A Variation in Translation Essay

1010 WordsApr 1, 20095 Pages
In the two adaptations of Petrarch’s “Rima 190” provided, one can observe a simple story read with two very different interpretations. Throughout this essay, the variances in the form, subject and narrator of the two pieces will be discussed. Thomas Wyatt presents his adaptation, “Whoso list to hunt”, in the form of a classic Petrarchan sonnet, while the second adaptation is written as prose. As well, instead of the deer being depicted as an object which is to be attained, as in Wyatt’s sonnet, the prose translation observes the deer to be an object which is to be revered. Finally, the motive of the two narrators also proves to be quite opposite. These many differences allow for two interpretations of works adapted from the same sonnet. While the narration of Wyatt’s sonnet portrays a sense of struggle and hardship created by the pursuing of the deer, the narration of the prose translation depicts a story of awe and adoration caused by the viewing of the deer. Upon reading Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt” against the modern prose translation of Petrarch’s Rima 190, one can observe a difference in flow which affects the interpretation of the two pieces. In his decision to adapt Petrarch’s piece with a classic Petrarchan sonnet, Wyatt chooses to trap himself in form. As in lines six through seven of his sonnet where he writes, “Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore,/Fainting I follow. I leave off, therefore,” (Wyatt 6-7) the rules of iambic pentameter cause Wyatt to employ a caesura. This stop in the middle of a line may become confusing for the reader, causing a misinterpretation of the poem. On the contrary, the same ideas found in those lines are presented in the modern prose translation as a concise, complete line: “Her look was so sweet and proud that to follow her I left every task,” (4). As well, the freedom of the prose translation allows the writer to use

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