Power of ancient, power of old

paulmoore

Member
Hello everyone! I have not been to the site in some time. I got mixed up in working alot and having to fix my car that keeps breaking. Needless to say, I have started my writing again, and I am currently on chapter 3 of my medieval fantasy novel. i have reached an impasse because I have come to a point where I need yet another spell incantation for the scene that I am working on. I guess I should just get to it, huh? Here goes...

Power of ancient, power of old,
Power whose words are lined with gold,
Through this mirror I do declare,
Grant us vision your surface shall bear,
The wheel of time shall backwards spin, OR The wheel of time shall cease to spin (not sure which one I want to use)
And reveal to us the dreams within.

Now I know that the lines of this 'spell incantation' rhyme and that when it gets translated to Latin it most likely will not. If anyone remembers me from previous posts you know that I am VERY flexible about wording and sentence structuring. Is it possible that the Latin translation can be made to rhyme, knowing that the words will not be similar to what I wrote but will essentially MEAN the same thing? Oh Fortuna by Carl Orff comes to mind in how the latin phrases rhyme but the english translation does not. I'm not sure what you can come up with, but any help would be great. Thanks so much!!
 

Imprecator

Civis Illustris
You've given no explanation as to what it means, nor have you made the effort to fix its grammar, so expect a somewhat distorted translation.

O prisca uis, uis antiqua,
cuius aurata sunt uerba,
te arrogo hoc per speculum
ut uaticineris nobis per superficiem;
contraria uoluetur temporis rota
et nobis interna patefaciet somnia.


"Oh ancient power (x2),
whose words are adorned with gold,
I call upon you, through this mirror,
to reveal to us the future through your surface;
the wheel of time shall spin in reverse
and reveal to us the dreams within."
 

paulmoore

Member
Thank you for the quick reply Imprecator. You are right, I totally forgot to give insight as to what the phrasing means and for this I apologize. Basically, the main character in my book keeps having this dream about a dragon who, after a short dialogue, toasts him with its fiery breath. The dreams cause him to not sleep so he goes to the king about them. The king has a group of seers or sages that can use magic. This group of sages gather around a mirror and attempt to divine the nature of the dreams that my main character is having. After the incantation, they will see visions in the mirror and it will reveal plot information, showing them past events that happened 1000 years prior to the events in the present story timeline.

I see that you had translated the one line 'to reveal to us the future through your surface' . I was just curious how the word future came in. Is that the latin equivalent of the word vision? I only ask because I am thinking that none of the characters in the story will know what the mirror will show, and what they see are not going to be future events. Not trying to be picky, just trying to give as much information as possible. Also, how should I fix the grammar to allow a better interpretation? I wanted to keep the phrasing short and only put the commas in there to signify the rhyming portion.

Also, in my first post I had made a mention about the possibility of the Latin translation rhyming. This does not need to happen. I am thinking that a regular translation will suffice and I can work more into the story that way. Only the sages will know the ancient language, no one else will(except for my bad guy). What I can do is have the head sage say the incantation in Latin, line by line, with the other 9 sages repeating them in english. That way, both the reader and the other characters won't be left out in the dark.

I am now also thinking that due to the nature that none of the characters will know whether the mirror will show past, present, or future events, I might end up using "The wheel of time shall cease to spin" to avoid any potential confusions. Hopefully, I have given enough information. If not, please let me know! I really appreciate the help with this by the way!
 

Imprecator

Civis Illustris
paulmoore dixit:
I see that you had translated the one line 'to reveal to us the future through your surface' . I was just curious how the word future came in. Is that the latin equivalent of the word vision?
Well, it's not necessarily "reveal the future"- uaticineris could refer to any time period, really. That's just how I'd interpret it on first glance.

paulmoore dixit:
Also, how should I fix the grammar to allow a better interpretation? I wanted to keep the phrasing short and only put the commas in there to signify the rhyming portion.
Ambiguous phrases like "grant us vision your surface shall bear". Although it seems I interpreted that one correctly. Also, with the "cease to spin" in mind, I'd make the second to last line uoluere desinet illa temporis rota.

To make the lines more uniform, you could remove nobis- "to us"- since a word like that would be understood.
 

paulmoore

Member
Awesome, thanks! I just have a couple of questions though...

In this line here, 'O prisca uis, uis antiqua', you have the retranslation back into english as "Oh ancient power (x2). I can tell that the word antiqua would probably mean antique, and therefore mean old. If that is correct, then I would assume that the other word for old would be the term prisca. If that is right, what would that word meaning be in english?

