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“Sinking in the sea of sin”, pt. II: Ephraem Armeniacus Adorator   Leave a comment

Some time ago I pointed out an Arabic/Garšūnī colophon with the phrase, “sinking in the sea of sin,” and I have since found another example from the fourteenth century (SMMJ 250, dated 1352, f. 246r, image below; sim. on f. 75r of the same manuscript).

SMMJ 250, f. 246r

SMMJ 250, f. 246r

Ephrem the Syrian, Mosaic in Nea Moni, 11th cent. Source. The lines at the bottom are from Lk 6:21: "Blessed are those who weep now, because you will laugh."

Ephrem the Syrian, Mosaic in Nea Moni, 11th cent. Source. The lines at the bottom are from Lk 6:21: “Blessed are those who weep now, because you will laugh.”

From the pen of my colleague, Edward G. Mathews, Jr., has recently appeared a little book of the collection of Armenian prayers attributed to Ephrem (vol. 4 of the Mekhitarist ed., [Venice, 1836], pp. 227-276; the prayers are also in an edition from Jerusalem [1933], and others), with Armenian text and facing English translation: The Armenian Prayers (Աղօթք) attributed to Ephrem the Syrian, TeCLA 36 (Gorgias Press, 2014). A concise and helpful introduction opens the book, and it concludes with indices for scripture and subject.

There is a lot of sin in the Armenian prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian. And there are a lot metaphors for sin in them, too, which may be wholesome fodder for certain classes of philologist. As I was going through this new book, it seemed like a fine idea to highlight some of the places in these ps.-Ephremian prayers that are similar to the Arabic phrase mentioned above. Some of the lines below have vocabulary similar to the “peaceful harbor” imagery that is used in colophons, on which see my paper, “The Rejoicing Sailor and the Rotting Hand: Two Formulas in Syriac and Arabic Colophons, with Related Phenomena in some Other Languages,” Hugoye 18 (2015): 67-93 (available here). This kind of language also reaches beyond biblical, patristic, and scribal texts. We hear Jean Valjean uttering “whirlpool of my sin” in “What Have I Done?” from Les Misérables.

Now for our examples from these Armenian prayers attributed to Ephrem. For these few lines I’m giving the Armenian text, Mathews’ English translation, and for fellow students of Armenian, a list of vocabulary.

I.1

…եւ ի յորձանս անօրէնութեան տարաբերեալ ծփին,

եւ առ քեզ ապաւինիմ,

որպէս Պետրոսին՝ ձեռնարկեա ինձ։

  • յորձան, -աց torrent, current, whirlpool
  • անօրէնութիւն iniquity, impiety
  • տարաբերեմ, -եցի to shake, agitate, move, stir
  • ծփեմ, -եցի to agitate, trouble
  • ապաւինիմ, -եցայ to trust, rely, take refuge, take shelter
  • ձեռնարկեմ, -եցի to put one’s hand to

…I am floundering and tossed about in torrents of iniquity.

But I take refuge in You,

Reach out Your hand to me as You did to Peter.

I.2

Ո՛վ խորք մեծութեան եւ իմաստութեան,

փրկեա՛ զըմբռնեալս՝

որ ի խորս մեղաց ծովուն անկեալ եմ.

  • խորք, խրոց pit, depth, bottom, abyss
  • փրկեմ, -եցի to save, deliver
  • ըմբռնեմ, -եցի to seize, trap, catch
  • մեղ, -աց sin
  • ծով, -ուց sea

O depths of majesty and of wisdom,

Deliver me for I am trapped,

and I have fallen into the depths of the sea of sin.

I.7

նաւապետ բարի Յիսուս՝ փրկեա՛ զիս

ի բազմութենէ ալեաց մեղաց իմոց,

եւ տո՛ւր ինձ նաւահանգիստ խաղաղութեան։

  • նաւապետ captain
  • ալիք, ալեաց wave, surge, swell
  • տո՛ւր impv 2sg տամ, ետու to give, provide, make
  • նաւահանգիստ port, haven, harbor
  • խաղաղութիւն peace, tranquility, rest, quiet

O Good Jesus, my Captain, save me

from the abundant waves of my sins,

and settle me in a peaceful harbor.

