Textkit Logo

Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Discuss meter, interpretation, and all things Latin Poetry

Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:47 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Saunders_Evans

Google search found this in a .pdf version, as an interpolation in an old periodical called "Eagle". The OCR persistently rendered 'æ' as 're'. This time the printer seems to have preferred 'j' and 'v and 'æ', and to capitalize every line.

https://documents.joh.cam.ac.uk/public/Eagle/Eagle%20Volumes/1860s/1861/Eagle_1860_Michaelmas.pdf

Tempora quam mutantur! eram pars anseris olim:
Nunc sum penna brevis, mox resecanda minor.
De patre rostrato sine glorier ante, recidar
Quam brevior. Princeps ille cohortis erat.
Nunc longa cervice minax et sibilus ore
Currebat per humum: nunc dubitante gradu
Et capite obstipo steterat similisque putanti
Quo sol deficeret tempore quaque tenus.
Saepe anatum mediocre genus brevioraque risit
Colla suis, risit rostra canora minus.
Et quoties risit, concordes nos quoque pennae
Risimus, atque alae concrepuere pares.
"Stranguler atque coquar," stridebat gutture ovanti.
"Ni crepat horridius, quam strepit anser, anas."
Dem jecur in lances, in pulvinaria plumas,
Ansere si melius cantat anhelus olor."
Haec et plura quidem croceo dabat ore cachinnans.
Galle, cachinnanti territa terga dabas.
Flave pedes, flave ora parens, alia omnia candens.
Multicolor pavo te bicolore minus
(Hoc quoque jactabas) nivei splendoris habebat.
Nec rostro exciderat vox ea vana tuo.
Ah quem portabas ventrem et quam varicus ibas,
Altiliumque timor deliciaeque coqui!
Ab quoties tecum laetabar, sive biremis
Liventem per aquam candida vela dares;
Sive volaturum graviter te passa levaret
Ala, ministerio proficiente meo!
Ah stagni decus! Ah ranarum gurges et horror!
Ah desiderium vulpis, opime pater;
Sol medium (memini) conscenderat aethera, dumque.
Derides anatum colla minora tuis,
Efflaras : Taratalla coquus tibi guttura longa
Fregerat elidens, exscideratque jecur.
Haec, pater albe, tui memor heu non alba litura
Flens cadit in chartam. Nunc mea fata sequar.
Vellor, et aligenae velluntur rite sorores;
Mox patior morsus, culter acerbe, tuos.
Rasa cavor dorsum ; tum fissa cacuminor ima:
Est mihi lingua; loquar: sunt mihi labra; bibam.
Atramenta bibo: novus adfluit halitus: arsi
Currere sub digitis et sine voce loqui!
O ubi terrarum loquar? O ubi nuncia mentis
Audiar in Graecis stridere literulis?
Musarum domus est : piger adluit amnis; agerque
Collibus, ut flumen mobilitate, caret.
Camum Castalia Polyhymnia, Pallas Athenis
Mutavit Grantam: quo coiere pares.
Me quoque fors devexit eo: diagrammata duco;
Scribere versiculos conor : utrumque decet.
Terra, tuos sequor errores, dum volveris inter
Quae fugiunt solem flumina· quaeque petunt.
Tum lapidis jacti curvum signare tenorem
lnstruar an doceam, quis scit? Utrum que puto.
Pons sacer est, asinorum infamia : saepe per illum
Ivit inoffensus, me duce, discipulus.
Tandem, praetrepidans orbem quadrare, cucurri
Noctes atque dies irrequieta duos.
Futilis ille labor quanto stetit atramento!
Vana quot inscriptis signa voluminibus!
Me tunc, dum toties in gyrum volvor, adorta est
Vertigo capitis : dissiluere genae:
Succubui, excideramque manu, ni prensa tenerer:
Tam grave quadrando vulnus ab orbe tuli.
Non sum qualis eram : fio maculosa : fatisco:
Varica, rostrati more parentis, eo.
Arent labra siti : cessat facundia linguae:
Dirigui : careo mobilitate mea.
Lector, in hoc (maculis veniam da) carmine, nostrae
Quidquid erat reliquum garrulitatis, habes.
Haec memor in nostro sit scalpta querela sepulcro,
"Penna, levi chartis sit tibi terra levis."

