Thursday, 4 March 2010

One For The Culture Vultures

Classic French Poetry: analysis*

Et qui ri des curés d'Oc ?(1)
De Meuse(2) raines,(3) houp ! de cloques.(4)
De quelles loques ce turque coin.
Et ne d'anes ni rennes,
Ecuries des curés d'Oc.
(Fernand d'Antan - attrib.)

An automated (and unfortunately rather wanting) translation renders this in English as:

And who laughs at the priests of Oc?
From Meuse groove, houp! blisters.
Of who wrecks this Turkish corner.
And of neither asses nore reindeers,
Stables of the priests of Oc.

(1) "Oc" (or Languedoc), is an ancient region of France, with its capital at Toulouse.
(2) "Meuse", or Maas, River, 560 miles long, traversing France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
(3) "Raines", old French for frogs (from the Latin, ranae)
(4) "cloques" are warts.
The poem in French is considered a graceful tribute to the monks of Languedoc, who were a humble and holy group. The poem goes on to warn that those who laugh at the monks will have frogs from the Meuse River jump at them and give them warts. They were so humble that their Turkish Corners are made of rags, and they didn't indulge themselves with fancy mules or reindeer. (See also below)

* And if you believe that, you probably haven't got the hang of The SNAIL yet!

There is, of course, another way of translating this mediaeval masterpiece. You simply say it in a pretty apalling English accent and a tickle in the corner of your mouth and it seems to bear a strange resemblance to...

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
And down he ran,
Hickory dickory dock!

Ahh, erudite wags - ya gotta love 'em.
Hotch Potch English: "The SNAIL" ~ One For The Culture Vultures
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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