Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#9)


The Thought

Non quia fecisti bene, nunc mea serva quiescas,

sed quia pulvinos fis bene cum facias.


The Meaning

Not because you have done well, now my servant girl you may rest,

but because pillows you become well when you do.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Nōn quĭă / fēcīs/tī bĕnĕ, / nūnc mĕă / sērvă quĭ/ēscās,
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

sēd quĭă / pūlvī/nōs || fīs bĕnĕ / cūm făcĭ/ās.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Non = adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = not.

quia = adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = because.

fecisti = facio (facio, facere, feci, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, perfect, present, active only, indicative, meaning = you (serva) done.

bene= adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = well.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies quiescas, meaning = now.

mea = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies serva, meaning = my.

serva = serva (serva -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = female servant.

quiescas = quiesco (quiesco, -escere, -evi, -etum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = you (serva) may rest. (This form and use of the subjunctive is known as the jussive subjunctive. It carries the weight of a command.).

sed = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

pulvinos = pulvinus (pulvinus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = pillows

fis = fio (fio, fieri, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = you (serva) become. (Fio is always translated actively but serves as the passive of Facio.).

cum = adverb, indeclinable, modifies facias, meaning = (dependent on mood of the verb, in this case…) when. (Cum introduces a variety of subclauses known as “cum clauses.” This particular clause, in which the verb is in the subjunctive mood is a “circumstantial cum clause”: when you do (rest) you become…)

facias= facio (facio, facere, feci, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active only, subjuctive, meaning = you (serva) do.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#8)


The Thought

Servus quaerit cur in siccatorio inesses?

Ut signo vestes, efficientius est.


The Meaning

My servant asks why were you in the dryer?

When I mark clothes, it is more efficient.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sērvūs / qu(āē)rīt / cūr īn / sīccā/tōrĭo*-ĭ/nēssēs?
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

Ūt sīg/nō vēs/tēs, || ēffĭcĭ/ēntĭŭs / ēst.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Servus = servus (servus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = male servant.

quaerit = quaero (quaero, quaerere, quaesivi or quaesii, quaesitum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = he (servus) asks.

cur = interrogative, indeclinable, meaning = why.

in = preposition, indeclinable, modifies siccatorio, meaning = in.

siccatorio = siccatorium (siccatorium, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, meaning = drying room (dryer).

inesses = insum (insum, inesse, infui, infuturum), verb, irregular, 2nd person, singular, imperfect, active only, subjubctive, meaning = you were in. (The construction “Servus quaerit cur…,” introduces and indirect question, “My servant asks why…” Verbs in indirect questions are subjunctive in mood.)

Ut = conjunction (temporal), indeclinable, meaning = when, as (just as, at the same time as).

signo = signo (signo, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I mark, sign

vestes = vestis (vestis, -is), noun, 3rd declension, plural, feminine, accusative, meaning = clothes.

efficientius = efficientior (efficientior, -ius), adjective (comparative adjective derived from the present participle “efficiens” of the verb efficio, -ficere, -feci, -fectum), singular, neuter, nominative, modifies the impersonal “it” of the verb est, meaning = more efficient.

est = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = it (impersonal) is.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#7)


The Thought

Duplos annos regnavisset Roma quidem si

nutricati essent tigridibus gemini.


The Meaning

Rome would have indeed ruled twice the years if

the twins were reared by tigers.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Dūplōs / ānnōs / rēgnā/vīssēt / Rōmă quĭ/dēm sī
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

nūtrī/cāti*-ēs/sēnt || tīgrĭdĭ/būs gĕmĭ/nī.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

duplos = duplus (duplus, -a, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, modifies annos, meaning = twice, twice as much

annos = annus (annus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = years

regnavisset = regno (regno, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, pluperfect, active, subjunctive, meaning = he/she/it would have ruled.