So after everything is said and done, the final translation should look like this right?

O prisca uis, uis antiqua,
cuius aurata sunt uerba,
te arrogo hoc per speculum
ut uaticineris nobis per superficiem;
uoluere desinet illa temporis rota
et nobis interna patefaciet somnia.

This might be a stupid question but is the term uoluere the word for wheel? I don't know why, but for some reason it looks like the u's should be v's. I have no idea, I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff, lol!
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Both words in English mean ancient, but I am struggling to think of a good synonym, which conveys the correct connotations, as we tend to think of archaic or old fashioned as being bad.

How about: O ancient power, power of a former age

volvere means to turn. rota is wheel

The u's and v's are the same letter in Latin. You can see a bit more on the topic here.
 

Imprecator

Civis Illustris
paulmoore dixit:
antiqua would probably mean antique, and therefore mean old [...] I would assume that the other word for old would be the term prisca.
Yes, both mean ancient.

paulmoore dixit:
So after everything is said and done, the final translation should look like this right?


paulmoore dixit:
This might be a stupid question but is the term uoluere the word for wheel?
The word refers to spinning- hence revolution, convolution, &c. The "wheel" word there is rota, from which english derives words like rotation, round, and roll.

paulmoore dixit:
I don't know why, but for some reason it looks like the u's should be v's. I have no idea, I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff, lol!
V & U weren't considered separate letters until well into the mediaeval era. A Roman in classical times (i.e. around the turn of the millenium) would pronounce uoluere as something like /wol-were-ay/, whereas in later centuries it gradually shifted to /vol-vere-ay/, hence the (barbarous) English pronunciation.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Cinefactus dixit:
Both words in English mean ancient, but I am struggling to think of a good synonym, which conveys the correct connotations, as we tend to think of archaic or old fashioned as being bad.
Vetus, perhaps?
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Imprecator dixit:
Nikolaos dixit:
Vetus, perhaps?
What? Both of the 'old' words I used were fine- he meant english synonyms.
That crossed my mind, but I couldn't think of a reason to look for English synonyms in the first place.

I think the most neutral English words are old, aged and ancient... but, of course, each of them can have negative (or, less frequently, positive) connotations.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Imprecator dixit:
What? Both of the 'old' words I used were fine- he meant english synonyms.
Yes, in response to Paul's request, I was looking for a more poetic translation than ancient power (x2).
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
No argument from me ;) I was just responding to this:
paulmoore dixit:
... then I would assume that the other word for old would be the term prisca. If that is right, what would that word meaning be in english?
Besides old doesn't really capture the grandeur of the your Latin verse 8)
 

paulmoore

Member
Wow, quite the flurry of activity here.

Imprecator- In one of your posts you said that the word nobis can be left out as people who know latin will know that it needs to be in there. With that said, will it look like this now...

O prisca uis, uis antiqua,
cuius aurata sunt uerba,
te arrogo hoc per speculum
ut uaticineris per superficiem;
uoluere desinet illa temporis rota
et interna patefaciet somnia.

Also, will omitting the O in the first line of O prisca uis, uis antiqua cause any problems or change the structuring? And what would be the possibility of leaving my original 'poem style' wording? Let me explain... My head mage casting the spell will say. O prisca uis, uis antiqua. And then immediately after that the other 9 mages will say(in English so the other main characters and the reader can understand) Power of ancient, power of old. Will that work or do I have to use the other English retranslation? If that will work, then I will continue that for every line spoken until the spell is completed. Sorry if I am being a pain in the butt.
 

Imprecator

Civis Illustris
paulmoore dixit:
Also, will omitting the O in the first line of O prisca uis, uis antiqua cause any problems or change the structuring?
No, not really- the O is just a matter of emphasis & dramatic effect. Just like adding an "Oh" in English.

paulmoore dixit:
And what would be the possibility of leaving my original 'poem style' wording? [...] Will that work or do I have to use the other English retranslation?
The original english version you gave (apart from the grammar, which is odd in places) is a valid translation for what I wrote.

paulmoore dixit:
Sorry if I am being a pain in the butt.
Not at all :) You're welcome
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
I've never seen "of ancient" before. Is that even proper English idiom? I suppose we can chalk it up to poetic licence.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Yes, I was wondering if I should comment on it. Ancient power, power of old would be more grammatical.

Any mistake in the ritual caused ancient magic to fail. I don't know if a grammatical error counts ;)
 
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