Omnium gatherum macaronicorum

"Macaronics"—John Cowan

John posts on one of my favorite subjects (BTW, if you're not reading John's blog, you're in deep slumber), Macaronics. The first one he posted is probably the most oft cited example of Engligh/Latin Macaronic verse, and with good reason. It's a wicked funny rhyme by the James Appleton Morgan my the favorite Macaronic piece, (it's ): by Morgan

Prope ripam fluvii solus
A senex silently sat;
Super capitum ecce his wig,
Et wig super, ecce his hat.

Another one I really like is Skelton's wry elegy:

Sepultus est among the weeds,
God forgive him his misdeeds,
With hey ho, rumbelo,
Per omnia saecula,
Saecula saeculorum.

Beyond English/Latin there is no end of brilliant stuff in macaronics of all sorts of languages, for example Charles Leland:

In cœlis wo die götter live, non semper est sereno,
Nor de wein ash goot ash decet in each spaccio di vino.

Lessee... Latin to German to English to Latin to Italian to English to German to Latin to English to Italian. Followed all that?

Afficionados (no pun intended) of Pepys's diary will remark his macaronic use of French and Spanish in a vain attempt to dignify some of his more salacious passages.

Macaronics are named after Maccheronea, an Italian renaissance work with passages of Italian/Latin macaronics.

And lest anyone wag their heads saying "people just aren't that clever any more" (for some value of "any more": Leland is of the 19th/20th century, Morgan of the 19th), some of the most clever macaronic language comes from modern singers reaching across cultures. Take the Renaud song from the early 80s:

When I have rencontred you
You was a jeune fille au pair
And I put a spell on you,
And you roule a pelle to me.

Together we go partout
On my mob il was super
It was friday on my mind,
It was story d'amour.

It is not because you are,
I love you because I do
C'est pas parc' que you are me,
qu'I am you, qu'I am you

You was really beautiful
In the middle of the foule.
Don't let me misunderstood
Don't let me sinon I boude.

My loving, my marshmallow,
You are belle and I are beau.
You give me all what You have
I say thank you, you are bien brave.

This is really French borrowing English for its macaronics, but regardless, gotta love "My loving, my marshmallow, you are belle and I are beau." Put that in rivum and bibe, senex.

I've written a bit of Macaronic verse myself. It's a fun exercise. More fun than regular composition, that's for sure.

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia
3 responses
See also my earlier posting in macaronic prose.
Here's another verselet, not technically a macaronic but interesting anyhow:

O Sybilli, si ergo

fortibus es in ero.

O nobile, deis trux --

vadis indem? Pyx in dux.
And here's yet another, more serious, macaronic:

Eheu fugaces

Anni labuntur

Postume, Postume,

The years slip away

And are lost to me, lost to me!

BTW, not only do you actually have an identity on Blogger/Blogspot, I can't comment here without putting in my name, email, and URL every time.  And yet here I am doing it.  So there.