Roma = Roma (Roma, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = Rome.

quidem = adverb, indeclinable, modifies regnavisset, meaning = indeed.

si = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = if – this little word often signifies, as it does here, a grammatical construction known as a conditional statement. The particular conditional in this poem is a Past Contrary to Fact conditional: if X would have happened (but didn’t), then Y would have happened (but didn’t). In the Past Contrary to Fact conditional, the verb in each clause is pluperfect in tense and subjunctive in mood.

nutricati = nutricatus (nutricatus, -a, -um), adjective (past participle of nutrico, -are, -avi, -atum), 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, nominative, meaning = nursed, weaned, reared, raised. *1st part of the compound verb nutricati essent.

essent = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, plural, pluperfect, active only, subjunctive, meaning = they would have been. *2nd part of the compound verb nutricati essent.

nutricati essent = nutrico (nutrico, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, plural, pluperfect, passive, subjunctive, meaning = they would have been nursed, weaned, reared, raised.

tigridibus = tigris (tigris, -idis), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = by (means of) tigers

gemini = gemini (gemini, -orum), noun, 2nd declension, plural only, masculine, nominative, meaning = twins (in this particular case, Rome’s founders, twins who were raised by a she-wolf, Romulus and Remus).


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#6)


The Thought

Scaevola nominor, et reliquis pedibus tribus ipsis

contra hostes Romae nunc etiam supero.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, et pedibus reliquis his

omnia pelliciam pectora vestra mihi.


The Meaning

Scaevola I am named, and with these very three remaining feet

against the enemies of Rome even now I overcome.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, and with these remaining feet

I will win over to me all of your hearts.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sc(āē)vŏlă / nōmĭnŏr, / ēt rĕlĭ/quīs pĕdĭ/būs trĭbŭs / īpsīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

cōntra*-hōs/tēs Rō/m(āē) || nūnc ĕtĭ/ām sŭpĕ/rō.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

Sc(āē)vŏlă / Cāttūs / Mūcĭŭs, / ēt pĕdĭ/būs rĕlĭ/quīs hīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

ōmnĭă / pēllĭcĭ/ām || pēctŏră / vēstră mĭ/hī.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Scaevola = Scaevola (Scaevola, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = The Lefthanded – the name given to Gaius Mucius, legendary hero of ancient Rome.

nominor = nomino (nomino, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, passive, indicative, meaning = I am named.

et = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = and.

reliquis = reliquus (reliquus, -a, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = remaining.

pedibus = pes (pes, pedis), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = by means of (my) feet.

tribus = tres (tres, tria), adjective, 3rd declension, plural only, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = three.

ipsis = ipse (ipse, -a, -um), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = these very (an intensifier).

contra = preposition (with accusative), introduces hostes, meaning = against.

hostes = hostis (hostis, -is), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = enemies.

Romae = Roma (Roma, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, genitive, meaning = of Rome.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies supero, meaning = now.

etiam = adverb, indeclinable, modifies nunc, meaning = even.

supero = supero (supero, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I overcome.

Cattus = cattus (cattus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = cat. (There’s wordplay here. Scaevola the Roman hero had the first name Gaius. The Romans abbreviated Gaius with the letter “C,” not “G.” So, Cattus here is used as a fictional Roman name, also fictionally abbreviated as “C.”)

Mucius = Mucius (Mucius, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = the family name of the Roman hero Scaevola.

omnia = omnis (omnis, -e), adjective, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, modifies vestra, meaning = all.

pelliciam = pellicio (or perlicio) (pellicio, pellicere, pellicui, pellectus), verb, 3rd conjugation, 1st person, singular, future, active, indicative, meaning = I will win over.

pectora = pectus (pectus, -oris), noun, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, meaning = literally: breasts, figuratively: hearts. In Latin, the seat of emotional love was “pectus,” while the Latin word for “heart” meant the literal organ.

vestra = vester (vester, vestra, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension plural, neuter, accusative, modifies pectora, meaning = a possessive adjective for the 2nd person plural pronoun – of yours (you = plural).

mihi = ego (ego …), pronoun, irregular, 1st person, singular, dative, meaning = to me.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#5)


The Thought

Dormitat servus meus, ast crater eget escā.

Forsitan excitet ut dente pedem capio…


The Meaning

My servant repeatedly sleeps, but the bowl needs food.

