Saturday, August 27, 2016


Coordinated Terror Attacks

Sallust, The War with Catiline 43.2 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Now it is said that the parts assigned to them were the following: Statilius and Gabinius, with many followers, were to kindle fires at twelve important points in the city all at the same time, in order that in the ensuing confusion access might more easily be had to the consul and the others against whom their plots were directed...

sed ea divisa hoc modo dicebantur: Statilius et Gabinius uti cum magna manu duodecim simul opportuna loca urbis incenderent, quo tumultu facilior aditus ad consulem ceterosque quibus insidiae parabantur fieret...
Plutarch, Life of Cicero 18.3 (tr. Bernadotte Perrin):
Moreover, they had appointed a hundred men and assigned by lot as many quarters of Rome to each one severally, in order that within a short time many might play the incendiary and the city be everywhere in a blaze. Others, too, were to stop up the aqueducts and kill those who tried to bring water.

ἄνδρας δὲ τάξαντες ἑκατὸν καὶ μέρη τοσαῦτα τῆς Ῥώμης ἕκαστον ἐφ᾿ ἑκάστῳ διεκλήρωσαν, ὡς δι᾿ ὀλίγου πολλῶν ἁψάντων φλέγοιτο πανταχόθεν ἡ πόλις. ἄλλοι δὲ τοὺς ὀχετοὺς ἔμελλον ἐμφράξαντες ἀποσφάττειν τοὺς ὑδρευομένους.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Cheating in Latin Class

Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Buddenbrooks, XI.2 (tr. John E. Woods):
Hanno pulled his Ovid from his satchel, a paperbound book with a marbled cover, and opened it to the verses that were to be memorized for today. No, it was hopeless—a long, regular column of black lines, every fifth one numbered, and with little pencil marks scribbled everywhere, and the lines stared back at him, so obscure and unfamiliar that it was useless to try to learn a few of them. He could barely make out what they meant, let alone recite even a single one by heart. And he could not decipher one line of the passage that followed, which they were supposed to have translated for today.

"What does 'deciderant, patula Jovis arbore, glandes' mean?" he asked in a forlorn voice, turning to Adolf Todtenhaupt, who was busy beside him with the attendance book. "It's all gibberish! They just want to trick us."

"What?" Todtenhaupt asked and went on writing. "The acorns of Jupiter's tree—that's the oak, yes. But I don't really know myself."

"Just prompt me a little, Todtenhaupt, if I get called on," Hanno begged, shoving the book away.
"Buddenbrook!" Dr. Mantelsack had said. "Buddenbrook." The sound still echoed in the air, and yet Hanno couldn’t quite believe it. There was a buzzing in his ears now. He kept his seat.

"Herr Buddenbrook!" Doctor Mantelsack said, staring at him with bulging, sapphire-blue eyes that sparkled behind his thick glasses. "Would you please be so kind?"

Fine—so it was meant to be. It had to turn out like this. Very differently from what he had expected, but all was lost now. He was resigned to his fate. Would it end in a truly terrible outburst of rage? He stood up and was about to offer some inane, ridiculous excuse, to say he had "forgotten" to memorize the verses—when suddenly he noticed the boy ahead of him holding his book open for him.

The boy ahead of him was Hans Hermann Kilian, a small fellow with brown, greasy hair and broad shoulders. He wanted to be an officer and was so inspired by esprit de corps that he couldn't leave Johann Buddenbrook high and dry, even though he couldn't stand him. He even pointed a finger at the place to begin.

And Hanno stared at the book and began to read. With a faltering voice and pursed brows and lips he read about the Golden Age, which had arisen first, when of their own free will, with no compulsion, no law, men had kept faith and done the right. "There was no fear of punishment," he said in Latin, "no menacing words to be read on tablets of bronze; no suppliant throng to gaze in fear upon its judge’s face...." With an agonized, grim look on his own face, he purposely read badly and disjointedly, intentionally ignored elisions marked in pencil in Kilian’s book, mangled the rhythm, groped for words, and made it look as if he were laboring to recall each one—expecting at any moment that the professor would find him out and pounce on him. The sweet, malicious joy of seeing the book open before him made his skin tingle; but he was totally disgusted with himself, too, and intentionally cheated as badly as possible, hoping that this would make his deception a little less sordid. Then he stopped, and silence reigned in the room—he did not dare look up. The silence was horrible; his lips turned white, he was sure Dr. Mantelsack had seen it all.

