28 January 2016
Pangur Ban, a poem about the bond between a scribe and his cat, communicates a different message regarding their relationship depending on the translation. The Robert Flower translation utilizes a cheerful tone and vivid metaphorical language. Combined, both characteristics point to a close, familial bond between the scribe and Pangur.
Flower’s translation develops several important contributing elements to the cheerful tone of Pangur Ban. First, and most obviously, the translation relies on a noticeable rhyme scheme. The rhyming gives the poem a lighter feel, providing readers with enjoyment in a quick rhythmic manner. Very rarely do short poems with similar rhyme schemes to Pangur Ban communicate a sad, depressing tone.
Moreover, Flower advances the poem’s happy tone through direct quotes discussing the mood of Pangur and the Scribe. “’Tis a merry task to see/ At our tasks how glad are we,/ When at home we sit and find/ Entertainment on our mind.” Language like “merry” and “glad” instantly portray a happy vibe. Additionally, the previous quote literally tells readers that the Scribe and Pangur find joy in their work. They are glad to be at their tasks. Another instance filled with obvious joy occurs, “When a mouse darts from his den,/ O how glad is Pangur then! O what gladness do I prove/ When I solve the doubts I love!” Pangur feels “glad” while fulfilling his mice hunting duty. The Scribe feels “glad” when he completes his work. Both, clearly happy together, experience joy doing their jobs. The cheerful tone characterizes the relationship between Pangur and the Scribe because it demonstrates a comfort level between the two. People are happy when comfortable. In order...