I.20

Ձգեա՛ Տէր՝զձեռս քո ի նաւաբեկեալս՝

որ ընկղմեալս եմ ի խորս չարեաց,

եւ փրկեա՛ զիս ի սաստիկ ծովածուփ բռնութենէ ալեաց մեղաց իմոց։

  • ձգեմ, -եցի to stretch, extend, draw
  • նաւաբեկիմ to run aground, founder, be shipwrecked
  • ընկղմեմ, -եցի to sink, submerge, drown, bury
  • շարիք, -րեաց, -րեօք evil deeds, iniquity; disaster
  • սաստիկ, սաստկաց extreme, intense, violent, strong
  • ծովածուփ tempestuous, stormy
  • բռնութիւն violence, fury (< բուռն, բռանց fist, with many other derivatives)

Stretch forth, O Lord, Your hand to me for I am shipwrecked

and I am drowning in the abyss of my evil deeds.

Deliver [me] from the stormy and violent force of the waves of my sins.

I.64

Խաղաղացո՛ զիս Տէր՝ ի ծփանաց ալեաց խռովութեանց խորհրդոց,

եւ զբազմւոթեան յորձանս մեղաց իմոց ցածո՛,

եւ կառավարեա՛ զմիտս իմ ժամանել

յանքոյթ եւ ի խաղաղ նաւահանգիստն Հոգւոյդ սրբոյ։

  • Խաղաղացո՛ impv 2sg խաղաղացուցանեմ, խաղաղացուցի to calm
  • ծփանք wave, billow
  • ձորձան, -աց current, torrent, whirlpool
  • ցածո՛ impv 2sg ցածուցանեմ, ցածուցի to reduce, diminish, soften, calm, humiliate
  • կառավերեմ, -եցի to guide, direct, govern
  • միտ, մտի, զմտաւ, միտք, մտաց, մտօք mind, understanding
  • ժամանեմ, -եցի to arrive, be able, happen
  • անքոյթ safe, secure

Grant me peace, O Lord, from the billowy waves of my turbulent thoughts,

Abate the many whirlpools of my sins.

Steer my mind that it may come

To the safe and peaceful harbor of Your Holy Spirit.

In I.81, we have, not the sea, but, it seems, a river (something fordable):

Անցո՛ զիս Տէր՝ ընդ հուն անցից մեղաց…

  • Անցո՛ impv 2sg անցուցանեմ, անցուցի to cause to pass, carry back, transmit
  • հուն, հնի ford, shallow passage
  • անցք, անցից passage, street, channel, opening

Bring me, O Lord, through the ford of the river of sins…

The sea and drowning are by no means the only metaphors for sin in these prayers. Others from pt. I include ice (15), dryness (21), thorn (23; also p. 120, line 8), sleep (25), darkness (39, 102), nakedness (44-45), bondage and prison (54, 93), a quagmire (62), an abyss (71), “dung and slime” (72), and a weight and burden (123, 125, 129). From pt. III, p. 106, ll. 29-30:

հա՜ն զիս ի տղմոյ անօրէնութեան իմոյ,

զի մի՛ ընկլայց յաւիտեան։

  • հա՜ն impv 2sg հանեմ, հանի to remove, dislodge, lift up
  • տիղմ, տղմոյ mire, mud, filth
  • ընկլայց aor subj m/p 1sg ընկլնում, -կլայ (also ընկղմիմ, -եցայ!) to founder, sink, be plunged
  • յաւիտեան, -ենից eternity

Remove me from the mire of my iniquity

lest I sink in forever.

Metaphors from nature for things other than sin are “the ice of disobedience,” “the fog of mistrust,” “the raging torrents of desires for pleasures,” and ” the spring of falsehood” in pt. VI, p. 136, ll. 23-26.

