Translating old english

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adabo

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Hi. I received an assignment from a student that I tutor. The article contains a quote which reads:
...but as fearing lest these so noble and hardly won discoveries of the learned should be despised by [those who] care not to study aught save for gain,...

I can't translate this no matter how many times I read it! I would appreciate some help. Thanks in advance. -adabo
 

stanislaw.masny

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Dear Abado
Is it possible to quote all the sentence and to disclose the source of it?
Thanks.
 

adabo

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I don't have the article with me, however I'll try to get a copy this evening. Maybe a quick google search would help.
 
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adabo

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I found the original preface as written by Nicolaus Copernicus (w)(w)(w).bartleby.com/39/12.html
They did this... in order that the noblest truths, worked out by the careful study of great men, should not be despised by those who are vexed at the idea of taking great pains with any forms of literature except such as would be profitable, or by those who, if they are driven to the study of Philosophy for its own sake by the admonitions and the example of others, nevertheless, on account of their stupidity, hold a place among philosophers similar to that of drones among bees.
It seems like he's saying: "They did not want to share their ideas with those who focus on profit, or philosophers who don't appreciate their own role.". Am I close?
 

vil

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In my judgment they did so not, as some would have it, through jealousy of sharing their doctrines, but as fearing lest these so noble and hardly won discoveries of the learned should be despised by such as either care not to study ought sake for gain, or – if by the encouragement and example of others they are stimulated to philosophic liberal pursuits – yet by reason of the dullness of their wits are in the company of philosophers as drones among bees.

The Copernican revolution: planetary astronomy in the development ... - Резултати от Google Книги

Regards,

V.
 

BobK

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'...[because] they feared that these discoveries [which were] so noble and so hard-won by the learned* [might be] despised by such as [= 'people who'] would prefer not to study for any reason except profiit'

* Two syllables; = 'educated people'

Incidentally, it's not Old English (which died out centuries before Copernicus, let alone his translator). ;-)

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adabo

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Great! This is good for me. Though I still think it's 'old' english ;) Whatever get's a peek at the post.
 

emsr2d2

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Great! This is good for me. Though I still think it's 'old' english ;) Whatever get's a peek at the post.

It's an old version of English, true, but official "Old English" was spoken/written between the 5th and 12th centuries. Copernicus was around in the 15th century.

Admittedly, though, when I did Chaucer at school, I was told that that was Old English and he wasn't around til the mid-1300s!
 

BobK

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...
Admittedly, though, when I did Chaucer at school, I was told that that was Old English and he wasn't around til the mid-1300s!

Really:?: The accepted term, as I imagine you know, is 'Middle English'. ;-)

b
 

stanislaw.masny

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Thank you BobK and emsr2d2 for explanations.
I thought that when I used Samuel Johnson's Dictionary or Thomas Cooper's Encyclopedia, looking for some words omitted in modern dictionaries, I was dealing with an old English.
Now I'm wiser. I know that it is an old version of Modern English.
By the way, how can I recognize whether The King James Bible is written
in Early Modern English?
Thank you abado for stimulating me intellectually.
 

Raymott

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Thank you BobK and emsr2d2 for explanations.
I thought that when I used Samuel Johnson's Dictionary or Thomas Cooper's Encyclopedia, looking for some words omitted in modern dictionaries, I was dealing with an old English.
Now I'm wiser. I know that it is an old version of Modern English.
By the way, how can I recognize whether The King James Bible is written
in Early Modern English?
Thank you abado for stimulating me intellectually.
Here's a quote from:
Modern English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, completed in roughly 1550.
Despite some differences in vocabulary, texts from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, are considered to be in Modern English, or more specifically, are referred to as using Early Modern English or Elizabethan English.

Generally, since the main differentiator between Middle English and Modern English is a sound difference, you need to be a linguist to tell.
It's much easier to tell the difference between the Old English of Beowulf (which is unreadable to native English speakers), and the Middle English of Chaucer (which is readable with glosses).

Beowulf. - Old English
[1] Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum,
[2] þeod-cyninga, þrym gefrunon,
[3] hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
[4] Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,


Prologue from the Canterbury Tales: Chaucer - Middle English
Whan that Aueryl wt his shoures soote,
The droghte of Marcħ, hath perced to the roote;
And bathed euery veyne in swich lycour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
 

mayita1usa

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I think it is important to note that this text was not originally written in English, but in Latin! So this is either a contemporaneous translation from the 1500s, or a later translation by someone who wanted to maintain the quality of that period (or of Latin).

But back to the original question...

In my judgment they did so not, as some would have it, through jealousy of sharing their doctrines, but as fearing lest these so noble and hardly won discoveries of the learned should be despised by such as either care not to study ought sake for gain, or – if by the encouragement and example of others they are stimulated to philosophic liberal pursuits – yet by reason of the dullness of their wits are in the company of philosophers as drones among bees.

"In my opinion, they didn't do this - as some claim they did - because they wanted to keep their knowledge all to themselves, but because they were afraid that the discoveries made by scholars through honest and difficult work would be hated by those who don't care about studying except to make money, or by those who - if they are encouraged by others to open their minds to philosophic and academic thought - are so stupid among philosophers that they are like drones in a hive."

Yes?
 
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mayita1usa

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I found the original preface as written by Nicolaus Copernicus (w)(w)(w).bartleby.com/39/12.html

It seems like he's saying: "They did not want to share their ideas with those who focus on profit, or philosophers who don't appreciate their own role.". Am I close?

Yep, I thinks so! But I would say, "or philosophers who are too stupid to understand what they've got".

Yours is much more elegant than my complete 'translation'! :up:
 
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