Cur potius lacrimae tibi mi Philomela placebant?

By Peregrinans, in 'Latin to English Translation', May 4, 2013.

  1. Peregrinans New Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    This is an epigraph from an obscure book cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, "Meanderings of Memory" by an author with the pen name of Nightlark. May be related to Philomela who in mythology was transformed by the gods into a nightingale.
  2. malleolus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    One way of translating this phrase (without any further information)
    Why did tears please you more, my Philomela?
    Peregrinans and Adrian like this.
  3. Manus Correctrix QVAE CORRIGIT

    • Civis Illustris
    The mi is confusing because it is masculine.
    Peregrinans and Adrian like this.
  4. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I must admit I also found it a bit confusing (I expected standard vocative feminine form of "mea Philomela")

    I also found a latin anagramm in Walter Begley, Biblia Anagrammatica, p. 111
    Peregrinans and malleolus like this.
  5. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    I can tell you that the Latin epigraph is a complete hexameter. Where the oxymoronically named Nightlark got it from I can't say. He may have written it himself. Do any of the other OED citations from Meanderings of Memory have Latin epigraphs with them? And what word was the present citation illustrating? Meanderings? Connoisseur?
    Last edited by Aurifex, May 4, 2013
  6. Peregrinans New Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
  7. fulwild New Member

    I believe "Nightlark" was/is? an english term for a gay man. Perhaps one who sings sweetly only at night. This would explain the gender confusion.
    Pacis puella and Aurifex like this.
  8. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Now you mention it there is the English phrase "gay as a lark."
    The lark is synonymous with morning and early rising. On the other hand, there is a bird that is well known for singing at night: the nightingale, a Latin poetic name for which was philomela.
  9. Marauder New Member

    Maybe the book is about this myth? The person Philomela is transformed into a nightingale. The male use of the mi my be related to the fact that only male nightingales sing.

    From a classical poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at once,
    Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
    While his fair eyes, that swam with undropped tears,'
    Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well!—
    It is a father’s tale: But if that Heaven
    Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
    Familiar with these songs, that with the night
    He may associate joy
  10. thesunneversets New Member

    Can I just say that "mi" isn't masculine - it's a (metrically useful, in this case) form of "mihi" which just means "to or for me". It suggests nothing about the gender either of the "me" or the nightingale!
  11. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    mi can be masculine or feminine vocative. It's difficult to know what sense to make of the line if you want it to mean mihi.
    thesunneversets likes this.
  12. thesunneversets New Member

    Oh yes, I may have blundered in there rather (it's been a while since Latin and I hung out). I was thinking of the possessive dative, but now you mention it a vocative would seem much less weird...

    Anyway, the main thing, it's not restricted to masculine use: q.v., which cites "mi soror", "mi domina", "mi catella", "mi virgo" from doubtless impeccable sources.

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