TranslationParty has been eating my time recently. The things it spits out are about 90% inane, but the other 10% are absolute gold, so I have been feeding it everything I can think of in a bid to find those elusive scraps of genius. And up till recently, it seemed like the hits were coming more or less at random.
And then a friend and fellow English student – let’s call him Seamus: although his name isn’t Seamus, I’ve used this pseudonym for him elsewhere – discovered that if you include line breaks (/) when inputting poetry, TP keeps them but moves them around semi-randomly, allowing you to re-lineate the output. He illustrated this with the following, which he alleges to be a quotation from Hamlet:
or blue sky itself – the thickness of my sweet brother
Ranaku insufficient rain
cursed with the blood of beautiful white
snow like this?
As I said to him, it reads like goth poetry written by a demented Imagist. It’s bizarre. But it’s also sufficiently intriguing and funny that I started putting all sorts of other bits of Shakespeare into TP in an effort to get similarly bizarre results. And it turned out that for line-broken Renaissance blank verse, the hilarity hit rate (at least if you’re a deeply geeky English student who finds bad free verse inherently funny) skyrockets. The following gems are, respectively, from The Tempest, Macbeth, Hamlet, As You Like It, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Sonnet 116:
So far, o’erthrown
And I, what their strengths
This is I am an attractive dark:
The other almost-haiku:
Shadow, living alone is a bad player,
Furettosuteji people post their own time
I, please, thank you. Walking further contact.
The Imagist on hallucinogens:
If the arrow in the sea, TIS is
royal wealth and
or side arm,
or nasal problems such as pain or stoned or what?
The spam email:
Stage of the world
Just register and almost all male and female players
lot number I
1995 can be renewed annually.
The surprisingly good (I’m a little reminded of Wallace Stevens):
Currently, the winter of our discontent
summer of glory, was held in New York Sun;
And all the clouds, our house lour’d
was buried deep in the bosom of the sea.
The Time Team forensics interpretation:
Friends, the Romans, the researchers, lend me your ear
I’ve been buried in his praise Caesar. He
life, after the biotechnology;
or more bones buried;
So, please tell Caesar.
And this, this is amazing. This is like a love poem written by a robot – and I at least find it bizarrely touching. That last line is heartbreaking:
I have a real mind
To get married, let the server barriers. Love
remove, or order
love be found disabled: Change, change, delete.