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Voltaire couplet
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: December 09, 2004 02:47PM

Found this quoted in a book 'Les pretres ne sont pas ce qu'un vain peuple pense; Notre credulite fait toute leur science (circumflex accent on pretres, and acutes on the two es in credulite - I can't find accents, either).

Babel fish says it means 'The priests are not this qu'un vain people thinks; our credulite to fair all their science' which doesn't help a lot. My French is pretty poor - can anybody help, please?


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: December 09, 2004 07:06PM

Priests are only what empty people think; our credulity makes up all their knowledge.

My French is ropey too, that was provided by my husband. He thinks its OK.


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: December 10, 2004 04:02AM

Thanks so much Linda, and Linda's husband - that fits well in the context I have for it. It's a fairly complicated concept in English, no wonder I couldn't understand it in French!


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: December 10, 2004 09:30AM

It would be nice to be able accurately to translate Voltaire's rhyming couplet into an English rhyming couplet. I can't.

Not a word-for-word translation exactly, but aiming to reflect the essence of the meaning and structure of the original:

'The priesthood is not what the common people idly suppose. The superior expertise of priests is all a figment of our gullibility.'

Something similar might of course be said about Babelfish. At least that program can make us all feel like expert translators by comparison!

Ian


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: December 10, 2004 12:03PM

Our priests are not as foolish people folks believe


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: December 10, 2004 12:10PM

Oops, hit Post in error.

Our priests are not as foolish folks believe:
They only thrive because we're all naive.


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: December 10, 2004 12:28PM

Priests are not quite as fools believe;
They wisely let us self-deceive.


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: December 10, 2004 07:33PM

That nails it nicely, Hugh!

And RJA's version is quite good. Could be improved to good by deleting 'quite'.



Post Edited (12-10-04 19:03)


Re: Voltaire couplet
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: December 11, 2004 05:34AM

It now makes perfect sense, AND is a couplet (or rather choice of couplets) Thanks everyone.




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