Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Greek Grammar

Dorothy Millstone, "Ah, Did You Once Eat Goodwin Plain," Classical World 54.7 (April, 1961) 237:
                  To E.B.S.

My heart leaps up when I behold
A Dative I can size up cold.

Next when I cast mine eyes and see
Accusatives specifically,
O, how that syntax taketh me.

Nature I loved and after nature Text.
In Genitives I found the Absolute.
In verbs I loved the sweet revealing Root.
This world has these; who cares about the next?

A book of verses underneath a bough,
A lexicon, a grammar and thou,
If silent, this were paradise enow.

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before this brain has gleaned old Goodwin's hoard;
That I may die without the precious key
To treasures Athens gave that still are stored
In texts but may be closed to me;
When memory slips its cog so carelessly
That Middle melts to Active, then, O, Lord,
Myself I fling at forms voraciously
And sit a gorger at Dame Grammar's board,
Devouring verbs and nouns in gluttony
And drinking from the bowl in which is poured
The subtle syntax of antiquity.

Then eager for the poet's luscious word
I rise to read what Homer wrote for me.

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