Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Latin poetry

My students had learned their Latin vocabulary. They were ready. Yesterday, I finally read them the macaronic poem, Carmen Possum. I love this poem. You don't even have to be proficient with languages to appreciate this one. (Although it helps to know a little English, I guess.) Loads of fun. Here it is:

Carmen Possum

The Nox was lit by lux of Luna
And 'twas a nox most opportuna
To catch a possum or a coona;
For nix was scattered o'er this mundus,
A shallow nix, et non profundus.
On sic a nox with canis unus.
Two boys went out to hunt for coonus.
The corpus of this bonus canis
Was full as long as octo span is
But brevior legs had canis never
Quam bad hic dog; et bonus clever.
Some used to say, in stultum jocum
Quod a field was too small locum
For sic a dog to make a turnus
Circum self from stem to sternus
Unis canis,duo puer,
Nunquam braver, nunquam truer
Quam hoc trio nunquam fuit
If there was I never knew it.
This bonus dog had one bad habit.
Amabat much to tree a rabbit,
Amabat plus to chase a rattus,
Amabat bene tree a cattus.
But on this nixy moonlight night
This old canus did just right.
Nunquam treed a starving rattus,
Nunquam chased a starving cattus,
But succurrit on intentus
On the track and on the scentum
Till he trees a possum strongum
In a hollow trunkum longum
Loud he barked an horrid bellum
Seemed on terra vehit pellum
Quickly ran the duo puer
Mors of possum to secure
Quam venerit, one began
To chop away like quisque man
Soon the axe went through the truncum
Soon he hit it all kerchunkum
Combat deepens, on ye braves!
Canis, pueri et staves
As his powers non longius carry
Possum potest, non pugnare
On the nix his corpus lieth
Down to Hades spirit flieth
Joyful pueri, canis bonus,
Think him dead as any stonus
Now they seek their pater's domo
Feeling proud as any homo
Knowing, certe, they will blossom
Into heroes, when with possum
They arrive, narrabunt story
Plenus blood et plenior glory
Pompey, David, Samson, Caesar
Cyrus, Black Hawk, Shalmanezer!
Tell me where est now the gloria
Where the honors of victoria?
Nunc a domum narrent story
Plenus sanguine, tragic, gory
Pater praiseth, likewise mater
Wonders greatly younger frater
Possum leave they on the mundus
Go themselves to sleep profundus
Somniunt possums slain in battle
Strong as ursae, large as cattle
When nox gives way to lux of morning
Albam terram much adorning
Up they jump to see the varmen
Of the which this is the carmen
Lo! possum est resurrectum
Ecce pueri dejectum
Ne relinquit back behind him
Et the pueri never find him
Cruel possum! bestia vilest
How the pueros thou beguiles
Pueri think non plus of Caesar
Go ad Orcum, Shalmanezer
Take your laurels, cum the honor
Since ista possum is a goner!

--Anonymous

8 comments:

quirky said...

oh. my. gosh.... THAT IS SO AWSOME!!!!!!

# 47 said...

::sigh:: Yea, it's a real scream. Had to read it all over again and it was just as good (Virgil would've been jealous!). Ever gonna be really mean and make the peeps write their own?

Feanor said...

I love it!!!!!

Shiloh said...

What?! Make 'em write their own? Do you want me turn 'em all into refried beans, 47?

On the other hand ... what an idea. Maybe I will.

Shiloh said...

And for those of you who just have to know:
"Carmen" means song.
"Possum" in Latin is pronounced:
PO (long O)
SOOM
but in the poem, you read it like the shortened form of oppossum. In Latin it's a verb of being translated as "I am able"

I can't help myself. I am a Latin teacher after all.

Feanor said...

I'm glad I'm not one of your students :)

Shiloh said...

Yeah, I'd make you blog in Latin.

Feanor said...

Wow thats a scary thought! Its quite incomprehensible enough, no help is needed in that department!