Perhaps he may awake as I seize (his) foot with (my) tooth.

(Yes, he does this. It’s gentle and funny, but he does this.)


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Dōrmī/tāt sēr/vūs mĕŭs, / āst crā/tēr ĕgĕt / ēscā.
(ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘)

Fōrsĭtăn / ēxcĭtĕt / ūt || dēntĕ pĕd/ēm căpĭ/ō…
(ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ)


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Dormitat = dormito (dormito, -āre, -āvi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = he (servus) repeatedly sleeps.

servus = servus (servus -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = male servant.

meus = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies servus, meaning = my.

ast = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

crater = crater (crater, -eris), noun, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, nominative, meaning = bowl.

eget = egeo (egeo, -ēre, -ui), verb, 2nd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = it (crater) is in need (need). (While English may sometimes use the genitive: “is in need *of*,” Latin uses the  ablative for verbs of needing, lacking, etc: “is in need *by means of*”)

escā = esca (esca, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, ablative, meaning = (by means of) food.

Forsitan = adverb, indeclinable, modifies excitet, meaning = perhaps.

excitet = excito (excito, -āre, -āvi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = he (servus) may awake. (This form and use of the subjunctive conveys the idea of a potential action)

ut = conjunction (temporal), indeclinable, meaning = as (just as, at the same time as).

dens = dens (dens, dentis), noun, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, meaning = (by means of) tooth.

pedem = pes (pes, pedis), noun, 3rd declension, singular, masculine, accusative, meaning = foot.

capio = capio (capio, capere, cepi, captum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I seize.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#4)


The Thought

Hanc sellam credit stulta esse suam mea serva.

Credat eas nugas, ast ea sella mea est.


The Meaning

My foolish maid believes that this chair is hers.

Let her believe this nonsense, but the chair is mine.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Hānc sēl / lām crē / dīt stūl / ta-ēssĕ* sŭ / ām mĕă / sērvă.
(ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘)

Crēdăt ĕ / ās nū / gās, || āst ĕă / sēllă mĕ / a-ēst.
(ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ)

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Hanc = hic (hic, haec, hoc), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), singular, feminine, accusative, modifies sellam, meaning = this.

sellam = sella (sella -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, accusative, meaning = chair.

credit = credo (credo, -dere, -didi, -ditum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = she (serva) believes.

stulta = stultus (stultus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies serva, meaning = foolish.

esse = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, infinitive, present, active only, infinitive, meaning = to be. (This construction is called an indirect statement. In it, the infinitive acts as the verb, and the accusative acts as the subject. I.e.: she believes that the chair is… literally [note: we do the same thing in English], she believes the chair to be…)

suam = suus (suus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, accusative, modifies sellam, meaning = her own. (suus [his own, her own, its own] is used when referring to the subject, eius (is, ea, id [his, hers, its]) is used when referring to someone or something other than the subject).

mea = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies serva, meaning = my.

serva = serva (serva -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = female servant.

Credat = credo (credo, -dere, -didi, -ditum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = she (serva) may believe (let her believe). (This form and use of the subjunctive is known as the jussive subjunctive. It carries the weight of a command.)

eas = is (is, ea, id), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), plural, feminine, accusative, modifies nugas, meaning = these. (Two notes here:
1) (is, ea, is) is translated as a generic, nondemonstrative “this.” It is the closest thing that Latin has to the definite article “the.” 2) nugas, the word that eas modifies, is plural in form but singular in translation. So, in this instance, the correct translation for eas would be “this.”)

nugas = nugae (nugae -arum),  noun, 1st declension, plural, feminine, accusative, meaning = nonsense. (As noted above, nugas is plural in form but singular in translation, it only exists in plural form. English has the similarly related plural noun “fancies” for “nonsense.”)

ast = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

ea = is (is, ea, id), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), singular, feminine, nominative, modifies sella, meaning = this (the). (See note 1 above on (is, ea, id) and the definite article.)

sella = sella (sella -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = chair.

mea = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies sella, meaning = mine.

est = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = it (sellam) is.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#3)


The Thought

Serve, tributum est istud inutile vileque vere.

