Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Latin after CDLXXVI
Post Reply
sli39
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:48 am

Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by sli39 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 pm

Dear all,
I am very glad to have finally joined. As a school and undergraduate student of Classics, I referred to this site for points of grammar interest. At MA level and beyond, sometimes the resolution of a query or conjecture only comes through a second or third opinion.
Both issues I present today derive from the field of Neo-Latin verse (specifically elegy). It is the first time I have studied any sustained amount of post-classical Latin, and while the poetry presents no more difficulties than the texts in whose shadow the authors are consciously writing, the lack of consensus on grammar/style points is natural for poems, some of which have only begun to receive serious academic attention in the last decade. It remains entirely possible that there is already a technical discussion of these lines, but I will come to your esteemed minds first!

1) From Johannes Secundus’ (1511-36) Basia:

[Venus] albarum nimbos circumfuditque rosarum

My professor’s strong claim, and corroborated by at least one rather old English translation, is that Venus ‘poured around showers/clouds of white roses’. I just had a slight concern that ‘circumfundo’ might require a direct object dependent on ‘circum’, not ‘fundo’ more generally. Thus, there must be something around which you pour something else. Verbs of plenty/want (e.g. ‘pleo’), moreover, can be governed by the genitive, especially in poetry. If this theory is untenable and the genitive case cannot conceivably have any instrumental force either (‘she poured around the clouds with white roses’), then the ‘circum’ prefix must be adverbial, and ‘lectio facilior melior est’.

2) From Paulus Melissus’ (1539-1602) translation of Ronsard into Latin:

Indignatus Amor telis petiisse Rosinam,
queis [telis] durae nusquam saucia corda forent
.

I think the edition in which these opening lines were printed favoured a diplomatic transmission of the manuscript. My guess is that ‘queis’ is a spelling error from ‘quis’ (‘quibus’). I won’t claim the medieval period was so regressive as to give us back fluid pronoun endings and diphthongs (and in any case, there is no masculine/feminine plural antecedent). In which case, would you agree that the second line means something like: ‘with which [arrows] the hard girl’s heart could nowhere be wounded’? The ‘futura essent’ thus looks forward to the end of the poem (where bees pour kisses on Rosina and draw honeycombs from her mouth rather than sting her) and is a generic subjunctive (‘with which sort of arrows’).

Thank you for your interest.

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1501
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by Hylander » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:00 am

1. Ascanius is understood as the person around whom she poured the clouds of white roses:

Cum Venus Ascanium super alta Cythera tulisset,
sopitum teneris imposuit violis,
albarum nimbos circumfuditque rosarum,
et totum liquido sparsit odore locum:

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/janus1.html

(apparently mislabeled as Janus Secundus)

2. queis or quis [long i] is archaic Latin for quibus, useful to poets when they can't fit quibus into the meter (as is the case here).

It's difficult to tell what forent means here without more context. I couldn't find Melissus' translations of Ronsard or the original poem of Ronsard on the internet. "Her hard heart would not/could not be expected to be wounded"? If Indignatus is the beginning of the sentence, the infinitive petiisse indicates that there must be more to it than quoted in your post.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2885
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by mwh » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:25 am

Welcome!

There’s some great neo-latin poems, but I don't think I've ever read either of these. Your queries would better be posed on the Latin board, and you might like to repost them there, but here’s an off-the-cuff response.

[Venus] albarum nimbos circumfuditque rosarum
Without knowing the context, “poured around clouds of white roses” looks right to me. Around the lovers?, around the place”?—a circum- compound doesn’t to need to say around what. Postponed–que, I presume, “and poured …”. nimbos metaphorical. White for purity, and clouds are white.

Indignatus Amor telis petiisse Rosinam,
queis [telis] durae nusquam saucia corda forent.
Your understanding seems right. queis “by which”, yes. Perhaps so spelled to show learning or (more likely?) just to indicate long i and/or to distinguish from quis with short i. Greek manuscripts often write ει for long ι, I don’t know about Latin. durae presumably gen. but conceivably dat.

Crossed with Hylander.
— If Indignatus Amor telis petiisse Rosinam means resentful at having sought Rosina … and the relative clause is a continuation of that, as it looks to be, then won’t forent be the metrically convenient equivalent of essent (impf. in historic sequence), and the construction perfectly regular? Or is the suggestion that it can be meant as fut.subj.? Again we need more context.

sli39
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:48 am

Re: Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by sli39 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:36 pm

Thanks very much to you both. That has already cleared up almost everything. I think I've learnt more than I bargained for actually!
I now see that the double accusative construction functions with circumfudit through Ascanium (sospitum) and nimbos. That makes a great deal of sense, as I felt there was something incorrect about using the verb without an implied object for circum.

As for the second poem, you are quite right that the main verb of which Amor is the subject comes (confusingly after a semi-colon in this edition) at the start of the third line:
liquerat adpensam nemoris sub fronde pharetram,
fetus in hac esset dum generatus apum
.

In the copy I am reading from (sorry, I don't know the source) the Ronsard has:
Amour estant marri qu'il avoit ses saigettes
Tiré contre Marie et ne l'avoit blessée,
Par depit (sic) dans un bois sa trousse avoit laissée
Tant que plene elle fust d'un bel essaim d'avettes
.

It is a bit strange that indignatus and petiisse (giving us the secondary sequence) suggest historical resentment when the subjunctive of the subordinate clause appears to hint at future failure, and indeed the French source makes a better case for essent. The reason I don't rule out a deliberately anacoluthic tense choice for stylistic purposes is that Melissus' tenses are variable throughout, and the temporal ambiguity would be quite an effective prolepsis for the ironic denouement, reinforcing the girl's invulnerability. We have to wait till line 8 to reach the time present, as it were, with the verbs vertit and exsiluit—the realisation of Cupid's trick—after a series of anticipatory pluperfects. For the bathetic twist, however, he switches to what I presume must be historic present: libant...legunt...eliciunt.

It is interesting that you say forent is interchangeable with essent in verse for the sake of metrical convenience. I was not familiar with this phenomenon, but I would be happy to defer to that conclusion.
Thanks also for pointing out the long vowel in queis to distinguish from quis, the interrogative pronoun.

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1501
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by Hylander » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:09 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that accusative Ascanium is understood with circumfuditque in a double accusative construction. My point is simply that it's clear from the context that Ascanius is the person over whom Venus poured or heaped the white roses. But here, circumfuditque has a single, accusative complement.

Circumfundo can take just a single accusative of the liquid or substance poured or heaped, but if the person or object over which the liquid or substance is poured or heaped is specified as a complement, he/she/it is in the dative case, as is usual with transitive compound verbs with a prepositional prefix, which typically have an accusative and a dative complement.

See Lewis and Short, circumfundo:

http://perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/phi ... isandshort

Regarding queis, see sec. 105, note 2, from Gildersleeve & Lodge's Latin Grammar, p. 59:

https://archive.org/stream/gildersleeve ... 8/mode/2up

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2885
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Introduction and Neo-Latin queries

Post by mwh » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:11 pm

It is interesting that you say forent is interchangeable with essent in verse for the sake of metrical convenience. I was not familiar with this phenomenon
Cf. e.g. Ovid Heroides 7.92, Dido to Aeneas, again at end of pentameter:
His tamen officiis utinam contenta fuissem,
Et mihi concubitus fama sepulta foret.

(Sim.e.g. 4.126, In medio nisu viscera rupta forent.)

Of course it should be future, morphologically speaking (cf. inf. fore, always future I think), but in verse (unlike in Tacitus?) it's not usually used as such.

Post Reply