• Magnesia flumina saxi.-Lucret.
"T. S. E." RUGBY, March, 1858.
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Aetos » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:33 pm

Hi Anthony,
I found the book by Evans, ed. by Waite. "Latin & Greek Verse". In the Memoirs, the Rev. Dr. Waite mentions a poem titled "An Agnostic in the Hayfield". He states that it was highly popular and had been published elsewhere, so did not include it in the book. Have you come across it anywhere? I've looked in the usual places (google, bing, archive.org, wikipaedia). If it was published in a 19th century periodical or gazette, I wouldn't know where to start. For that matter, how did you ever find the copy of the "goosequill" from an 1858 Cambridge student newspaper? I tried googling Evans and came up with the book, his biography and not much else.
Aetos
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:32 am

Aetos wrote:Hi Anthony,
... For that matter, how did you ever find the copy of the "goosequill" from an 1858 Cambridge student newspaper? I tried googling Evans and came up with the book, his biography and not much else.


Someone put the newspaper on the internet. I came across it by text-searching for a bit of text from the poem.

T.S.Evans's book is ''Latin and Greek verse'', by Thomas Saunders Evans, ed. Joseph Waite, Cambridge University Press, 1893, and online .pdf at http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/nah8775b2328575.pdf
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Aetos » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:56 am

Hi Anthony,
Thanks for the reply. I enjoy the poems you find and post. Finding all the OCR errors in the "Brook" was fun. My last foray into Latin poetry was reading Horace and Catullus back in college, quite a long while back.
Aetos
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:48 pm

In "Audiar in Graecis stridere litterulis?", "... in little Greek letters", I feel that not much weight is to be put on *little", as the non-diminutive form "litteris" contains a cretic and so can't be used in the elegaic meter.

As regards a crisis caused by a cretic, I found where a Greek elegaic poet had had to commemorate a man whose name contained a cretic, and he split the commemorated man's name "Aristo- / -geitōn" betwen the two lines of the elegaic couplet.
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Aetos » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:12 am

Anthony Appleyard wrote:Audiar in Graecis stridere literulis?

My first impression when reading it was that he was referring to the absence of capitals in Greek (except for proper names, of course). "May I be heard grating away in those little Greek letters?" As the poem is humorous, it didn't surprise me to see a diminutive; however, the fact that litteris contains a cretic would definitely force the issue. I tell you, the lengths some people will go to satisfy the requirements of metre!
I'll have to find that piece with Ἀριστο - γείτων to see how the couplet turned out. Did the poet mention he was an "excellent neighbor"?
Aetos
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:37 am

Aetos wrote:
Anthony Appleyard wrote:Audiar in Graecis stridere literulis?

... I'll have to find that piece with Ἀριστο - γείτων to see how the couplet turned out. Did the poet mention he was an "excellent neighbor"?


See http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/hesperia/146623.pdf , starting at its page 356.

Πᾶν μέτρον εἰς τελείαν περατοῦται λέξιν· ὅθεν ἐπίληπτά ἐστι τὰ τοιαῦτα Σιμωνίδου ἐκ τῶν ἐπιγραμμάτων

ἦ μέγ' ̓Αθηναίοισι ϕόως γένεθ', ἡνίκ' ̕ Αριστο-
-γείτων Ἴππαρχον κτεῖνε καὶ Ἁρμόδιος

καὶ πάλιν Νικομάχου τοῦ τὴν περὶ τῶν ζωγράφων ἐλεγείαν πεποιηκότος

οὗτος δή σοι ὁ κλεινὸς ἀν' Ἑλλάδα πᾶσαν Ἀπολλό-
-δωρος· γινώσκεις τοὔνομα τοῦτο κλύων.

ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἐγένετο διὰ τὴν τῶν ὀνομάτων ἀνάγκην - οὐ γὰρ ἐνεχώρει.
Last edited by Anthony Appleyard on Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Aetos » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:39 pm

Anthony Appleyard wrote:See http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/hesperia/146623.pdf , starting at its page 356.

Thank you, Anthony!
Aetos
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby mwh » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:02 am

A slight misapprehension here perhaps. literulis is not just for the sake of the meter. It’s used quite frequently in Cicero’s correspondence.

So it’s not really to be compared with Αριστο|γειτων in the epigram celebrating the two Athenian tyrannicides (and lovers), which was inscribed on the (part-surviving) base of their statues in the Athenian agora. The epigram’s splitting of the name—highly anomalous—was indeed the only way of accommodating Aristogeiton’s name. Long after the restoration of the democracy Athenians would still sing of Harmodius and Aristogeiton at symposia—but in skolia, not in elegiacs.

What we’re to appreciate in Evans’ quill poem, as in Ovid (evidently Evans’ chief model), is its wit, its exuberance, its facility, and the ingenuity of its conceits. The opening Tempora quam mutantur plays on the wellknown tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, often atributed to Ovid but Evans will have known better.
mwh
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2807
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Hylander » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:12 pm

Ovid could never have written as inept a hexameter as tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.
Hylander
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1393
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby mwh » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:59 pm

Maybe not, with the postponed et, though I’m not sure I’d call it inept. The point is that it was widely accepted as Ovid’s in Evans’ time. And the larger point is that Evans’ Tempora quam mutantur is an allusive variatio of Tempora mutantur.
What Ovid actually wrote, as Evans would have known, was omnia mutantur (Met.15.165), put into the mouth of Pythagoras. That same passage continues …
nec manet ut fuerat nec formam servat eandem,
sed tamen ipsa eadem est
(170f.)
—which could serve as the very definition of a metamorphosis.
The goose quill autobiography describes another metamorphosis. The bird’s feather no longer has the same form—nor the same function!—yet it’s still the same self. (And while it may be nearing the end of its mortal life, what it has written will live on, like Pythagoras’ souls, and poets’ verses.)
mwh
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2807
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Aetos » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:11 pm

mwh wrote:literulis is not just for the sake of the meter. It’s used quite frequently in Cicero’s correspondence.

It's also used by Horace in his epistle to Julius Florus, Book 2, 2:
"litterulis Graecis imbutus" on line 7. (He understands a little Greek)
He's describing the attributes of a house slave available for the low, low price of 8000 sesterces!
W. Wegehaupt in his notes states:
7. litterulis Graecis imbutus] „er versteht ein wenig Griechisch"; so wird
imbutus von oberflächlicher Kenntnis öfter gebraucht (Cic. Tuse. I, 7, 13:
„ne imbutus quidem"). Das Deminutiv litterulae wohl mehr als Ausdruck
der zudringlichen Vertraulichkeit des Sklavenhändlers, der sich dem Käufer
gleichstellt und mit Verachtung auf die Graeculi herabsieht.
7. litterulis Graecis imbutus "he understands a little Greek"; as imbutus is more often used to denote superficial knowledge (Cic. Tuse. 1,7,13:"ne imbutus quidem"). The diminutive litterulae rather more as an expression of the intrusive familiarity of the slave seller, who sees himself as equal to the buyer and looks down with contempt upon the "Graeculi".
Aetos
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Hylander » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:18 pm

My comment about tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis: I think in illis is a very flat, weak and trite way to end this line--that's why I think it doesn't feel Ovidian. Ovid would have found a punchier way to frame the thought--and in fact did.

