Sunday, February 19, 2012

Johnes' Translation of Froissart: St. Inglevert

Thomas Johnes was not a particularly accurate translator. Here are some things I think he got wrong in his translation of Froissart's account of St. Inglevert
Sir John Rousseau, an expert and valiant knight from England, but well known for his prowess in various countries, ordered his squire to touch the shield of the lord de Saimpi, who was already armed and mounted. On receiving his lance, he spurred his horse against the English knight, and the shock of their spears against the targets instantly forced them to stop. Each returned to his post, and it was not long before they commenced their second course with equal vigour: but when near, the horses swerved, which prevented their stroke. To their sorrow, they were thus obliged to return again to the end of the lists. They were more successful the third course; for they struck each other with such force, that the vizors of their helmets were broken off: the knights continued their career, and the Englishman tilted no more that day.

Should be "and the points struck in the visors so hard and so rudely that they were unhelmed"
A squire called Lancaster now stepped forth, and sent to touch the shield of sir Boucicaut. He was ready mounted to answer the call, and, having grasped his spear, they met most courageously: they struck their helmets, so as to make the fire fly from them, and it was astonishing they kept them on their heads. No harm being done, each returned to his post, where they made no long stay before they began their second course with great vigour, each hitting on his opponent’s target: the horses swerved, which prevented this from being a handsome or effectual tilt, but this they could not help. At the third lance they met, and the blow was so well placed, that the Englishman was unhelmed, and passed on to his post bareheaded all but the scull-cap, and would not that day tilt more.

Should be "bareheaded except for the coif"

Also, in the original French, several of the jousters are described as frisque or frisky.

Another reason why I love the 14th century.

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