Greek quatrain in Pit : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

What is the translation of the Greek quatrain at the beginning of Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum? My son needs to know for his English class, and I have looked everywhere on the net. Thank you.

Impia tortorum longas hic turba furores Sanguinis innocui non satiata, aluit. Sospite nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro, Mors ubi dira fuit vita salusque patent.

-- Anonymous, January 09, 2000


It's Latin, I think. I found the following translation:

Here the wicked mob, unappeased, long cherished a hatred of innocent blood. Now that the fatherland is saved, and the cave of death demolished; where grim death has been, life and health appear.

Even though I don't speak Latin, I wonder whether the translation is completely accurate. For example, what does it mean, that the wicked mob "hated" innocent blood? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say that the wicked mob "lusted after" or "cherished a passion for" the blood of the innocent?

Apparently, the Jacobins were a group of Frenchmen whose ideas of "extreme democracy and absolute equality" included a belief that no one had any right to property.

Since these people were supposedly behind the horrors of the French Revolution, it is easy to see why their extremism was repudiated after order was restored, especially since Napoleon emerged to become not merely a king but an emperor.

As I said, I do not speak Latin. However, I would guess that the following would be a more accurate (if not quite literal) translation:

In this place, and for a long time, the wicked mob nursed an endless hunger for the blood of the innocent. Now, our homeland has been saved, and this charnel house been torn down. Here, in this place where grim death has been, let life and health prevail!

Please note that I cannot guarantee the accuracy of anything contained in this post. I have spent less than 10 minutes searching the Internet, in order to come up with the facts presented here. My own general background knowledge (and the inferences I have made) may be faulty. Just because something sounds plausible does not make it true (even if it is I who say it), and your son may wish to do his own research, uncover his own facts, and derive his own conclusions.

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2000

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