A Funeral Song for Uruklewes (From Proto-Indo-European)

Okay, so this little verse-oddity of mine is a little different from this blog's usual fair, but hey: historical linguists are all about change. I have (since I was eleven or so) been obsessed with Indo-European studies and have often wondered what a Proto-Indo-European poem would sound like- and this is my attempt to imagine it. It is a reworking, expansion and poeticization of the tropes found in M.L. West's Indo-European-Poetry and Myth (borrowing much from the lovely lyrical imagining in the appendix) and Calvert Watkins' How To Kill a Dragon. This is a post-laryngeal version of late Proto-Indo-European, and I have attempted to strike a balance between phonetics and phonology in my transcription. I imagine it being sung or perhaps chanted.

A Funeral Song for Uruklewes 
By A.Z. Foreman
Translated from Proto-Indo-European by A.Z. Foreman

Now with holy mind I invoke him: Uruklewes, Son of doughty Segheklewes
    Who with his spear athirst felled men and horses by the thousand

Many a day he rose with dawn and rode with the host to the bloodfields
    There they fought like wrath-wild fire, host against host, man against man.

He was stalwart amid the arrows, like the oak of Perkwunos1 under hailblasts.
    He sundered the olden strongholds and thence brought home great cattle-wealth.

Well-wrought was the beloved name you bequeathed to your son, Segheklewes:
   And wide the range of his deathless fame in the heavens and amid the earthenborn.

It will sound till Dieus'2 bright daughter clasps her dark sister in the end-years
   Till the songs the god-voiced poets weave are sung no more through the kingdoms.


Notes:
1- Perkwunos the thundergod, in PIE culture also associated with oak trees. (c.f. Russian Perún, Lithuanian Perkūnas, Sanskrit Parjánya, Hittite Pirwa, Thracian Perkōn etc.)
2- The chief god of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon (c.f. Latin Deus, Greek ζευς, Sanskrit Deva, Lithuanian Dievas etc.)

The "Original":

Īserō nū mentī Ūruklewems egō monēyō segheklewos sūnum tregsnos,
    kwi trsēmnē ghaisē eghwent túsntī wīrōs ekwōskwe
Ekde péluwāms dināms arnúmet sāwlōi kruarwōi kóriomkwe wedhet
    kwālas engwnis sweidonts streudhont koryos prota koryom, wīroskwe wīrom.
Énteri kēlá omos sistāt kwālas perkwos perkwunoso grōdí
    Antiyoms dhūnoms olēyet opskwe pekeus áinumēieto
Artiós bhūita priyóm nōmn kwod dhídhēsi sūnowei, Segheklewe
    Wēru kléwos ṇdghwitom manāiēt tosmi kémelei esmi pltéwiyāique
Nōmn sewe dedhāksieti nekwom, mō ḱeiweti dheghmós ōsonós
    Boukāsieti teni Deiwós dhugtēr wēmos twersieti swésorm oiní demí
        We teksōnos wekwom kānmena nē senkhonti regnōisi

1 comment:

  1. Proto-Indo to English translation good job sir..


    Translation

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