Saturday, August 4, 2012

Carmen Possum

A college friend recently sent me a link to the Wikipedia page on macaronic language. This, I was delighted to find, had a link to the page on Carmen Possum, which I had heard quoted in high school, but never, that I recall, seen in full. The rhyme begins
THE NOX was lit by lux of Luna,
And 'twas a nox most opportuna
To catch a possum or a coona;
For nix was scattered o'er this mundus,
A shallow nix, et non profundus.
and ends
Cruel possum! bestia vilest,
How the pueros thou beguilest!
Pueri think non plus of Caesar,
Go ad Orcum, Shalmanezer,
Take your laurels, cum the honor,
Since ista possum is a goner!


  1. What an amazing little poem! I'm glad to have found this site and am excited to start following it. I found it by noticing our paths crossed on two comments we each made to the Pentz-Kurp show. I loved your invoking of Stickney to Mr. Pentz, and appreciate your humoring of my foul humor to Mr. Kurp. I look forward to reading more from you!


    1. I forgot to say over at Anecdotal Evidence: Kenner's essay, "Classics by the Pound" is collected in the volume Mazes

  2. Why, thank you. I find Patrick Kurp's postings interesting, though clearly I have, or rather make, less time for reading than he does. I don't always look at Pentz's, but early in college I read a great deal of Jarrell, and the posting "90 North" caught my eye.