The Wikipedia article on this line led me to this:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jacob-rees-mogg-twitter_uk_596c5c50e4b017418628a0f7?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly9lbi53aWtpcGVkaWEub3JnLw&guce_referrer_cs=Tc5mFtjaV5IYATesia6Gpg

The irony is that Mr. Rees-Mogg, in an apparent effort to demonstrate his classical education, misquoted the line, reversing nos and et and making it unmetrical.
Hylander
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1393
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby mwh » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:44 am

It's a quite understandable misquotation. I could have done the same myself.

But another sidenote to this clever Victorian composition:
Sol medium (memini) conscenderat aethera, dumque.
Derides anatum colla minora tuis,
Efflaras : Taratalla coquus tibi guttura longa
Fregerat elidens, exscideratque jecur.
(The stop after dumque should obviously be deleted.)

I had to look up this strange Taratalla, and was delighted to discover (as no doubt was Evans) that it originates in what must have been a jokey misarticulation of μιστυλλονταραταλλα (τ’ ἄρα τ’ ἄλλα) in the first book of the Iliad (465), where meat is being cut up and spitted for cooking. Evans is alluding to an epigram of Martial (1.50) that wickedly exploits the problematics of reading a text without word divisions and diacritics and upper/lower case distinction. Mistyllus and Taratalla become the cooks—nonsensically and ungrammatically, but it would spoil to fun to point that out.

A nice reminder that in antiquity it was left to the reader to articulate the text and make sense of its constituent letters.
mwh
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2807
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:57 am

mwh wrote:...
I had to look up this strange Taratalla, and was delighted to discover (as no doubt was Evans) that it originates in what must have been a jokey misarticulation of μιστυλλονταραταλλα (τ’ ἄρα τ’ ἄλλα) in the first book of the Iliad (465), where meat is being cut up and spitted for cooking. ....


What places in classical literature mention the supposed men named Taratalla or Mistyllus? Web search is confused by Taratalla as an alternative spelling of a place called Taratala in Calcutta in India, and by Mistyllus as a biological name of a sort of clover.

Loeb's edition of Homer writes this line as

μίστυλλόν τ' ἄρα τἆλλα καὶ ἀμφ' ὀβελοῖσιν ἔπειραν,

and translates it as "they cut up the rest and spitted it,".

The construction of that line looks a bit unusual: if the first τ' is for τε, it would mean "and" in "and they cut up", i.e. "and" between clauses, and I would have expected δ' there. Plus the intruded emphatic ἄρα to fill the meter, and the crasis in τἆλλα = τὰ ἄλλα, and that line would be unusually difficult for a reader to understand correctly, if he saw it only as continuous uppercase letters without spaces or accents; and so someone in classical times misread its first half as two men's names.
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby mwh » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:08 pm

Well, we’re now in the wrong forum. But I’m afraid you misconstrue the Homeric line. τ(ε) is not “and” but simply signals that a και (or a second τε) is upcoming, in other words it links the two verbs, the two halves of the line. And you should not have expected δ’. That would be ungrammatical.

Martial’s implied articulation is patently ridiculous; that’s the point of the epigram. For the epigram to be intelligible to Martial’s readers the play on the Homeric line must have been known. (Significantly it’s from Iliad 1, the only book that many people read in school.) I expect it has precedent in some Greek source making fun of scholars’ misguided ingenuity applied to the Homeric text (a well attested phenomenon). But so far as I’m aware it surfaces only here.
mwh
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2807
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Autobiography of a goose quill, by T.S.Evans

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:43 pm

For Martial's epigram, see
https://sententiaeantiquae.com/2015/08/31/mistullon-taratalla-martial-1-50/

Mistullon Taratalla: Martial 1.50

Si tibi Mistyllos cocus, Aemiliane, vocatur,
dicatur quare non Taratalla mihi?

“Aemelianus, if your cook is called Mistullos, why is mine not named Taratalla?”
User avatar
Anthony Appleyard
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 pm


Return to Latin Poetry