But soon, once in and discovering that Blackburn ’ s version no doubt employed his artistry in bringing the poem forward in time, I found that I did to see the original medieval Spanish.
Blackburn being of the ‘ it won ’ t elp you so we ’ re not printing it ’ school, I plucked the TBR ratty paperback copy of W.S. Merwin ’ s translation of the same poem from my shelves.
Thus Blackburn ’ s has an onward momentum that the more regular original makes up for with traditional rhythm.An example: Part One, verse 35
Merwin: They clasp their shields over their hearts, they lower their lances swathed in their pennons, they bowed their faces over their saddletrees, with strong hearts they charged to attack them.He who in good hour was born cried with a great voice: “ Attack them, knights, for ove of the Creator! I am Ruy Diaz, the Çid, the Campeador of Bivar! ” All rushed at the rank where Pedro Bermudez was.They were three hundred spears each with its pennon; all struck blows and killed as many Moors; on the second charge they killed three hundred more.Blackburn: They bring their shields in front of their chestslower their lances into position flying their pennons, bendtheir heads low over the fronts of their saddles andcharge to the fightin, their hearts bursting with courage.In a great voice, he who was born in a good hour cried: “ Cut them down, gentlemen, for the Creator ’ s love!
Iam Ruy Diaz de Bivar, the Cid Campeador! ” They charge into the column where Pedro Bermudez is, 300lances, each with its pennon, each struck through its mark, each took a Moor with it.Rode out, turned and charged again,300 m0re were dead. ( nice ‘ Moor ’/ ‘ more ’ at the beginnin of both translations) ( note: Goodreads makes it really clunky to HTML the mid-line caesura in the Spanish and Merwin, so insert it in he logical place) .It hould be noted here that even though this particular battle is against the Moors, their is no Crusader zeal in evidence.
It just so happens that all the land to the east, where the Cid can be out of reach, is held by the Moors.
he highlight is the trial, in which the Cid hornswoggles the brothers and their clan by deceptively feinting his full intentions, step by step.Underlying the whole ook, moreover, is a powerful force of honor.
During the trial scene, for instanc, the Cid has tied up his long beard so no one can pull it, which could hav a great dishonor.
Through all my reading in subsequent Spanish literature honor stays foremost, a great waste of energy and a dibilitating preoccupation for a country, it appear to me.So, as far as which translation, I come down on the side of Blackburn.
At one point the Cid ’ s strategy rests on attacking as the enemy comes downhill, with their cinches loose and riding a different form of saddle than the Cid ’ s men use.