At last the professor sighed and said, "Oh, Buddenbrook, si tacuisses. You will excuse my use of the classical informal pronoun. Do you know what you have done? You have dragged beauty through the dust, you have behaved like a Vandal, a barbarian—you, a creature whom the muses have deserted, Buddenbrook, it's written on your face. If I were to ask myself whether you were coughing the whole time or reciting noble verses, I would be inclined to think it was the former. Timm has little developed sense of rhythm, but compared with you he is a genius, a rhapsodist. Be seated, unhappy man. You have studied, I grant. You have learned. I cannot give you a bad grade. You have made the best of your abilities. Although they tell me that you are musical and play the piano, is that right? How can that be? Well, enough, sit down, you've worked hard, it seems—that will do."

He jotted a "satisfactory" in his notebook, and Hanno Buddenbrook sat down.
Petersen translated, casting a glance now and then at the right-hand page in his book, which had nothing to do with the passage. He did this very deftly. He acted as if something about it bothered him, and he passed his hand over it and blew at it as if there were a speck of dust or whatever that annoyed him and needed to be brushed away. And then something ghastly happened.

All of a sudden Dr. Mantelsack shifted his weight violently—and Petersen responded with an equally sudden violent motion. And in the same moment, virtually tumbling head over heels, the professor left his platform and headed directly toward Petersen with long, inexorable strides.

"You have a pony there in your book, a translation," he said, standing beside him now.

"A pony ... no ... I ..." Petersen stammered. He was a handsome lad with a massive wave of blond hair that swept down over his forehead and extraordinarily beautiful blue eyes, which flickered now with fear.

"Do you have a pony in your book?"

"No, sir, no, Dr. Mantelsack. A pony? I most certainly do not have a pony. You are quite mistaken. You are wrong to entertain such suspicions." Petersen spoke in a way that none of the boys ever spoke. In his fear he carefully chose his words, hoping that this would rattle the professor. "I am not cheating," he said in his great distress. "I have always been honest, my whole life long."

But Dr. Mantelsack was all too certain of the painful truth. "Give me your book," he said icily.

Petersen clung to his book. He raised both hands in the air, and although he was half tongue-tied now, he continued to exclaim, "Please believe me, sir. There is nothing in my book, Dr. Mantelsack. I don't have a pony. I haven't cheated. I've always been honest."

"Give me the book," the professor repeated and stamped one foot.

Petersen went limp, his face turned gray.

"All right," he said, handing over the book, "here it is. Yes, there's a pony in it. You can see for yourself, there it is. But I wasn't using it," he suddenly shouted to the whole room.

Dr. Mantelsack, however, ignored this absurd lie, which was born of desperation alone. He pulled out the "pony," looked at it as if he had some putrid piece of garbage in his hand, slipped it into his pocket, and disdainfully tossed Petersen's Ovid back on his desk. "The class attendance book," he said in a hollow voice.

Adolf Todtenhaupt dutifully brought the class attendance book to him, and Petersen was given a demerit for attempted cheating, which would have devastating repercussions for a long time to come. It sealed his doom—he would be held back at Easter. "You are a discredit to this class," Dr. Mantelsack said and then returned to his professorial chair.

Petersen sat down, a ruined man. They all saw his neighbor edge away from him. And they all regarded him with a mixture of disgust, pity, and horror. He had fallen, and was now left alone, utterly abandoned—because he had been caught.


