Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Privative Tricolon

Greg Kindall sends a modern English example of asyndetic privative adjectives, from Ogden Nash's The Caterpillar (see the last three words):
I find among the poems of Schiller
No mention of the caterpillar,
Nor can I find one anywhere
In Petrarch or Baudelaire,
So here I sit in extra session
To give my personal impression.
The caterpillar, as it's called,
Is often hairy, seldom bald;
It looks as if it never shaves;
When it walks, it walks in waves;
And from the cradle to the chrysalis
It's utterly speechless, songless, whistleless.
I've never read Ave Ogden! Nash in Latin, translated by James C. Gleeson and Brian N. Meyer (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973), but I wonder if The Caterpillar is included and, if so, how the last line is rendered.

Update: Dave Lull informs me that Ave Ogden! does not include a translation of The Caterpillar.

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