Thursday, May 13, 2010


A Lesson in Latin

Lewis Carroll, A Lesson in Latin:
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!
In Latin, amare can be both present active infinitive of the verb amo (I love) and vocative masculine singular of the adjective amarus (bitter).

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