Monday, March 23, 2009

Notes for Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
Instalment 2
predacious ~ a wholly legitimate word possibly dating to the early 18th century (1713), & a wonderful choice because it calls to mind both 'predatory' and 'rapacious'.

"Cinco Llagas" ~ Five Wounds (of Christ crucified)
"L'Ollonais" [either printing error or Sabatini-spell] Jean-David Nau (c. 1635 - c. 1668, Panama), better known as François l'Olonnais, was a French pirate active in the Caribbean during the 1660s. Appears in Alexander Exquemelin's 1684 account The History of the Buccaneers of America.
Some of L'Olonnais' exploits (such as the capture of Maracaibo) are used for the fictional pirate Peter Blood in Rafael Sabatini's novel, Captain Blood (his "Odyssey").
"perro inglés" ~ English dog [Sabatini, that incorrigible lover of repartee, on a later occasion has Peter Blood respond to this epithet with "you Spanish tyke"!]
"Y estos son los usos de Castilla y de Leon" ~ And these are the customs/habits of Castile and of Leon
"Valga me Dios" ~ literally, value (account) me precious, O God; idiomatic exclamation better rendered as 'God help/ defend/ me'
"Benedicamus Domino Ex hoc nunc et usque in seculum." ~ Let us bless the Lord; From this time forth and for evermore
"Fata viam invenerunt" ~ Fate finds (literally, 'contrives') the way
"brutum fulmen" ~ unfeeling thunder = empty threat
"C'est vous, qu'on appelle Le Sang?" ~ Are you the one they call Blood?
La Foudre ~ Lightning
the raid on Maracaybo ~ when one reads Exquemelin's "History of the Bouccaneers of America" it is astonishing to see how extensively Sabatini 'raided' Exquemelin's accounts of two notorious piratical assaults on Maracaybo, the first by L'Olonnais, the second by Morgan, and then wove them together to achieve a gripping account all his own.
"levius fit patientia quicquid corrigere est nefas."
last line of 24th ode by Horace
patience makes more tolerable that which it is impossible to correct
"Praemonitus, praemunitus." ~ [one who is] forewarned is forearmed
"or it's the black stream of Cocytus ye'll be contemplating" ~ or you will be dead; Cocytus is "the river of wailing", a river of the underworld in Greek mythology.
"cras ingens iterabimus aequor"
last line of seventh ode by Horace
tomorrow we will set out upon the vast ocean
[this ode also has the famous phrase, frequently used as a motto or dropped into speech & writing as a 'Latin tag': Nil desperandum, do not despair.]
beau-monde ~ the world of fashionable/ high society
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