Sunday, April 28, 2013


Da Mihi Calix

Johann Adelphus Muling, "Facetiae Adelphinae," no. 9, in Margarita Facetiarum Alfonsi Aragonum Regis Vafre Dicta... (Strasbourg: GrĂ¼ninger, 1508), the Latin and an English translation in One Hundred Renaissance Jokes: An Anthology, ed. Barbara C. Bowen (Birmingham: Summa Publications, Inc., 1988), pp. 46-47:
De aedituo qui erat doctior suo sacerdote
Edituus quidam ministrans ad altare suo plebano viro admodum agresti & indocto. Cum tandem tempore offertorij calicem peteret: dixit. Vbi est calicem. Cui aedituus: domine non sic: sed calix dicendum est: tunc subdit plebanus. Da mihi calix. Cui aedituus: domine non sic dicendum est: sed calicem. Ad quem tum sacerdos. Abi hinc: in malam crucem: cum tua logica. gib mir den kelch her.1

Of the Sacristan who was more learned than his Priest
A certain sacristan was serving at the altar for his priest, a very rough and ignorant man. When it was time for the offertory and the priest asked for the chalice, he said: "Where is the calicem?" The sacristan replied: "My lord, that is not correct; you should say calix." Then the priest said: "Give me the calix." The sacristan said: "My lord, you should not say calix but calicem." The priest said, "To hell with you and your logic. Give me the damned chalice."1

1 This joke makes little sense in English, but it is very funny in the original. The point is that in the priest's first sentence he should use "chalice" in the nominative, calix, while in the second sentence it should be accusative, calicem. This is an elementary mistake, proving his almost complete ignorance of the Latin he is supposed to use every day. He thereupon falls back on his native German: "gib mir den kelch her."
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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