Friday, November 10, 2006

Amo Augustinum

OK, it's kind of a pain learning another language at my advanced age, but as I'm studying for my Latin exam (the last step before I take my comprehensive exams), I'm realizing some interesting things. Among them: Augustine was a pretty fair writer.

Here's a choice couple sentences from the Confessions III.i

Veni Carthaginem et circumstrepebat me undique sartago flagitiosorum amorum. Nondum amabam et amare amabam et secretiore indigentia oderam me minus indigentem.

Even if you even if you wouldn't know an imperfect indicative if it bit your nose; even if you don't catch the subtle pun between Carthago (Carthage) and sartago (frying pan); even if you don't really understand what he's saying, even after you've translated it,* it's still undeniably cool word-work.

And I'm just geeky enough to think it's pretty cool that I'm learning to appreciate some 1600-year old rhetorical artistry -- artistry and appreciation both offered in service of the one God who is, according to the Bible, Love.

*Literal: I came to Carthage, and (there) crackled on on all sides of me a cauldron of shameful loves. I did not yet love, but I loved to love, and
(from) a secret want, I hated myself wanting little.

Less literal:
I came to Carthage, and on on all sides of me frizzled a frying pan of shameful loves. I was not yet in love, but I was in love with love; and (from) a secret want, I hated myself in want of wanting.

OR ... from a hidden hunger, I hated myself for my small hungering.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Hey! Can you translate the Latin that Jed Bartlet spoke in the Two Cathedrals episode of TWW?!

I'd like to use that in my interim class. I have the disks, if you'd like to take a crack at it.

Nothing like putting all that knowledge to good use!