Whether these places are of interest to you spiritually, conceptually, philologically, or some combination of those possibilities, I leave you to ponder them.

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A short scholion on Scylla and Hydra in Armenian   Leave a comment

Another short passage from ACC 119, f. 348v (cf. this post) is a scholion on Scylla and Hydra, unrelated to the surrounding texts.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

So it reads,

Գի՛րք ասեն սիկղ՛ եւ հիդրայն ծով<ա>յինք սիկղ՛ն շու՛ն ասի գ գլխի եւ հիդրայն չար եւ՛ս քան զնայ

  • ծովային adj < ծով, -ուց sea
  • շուն, շանց dog

Books say Scylla and Hydra are sea-creatures. Scylla is said to be a dog with three heads, and Hydra to be more dangerous than that.

I have not found in Greek any lines exactly corresponding to these, but for what they’re worth, here are a few loosely related places from Greek literature. (Translations my own.) The following line from Anaxilas (= fr. 22) is quoted in Athenaeus, Deipn. 13.6:

τρίκρανος Σκύλλα, ποντία κύων.

three-headed Scylla, a dog of the sea

The Hydra is canonically described in Ps.-Apoll., Bibliotheca 2.77:

εἶχε δὲ ἡ ὕδρα ὑπερμέγεθες σῶμα, κεφαλὰς ἔχον ἐννέα, τὰς μὲν ὀκτὼ θνητάς, τὴν δὲ μέσην ἀθάνατον.

The Hydra had a huge body with nine heads, eight of them mortal and the middle one immortal.

The Hydra is described as ἀμφίκρανος in Eur., Her. fur. There (1274-1278) Herakles (also mentioning Cerberus) says

τὴν τ᾽ ἀμφίκρανον καὶ παλιμβλαστῆ κύνα

ὕδραν φονεύσας μυρίων τ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων

διῆλθον ἀγέλας κἀς νεκροὺς ἀφικόμην,

Ἅιδου πυλωρὸν κύνα τρίκρανον ἐς φάος

ὅπως πορεὐσαιμ᾽ ἐντολαῖς Εὐρυσθέως.

Having killed the dog with re-sprouting heads all around, the Hydra, Ι completed scores οf countless other toils and reached the dead, to bring to light at Eurystheus’ command Hades’ porter, the three-headed dog.

Hesychius says the Hydra is a water-snake (ὁ ὕδρος ὄφις. οἱ δὲ τὸν χέρσυδρον), and much later a specific description as “wicked” we find in Joannes Tzetzes, Chil. 2.36.263,

Καὶ πεντηκοντακέφαλος ὕδρα τις ἡ κακία.

And a Hydra, the evil with fifty heads.

Finally, the Ps.-Nonnos Scholia (surviving in Greek, Armenian, Syriac, and Georgian) have paragraphs on both creatures: Scholia Inv I 49 (Arm 46 [Manandian, p. 264]) on the Hydra, and 52 (Arm 49 [Manandian, pp. 264-265]), on Scylla. (I hope to offer a post on both of these paragraphs soon.)

Reading challenge, April 2015   2 comments

The study of spoken and (ancient) written languages intersect perhaps less than might be desirable, but sic semper erat, sic semper erit. Nevertheless, I would like to take a cue from Olle Linge’s Hacking Chinese (http://challenges.hackingchinese.com/) and suggest an intentional, focused reading effort for ancient language students.

For the month of April 2015, let’s take an opportunity to push reading limits, or at least to re-kindle reading habits in this or that language. It is no secret that wide exposure to multitudes of lines is a boon to philological understanding and enjoyment. By “exposure” I mean reading with understanding. And there’s the rub. This is what makes it possible for an advanced student to do 100 pages of text (or more) in a month, and a novice to do much less: the novice requires far more frequent recourse to the lexicon, grammatical tables, perhaps a translation, etc. than the more experienced user. But the payoff is experience itself. Here is some counsel from the great sinologist George A. Kennedy:

The value of a reference work is its capacity to furnish facts quickly, and a good reference work must be a well-ordered affair. But the quickness with which these facts are appropriated depends in large part on the skill of the user. And this skill results only from diligent practice. It is not enough to know about a book of reference; one must handle it, thumb the pages, know where the index is, know what sort of information it gives. You are not qualified for research unless you can locate the facts that are available quickly.

