Sunday, September 01, 2019


Latin Lesson

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974), "England Not My England," The Condemned Playground. Essays: 1927-1944 (London: Routledge, 1945), pp. 196-210 (at 209-210):
I leant against a long wall underneath a window, when suddenly a voice began to thunder from inside. "Very important. Causal conjunctions. We went very deeply into this last week. Read it out." "Causal conjunctions," quavered a choir of young voices. "Quippe, qui, and quoniam take the indicative." "Quippe, qui, and quoniam," bellowed the usher, interrupting them, "take the indicative." The rasping voice sounded like the cry of a wild animal, as if one had passed on the top of a bus by the Zoo, but the uncouth language blended perfectly with the summer scene outside. "Take this down—take it down, will you," the roar continued. "Conjectus est in carcerem—he was thrown into prison—quod patrem occidisset—on the grounds that he had killed his father—qui eo tempore—who at that time was flying into Italy—in Italiam refugiebat. RE-FU-GI-EBAT," he thundered, and the pedagogic rhythms floated out into the sun and along the dusty hedgerows. "Conjectus est in carcerem," mumbled the scribbling pupils; "quippe, qui, and quoniam," they chanted; "causal conjunctions," till the words were lost above the Isle of Purbeck, a drone above the drone of bees.

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