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Help translating line from poem

yellowjello

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this is a line from poem #44 of the ogura hyakunin isshu.

逢ふことの
絶えてしなくは

the part i am having trouble with is deciphering 絶えてしなくは.

what i have so far is:
絶える - to stop, to cease
て - 連用形 of つ
し - 連体形 of き
く - a nominalizer, like koto in modern japanese

i am having trouble figuring out what the な is. i originally thought that it was the 未然形 of ぬ, but that wouldn't work since ぬ attaches to the 連用形 but し is the 連体形.

can someone help me figure this out?

can someone help me figure this out?
 

nekojita

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I'm no good at classical grammar, but according to a book I have on the 百人一首:

二句「絶えてしなくは」の文法的な構造は、「絶えて(副詞)」+「し(強調の助詞)」+「なく(形容詞)」+「は(助詞)」。「絶えて」は動詞がもとになっているが、あとに否定の語「なく」があるので、副詞としてとられてよい。「絶えて」と「なく」がセットで、「まったく...ない」と訳す。

(couple lines skipped)

二句の最後「は」は、たった一文字の中に仮定の意味をこめる。

(The book is 人に話したくなる百人一首 by あんの秀子)

Here is a site on the 百人一首 which gives a brief explanation of the grammar in the full poem. Since the 百人一首 is such a popular subject, there's lots of things around aimed at explaining things to beginners/people who have forgotten most of their high school lessons.
 

yellowjello

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wow this site is a great resource! I have been looking for sites that give both translations of the poems and explanations of the grammar, but haven't been able to find any.

thanks for the link!
 

Toritoribe

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絶えて is originally derived from 絶, not 絶える, in classical grammar.
The site nekojita-san linked is not mentioned, but it's said that there are two different interpretations for this verse, 1) if I never had relations with her, and 2) if men and women never had relations.

You can see quite the same phrases in well-known poems/sayings such like;
世の中に絶えて桜のなかりせば春の心はのどけからまし
生きと生けるすべてのもの
 
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