DO NOT SKIP ANY SUGGESTED EXERCISE

MAKE UP MORE OF THEM FOR YOURSELF

from his Introduction to Sinology: Being a Guide to the Tz’u Hai (Ci hai), (New Haven, 1981), 1 (emphasis in original)

He has the 辭海 cí hăi in mind, here as a reference work for students of Chinese history, but his advice is equally applicable to textual experience in a language, or philological experience.

Here, then, is the challenge for the month: not a contest, but an individual exhortation to purposefully spend a given amount of time and effort moving — or more picturesquely, plowing, sailing, crunching, &c. — through a text or texts, with understanding. You pick the language, the genre, the text(s), the length. The unique thing is to read carefully more than you might normally do for this month. It might be an opportunity to work especially hard on a language you’re now closely involved with, or it might be an opportunity to return to a language you’ve not read in a while. Simply to be not too vague, here are some language suggestions in no particular order (I assume that if you know the language well enough to do this, you know some texts to read, but in any case, the Bible is usually a good place to start due to the accessibility of texts and the ease of comparison with other versions):

  • Armenian
  • Christian Palestinian Aramaic
  • Syriac
  • Arabic
  • Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
  • Greek
  • Sogdian
  • Persian
  • Georgian
  • Turkish
  • Coptic
  • Gǝʿǝz
  • Uyghur

Do more than one language, if you like. How about reading the same text in more than one language? Read from printed editions, read from manuscripts, read from chrestomathies, whatever suits you. Quant à moi, my reading goals for the month include the following texts:

  1. Persian. 10 pages in the so-called Persian Diatessaron
  2. Turkish. Ali Bey’s Bible: Jonah 1-2; Mt 4:1-11; 11:17-19; 15:21-28
  3. Coptic. “Marina” (pp. 27-33) and “Siebenschläfer” (pp. 21–24) in W. Till, Koptische Heiligen- Und Martyrerlegenden: Texte, Übersetzungen Und Indices, vol. 1, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 102 (Rome: Pont. Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1935); volumes available here. Further on this story in Coptic, see here from my hagiography bibliography.
  4. Georgian. The five texts on David & Constantine in I. Abuladze and E. Gabidzashvili, ძველი ქართული აგიოგრაფიული ლიტერატურის ძეგლები, წიგნი IV სვინაქსარული რედაქციები (XI-XVIII სს.) (Monuments of Old Georgian Hagiographic Literature, Vol. 4, Synaxarion Redactions, [11th-18th Centuries]) (Tbilisi, 1968), 359-366; and the Parable of the Man & Elephant in the two versions of Barlaam and Ioasaph.
  5. Old Turkic/Uyghur. The text on p. 53 of  W. Bang, “Türkische Bruchstücke einer Nestorianischen Georgspassion,” Le Muséon 39 (1926): 41–75 (cf. Gabain, Gr., p. 264); and the text in P. Zieme, “Ein uigurisches Sündenbekenntnis,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 32 (1969): 107-121.
  6. Arabic/Garšūnī. Epistle of Ps.-Dionysius to Timothy, SMMJ 263

If you like, share what you plan to read in the comments below. And any thoughts on this enterprise generally are welcome, too. Happy studying!

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 37 (Visramiani § 14)   Leave a comment

The following selection from the Visramiani (on which see briefly in this earlier post) is a list of gifts. As such, it’s good for vocabulary, and simple on grammar. No verbs this time.

Visramiani, § 14 (p. 68.34-39)

მრავალი ბროლისა ჯამი, ტაბაკნი და ოქროისა ჭურჭელი, ყუელა თუალითა შეკაზმული და მრავალთერი სურნელი და ყუელასთანა ტყავი და მრავალნი მონა-მჴევალნი: ბერძენნი, ჩინელნი, [პირ-მთუარენი] ყუელანი კეკლუცნი, ვითა ველურნი თხანი სიქსუითა და ჯერეთ სიქალითა და სიშუენიერითა, ვითა ფარშამანგნი, ლამაზნი.

