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‘Fac ut Gaudeam’

April 27, 2011

Whatever else is wrong with Latin,
For dirty talk it’s hard to touch:
It’s tailor-made for Doing That in –
Pompeii’s graffiti says as much;
Catullus, too: he pedicab[it]
vos (that’s you) et irrumab[it].
(Quote any Latinist this part,
They’ll know the dirty words by heart:
Thank hours spent in conjugation,
With visions of a future tense
Construing cum in every sense.)
The Latin tongue takes concentration;
But work at it, and soon you’ll find
That sex should never be declined.

*

Showcasing three of my favourite hobbies in one: Latin, innuendoes, and puns. And poetry. Which makes four, I suppose. (Our two chief weapons are surprise, fear, and ruthless efficiency …)

None of this is the slightest bit original. Anglophone students of Latin have been giggling over “conjugate” and cum and sex for decades if not centuries, and it is in my experience true that everyone who’s ever studied Latin has at least a few fond memories of Catullus 16. I just set it to rhythm, really.

It’s also relatively technically accurate, because I am a nerd. The verbs of the Catullus quote have been emended to be grammatically correct given the subject of the sentence they’re in (they’re first-person in the poem, altered to third here); cum, a sort of all-purpose adverb, has more senses than you can shake a stick at (heh) and sex is a number, and like most Latin numbers indeclinable.

Fac ut gaudeam, as well as being moderately hilarious in English (the A of fac is long) is giggle-worthy in Latin too. I ran across it in Latin for All Occasions or its sequel, in the “Famous Movie Lines” section, where this was offered as the translation of “Make my day.” As there’s no equivalent idiom in Latin, it comes out literally to “Do it so that I may be happy.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 1:38 am

    4 hobbies in one, what fun!

    you rock!

    keep it up.

    A++

Trackbacks

  1. ‘Coda’ « This Wicked Day

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