Sunday, April 20, 2014

Poetry Sunday


If you've ever had the experience of studying Latin*, you know that one of the first verbs you learn to conjugate is amare, which means to love ... and the first and second person forms are amo (I love) and amas (you love). John O'Keeffe (1747 - 1833) was an Irish actor and dramatist who wrote more than 30 plays and comic operas, as well as a number of lyric poems, farces and various dramatic pieces. His short poem Amo, Amas has always been one of my favorites - for its lyricism, its appeal to my linguistic, semantic, and grammatical senses ... and its reminder of my struggles with Latin**.

Amo, Amas
by John O'Keeffe

Amo, Amas, I love a lass
As a cedar tall and slender;
Sweet cowslip's grace is her nominative case,
And she's of the feminine gender.

Rorum, Corum, sunt divorum,
Harum, Scarum divo;
Tag-rag, merry-derry, periwig and hat-band
Hic hoc horum genitivo.

Can I decline a Nymph divine?
Her voice as a flute is dulcis.
Her oculus bright, her manus white,
And soft, when I tacto, her pulse is.

Rorum, Corum, sunt divorum,
Harum, Scarum divo;
Tag-rag, merry-derry, periwig and hat-band
Hic hoc horum genitivo.

Oh, how bella my puella,
I'll kiss secula seculorum.
If I've luck, sir, she's my uxor,
O dies benedictorum.

Rorum, Corum, sunt divorum,
Harum, Scarum divo;
Tag-rag, merry-derry, periwig and hat-band
Hic hoc horum genitivo.


You have to love a poem that includes the line, "If I've luck, sir/She's my uxor" ... uxor meaning wife in Latin.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* I studied Latin for three years in grade school and high school. Of course, two of those years were spent trying to get out of Latin I, but it all counts, right?

** Everyone who has studied Latin knows the old adage, "Latin is a language, as dead as dead can be. It killed the ancient Romans, and now it's killing me!".

4 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Today's poem is fun to read. The Latin is confusing, Some nonsense words too.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Great poem!

Mike said...

I barely made it through Spanish.

Grand Crapaud said...

How beautiful my girl
I'll kiss (her) forever