A Child Prodigy

John Evelyn, Diary (January 27, 1658), in Memoirs Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, ed. William Bray (New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1870), pp. 255-257:
After six fits of a quartan ague with which it pleased God to visite him, died my deare son Richard, to our inexpressible griefe and affliction, 5 yeares and 3 days old onely, but at that tender age a prodigy for witt and understanding; for beauty of body a very angel; for endowment of mind of incredible and rare hopes. To give onely a little taste of some of them, and thereby glory to God, who out of the mouths of babes and infants does sometimes perfect his praises: at 2 yeares and halfe old he could perfectly reade any of the English, Latine, French, or Gottic letters, pronouncing the three first languages exactly. He had before the 5th yeare, or in that yeare, not onely skill to reade most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs regular, and most of the irregular; learn'd out Puerilis, got by heart almost the entire vocabularie of Latine and French primitives and words, could make congruous syntax, turne English into Latine, and vice versa, construe and prove what he read, and did the government and use of relatives, verbs, substantives, elipses, and many figures and tropes, and made a considerable progress in Comenius's Janua; began himselfe to write legibly, and had a stronge passion for Greeke. The number of verses he could recite was prodigious, and what he remember'd of the parts of playes; which he would also act; and when seeing a Plautus in one's hand, he ask'd what booke it was, and being told it was comedy, and too difficult for him, he wept for sorrow. Strange was his apt and ingenious application of fables and morals, for he had read Aesop; he had a wonderful disposition to mathematics, having by heart divers propositions of Euclid that were read to him in play, and he would make lines and demonstrate them. As to his piety, astonishing were his applications of Scripture upon occasion, and his sense of God; he had learn'd all his Catechisme early, and understood the historical part of the Bible and New Testament to a wonder, how Christ came to redeeme mankind, and how, comprehending these necessarys himselfe, his godfathers were discharg'd of their promise. These and the like illuminations far exceeded his age and experience, considering the prettinesse of his addresse and behaviour, cannot but leave impressions in me at the memory of him. When one told him how many dayes a Quaker had fasted, he replied that was no wonder, for Christ had said man should not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God. He would of himselfe select the most pathetic psalms, and chapters out of Job, to reade to his mayde during his sicknesse, telling her when she pitied him that all God's children must suffer affliction. He declaim'd against the vanities of the world before he had seene any. Often he would desire those who came to see him to pray by him, and a yeare before he fell sick, to kneel and pray with him alone in some corner. How thankfully would he receive admonition, how soon be reconciled! how indifferent, yet continualy chereful! He would give grave advice to his brother John, beare with his impertinencies, and say he was but a child. If he had heard of or saw any new thing, he was unquiet till he was told how it was made; he brought to us all such difficulties as he found in books, to be expounded. He had learn'd by heart divers sentences in Latin and Greeke, which on occasion he would produce even to wonder. He was all life, all prettinesse, far from morose, sullen, or childish in any thing he said or did. The last time he had ben at church (which was at Greenwich), I ask'd him, according to costome, what he remembered of the sermon: two good things, father, said he, bonum gratia and bonum gloria, with a just account of what the preacher said. The day before he died he cal'd to me, and in a more serious manner than usual told me that for all I loved him so dearly I should give my house, land, and all my fine things, to his brother Jack, he should have none of them; the next morning, when he found himself ill, and that I persuaded him to keepe his hands in bed, he demanded whether he might pray to God with his hands unjoyn'd; and a little after, whilst in greate agonie, whether he should not offend God by using his holy name so often calling for ease. What shall I say of his frequent pathetical ejaculations utter'd of himselfe; Sweete Jesus save me, deliver me, pardon my sinns, let thine angels receive me! So early knowledge, so much piety and perfection! But thus God having dress'd up a Saint fit for himselfe, would not longer permit him with us, unworthy of the future fruites of this incomparable hopefull blossome. Such a child I never saw: for such a child I blesse God in whose bosome he is! May I and mine become as this little child, who now follows the child Jesus that Lamb of God in a white robe whithersoever he goes; Even so, Lord Jesus, Fiat voluntas tua! Thou gavest him to us, Thou hast taken him from us, blessed be the name of the Lord! That I had any thing acceptable to Thee was from thy grace alone, since from me he had nothing but sin, but that Thou hast pardon'd! blessed be my God for ever, amen!

In my opinion he was suffocated by the women and maids that tended him, and cover'd him too hot with blankets as he lay in a cradle, near an excessive hot fire in a close roome. I suffer'd him to be open'd, when they found that he was what is vulgarly call'd liver-growne. I caused his body to be coffin'd in lead and reposited on the 30th at 8 o'clock that night in the church of Deptford accompanied with divers of my relations and neighbours, among whom I distributed rings with this motto, Dominus abstulit; intending, God willing, to have him transported with my owne body to be interr'd in our dormitory in Wotton church, in my dear native county Surrey, and to lay my bones and mingle my dust with my fathers, if God be gracious to me and make me as fit for Him as this blessed child was. The Lord Jesus sanctify this and all other my afflictions, Amen!

