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03:34 Aug 24, 2000
This question was closed without grading. Reason: No acceptable answer
English to German translations [Non-PRO] Art/Literary
English term or phrase:an icy fish... the rock-stream where she lived
I have a historical, literary question today. I was translating a poem by Robert Browning, "Caliban upon Setebos". Now he writes about a fish and puts it in the feminin form. Looks like this:
33 [...] 'Hath spied an icy fish
34 That longed to 'scape the rock-stream where she lived,
35 And thaw herself within the lukewarm brine
36 O' the lazy sea her stream thrusts far amid,
37 A crystal spike 'twixt two warm walls of wave;
38 Only, she ever sickened, found repulse
39 At the other kind of water, not her life,
40 (Green-dense and dim-delicious, bred o' the sun)
41 Flounced back from bliss she was not born to breathe,
42 And in her old bounds buried her despair,
43 Hating and loving warmth alike: so He.
Apparently, Browning tries to copy even older-style English (this is from 1864).
My question is, was it at any time usual to put everything that has anything to do with water, like fish, in the feminin form, as it is done nowadays with ships? If not, any idea why he did it here?
Thanks a lot for any help!