The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic

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Sunday, April 27, 2003
Ma Mignonne

I'd like to take a short break to share a piece of poetry. It's yet another translation of the poem Ma Mignonne by the 16th century French poet, Clement Marot. Douglas R. Hofstadter himself presents a multitude of his own and others' translations of this poem in his 1999 book, Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. The poem is here interpreted and translated in many ways as a bridging theme of the book. I took it upon myself to give it a modern "leetspeak" flavor.

Here are the base criteria that Hofstadter listed as essential for a "proper" translation of this poem:

1. The poem is 28 lines long.
2. Each line consists of three syllables.
3. Each line's main stress falls on its final syllable.
4. The poem is a string of rhyming couplets: AA, BB, CC,...
5. Midway, the tone changes from formal ("vous") to informal ("tu").
6. The poem's opening line is echoed precisely at the very bottom.
7. The poet puts his own name directly into his poem.

Here is the original (please pardon my crude lack of accents on proper letters):

A une Damoyselle malade
Clement Marot

Ma mignonne,
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Le sejour
C'est prison.
Puis ouvrez
Votre porte
Et qu'on sorte
Car Clement
Le vous mande.
Va, friande
De ta bouche,
Qui se couche
En danger
Pour manger
Si tu dures
Trop malade,
Couleur fade
Tu prendras,
Et perdras
Dieu te doint
Sante bonne,
Ma mignonne.

Here is one of Hoftsadter's translations that meets the above-listed criteria. I present it here only so that my translation will make sense (since my translation may require some of its own translation back to normal English):

My Sweet Dear
D. Hofstadter

My sweet dear,
I send cheer--
All the best!
Your forced rest
Is like jail.
So don't ail
Very long.
Just get strong--
Go outside,
Take a ride!
Do it quick
Stay not sick--
Ban your ache,
For my sake!
Buttered bread
While in bed
Makes a mess,
So unless
You would choose
That bad news,
I suggest
That you'd best
Soon arise,
So your eyes
Will not glaze.
Douglas prays
Health be near,
My sweet dear.

Before I present my piece, I'd like to point out that the translations presented in the book reflect a wide degree of, shall we say...familiarity...between Clement and the young girl (7 or 8 years old), Jeanne d' Albret de Navarre, whom the poem was written for.

0nl1n3 Fr13nd
P. Asiv

0nl1n3 fr13nd
u d1d s3nd
l4m3r f00
h4x0r3d j00
& RL
pwnz (l1ke H3ll)
1s t3h sux
just ur lux
Asiv s3z
d0n't d-r3z
sc4n ur d1sk
f1nd th4t f1sk
str8 2d4y
ne w4y
IM m3
sust41n lust
ch4t w3 must!
j/k, w3ll
th1ngs w1ll m3nd
0nl1n3 fr13nd

I can't decide whether to or not to leave in a lot of the unnecessary, or should I say extreme, use of numbers. Given that leetspeak--or 1337speak--or whatever--isn't a serious dialect in the first place, I really don't think it matters.

So there you have it. Possibly the first ever "published" poem in leetspeak, unless you count this.

UPDATE January 29th, 2006:

Dear [ER] -- I don't know if I ever replied to your on-line version of "Ma Mignonne", which I happened to bump into in my in-queue today. Not being very "wired" myself, I wasn't able to completely understand it, but I found it quite entertaining and original. I apologize if I never got back to you earlier, but I hope that this message reaches you and amuses you, even if very tardily.
Best wishes -- Douglas Hofstadter.