Here ends the joy of my life, and for which I go even mourning to the grave.
Hat tip: James J. O'Donnell.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


A Recluse

Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Buddenbrooks, VIII.7 (tr. John E. Woods):
Quite a distance out of town—not far from the first village, in fact—was a little farmstead, a tiny, almost worthless piece of property that didn't even have a name. If you stopped to look inside the gate, the first thing you noticed was a manure pile, then several chickens, a doghouse, and, finally, a wretched cottagelike building with a low-hanging red roof. This was the manor house, the residence of Kai's father, Count Eberhard Mölln.

He was an eccentric, whom people seldom saw—a recluse who had forsaken the world for this little farm, where he bred chickens and dogs and grew vegetables: a tall, bald man who wore top boots and a green frieze jacket and sported a huge grizzled beard worthy of a troll. He always had a riding crop in his hand, although he did not own a single horse, and there was a monocle clamped in one eye, under a bushy brow. Apart from him and his son, there was no longer a single Count Mölln to be found anywhere in the country. The various branches of this once rich, powerful, and proud family had withered, died, and rotted away, and little Kai had only one aunt who was still alive—and his father was not on speaking terms with her. She published novels, written under a bizarre pseudonym, in various family magazines. What people remembered about Count Eberhard was that, shortly after he had moved onto the farm out beyond the Burg Gate, a sign appeared on the low front door warning salesmen, beggars, or anyone else making inquiries not to bother him; the sign read: "Here lives Count Mölln, all alone. He needs nothing, buys nothing, and has nothing to give away."

Dort nämlich, weit draußen, unfern des ersten Dorfes, war irgendwo ein kleines Gehöft, ein winziges, fast wertloses Anwesen, das überhaupt keinen Namen hatte. Man gewann, blickte man hin, den Eindruck eines Mithaufens, einer Anzahl Hühner, einer Hundehütte und eines armseligen, katenartigen Gebäudes, mit tief hinunterreichendem, rotem Dache. Dies war das Herrenhaus, und dort wohnte Kais Vater, Eberhard Graf Mölln.

Er war ein Sonderling, den selten Jemand zu sehen bekam, und der, beschäftigt mit Hühner-, Hundeund Gemüsezucht, abgeschieden von aller Welt auf seinem kleinen Gehöfte hauste: ein großer Mann mit Stulpenstiefeln, einer grünen Friesjoppe, kahlem Kopfe, einem ungeheuren ergrauten Rübezahl-Barte, einer Reitpeitsche in der Hand, obgleich er durchaus kein Pferd besaß, und einem unter der buschigen Braue ins Auge geklemmten Monocle. Es gab, außer ihm und seinem Sohne, weit und breit keinen Grafen Mölln mehr im Lande. Die einzelnen Zweige der ehemals reichen, mächtigen und stolzen Familie waren nach und nach verdorrt, abgestorben und vermodert, und nur eine Tante des kleinen Kai, mit der sein Vater aber nicht in Korrespondenz stand, war noch am Leben. Sie veröffentlichte unter einem abenteuerlichen Pseudonym Romane in Familienblättern. – Was den Grafen Eberhard betraf, so erinnerte man sich, daß er, um sich vor allen Störungen durch Anfragen, Angebote und Bettelei zu schützen, während längerer Zeit, nachdem er das Anwesen vorm Burgthore bezogen, ein Schild an seiner niedrigen Hausthür geführt hatte, auf dem zu lesen gewesen: „Hier wohnt Graf Mölln ganz allein, braucht nichts, kauft nichts und hat nichts zu verschenken.“
Count Mölln's sign is not unlike a couple of signs which Mrs. Laudator thinks would be suitable for me:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


An Unidentified Quotation in Erasmus' Adages

Erasmus, Adages I i 1 to I v 100, translated by Margaret Mann Phillips, annotated by R.A.B. Mynors (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982), p. 99 (on I i 48 Tota erras via):
There is also that familiar saying: 'They run well but not on the right road.'

familiar saying] This is mentioned again in III i 84, but has not yet been identified.
The Latin:
celebre habetur et illud apophthegma, Bene currunt, sed extra viam: Καλώς μὲν τρέχουσιν, άλλ' έκτός τής όδού.
Erasmus, Adages II vii 1 to III iii 100, translated and annotated by R.A.B. Mynors (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), pp. 214-215 (on III i 84 Frustra currit), with note on p. 386:
Also the familiar remark2 once made by someone: 'They run, but not on the right road,' when a man toils industriously, but on no settled plan which can tell him in advance which path to follow and how far.