Vocabulary

  • ბროლი crystal (cf. βήρυλλος)
  • ჯამი bowl
  • ტაბაკი serving dish
  • ოქროჲ gold
  • ჭურჭელი vessel, container
  • თუალი precious stone (also, eye)
  • შეკაზმული prepared, fixed up, dressed
  • მრავალთერი of many kinds
  • სურნელი scent, aroma (სურნელობა to smell)
  • ტყავი skin, hide, fur
  • მონა-მჴევალი (male and female) servants, attendants, slaves (a dvandva compound: მონაჲ + მჴევალი, the latter specifically for females, but the rest of the passage speaks only in terms of women)
  • ბერძენი Greek
  • ჩინელი Chinese
  • პირ-მთუარეი with moon-like face (cf. several sim. compounds in Persian: māh-paikar, māh-čihr, māh-sīmā, māh-liqā, māh-dīdār, qamar-čihra)
  • კეკლუცი pretty, lovely
  • ველური wild, rough, raw
  • თხაჲ goat
  • სიქსუეჲ wildness
  • ჯერეთ yet
  • სიქალეჲ womanliness (< ქალი woman)
  • სიშუენიერეჲ beauty
  • ფარშამანგი peacock (cf. Middle Persian fraš(a)murw, [MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, p. 33])
  • ლამაზი beautiful

Wardrop, translating from a slightly different text, has the following (p. 57):

…many a cup of crystal, trays, and golden vessels, all inlaid with jewels; and scents of many kinds and withal furs; and many slaves and handmaidens Greeks, Chinese, and Balkhians, all pretty and untamed as wild goats, and yet as fair as peacocks in womanliness and beauty.

The dearness of home: Arabic verse attributed to Maysūn bint Baḥdal al-Kalbiyya   1 comment

The poem below is one of Heimweh. The poetess credited with the poem, whether rightly or wrongly, is Maysūn bint Baḥdal b. Unayf al-Kalbiyya, the mother of Yazīd I and wife of Muʿāwiya, and she is said to have sung these lines after her husband brought her to Syria (al-Šām) from the desert home of her family. She came from a tribe predominantly Christian. (See the brief article about her by Lammens in EI² 6: 924. On her father, Baḥdal, see EI² 1: 919-920.) After the Arabic text, an English translation follows, together with a list of some vocabulary.

The poem’s rhyme-letter (rawī) is f, which is preceded by ī or ū, these two vowels being considered as rhyming (Wright, Grammar of the Arabic Language, vol. 2, § 196b). The text of the poem is given in Nöldeke-Müller, Delectus veterum carminum arabicorum, Porta Linguarum Orientalium 13 (Berlin, 1890), p. 25, and in Heinrich Thorbecke’s edition of Al-Ḥarīrī’s (EI² 3: 221-222) Durrat al-ġawwāṣ fī awhām al-ḫawwāṣ (Leipzig, 1871), pp. 41-42. (Nöldeke and Müller dedicated their Delectus to the memory of the recently departed Thorbecke.) The images below are from the latter book.

al-hariri_durrat_p41al-hariri_durrat_p42

English’d:

Aye, dearer to me is a tent where the winds roar than a lofty palace.
Dearer to me is a rough woolen cloak with a happy heart than clothes of well-spun wool.
Dearer to me is a morsel of food at the side of the tent than a cake to eat.
Dearer to me are the sounds of winds in every mountain path than the tap of the tambourine.
Dearer to me is a dog barking at my night visitors than a familiar cat.
Dearer to me is a young, unyielding camel following a litter than an active mule.
And dearer to me is a thin generous man from among my cousins than a strong lavishly fed man.

