Thursday, May 21, 2015

Latin and Italian

We know that the Romance languages (French, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish) are direct descendants of Latin.  How many times have I told my students:  "If you learn Latin first, you'll be able to acquire any modern language you need quickly and efficiently, particularly if you want to learn a Romance language."

Well, I found the following poem (and link) which illustrates the point better than my words can:

From the New Englander and Yale Review, January 1843: “The great etymological affinity between Italian and Latin, is illustrated by the following lines addressed to Venice, by a citizen of that republic before its fall, which read equally in both languages”:

Te saluto, alma Dea, Dea generosa,
O gloria nostra, O Veneta Regina!
In procelloso turbine funesto
Tu regnasti secura; mille membra
Intrepida prostrasti in pugna acerba.
Per te miser non fui, per te non gemo;
Vivo in pace per te. Regna, O beata,
Regna in prospera sorte, in alta pompa,
In augusto splendore, in aurea sede.
Tu serena, tu placida, tu pia,
Tu benigna; tu salva, ama, conserva.

Here is poem which can be read equally well by those who know Latin, Italian, and Portuguese:

A reader of Notes and Queries, August 1868, presents these lines as “being at the same time Latin, Italian, and Portuguese”:

In mare irato, in subita procella,
Invoco te, nostra benigna Stella.
Vivo in acerba poena, in maesto horrore,
Quando te non imploro, in te non spero,
Purissima Maria, et in sincero
Te non adoro, et in divino ardore.
Et, O vita beata, et anni et horae
Quando, contra me armato odio severo
Te, Maria, amo, et in gaudio vero
Vivere spero ardendo in vivo amore.
Non amo te, regina augusta, quando
Non vivo in pace et in silentio fido;
Non amo te, quando non vivo amando.
In te sola, Maria, in te confido,
In tua materna cura respirando,
Quasi columba in suo beato nido.

These two poems were posted at

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