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Archive for June 13th, 2008

This story may be apocryphal. Young Will as a scholar studied in a grammar school in Stratford and he set himself passages to translate from Ovid, Virgil and other great writers of antiquity. Whenever he read them he let his fancies take control and he translated these in a manner his English teacher could not understand. He made up words in his native tongue to shade meanings that Ovid hadn’t meant in his metamorphoses.  His kindly teacher after correcting his composition, once  told him to stick to the original. Will defended himself thus: “ This may be bad grammar. But it makes what I mean to the closest possible.”
“Perhaps you are right, Master Will,” his master said dryly, “ If you cannot bear the original and show your respect to Ovid now how shall you expect us to respect you as a writer later on?”
English in the youth of William Shakespeare was not what it had become in the post- Elizabethean age. A language grows and usage of a word may gain currency or fall into disuse. English as we know Old, Middle, Elizabethean or of any other period is still English: even at the heart of such changes there must be some certain core value to give such changes their relevance. This core value separates English from gibberish.
Truth is the core value that gives relevance to us.
I subscribe that absolute value to God. Take that article of faith away from our lives all our morality, art and culture,- nay everything that makes us humans is thrown into confusion.
benny

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