do turn out to be sentences often enough, but if the rhythm of such an entire line, and also the internal rhythmic sections within such a line, are rendered in translation then the reader has the opportunity of 'feeling' such a line either as a single unit or as two or possibly more units. It is in fact preferable, for the most part, to take whole sentences or long syntagmata as rhythmic units, thus avoiding forcing on the reader too much of one's own conception of the rhythmic units.

Exceptions to this, of course, are the cases where parallel syntactic constructions quite clearly determine the shortness of a rhythmic unit, as was mentioned above. It goes without saying that such parallel constructions must be rendered in the translation. Some attempt too must be made to render alliteration and assonance, which also often fortify the rhythmic impression.

Assonance however is extremely difficult and usually impossible to render, and sometimes it is impossible to render alliteration without departing widely from the original, either in meaning or in manner. In such cases the latter considerations must take precedence over the former. I have, for instance, found it impossible to render, without extensive alteration of either the meaning or the manner of the original, the alliteration of конець копия въскръмлени; пороси поля прикрываютъ; от железныхъ великыхъ плъковъ поло-вецкыхъ яко вихръ выторже, to take but a few examples. It may occasionally prove possible to compensate, so to speak, for the failure to render assonance or alliteration in some places by introducing them in other, appropriate places. Since there is no strict system of alliteration in Slovo о polku Igoreve, the translator's task is to some extent simplified in that his alliterating consonants are not narrowly limited to the places in which they occur in the original, though freedom in this respect should not be abused. Occasionally it may be possible to match the alliterations of the original almost perfectly - the same alliterating consonant and more or less the same number of occurrences in more or less the same places:

Съ зарания въ пятокъ потопташа поганыя плъкы половецкыя

'From the dawning on the Friday they pounded upon the pagan troops ('Troops' instead of 'hosts' here for the sake of the 'p') of the Polovtsians'.

More often the translator has to be content with an alliterating consonant different from that in the original:

 мыслию смыслити 
'think in our thoughts.'

An unusual case is the possibility of rendering 'equivalent' alliterating consonants in the translation, but in reverse order, as it were:

 думою сдумати 
'mind in our minds.'


Slovo о polku Igoreve is outstanding because of its brilliant handling of the technical devices of poetry, the vividness of its language, its lyricism, the deep significance of its political theme, the passionate intensity with which this theme is treated, and the welding of all these elements into an indissoluble whole. The arguments advanced by a few against its authenticity (Сf. A. Mazon, Le slovo (Vigor, Paris, 1940) will not bear examination (D. Tschizewski (Clzevskij) dismisses Mazon brusquely, but nevertheless cogently: 'Eine eingehende Darstellung der Gedanken Mazons und eine Auseinandersetzung mit ihnen ware direkt Zeitvergeudung'. (Altrussische Literaturgeschichte im 11, 12 und 13 Jahrhundert), Frankfurt am Main, 1948, p. 330, footnote), and it must be accepted as a genuine masterpiece of Russian literature, as worthy of translation into English or any other language as War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, or any other of the classics of Russian literature.

In translating Slovo о polku Igoreve the following principles should be observed: (1) the meaning of the original must be rendered with the utmost accuracy (variants being restricted to notes or commentary); (2) the corrupt passages must be translated, though it is not essential that the translation of such passages should be more than 'syntactically possible'; (3) as many as possible of the features of the diction of the original must be rendered (rhythm, alliteration, metaphors, parallel syntactic constructions, even suggestions of the word-order), though accuracy of meaning must, where necessary, take precedence, and undue sacrifices must not be made to alliteration, which need not, in any case, be a strictly accurate reflection of the original; and (4) the idiom used should be contemporary and 'neutral', and the translator must be prepared to refurbish his translation and even replace it entirely.


The following few extracts from the text and translation, together with explanatory notes, are given as illustrations of the application of the principles set out in this paper.

 1. Тогда пущашеть 10 соколовь на стадо лебедей, 
 Который дотечаше, та преди пЪснь пояше. 
 'Then would he let loose ten falcons upon a flock of swans:
 Whichever falcon stooped the first, that one's swan would sing its song.'

The length of the lines in the original and the translation are approximately the same. The alliteration of sibilants in the first line is rendered by alliteration of liquids an labial fricatives in the translation, of labial plosives in the second line by sibilants in the translation. There are more alliterating consonants in the translation than in the original by way of 'compensation' for failure to render alliteration elsewhere.

 2. Съ зарания въ пятокъ потопташа поганыя плъкы половецкыя, 
 И рассушясь стрелами по полю, помчаша красныя девкы половецкыя.
'From the dawning on the Eriday they pounded upon the pagan troops of the Polovtsians 
 And, scattering like arrows over the plain, swept up the beautiful maidens of the Polovtsians.'

