Not quite Tennyson

In the Winter 2011 edition of Evergreen magazine, p.125, there appeared a poem which struck a chord with me.

End of the Day

Is anyone happier because you passed this way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through,
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word to you?

Can you say in parting with the day that slipping fast
That you have helped a single person of the many you have passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does anyone who hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or use it?  Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God would say,
That you have earned “tomorrow” by the way you lived today?

(Sent in by Mrs J. Rawsthorne of Rufford, Lancashire)

It’s unfortunate that the first two verses do not scan, but it’s still worth a read.

UPDATE: After posting this, I did a Google search and found that it is not original, and indeed is slightly corrupt, in that the verse does not scan.  The version I found online is also evidently corrupt, in that it also does not scan, but at different points.  By combining the two versions, I get this.

What did you do today?

Is anybody happier because you passed this way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through,
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single person of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or use it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close you eyes in slumber, do you think that you can say:
That you have earned “tomorrow” by the way you lived today?

It’s a small bit of textual criticism, perhaps; to use the metre to correct the versions.  It is my guess that the real title is “what did you do today”?

So… I wonder if we can locate the real original of these?  Clearly the original author was a poet, and belonged to a period when poetry was read.

Hunain ibn Ishaq, on text criticism

Hunain ibn Ishaq was a Nestorian Christian who was responsible for much of the translation of Greek works into Arabic, usually via a Syriac intermediate translation.   I find that a long letter of his, on the subject of the works of Galen and how he went about his task, exists.  It was published by G. Bergstrasser, Hunain ibn Ishaq. Uber der syrischen und arabischen Galen-Übersetzungen (1925), and is about 40 pages long.  I’m considering having it translated into English, if I can get hold of a copy.  The only copy for sale online is £67, which is rather a lot!  Anyone got any ideas on how to find a copy?

Interestingly it seems that Dimitri Gutas has published a book about the whole “Translation movement” of turning Greek literature into Arabic.  It’s here.  But apparently it’s big on “why” rather than “what” – the social reasons why translation was a good idea, rather than what was translated.  Drat.