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I am trying to translate the lyrics of the Eric Bogle's song The Green Fields of France. In the first stanza, you have:

I see by your gravestone, you were only nineteen
when you joined the dead heroes in 1915.

How would you translate that to Latin? In English, obviously, you use "join"+accusative. So, a literal translation from English would be:

Video tuo monumento tibi fuisse solummodo undeviginti annos,
cum tu iunxisti mortuos heroes anno 1915-o.

However, I can't help but notice that such a literal translation from English wouldn't be a proper Croatian sentence. In Croatian, you say:

Vidim ti po spomeniku, bilo ti je samo 19 godina,
kad si se pridružio mrtvim herojima 1915. godine.

So, for that, in Croatian, you use "pridružiti" + "se" (the reflexive pronoun) + dative. In other words, in Croatian, you say "join yourself to". So, a literal translation from Croatian would be:

Video tuo monumento tibi fuisse solummodo undeviginti annos,
cum tu te iunxisti mortuis heroibus anno 1915-o.

I guess none of that is proper Latin. So, what is the proper Latin for that?

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  • How about the verb "coaduno"?
    – user11898
    Jun 9, 2023 at 1:11
  • @ManuelCauãRebouças Well, for one thing, "coaduno" is Late Latin. Is there really no way of saying "Come and join us!" in the Classical Latin? Google Translate says it is "Coniunge nobis!", and that seems plausible to me. What do you think, is that correct? Jun 9, 2023 at 13:53
  • Do you know/have the English-latin dictionary by William Smith and Theophilus? It's the only English-latin dictionary I know.
    – user11898
    Jun 9, 2023 at 22:02
  • @ManuelCauãRebouças Never heard of it. Jun 9, 2023 at 22:13
  • 1
    books.google.com.br/… I hope it helps you. It has helped me for years
    – user11898
    Jun 9, 2023 at 22:41

1 Answer 1

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+50

Like all poetry, it depends on the image you're going for. You probably don't actually want anything with the literal binding and yoking that you'll get with direct translation of join.

Some quick ideas would be

...when you added yourself to their number... (addidsti/adderes)
...when you increased/swelled their number... (increvisti/incresceres &c. &c.)
evoking the image of the impersonal ledgers kept by the generals;

...when you left with the other heroes... (abisti/abires &c. &c. &c.)
...when you crossed over with the rest... (transisti/transires &c.)
...that you with so many boys became a hero... (factus est/sit)
...when you and so many were by death made heroes... (heroificati sunt/sint)
using various verbs to show the boy joined the others in some specific place or way;

...when you with all the heroes died... (cessisti/cesseris &c. &c. &c.)
...when you and other heroes grew quiet... (quievisti/quieris)
which normally would be too on the nose but here you're just moving the lazy 'dead' from the adjective for the other boys to the verb. Since Latin normally has the verb towards the end, it allows you to make the first part of the line extol the boy and his fellow heroes before hammering that bitter coffin nail in.

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