Saturday, May 14, 2011

lacrimae rerum



lacrimae rerum [ˈlækrɪmaɪ rɛərəm] n.

1.) With reference to Virgil, Aeneid i. 462: the sadness of life; tears shed for the sorrows of men (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: Latin, literally tears (for the nature) of things.

"Constitit, et lacrimans, 'Quis iam locus' inquit 'Achate,
quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?
En Priamus! Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi;
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem'"
(Aeneis, Publius Vergilius Maro, 19 BCE).

"Aeneas came to a halt and wept, and 'Oh, Achates,'
he cried, 'is there anywhere, any place on earth
not filled with our ordeals? There's Priam, look!
Even here, merit will have its true reward…
even here, the world is a world of tears
and the burdens of morality touch the heart.
Dismiss your fears. Trust me, this fame of ours
will offer us some haven'" (The Aeneid, Robert Fagles (trans.), 2006).

Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus and Octavia, Jean-Joseph Taillasson, 1787
_______________________________________________

I know this doesn't obey my rule of giving a quotation in English by a famous author. But I thought it would be cool to look at the actual origin of the phrase. (I could have given one, by the way: Thomas Carlyle, Aldous Huxley, and W. H. Auden are all quoted in the OED's entry.)

20 comments:

Sick by Trend said...

haha why you said that?? --damn, you spaniards really put us americans to shame in the looks department.--

hugs!

www.sickbytrend.com

DEZMOND said...

I learned Latin in school and I know Spanish too, so lacrimae is a known word to me, and I quite like the sound of it, it's quite melodic and suggestive.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Makes me think of Kwan Yin, She who cries for the world and whose tears form the Balm of Compassion.

Melanie said...

now i learned my thing for the day!

Astronomy Pirate said...

Rerum? Yeah, I'll take some more rum... oh wait... that's not what that means. That's actually pretty somber.

allabout said...

I will learn from current practice.

thenitefalls said...

I hope there's a situation when I can use this word :D

Lydia K said...

I liked that you showed the origins. Cool

JayJay said...

When I first read this I thought it said redrum and I had a strange S. King moment.

What a sadly beautiful phrase though. Thanks.

Jennifer Fabulous said...

This word seems really familiar to me...I'm going to be thinking about it all day now!

Dave said...

Outstanding. Now I know.

Colin Biano said...

i won't even lie, this post confused me a little :x

Nom de Plume said...

Ah this makes sense.... the lacrimal glands are what produce our tears!

Meri said...

I know only academics speak it now, but I can't help thinking learning Latin would be so interesting!

Mercurio said...

that is kind of complicated, I'll give it a second read

daniel said...

Good stuff.

Frosty said...

interesting post

Intraman said...

i find the literal translation (tears for the nature of things) really poetic

Speedy Ed said...

great to know

Lesha said...

It's like My whole life is lacrimae rerum.. Oh well, at least sounds fancy :D

Post a Comment