Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I apologise to my Finnish friends

for daring to lay shit on their national epic, but whoever was responsible for this translation of it seems to have confused the Kalevala with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha.
Long ago my father sang them
As he carved his ax's handle
And my mother also taught me
Though she kept her spindle spinning,
As I, milk-bearded mischief maker,
Clabber-mouthed and tiny tumbler,
Rolled about the floor before her:
Magic never failed the Sampo,
Louhi never lacked for spells;
Old in story grew the Sampo,
In her spells old Louhi vanished,
In his singing Vipunen,
Lemminkainen in his capers.

There are other words of magic,
Incantations I have learned,
Plucked in passing from the wayside,
Some I broke off from the heather,
Some I gathered from the bushes,
Others pulled from tender saplings,
Rubbed from haytips, snatched from hedges
Where I roamed about the cowpaths
As a youngster herding cattle,
Minding cows in cattle pastures
On honeyed hills and hillocks golden
By the side of spotted Frisky,
Trailing Muurikki, the black one.


Blogger TT said...

This is the classic way of translating the Kalevala, true to meter in Finnish. Check out an original passage, accent each word always on first syllable.

12:15 PM  
Blogger TT said...


12:17 PM  

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