Istud substituas vivo aliquo atque novo.


The Meaning

Servant, that tribute of yours is truly worthless and cheap.

You may replace that with something living and fresh.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sērvĕ, trĭ / būtŭm-ēst* / īstŭd ĭn / ūtĭlĕ / vīlĕquĕ / vērē.
(ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ)

Īstūd / sūbstĭtŭ / ās || vīvō-ălĭ / quō-ātquĕ nŏ / vō.
(ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Serve = servus, noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, vocative (used when directly address someone), meaning = servant.

tributum = tributum, noun, 2nd declension, singular, neuter, nominative (subject), meaning = tribute.

est = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = it is.

istud = iste (iste, ista, istud), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), neuter, nominative, modifies tributum, meaning = that (iste has a negative connotation, often translated as “such” or “that of yours,” e.g. “such a x” or “that x of yours.”)

inutile = inutilis (inutilis, inutile), adjective, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, nominative, modifies tributum, meaning = useless.

vile = vilis (vilis, vile), adjective, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, nominative, modifies tributum, meaning = cheap.

que = conjunction, indeclinable, added to the second of two similar words to be joined, meaning = and.

vere = adverb, indeclinable, modifies est, meaning = truly.

Istud = see istud above. However the case is accusative (direct object)(The nominative and accusative forms are always the same for neuter nouns). Still referring to tributum.

substituas = substituo (substituo, -uere, -ui, -utum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = you may replace (this form and use of the subjunctive is known as the jussive subjunctive. It carries the weight of a command.)

vivo = vivus (vivus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, modifies aliquo, meaning = living.

aliquo = aliquis (aliquis, aliqua, aliquid), adjective (used as a noun) , irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), neuter, ablative, meaning = by means of (with) something.

atque = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = and. (Usually used before a word beginning with a vowel, and its other form “ac” usually used before a word beginning with a consonant. However, this is Latin poetry, and they bent the rules a bit for the sake of keeping the meter.)

novo = novus (novus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, modifies aliquo, meaning = new (i.e. fresh).


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#2)


The Thought

Desine, serve, librorum nugas stulte tuas nunc.

Tē dare nunc studium fas bene, serve, mihī.


The Meaning

Stop now your nonsense of books, foolish servant.

It is well right and just that you now, servant, pay attention to me.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Dēsĭnĕ, / sērvĕ, lĭ / brōrūm  / nūgās / stūltĕ tŭ / ās nūnc.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

Tē dărĕ / nūnc stŭdĭ / ūm || fās bĕnĕ, / sērvĕ, mĭ / hī.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Desine = desino (desino, -sinere, -sii, -situm), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, imperative, meaning = stop.

serve = servus (servus -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, vocative (direct address), meaning = male servant.

librorum = liber (liber, -bri), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, genitive (with nugas), meaning = of books.

nugas = nugae (nugae -arum), noun, 1st declension, plural, feminine, accusative, meaning = nonsense. (As noted above, nugas is plural in form but singular in translation, it only exists in plural form. English has the similarly related plural noun “fancies” for “nonsense.”).

stulte = stultus (stultus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, masculine, vocative, modifies serve, meaning = foolish.

tuas =  tuus (tuus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, feminine, accusative, modifies nugas, meaning = your.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies dare, meaning = now.

Tē = tu = tu (tu …), pronoun, irregular, 2nd person, singular, accusative (subject of dare [indirect statement]), meaning = you.

dare = do (do, dare, dedi, datum), verb, irregular (mostly 1st conjugation-ish), present, active, infinitive, meaning = to give. (The construction, “Fas [est] … te dare” is an indirect statement – “It is right… *that* you give.” In an indirect statement, the “that” is understood, the subject is in the accusative case, and the verb is in the infinitive. The same literal construction conveys roughly the same meaning in English – “It is right… [for] you to give.” The indirect statement construction is used whenever it would be used in English: I heard that…, I read that…, I understood that…, It is right that… etc.)

studium = studium (studium, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, neuter, accusative (direct object of dare [indirect statement]), meaning = pursuit, interest.

fas = fas, noun, indeclinable, neuter, meaning = divine law (an “est” – “it is” – is understood here).

bene = adverb, indeclinable, modifies fas (est), meaning = well.

mihī = ego (ego …), pronoun, irregular, 1st person, singular, dative, meaning = to me.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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A Roman Cat

After the recent passing of Bastet my ancient cat of 18 years, my wife and I noticed that the house was really empty. So, she started searching the cat adoption boards.

