Only two proper quadrisyllabic names -- each replaced by four dashes -- have been excised from the excerpt below from a Latin version of what is either Longfellow's Hiawatha or Lönnrot's Kalevala.
So which is it, and is there anything else you would like to add to your commentary as to why this particular excerpt was chosen, and what in the end proved to be, for you, the giveaway:
Tum lascivus -- -- -- --
-- -- -- --, homo bellus,
sinum suum manu temptat
atque saeculum rimatur;
sumit lanulas ovinas,
quas tranquille perfricabat
inter palmulam utramque
denis digitis inclusas.
Semel flat in suam palmam:
oves inde procurrerunt,
magna pecorum caterva
et grex grandis agnellorum.
Lupus insilit in illos
urso comite currente.
Posted on 07/03/2007 10:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
3 Jul 2007
The prize, incidentally, is an ex grege (see the last few lines, with its own grex agnellorum, not to mention that lupus in fabula) honorary degree, awarded by me as Rettore Magnifico of the University of the Ether (condita 2007), which university fittingly has no classrooms, not even a blackboard, but nonetheless the number of applications is way up, and a special Fall Session is planned.
3 Jul 2007
I have previously confessed to being unread (uneddafied). I also mentioned my exploits in history education. I had worse experiences with Latin. The lessons consisted mainly of corporal punishment inflicted by the appropriately named Mr. Payne (Sir) who eventually chucked me out of his class after yet another misunderstanding.
I was thus forced to take a short cut here and plugged the lines into an anagram web site. Some returned phrases were nonsense but "Quiet muscular amateur" and especially, "Humble loos" are unlikely from a Finn and far more likely from someone living in Cambridge. The particular passage was obviously chosen by Hugh for this reason.
3 Jul 2007
It must be Kalevala, since there are no flocks or sheep or lambs in Hiawatha.
(This is a guess.)
3 Jul 2007
We have two winners: one with "full marks" and one with "half-marks." This distinction is borrowed from the radio program "My Word." In that show, before Denis Norden and Frank Muir would deliver their convoluted tales which must end with a homophonic rendition of the phrase which each is assigned at the beginning of the show, there are questions requiring definitions of rare words by Norden and Muir, and the two female guests, usually Dilys Powell and Anne Scott-James, but the Fraser history-lady, and consort to Mr. Pinter, appeared in the later programs, and there both "half-marks" and "full marks" are given, when marks are given at all, by the well-spoken (everyone on the program was well-spoken; Estuary English was not to be heard) moderator.
In this case, half-marks go to Michael, who was correct to think that Hiawatha by the shores of Giche Gummee may have run into deer and foxes, but probably not sheep.
Full marks to Paul Blaskowicz, who not only is more certain (not making Michael's "guess") but is so because he found the exact text. He says he did this by reading through much of the Kalevala in Latin. If he did it that way, he deserves the prize; if he did it another, quicker way, he still deserves the prize, for figuring out some short cut that I thought did not or could not exist.
Now what was supposed to be tricky about the thing was this. I assumed that many would either not know Latin or know just enough to recognize a few words, such as "pecorum" and "agnellorum" and "grex" and "lupus" and that this would lead some one way, and others another way. Someone who focussed on "lupus" might think "wolf" and if "wolf," then forest primeval, and Indians, and war-whoops, and wigwams, and wampum. Still others might reason as Michael did, that sheep are unlikely to have been hanging round Hiawatha's door. Indeed, when did the sheep arrive, with what settlers, in North America, and what Indians would have tended sheep? In all the cinematic renditions of the Range Wars between the sheepmen and the cattlemen, they were always pioneers, settlers, on both sides, with nary a war-bonnet in sight.
But there can be no doubt of the winner when Blaskowicz quotes from the Kalevala's text, and even puts in the two omitted tell-tale proper names. The excerpt I chose can be found on p. 202 in the Finnish translation, by Tuomo Pekkanen, but at the moment I can't find my copy (I chose that passage because of the "agnorum" and "pecorum" and "lupus" and the paucity of proper names) to quote from more extensively.
Another possibility, I thought, was that the Finnish fascination with, immense attachment to, Latin -- which has frequently been written about, would be remembed by some, and they would say to themselves: "well, it makes sense that someone would translate the whole Kalevala into Latin, as they might not have translated The Song of Igor's Campaign (if it is indeed, pace Edward Keenan, a real ancietnt epic), or Beowulf,. And that is because of the attachment of some distant Northern Europeans, to the prestige of Latin, especially pronounced in Finland (and to a lesser extent, in Sweden ---- see Linnaeus, see Celsius, see Brezelius, see even h General Petraeus as a famous example of the phenomenon, though his father was from the Netherlands (and thus lending his name to a re-appearance of the cartographer's -- Ortelian not Orwellian -- toponym "Arabia Petraea" ). And I thought someone would have remembered the story, from a few years ago, not only about the mad passion for Latin in Finland, but about the radio program in Latin that is broadcast from Finland to the Greater Community of Latin-Lovers -- yes, there are still Latin lovers among us, and the most hot-blooded of them turn out to be Nordic -- around the world.
Some may have heard about the late Charles Eggers, Eggers was a priest at the Vatican, and tireless prmoter of Latin, who produced "Latinitas," a magazine entirely in Latin, with a section on current events in which all kinds of phrases such as "leadership role" and "international community" and "yada-yada-yada" and "get with the program" would be turned into clever up-to-date equivalents in Latin. Well, the true heir to Eggers ("Carolus Eggers" to you) is Tuomo Pekkanen, who not only puts on that program conducted in Latin, but also translates a great many things into Latin, and among those things, the Kalevala is his masterpiece.
And I thought that along with the internal evidence -- those sheep, and that deceptive lupus in fabula -- some would-be entrants would recall that Finnish zeal for Latin, and would adduce that as part of the evidence that led them to choose the Kalevala as their answer.
It didn't happen. But the results make me happy, especially since this is the first time, in my years of offering contests, that I have had a clear-cut right answer, and in this case there are one-and-a-half, sesqui-entrants, who have been right.
So congratulations to "Michael," and extra congratulations to Paul Blaskowicz to whom will some day be sent, if I can find a reasonably-priced copy in English, a work by the same author less well-known than his compiled Kalevala -- Lonnrot's "Advice on the Raising and Feeding of Children in Ostrobothnia,"
4 Jul 2007
He says he did this by reading through much of the Kalevala in Latin. If he did it that way, he deserves the prize;
In Latin? Did I say that? I read through my old copy of the Kalevala in Crawford's translation. The only Latin I needed to read was what you had set: I had to look for tum=then, followed by two men's names with bellus=handsome, &c; lascivus = reckless, frolicsome, mischievous, daring, lascivious (I looked up all the synonyms in my school Latin dictionary) and then wade through looking for hands, flock, sheep, wolf, bear, etc in the next few lines. There is one hell of a lot of Then's there.
(Is there a Latin translation of Hiawatha, btw?)
All this was to make up for daring to suggest that Hardy's poem seemed more late-eighteenth than early twentieth century.
II look forward to getting the Lonnrot book on child-rearing in Ostrobothnia: Speak roughly to your little boy, And beat him hard with birch-twigs.
The history female whose name you nano-momentarily forgot (surely impossible for longer than that?) is Lady Antonia Fraser (née Pakenham), rather lovely wife of the despicable multi-millionaire Harold P. I wonder why the name Fraser is almost invariably spelt Frasier (and so pronounced) in the US, but that spelling and pronunciation are unknown in England?
Those full-marks stand -- despite the allusion. And I shall be searching the book-catalogues for Fennica Rara.