Friday, February 18, 2011
And a Poem is Born...or something like that
Presenting my first Latin poem! :) I was looking for something to do today, so I did something I've wanted to do for quite some time--write a Latin poem. Luckily, I received inspiration for a topic (what else but Rome herself...I mean really, it's the perfect topic for a Latin poem), then I wrote it in English, translated it, and went with it!

Writing Latin poetry is actually really tough, as I found. You have to fit it to a certain meter, meaning you have to have a certain pattern of long and short syllables. Many Latin meters are borrowed from the Greek and are basically airtight. However, I am no Catullus or Horace or Virgil, so I went with the simplest meter I could (at least I think, anyway, since it generally has more exceptions than other meters), the dactylic hexameter, the type that Virgil used in the Aeneid. There's more on what that means at the bottom of my poem, if anyone's interested in what that means.

So, here's the Latin version of my poem, followed by the English. I wrote the English first and translated it into the Latin, then revised the English to reflect what the Latin actually says. The English listed here is based on the Latin construction (I tried to be as close as possible, but I had to revise/leave things out to make it work for the meter).

Without further ado, I give you, "Quam desidero, cara O Roma."

Quam desidero, cara O Roma, tuas ego septem
Colles, atque vetustatis miracula magna
Ecclesiasque tuas orantes semper ad caelum
Ambo ubi primus Petrus spiravit ceciditque et
Ecclesiam nunc Petrus servat illam hodiernus.
Et desidero ridentes etiam magis olim
Voces quae muros intra audivi patriae illoc
Ac facies comitesque et locos qui sunt mihi amati
Olim facta tuis armis, O Roma venusta,
Fortis, nunc a baptismae virtute etiam, Ecce,
Maior reddita, nam conditum in te caput est hic
Terrestre Ecclesiae Domini, Christi ecclesiae unae.
Ad muros redibo si aliquando, si Dominus vult,
Sed donec redibo, memoro te, Roma, tam amanter.

"O Rome, how I long for your seven hills, for your great wonders of old, for your churches always beseeching the heavens, where both the first Peter lived and died, and the Peter of today now serves (/protects/keeps) that church. And even more do I long for the laughing voices which I heard there within the walls of your fatherland, and the faces and the fellow-travelers and the places which are beloved to me. O charming Rome, once made strong by your weapons, now, behold, you have been rendered even greater by virtue of your baptism, for the earthly capital of the Lord's Church, the one Church of Christ, has been established here in thee. I will return to your walls one day, if the Lord wishes, but until I will return, I remember you, Rome, so lovingly."

Dactylic = of dactyls. A dactyl is a foot of a meter which has one long, then 2 short syllables, looking like this: -uu.

Hexameter = there are 6 feet in one line. In this case, it means 6 dactyls. But all the feet but the second to last one can be replaced with a spondee (- -). So, in essence, my choices went as follows:

-uu / -uu / -uu / -uu / -uu / -u
-- / -- / -- / -- / / --

(I know. That was brief. And confusing. But give me a break--it's 2 AM, for crying out loud! :-P)

I think writing this poem shows how nerdy I can be, but regardless, I have to say, I had SO much fun with it! :) And now I understand a bit more how much time it took these poets to slave over their verses. Hopefully this will give me new perspective as I continue my class on Catullus and Horace!
posted by Kristin @ 1:26 AM  

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Name: Kristin
Home: Pittsburgh, PA, United States
About Me: Seeking my true Fatherland as I travel this spiritual journey with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope, with the help of God, to follow in the example of the saints and strive for holiness.
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