She asked if I had any preferences. I told her to choose a sad cat that nobody else wants.

She found a Black & White American Short Hair (Tuxedo) – a feral who was rescued when it was found with its front right leg crushed (eventually fully amputated), and who can be aggressive when overstimulated. I’ve had a cat who also had the overstimulation issue, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

On this past Saturday, we adopted him.

The place that rescued him named him Ringo. That’s a fine name, but then I remembered someone from Roman history – C. (Gaius) Mucius Scaevola.

In the early days of Rome, they were at war with the Etruscans. Gaius Mucius, a young soldier, went to the elders and pitched a plan: send him in at night to infiltrate the Etruscan camps and assassinate their king. The elders approved. However, Gaius Mucius failed in his attempt and was captured. Brought before the king to stand trial, Gaius Mucius told the king that Rome had 300 other assassins waiting to step up and finish the job. He then placed his right hand into a nearby flame, and as his hand was burning swore that Rome did not fear him and would defeat him.

The Etruscan king sent Gaius Mucius back to Rome alive, and then sued for peace.

The Romans made Gaius Mucius a hero and gave him the nickname Scaevola (the left-handed).

And so, as Ringo settles in (he already has), he will notice that his human servants will start calling him “Sky” rather than “Ringo.”
Sky, or more formally C. (Cattus) Mucius Scaevola.

There is a Latin group here on Ratburger, S.P.Q.Ratburger. It has a lot of traffic from people here who want to learn Latin or discuss things about it. But, as Dime has found, there’s so much traffic that specific topics can get lost in the shuffle. So Dime, wisely, has started posting separate topics about Latin. And I will do the same.

Now that I have my cat Sky, I thought it would be fun to give Sky a Latin language page on Twitter and post a weekly* “Cat Thought” in Latin. (*Weekly = I’ll try for weekly, but really when I get to it).

And I have Sky’s first Cogitatum Catti (Cat Thought), and that thought is in the form of Latin verse.

One of the most famous Roman poets was Martial. Imagine if Henny Youngman was a poet and spoke Latin. Martial was famous for his comic (often insulting) two-line verses. A lot of them translate well to today’s humor – they’re actually funny.

Martial’s two line form was known as the Elegiac Couplet. I won’t go into too much detail as it’s kind of advanced Latin. If you’re interested in more info, then Google is your friend.

The poem, an original by me, is presented here, then the mark up for scansion (poetic analysis of meter), and then the translation.



The Thought

“Dē mensā descende!” mihi acclamat mea serva.

At quā rē posuit serva cibos mea ibī?


The Meaning

“Get down from the table!” my servant girl yells at me.

But why did my servant girl put food there?


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

“Dē mēn/sā dēs/cēndĕ!” mĭ/hi*-ācclā/māt mĕă / sērvå.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

Āt quā / rē pŏsŭ/īt || sērvă cĭ/bōs mĕa-ĭb/ī?
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Dē = preposition, indeclinable, modifies mensā, meaning = down from.

mensā = mensa (mensa, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, ablative, meaning = table.

descende = descendo (descendo, -endere, -endi, -ensum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, imperative, meaning = get down.

mihi = ego (ego …), pronoun, irregular, 1st person, singular, dative, meaning = to me.

acclamat = acclamo (acclamo, -āre, -āvi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = she (serva) yells.

mea = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies serva, meaning = my.

serva = serva (serva -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = female servant.

At = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

quā = quī (quī, quae, quod), adjective, irregular, (1st & 2nd and 3rd declension-ish), feminine, ablative, modifies rē, meaning = (interrogatory)(by means of) what

rē = res (res, rei) noun, 5th declension, singular, feminine, ablative, meaning = (by means of) reason – 2nd part of idiom “quā rē”

quā rē = quārē = interrogative, indeclinable, meaning = why

posuit = pono (pono, ponere, posui, positum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, perfect, active, indicative, meaning = she (serva) placed.

cibos = cibus (cibus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = foods (food).

ibī = adverb, indeclinable, modifies posuit, meaning = there


The cat thought of the week*.
Enjoy, or not.

BTW – the picture of Sky on the table is from this morning. He looks totally busted.

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Sick of all this political crap – Let’s change the channel!

Crew Dragon is off and running.  (This is far more important than any of the political crap occurring now.)  This is our current generation’s Apollo 11 moment, but it is more of a serial drama instead of a gigantic moment in time.  We are about to keep our brave space-faring citizens out of the Soyuz.  MAGA in the technical universe.

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To Love is to Wait

The stages of development of spousal love are described in our literature, sometimes one stage at a time, sometimes in consideration of all the stages.

Andrew Klavan, who does not join us here and is therefore ultimately foolish, made in a recent podcast a wise recommendation on this subject. He recommended the poem Wordsworth wrote about his own spouse: She was a phantom of delight. It recounts the progression of the poet’s understanding of his lady, from initial sensory impact, to appreciation of manners, ultimately to respect for her transcendent humanity: a Being breathing thoughtful breath.

In a similar vein is a poem that starts off Love is waiting  . . .  

It does not mean Love is waiting for you,  or any such stuff.  It means that loving constitutes waiting.  Look; you will see.

Miłość

Jest czekaniem
na niebieski mrok
na zieloność traw
na piesczczotę rzęs.

Love

Is waiting
for the blue dusk
for the green grass
for the embrace of eyelids.

(As the Italians say:  amore fulmineo!  thunderbolt love!)

But we continue:

Czekaniem
na kroki

szelesty
listy
na pukanie do drzwi

Waiting
for footsteps
rustling
letters
for the knock on the door

Czekaniem
na sełnienie

trwanie
zrozumienie

Waiting
for fulfillment
constancy
understanding

Czekaniem
na potwierdzenie

na kryzk protestu

Waiting
for confirmation
for cry of protest

(Mutual trust gives us the freedom to be mutually, and non-fatally, candid.)

Czekaniem
na sen
na świt
na koniec świata

Waiting
for sleep
for dawn
for the end of the world

(And so we can be constant through the life we are given.)

The poet is Małgorzata Hillar (1930-1995.)  The translator is Morosław Lipiński. My editorial interruptions are in parentheses. Nice clean layout is here or here.

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Knowledge Base: Verse, Line Breaks, and White Space

When including poetry or other kinds of text in which line breaks are significant, you’ll want to keep WordPress from flowing the text from line to line based upon the width of the window, but instead place the line breaks yourself.  Simply pressing the “Enter” key at the end of each line, however, makes each line its own paragraph, which adds white space between the lines and looks ugly.  For example, here is one of my favourite Dorothy Parker poems formatted this way.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,

A medley of extemporania;

And love is a thing that can never go wrong;

And I am Marie of Roumania.

— Dorothy Parker

Ugly, isn’t it?  To indicate a line break without starting a new paragraph, hold down the “Shift” key while you press “Enter”.  This will result in single-spaced text within a single paragraph.  Here is the poem re-set using Shift-Enter.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporania;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.
— Dorothy Parker

Much better!  If a poem contains multiple stanzas, use Shift-Enter between lines of a stanza and the regular Enter between stanzas.

Now, how did I indent the poet’s name at the end?  This involves a somewhat sneakier bit of skulduggery.  When entering the poem, I switched to the “Text” editor tab in the composition window and entered the author’s name as:

<span style="margin-left: 6em;">— Dorothy Parker</span>

This inserts white space with a width of 6 “M” characters to the left of the text enclosed in the span.  You can use this gimmick anywhere you’d like to insert white space, for example in poems by E. E. Cummings that use eccentric spacing for effect.