2 remark] I i 48; the source has not been traced.
The Latin:
Celebratur et illud cuiuspiam ἀπόφθεγμα: Τρέχουσιν ἔξω τῆς ὁδοῦ, id est Currunt extra viam, vbi quis sedulo quidem molitur, sed nulla certa ratione, quae praemonstret, quid quatenusque sequendum sit.
I wonder if Erasmus was thinking of Augustine, Sermons 141.4 (on John's Gospel 14.6; Patrologia Latina 38, col. 777; tr. R.G. MacMullen):
For sometimes even those who walk well, run outside the way. Thus you will find men living well, and not Christians. They run well; but they run not in the way. The more they run, the more they go astray; because they are out of the Way.

aliquando enim ipsi bene ambulantes, praeter viam currunt. invenies quippe homines bene viventes, et non Christianos. bene currunt; sed in via non currunt. quanto plus currunt, plus errant; quia a via recedunt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Waking Up

Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Buddenbrooks, II.2 (tr. John E. Woods):
Say what you like, there is something pleasant about waking of a morning in a large bedroom with lovely, cheerful wallpaper and finding that the first thing you touch is a heavy satin quilt; and it is exceptional to have an early breakfast in a room opening onto a terrace, with the fresh morning air drifting in from the front garden through an open glass door, and to be served neither coffee, nor tea, but a cup of chocolate—yes, every morning, a cup of birthday chocolate, with a thick moist piece of pound cake.

Was man sagen mag, so ist es etwas Angenehmes, wenn beim Erwachen morgens in dem großen, mit hellem Stoff tapezierten Schlafzimmer die erste Bewegung der Hand eine schwere Atlas-Steppdecke trifft; und es ist nennenswert, wenn zum ersten Frühstück vorn im Terrassenzimmer, während durch die offene Glasthür vom Garten die Morgenluft hereinstreicht, statt des Kaffees oder des Thees eine Tasse Chokolade verabreicht wird, ja, jeden Tag Geburtstagschokolade mit einem dicken Stück feuchten Napfkuchens.



Alan Cameron and Jacqueline Long, Barbarians and Politics at the Court of Arcadius (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p. 343, n. 42, commentary on Synesius, Egyptians, or On Providence 1.3 (92 B):
ἔρρεγκε, in Greek used for both the (properly) involuntary noise "snore" and the voluntary "snort." There can be little doubt that Synesius is inspired by Or. 33 of his idol Dio Chrysostom, an extraordinary attack on the people of Tarsus for making just this noise, a "harsh, disgusting sound produced by violent inhalation or exhalation through the nose," according to C. Bonner, "A Tarsian Peculiarity," Harv. Theol. Rev. 35 (1942): 2; cf. C.P. Jones, The Roman World of Dio Chrysostom (Cambridge, Mass. 1978), 73-74; G. Highet, Classical Papers (New York 1983), 95 n. 53. Dio goes so far as to claim that it is the sort of sound one expects to hear in a brothel (Or. 33.36). Bonner collects various other examples from the second to the seventh century (though omitting both Synesius's and Ammianus's account of the Roman plebs: "turpi sono fragosis naribus introrsum reducto spiritu concrepantes," Amm. Marc. 14.6.25), all cases where ῥέγκω or a similar word is used of a sound clearly felt to be utterly disgusting. According to Sophronius, a young man was deservedly struck blind for making such a noise in the shrine of Saints Cyrus and John (Mir. SS. Cyr. et Ioh. 31 (N. Fernandez Marcos, Los Thaumata de Sofronio: Contribucion al estudio de la Incubatio Cristiana [Madrid 1975], 306).
Gilbert Highet, "Mutilations in the Text of Dio Chrysostom," in his Classical Papers (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), pp. 74-99 (at 95, n. 53):
ῥέγκουσι, 33.18. This is the only passage in pagan literature known to me where the sound of snorting or snuffling is given an explicitly sexual connotation. The verb, and nouns allied to it (ῥέγκος, rhonchus in Latin, ῥέγξις, ῥωχμός), are used of (1) snoring in sleep: Aesch. Eum. 53, Ar. Nub. 5; (2) the wheezing of persons stuffed with food: Clem. Al. p. 219; (3) a sniff expressing disdain and hostility: Mart. 1.3.5, 4.86.7; cf. sanna in Juv. 6.306, and see Amm. Marc. 14.6.25: turpi sono fragosis naribus introrsum reducto spiritu concrepantes. However, C. Bonner, "A Tarsian Peculiarity," HThR 35 (1942) 1-8, cites two passages from Christian authors in which snuffling or nasal speech and sexual perversion are clearly associated: Tatianus, Ad Gr. 22 and Clem. Al., Paed. 3.29.2-3. C.B. Welles, "Hellenistic Tarsus," MUB 38 (1962) 65-68, thinks Dio's denunciation is "a monstrous jest" designed to carry the true charge that the men of Tarsus were shaving their beards and neglecting philosophy. It is difficult to read the vivid description of homosexual behavior in paragraphs 52 and 63-64 (cf. Epict. 3.1) and accept Welles' kindly interpretation.
In my ideal Greek dictionary, if I looked up ῥέγκω, these discussions and others like them would be quoted in extenso.