The passage is interpreted as consisting of two long lines because of the binding force of the alliteration running through each line and also because of the vast, sweeping movements described. The two lines are practically identical in length and rhythm, the second parts of the lines (потопташа ... and помчаша...) being parallel in syntactic construction. The translation retains the length of line, the sweeping rhythm, and the parallelism of the original. The alliteration of labial plosives in the original is retained, though in the translation it proved difficult to avoid having the repeating consonant in several cases in final or penultimate position (which, strictly speaking, does not constitute alliteration); and in the second line of the translation recourse had to be made to a voiced bilabial plosive ('beautiful') instead of a voiceless bilabial plosive ('pretty' would certainly be quite wrong stylistically in this context). Some would interpret these two lines as four, splitting them at пятокъ/потопташа and полю/помчаша respectively (Cf. Slovo о polku Igor eve, ed. V. P. Adrian ova-Peretts, Moscow-Leningrad, 1950, p. 13). This is certainly reasonable, especially in view of the parallel construction mentioned above. The translated lines may also be split in corresponding fashion without detriment. In each line (or every second line in the four-line version) половецкыя has beeh rendered as 'of the Polovtsians' instead of simply 'Polovtsian' in order to preserve the final of половецкыя in the original.

 3. Чрьленъ стягъ, бела хорюговь, 
 Чрьлена чолка, сребрено стружие. 
 'Scarlet the banner, white is the flag, 
 Scarlet the pennon, silver the staff.'

This passage, like the preceding one, may also be interpreted as four lines instead of two (Op. cit., p. 13). I feel however that the double parallel and particularly the contrast чрьленъ - бела, чрьлена - сребрено is more effectively presented in the form of two parallel lines rather than as four lines with the parallels alternating. 'Scarlet' was preferred to 'red' for obvious reasons, viz. the length of the word and its military connotation. The alliteration of чрьлена чолка could not be rendered. 'Purple' might however be substituted for 'scarlet' in both cases, though it has more a connotation of 'nobility' or 'royalty'. In any case, the loss of alliteration of чрьлена чолка is partly compensated by the phonetic similarity of 'banner' and 'pennon', which, though they do not occur in the same line, occupy identical positions in each line. The word 'is' was inserted in the translation of бела хорюговь simply to preserve identity of length and rhythm - 'white is the flag' and 'silver the staff

 4. Уже намъ своихъ милыхъ лад ни мыслию смыслити, 
 ни думою сдумати,
 ни очима съглядати.
 'Our dearly loved ones no more can we think in our thoughts, 
 nor mind in our minds,
 nor see with our eyes.'

To translate the meaning of this passage is straightforward, but the translation of the elements other than meaning poses a number of problems. These elements must, moreover, be attempted, since they are so obviously stylistic features of the passage. There are three parallel syntagmata with strongly marked rhythmic similarity. The first of these could be interpreted as part of one line together with the preceding five words, and this it is certainly convenient to do in translating, since to break the English at 'can we/think' produces an ugly hiatus not present in the original and which constitutes in fact a sort of enjambment quite foreign to the original. The word-order of these three syntagmata in the original (negative particle-noun-infinitive) cannot be reproduced in English without recourse to a disturbing inversion, nor can the repetition of infinitive endings be recaptured. Otherwise the parallelism can be reproduced, though I have found it necessary to be somewhat free with English syntax in omitting 'of ('think' instead of 'think of) so that parallelism of structure and rhythm can be kept as close as possible. The use of 'mind' in the meaning of 'remember' is a provincialism, used here to obtain alliterating consonants and repetition of a morpheme (с/, дум-ою с-дум-а-ти), and it is extremely useful too in that it allows of a close approximation to the sound-parallel of the original, the consonants however being in reverse sequence. The parallelism of instrumental cases in the original throughout the three phrases could have been reproduced in translation by continuing into the third phrase the preposition 'in', translating this phrase as 'nor keep/hold in our sight', but it was felt that it was not worth while altering the original to preserve this small feature and that, in any case, the literal translation 'see with our eyes' retained the directness and concreteness of the original.

5. The refrain which introduces the parts of Yaroslavna's threefold lament is identical on its first and its third occurrence, but has a slight variation on its second occurrence: (1) and (3) Путивле на забрале; (2) Путивлю городу на забороле. Путивлю городу is rendered by 'in Putivl' city', whereas въ Путивле is rendered simply by 'in Putivl". The extra syllable in на забороле as compared with на забрали can be rendered by using 'upon' instead of 'on'. Thus: (1) and (3) 'Yaroslavna early weeps in Putivl on the rampart'; (2) 'Yaroslavna early weeps in Putivl'city upon the rampart'. It may hardly seem worth while troubling about such minutiae, but let it be once more and finally stated - the translator's task is to render as much as possible of the original, and where this can be done it should be done.

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