Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two violins and a crucifix.

I found two good poems in the current issue of Poetry:

Two Violins
by AE Stallings

Instructions to an Artisan
by Amit Majmudar

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Augustine's Confessions - Rap Version

Seen on rogueclassicism.

"Chuck Norris ne porte pas de montre. Il décide de l'heure qu'il est."

I saw this on Facebook. Sic transit gloria Galliae.

Yes, I have Facebook now. It seemed the easiest way to keep up with my Christendom people. I held out as long as I could. -_-

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Poetry Form Are You?

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Sigh. I so wanted to be a cywydd llosgyrnog.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Free the Ara Pacis!

The new mayor of Rome is gunning for the mod-box museum that currently houses the Ara Pacis (pictures) of Augustus:

Gianni Alemanno, a member of the “post-Fascist” Alleanza Nazionale who overturned decades of centre-Left rule in a run-off election on Sunday and Monday, said bluntly that “Meier’s building is a construction to be scrapped”. He added that this was not his” top priority”, leaving the timing of the demolition unclear.

He said the building, sited next to the ruins of the mausoleum of the Emperor Augustus, was “invasive”, a “disfigurement in the heart of Rome” and “an act of intellectual arrogance against the citizens of Rome”. The Ara Pacis, or Altar of Peace, was commissioned by Augustus in 13AD to commemorate his military conquests of Gaul and Spain and the ensuing period of peace, and was previously protected by a Fascist-era structure.

I have walked by the museum once, but I never went in, which I of course regret. The building wasn't egregiously bad, to my eye, but it wasn't Roman. No matter: Zadok the Roman is positive that nothing will happen.

Latin Jabberwocky!

This amazing bit of neo-Latin was composed by Lewis Carroll's uncle:

Gaberbocchus by Hassard H. Dodgson

Hora aderat briligi. Nunc et Slythia Tova
Plurima gyrabant gymbolitare vabo;
Et Borogovorum mimzebant undique formae,
Momiferique omnes exgrabuere Rathi.

"Cave, Gaberbocchum moneo tibi, nate, cavendum!
(Unguibus ille rapit. Dentibus ille necat.)
Et fuge Jubbubum, quo non infestior ales,
Et Bandersnatcham, quae fremit usque, cave."

Ille autem gladium vorpalem cepit, et hostem
Manxonium longa sedulitate petit;
Tum sub tumtummi requiescens arboris umbra
Stabat tranquillus, multa animo meditans.

Dum requiescebat meditans uffishia, monstrum
Praesens ecce! oculis cui fera flamma micat,
Ipse Gaberbocchus dumeta per horrida sifflans
Ibat, et horrendum burbuliabat iens!

Ter, quater, atque iterum cito vorpalissimus ensis
Snicsnaccans penitus viscera dissecuit.
Exanimum corpus linquens caput abstulit heros
Quocum galumphat multa, domumque redit.

"Tune Gaberbocchum potuisti, nate, necare?
Bemiscens puer! ad brachia nostra veni.
Oh! frabiusce dies! iterumque caloque calaque
Laetus eo" ut chortlet chortla superba senex.

Hora aderat briligi. Nunc et Slythia Tova
Plurima gyrabant gymbolitare vabo;
Et Borogovorum mimzebant undique formae,
Momiferique omnes exgrabuere Rathi.

It's in elegiacs, and I'm pretty sure that it riffs on Ovid's version of the fight between Hercules and Cacus:
occupat Alcides, adductaque clava trinodis
ter quater adverso sedit in ore viri.

Notice the little touches like "Tum sub tumtummi," where the Latin lends its own sort of absurdity to the nonsense words. And the mock-epic phrases: "Et fuge Jubbubum, quo non infestior ales" - literally, "And flee the Jubjub, than which no bird is more hostile." And "vorpalissimus" and "snicsnaccans"... what can I say? They make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

There are actually three Latin translations of "Jabberwocky" on the internet. Obviously this was a popular way of wasting time in the nineteenth century.