See also Cécile Bost-Pouderon, "Le ronflement des Tarsiens: l'interprétation du Discours XXXIII de Dion de Pruse," Revue des Études Grecques 113.2 (2000) 636-651.

Monday, August 22, 2016


If I Were...

Cecco Angiolieri (1260-1312), Sonnets, LXXXVI (tr. Luciano Rebay):
If I were fire, I would set the world aflame;
If I were wind, I would storm it;
If I were water, I would drown it;
If I were God, I would send it to the abyss.
If I were Pope, then I would be happy,
For I would swindle all the Christians;
If I were Emperor, do you know what I would do?
I would chop off heads all around.

If I were death, I would go to my father;
If I were life, I would flee from him;
The same I would do with my mother.
If I were Cecco, as I am and I was,
I would take the women who are young and lovely,
And leave the old and ugly for others.

S'i' fosse foco, ardere' il mondo;
S'i' fosse vento, lo tempesterei;
S'i' fosse acqua, i' l'anegherei;
S'i' fosse dio, mandereil en profondo;
S'i' fosse papa, sare' allor giocondo,
Ché tutt'i cristiani imbrigherei;
S'i fosse 'mperator, sa' che farei?
A tutti mozarei lo capo a tondo.

S'i' fosse morte, andarei da mio padre;
S'i' fosse vita, fugirei da lui:
Similemente faria da mi' madre.
S'i' fosse Cecco com'i' sono e fui,
Torei le donne giovani e legiadre:
E vecchie e laide lasserei altrui.
The same, tr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti:
If I were fire, I'd burn the world away;
If I were wind, I'd turn my storms thereon;
If I were water, I'd soon let it drown;
If I were God, I'd sink it from the day;
If I were Pope, I'd never feel quite gay
Until there was no peace beneath the sun;
If I were Emperor, what would I have done?—
I'd lop men's heads all round in my own way.

If I were Death, I'd look my father up;
If I were Life, I'd run away from him;
And treat my mother to like calls and runs.
If I were Cecco (and that's all my hope),
I'd pick the nicest girls to suit my whim,
And other folk should get the ugly ones.



Gregory Nazianus, Poems II.i.11.20-23 (Patrologia Graeca 37, col. 1031; tr. Carolinne White):
Everything ends in disaster: even good things are by time
outworn. Little or nothing remains,
as when the earth is swept away by heavy showers
and the pebbles are all that is left.

κέκμηκε πάντα, καὶ τὰ καλὰ τῷ χρόνῳ
κέκμηκεν. οὐδὲν ἢ στενὸν τὸ λείψανον,
ὡς γῆς συρείσης ὑετῶν λάβρων φορᾷ
κάχληκές εἰσιν οἱ λελειμμένοι μόνον.