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Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Two hundred years ago, halfway around the planet from where I sit, Constable painted someone fishing, or perhaps just messing around, in some little English stream I shall never see.  “Tree Trunks” is the name it goes by, and the trunks are all right, as are the shadows and sun on the grassy bank.  What touch me most are the browned leaves of autumn and the shimmering gold light created by those increasingly slanting sunbeams.

This is what we have now; we have it every year; amazing.  Further, after the last couple of weeks we deserve it more than ever.

To go with that, here is John Keats:  Ode to Autumn.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring?  Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

 

No more have we thatched roofs, thankfully, and no more standing there winnowing grain for hours by throwing basket after basket after basket – full up into the air so that the chaff can blow away.  Nor do we dose our babies with poppy juice, as my ancestors did, and lay them to snooze at the edge of the field while we go out to bend down and reap, hours by hours.

Aside from those things, Keats details all the loveliness still to be enjoyed in autumn. Our season is prolonged this year.  How goes it with you all? Have you a favorite painting or poem for autumn?

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Today’s Kipling – The Mare’s Nest

(Sometimes the course of true love fails to run smoothly. . .)

The Mare’s Nest

Rudyard Kipling

Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.
He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced — but this she did not know.

For Belial Machiavelli kept
The little fact a secret, and,
Though o’er his minor sins she wept,
Jane Austen did not understand
That Lilly — thirteen-two and bay
Absorbed one-half her husband’s pay.

She was so good, she made hime worse;
(Some women are like this, I think;)
He taught her parrot how to curse,
Her Assam monkey how to drink.
He vexed her righteous soul until
She went up, and he went down hill.

Then came the crisis, strange to say,
Which turned a good wife to a better.
A telegraphic peon, one day,
Brought her — now, had it been a letter
For Belial Machiavelli, I
Know Jane would just have let it lie.

But ’twas a telegram instead,
Marked “urgent,” and her duty plain
To open it. Jane Austen read:
“Your Lilly’s got a cough again.
Can’t understand why she is kept
At your expense.” Jane Austen wept.

It was a misdirected wire.
Her husband was at Shaitanpore.
She spread her anger, hot as fire,
Through six thin foreign sheets or more.
Sent off that letter, wrote another
To her solicitor — and mother.

Then Belial Machiavelli saw
Her error and, I trust, his own,
Wired to the minion of the Law,
And traveled wifeward — not alone.
For Lilly — thirteen-two and bay —
Came in a horse-box all the way.

There was a scene — a weep or two —
With many kisses. Austen Jane
Rode Lilly all the season through,
And never opened wires again.
She races now with Belial. This
Is very sad, but so it is.

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Today’s Kipling – The Press

The Press

Rudyard Kipling

The Soldier may forget his Sword,
The Sailorman the Sea,
The Mason may forget the Word
And the Priest his Litany:
The Maid may forget both jewel and gem,
And the Bride her wedding-dress-
But the Jew shall forget Jerusalem
Ere we forget the Press !

Who once hath stood through the loaded hour
Ere, roaring like the gale,
The Harrild and the Hoe devour
Their league-long paper-bale,
And has lit his pipe in the morning calm
That follows the midnight stress-
He hath sold his heart to the old Black Art
We call the daily Press.

Who once hath dealt in the widest game
That all of a man can play,
No later love, no larger fame
Will lure him long away.
As the war-horse snuffeth the battle afar,
The entered Soul, no less,
He saith: “Ha! Ha!” where the trumpets are
And the thunders of the Press!

Canst thou number the days that we fulfill,
Or the Times that we bring forth ?
Canst thou send the lightnings to do thy will,
And cause them reign on earth ?
Hast thou given a peacock goodly wings,
To please his foolishness ?
Sit down at the heart of men and things,
Companion of the Press !

The Pope may launch his Interdict,
The Union its decree,
But the bubble is blown and the bubble is pricked
By Us and such as We.
Remember the battle and stand aside
While Thrones and Powers confess
That King over all the children of pride
Is the Press – the Press – the Press !

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