Vocabulary and notes:

  • ḫafaqa i to beat; (of wind) to roar
  • qaṣr citadel, palace (on which see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 240)
  • munīf lofty, sublime, projecting
  • ʿabāʾa cloak made of coarse wool
  • qarra a i to be cool; with ʿayn eye, to be joyful, happy (Lane 2499c)
  • šaff a garment of fine wool
  • kusayra (dimin.) a small piece of something
  • kisr side (of a tent). Note in this line the jinās, the use of two words of the same root but different meaning (see Arberry, Arabic Poetry, 21-23).
  • raġīf cake
  • faǧǧ wide path in the mountains
  • naqr beat, crack, tap
  • duff tambourine
  • ṭāriq, pl. ṭurrāq someone who comes at night
  • dūn here, before, opposite (Lane 938c)
  • alūf familiar, sociable
  • bakr young camel
  • ṣaʿb difficult, unyielding
  • baġl mule
  • zafūf agile, active, quick
  • ẓaʿīna a woman’s litter carried by camels
  • ḫirq liberal, generous, bountiful
  • naḥīf thin, slight, meager
  • ʿilǧ “strong, sturdy man” (Lane)
  • ʿalīf fatted, stuffed, fed

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 22 (Visramiani)   2 comments

For Valentine’s Day, there may be no better Georgian text to turn to than the Visramiani, the Georgian version of the Persian poem Vis o Rāmin. In addition to the prose version, there is an adaptation in verse, both fortunately available at TITUS. Here is where Ramin happens to see the face of Vis, and what the sight does to him, from ch. 12 of the prose version (p. 61, ll. 19-24 in the edition of Gvakharia and Todua).

ანაზდად ღმრთისა განგებისაგან ადგა დიდი ქარი და მოჰგლიჯა კუბოსა სახურავი ფარდაგი. თუ სთქუა, ღრუბლისაგან ელვა გამოჩნდა ანუ ანაზდად მზე ამოვიდა: გამოჩნდა ვისის პირი და მისისა გამოჩენისაგან დატყუევდა რამინის გული. თუ სთქუა, გრძნეულმან მოწამლა რამინ, რომელ ერთითა ნახვითა. სული წაუღო.

Suddenly, by the providence of God, a great wind arose, and it tore the covering curtain of the sedan chair: as if lightning shone forth from a cloud, or the sun suddenly arose, the face of Vis appeared, and at her appearance the heart of Ramin was taken captive, as if a sorcerer had poisoned him; at one look he had his soul taken away. [Adapted from Wardrop’s ET, p. 50]

Some vocabulary

  • ანაზდად all of a sudden
  • განგებაჲ guidance, direction, decision, order
  • ადგომა to arise (ადგა)
  • ქარი wind
  • მოგლეჯა to tear, rip (მოჰგლიჯა)
  • კუბოჲ sedan chair
  • სახურავი covering
  • ფარდაგი curtain
  • ღრუბელი cloud (ღრუბლისაგან)
  • ელვაჲ lightning
  • გამოჩინება to appear (გამოჩნდა)
  • მზეჲ sun
  • ამოსლვა to come up (ამოვიდა)
  • დატყუენვა to apprehend, usurp, conquer (დატყუევდა) (cf. Šaniże, Gramm., § 22 for ვ after a consonant, and § 27 for the falling away of ნ)
  • გრძნეული magician, sorcerer, witch
  • მოწამვლა to poison (მოწამლა) (cf. მოწამლეჲ sorcerer)
  • ნახვაჲ sight, glimpse
  • წაღება to take away (წაუღო)

Even after this, the narrator continues for many lines describing the ravishing and intoxicating effect on Ramin of having seen Vis, but the few lines here and the supplied vocabulary will have to serve us for now.

Bibliography

*See further bibliography at Giunashvili 2013.

Gippert, J. (1994). Towards and Automatical Analysis of a Translated Text and its Original: The Persian Epic of Vīs u Rāmīn and the Georgian Visramiani. Studia Iranica, Mesopotamica et Anatolica, 1, 21–59.

