Who’d’a Thunk It Dept.: Sennacherib from 2 different authors in Chinuk Wawa


The Destruction of Sennacherib“, some of you know, originally composed in English verse by Lord Byron in 1815, was translated into Chinook Jargon in 1903 by JJ Edwards, and now resides in a file at the Smithsonian.

(This J.J. Edwards is little known to us, but he must the identically-named MD who wrote an article about “Mounds and Burial Grounds of Bartholomew County, Indiana” in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences in 1901.  He’s got to be the resident of Wailesboro, Indiana who contributed “25 archaeological specimens“, accession number 43715, to the Smithsonian circa 1906.  The last I’ve found about him is that J. Jephtha Edwards MD, formerly of Wailesboro, is reported in JAMA volume 51 as having died at age 40 on July 19, 1908 in Mooney, Jackson County, Indiana.  I haven’t found information that would link him with the Pacific Northwest, have you?)  

I haven’t dug up the Edwards version from my files, but here is the second stanza from Byron, to compare with what follows:

   Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

Unbelievably, there’s substantial further discussion of King Sennacherib in the Jargon, thanks to Bishop Durieu’s Bible History.

From the Chinuk pipa shorthand of Kamloops Wawa #133 (October 1895), page 153:

<The Pious Ezechiaz.>

<A.M. 3301.> <X> Taii Isikias. <X> <A.C. 727.>
Anno mundi [year of the world] 3301.  Chief Hezekiah.  Ante Christum [before Christ] 727.

<296.> Isikias, Akas iaka tanas, chako taii kopa Shuda.
#296.  Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, became chief over Judah.  

Iaka iskom Divid iaka tlus oihat, iaka kakshit tamanwas styuil.
He accepted David’s good ways, and he attacked pagan praying.  

Iaka mamuk tlimin tamanwas iktas kopa Shuda ilihi. Iaka halak
He smashed medicine-man objects to bits in the land of Judah.  He opened 

ST iaka styuil haws, iaka hol iaka tilikom pus klaska
God’s prayer houses, he led his people so that they 

chako kopa ST styuil. ST blis iaka, kakwa iaka mamuk
came to God’s prayers.  God blessed him, so he (was able to) 

kikuli kanawi ukuk taii ankati tolo kopa Shuda. Iht
bring down all those chiefs who had previously been victorious over Judah.  One particular

taii kopa Asiria, Sinakirib iaka nim, chako sik tomtom
chief in Assyria, Sennacherib by name, was enraged 

kopa kakwa, iaka iskom ayu iaka solshirs, iaka tiki mamuk
by such actions, and he gathered many of his soldiers, intending to 

kikuli Isikias. Iaka chako kopa Shuda ilihi pus fait pi mamuk
humiliate Hezekiah.  He came to the land of Judah to battle and 

ilaitin Isikias kanamokst iaka tilikom. Ukuk taii k’o wik
enslave Hezekiah together with his people.  This chief arrived 

saia kopa Shirusalim tawn, kah Isikias iaka haws mitlait.
near the city of Jerusalem, where Hezekiah’s house stood.  

Isaias mash wawa kopa
Isaiah sent word to 

Isikias: “Tlus wik maika kwash: ST iskom maika styuil.
Hezekiah:  “Don’t be afraid: God has accepted your prayers.  

Alki iaka mamuk mimlus Sinakirib iaka solshirs, pi Sinakirib
He will kill Sennacherib‘s soldiers, and Sennacherib 

aiak kilapai, pi chi iaka k’o kopa iaka ilihi iaka mimlus.
will instantly turn back, and once he reaches his homeland he will die.”  

Nawitka, ST mamuk kakwa. Iaka mamuk klatwa iht lisash
Indeed, God did just that.  He sent an angel 

kopa Sinakirib iaka kamp, pi kopa pulakli ukuk lisash mamuk mimlus
to Sennacherib‘s camp, and at night that angel killed 

<185> tawsan Sinakirib iaka solshirs. Pus ukuk taii gitop
185,000 of Sennacherib‘s soldiers.  When that chief woke up 

kopa tanas son, iaka nanich wik saia kanawi iaka tilikom
in the morning, he saw that nearly all of his people 

mimlus. Aiak iaka klatwa kilapai kopa iaka ilihi. Chi iaka
were dead.  He promptly went back to this land.  As soon as he 

k’o kopa iaka ilihi, mokst iaka tanas mamuk mimlus iaka,
arrived in his land, two of his children killed him, 

drit kakwa Isaias wawa.
just as Isaiah had said.  

Kind of neat to antedate the occurrence of this obscure personal name in Chinuk Wawa.

And when I come around to actually translating the full Bible into Jargon (watch for the GoFundMe/Kickstarter), the 1903 poem translation will furnish useful background information & ideas for phrasing the concepts related to this king.