I noticed a hexameter line consisting entirely of nouns in asyndeton at id., II.i.34.61 (Patrologia Graeca 37, col. 1311; tr. Carolinne White, except that I substituted shipmate for her comrade):
Shipmate, son, parent, brother, friend, wife, husband

σύμπλοον, υἷα, τοκῆα, κάσιν, φίλον, εὖνιν, ἀκοίτην
For similar examples see:


Response to Critics

Martial 1.91 (tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey):
Although you don't publish your own poems, Laelius, you carp at mine.
    Either don't carp at mine or publish your own.

cum tua non edas, carpis mea carmina, Laeli.
    carpere vel noli nostra vel ede tua.
Gregory Nazianus, Poems II.i.39.68 (Patrologia Graeca 37, col. 1354; tr. Carolinne White):
If this is of little value, produce something better yourself.

εἰ μικρὰ ταῦτα, σὺ τέλει τὰ μείζονα.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Constant to the Same Sweet Mistress

William Maginn (1794-1842), "Pandemus Polyglott," in his Miscellanies: Prose and Verse, ed. R.W. Montagu, Vol. II (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1885), pp. 262-282 (at 263-264):
The Doctor, though a colossus of mind, has had the firmness through life to forego all those mundane advantages which his wondrous powers must have obtained for him had such been his pleasure; and as in early life he gave himself up to the allurements of classical literature, so with a constancy seldom rivalled did he in manhood and in age still does he adhere to the same sweet mistress. The fruits of this affection are manifold, as some forty MS. folios testify; but, while the Doctor lives, his intimates alone will have the benefit of their acquaintance; for he is far too chary of his own personal comfort, too sensible of his own dignity, to sacrifice the one, or diminish his own proud sense of the other, by trusting the smallest of his learned labours to the caprice or indifference of a world engaged for the most part in pursuits which he looks down upon with pity, and would regard, if he were less good than he is, with contempt.


Carpe Diem

Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492), "Il Trionfo di Bacco e Arianna," lines 45-60, tr. Giuseppe Baretti, An Introduction to the Italian Language (London: A. Millar, 1755), p. 453 (words in italics represent additions):
Let every one open well his ears to our song: let none feed himself with the hopes of to-morrow. Let to-day every one be merry, young and old, males and females: let every sad thought fall, let us still make merry. Let him be joyous who will; there is no certainty of to-morrow.

O Women, and young lovers, long live Bacchus, and long live Love: let every oné play, dance, and sing: let the heart burn with sweetness. Do not think of labour, do not think of grief: what must be, must be. Let him be joyous who will; there is no certainty of to-morrow.
The Italian, from Lorenzo il Magnifico, Poesie, ed. Federico Sanguineti (Milan: Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, 1992), p. 178:
Ciascun apra ben gli orecchi,        45
di doman nessun si paschi;
oggi siàn, giovani e vecchi,
lieti ognun, femmine e maschi;
ogni tristo pensier caschi:
facciam festa tuttavia.        50
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Donne e giovinetti amanti,
viva Bacco e viva Amore!
Ciascun suoni, balli e canti!        55
Arda di dolcezza il core!
Non fatica, non dolore!
Ciò ch'a esser, convien sia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.        60
Id., tr. John Addington Symonds, Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Second Series (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1900), p. 328:
Listen well to what we're saying;
    Of to-morrow have no care!
Young and old together playing,
    Boys and girls, be blithe as air!
Every sorry thought forswear!
    Keep perpetual holiday.—
    Youths and maids, enjoy to-day;
Nought ye know about to-morrow.

Ladies and gay lovers young!
    Long live Bacchus, live Desire!
Dance and play; let songs be sung;
    Let sweet love your bosoms fire;
In the future come what may!—
Youths and maids, enjoy to-day!
Nought ye know about to-morrow.
Id., tr. Stanley Appelbaum, First Italian Reader: A Dual-Language Book (Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc., 2008), p. 45:
Let everyone open his ears wide:
let no one be contented with tomorrow;
young and old, women and men,
let's all be happy today;
let every sad thought drop away;
let's celebrate constantly.
Let all who wish to be happy, be so:
there's no certainty about tomorrow.

Ladies and amorous young men,
long live Bacchus, long live Love!
Let everyone play music, dance, and sing!
Let each heart blaze with pleasure!
No weariness, no sorrow!
What must be, let it happen!
Let all who wish to be happy, be so:
there's no certainty about tomorrow.


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