Giunashvili, J. (2013). Visramiani. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/visramiani

Gvakharia, A. (2001). Georgia iv. Literary Contacts with Persia. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/georgia-iv–1

Lang, D. M. (1963). Rev. of Alexander Gvakharia and Magali Todua, Visramiani (The Old Georgian Translation of the Persian Poem Vis o Ramin): Text, Notes, and Glossary. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 26(2), 480.

Vashalomidze, S. G. (2008). Ein Vergleich georgischer und persischer Erziehungmethoden anhand literarischer Quellen der Hofliteratur am Beispiel von Vīs u Rāmīn und Visramiani. In A. Drost-Abgarjan, J. Kotjatko-Reeb, & J. Tubach (Eds.), Von Nil an die Saale: Festschrift für Arafa Mustafa zum 65. Geburtstag am 28. Februar 2005 (pp. 463–480). Halle (Saale). Retrieved from http://menadoc.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/ssg/content/titleinfo/642205

Wardrop, O. (1914). Visramiani: The Story of the Loves of Vis and Ramin, a Romance of Ancient Persia (Vol. 23). London: Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved from http://gwdspace.wrlc.org:8180/xmlui/handle/38989/c011c5b27

An Arabic version of The Pilgrim’s Progress   2 comments

From p. 13 of the English edition mentioned at left.

From p. 13 of the English edition mentioned at left.

Lately I stumbled upon an Arabic translation of John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) classic work of English religious literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress, on Google Books, in Arabic called Kitāb siyāḥat al-masīḥī. I don’t know the translator, but the date of the translation seems to be 1868. Now there is a copy here at archive.org; one of many English editions is available here.

To give an idea of the Arabic version, here are a few passages from the beginning of the book, with page numbers for the Arabic copy. The first paragraph is particularly fine.

As I walk’d through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?
p. 3
بينما انا عابر في تيه هذا العالم وجدت كهفًا في مكان فاستظلت به. ثم اخذتني سنة النوم فنمت واذا برجل قد ترآءى لي في الحلم لابسًا رثّة ووجهه منحرف عن بيته وعلى ظهره حمل ثقيل وفي يده كتاب قد فتحه وطفق يقرأ فيه. وعند ذلك بكى مرتعدًا ولم يقدر ان يضبط نفسه فصرخ مولولًا وقال ماذا اعمل

___________________

So I saw in my Dream that the Man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his Wife and Children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return, but the Man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! Life! Eternal Life! So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the Plain.
pp. 7-8
قال صاحب الرؤيا ثم رايت ذلك الرجل وكان يقال له المسيحي قد اخذ في الركض وما ابعد الا قليلًا عن داره حتى راته زوجته واولاده فصاحوا به يريدون ان يردّوه فسدّ اذنيه واشتدّ في عدوه وهو يقول الحيوة الحيوة حيوة الابد ولم يلتفت الى ورائه بل هرب الى وسط تلك البقعة

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Chr. I seek an Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Obst. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your Book; will you go back with us or no?
Chr. No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the Plow.
Obst. Come then, Neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these craz’d-headed coxcombs, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
pp. 9-10
قال اني اطلب ميراثًا لا يبلى ولا يتدنس ولا يضمحلّ وهو مذخور في السماء بامن ليعطى في المقت المعيَّن لمن يطلبه باجتهاد. وان كنت في ريب من ذلك فافحص عنه في كتابي هذا تجده.
فقال اسكت ودعنا من كتابك اترجع معنا ام لا
قال كلّا لاني وضعت يدي على المحرث
فقال المعاند لصاحبه اذن نرجع وحدنا لانه يوجد جماعة من هولاء المجانين الذين اذا تخيّلوا سيـٔا يكونون عند انفسهم احكم من سبعة رجال متفلسفين

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I can better conceive of them with my Mind, than speak of them with my Tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my Book.
p. 12
قال المسيحي ان تصوّرها بالفكر ايسر عليّ من وصفها باللسان ولكن لاجل اهتمامك في معرفتها اقرأ لك شرحها في كتابي

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