Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday - A Lesson in Latin

While working on my macaronic verse this week, I experimented a bit with Latin. I studied Latin through high school and into college. The appeal for me was in both the etymology and the connection to science. I still love the language, though I don't read it much these days. Since I've been thinking Latin lately, here's a favorite poem that mentions it.
A Lesson in Latin
by Lewis Carroll

Our Latin books, in motley row,
Invite us to our task-
Gay Horace, stately Cicero:
Yet there's one verb, when once we know,
No higher skill we ask:
This ranks all other lore above-
We've learned "'Amare' means 'to love'!" -
So, hour by hour, from flower to flower,
We sip the sweets of Life:
Till, all too soon, the clouds arise,
And flaming cheeks and flashing eyes
Proclaim the dawn of strife:
With half a smile and half a sigh,
"Amare! Bitter One!" we cry. -
Last night we owned, with looks forlorn,
"Too well the scholar knows
There is no rose without a thorn"-
But peace is made! We sing, this morn,
"No thorn without a rose!"
Our Latin lesson is complete:
We've learned that Love is Bitter-Sweet!
The round-up this week is being hosted by Mentor Texts, Read Alouds & More. Before you head over to read all the great posts, be sure to read the results of this week's poetry stretch. Lots of creative folks wrote macaronic verse, or poems in more than one language. It's great fun, so do take a look. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. Thanks for the Lewis Carroll today. I used to work as a sign language interpreter at a university, and I interpreted lots of memorable classes. But I'd have to say that, hands down (bah dum ching), the most memorable one was Latin. Whew, that was hard. Fingerspelling in Latin. I had to really familiarize myself with that textbook and read over the students' homework assignments myself before each class, etc. It was a lot of work.

    Have a great weekend! Oh, I'm not trying to drive traffic to our blog here, but this Sunday we'll be featuring some never-seen-before Steve Jenkins illustrations, and I thought of you, as the science lover you are. They're really beautiful. Come see, if you're so inclined.

    Jules, 7-Imp

  2. Thanks for this poem! I'd never come across it before, and now I am wondering why learning Latin always seems to start with "amo amas amat."

  3. I keep meaning to come by and do your Monday stretches. Do you have a feed over at LiveJournal? (It's where I do all my reading, I'm afraid, and the ability to add you to my F-list would be pretty wonderful.)

  4. You lucky duck. I would have LOVED to study Latin. I think it was offered in college, but never when I could take it. I knew I should have gone to an Arts high school!

  5. Wow - I love this poem and I too wish I had studied Latin in school. Hooray for tomorrow. I'll be checking out the fun macaronic verses too! Thank you!