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微豆 Haricot: 有其父必有其女

六月 21, 2010

生命之戰役 / Morituri Salutamus

The third Sunday of June is Father’s Day in Canada and many other countries. My father passed away several years ago. But still, I would like to post the poem Morituri Salutamus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his memory. I like especially the last lines:

And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Thank you for raising me, father.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College (by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

“O Cæsar, we who are about to die
Salute you!" was the gladiators’ cry
In the arena, standing face to face
With death and with the Roman populace.

O ye familiar scenes,—ye groves of pine,
That once were mine and are no longer mine,—
Thou river, widening through the meadows green
To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen,—
Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose

How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
Aladdin’s Lamp, and Fortunatus’ Purse,
That holds the treasures of the universe!
All possibilities are in its hands,
No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands;
In its sublime audacity of faith,
“Be thou removed!" it to the mountain saith,
And with ambitious feet, secure and proud,
Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud!

And now, my classmates; ye remaining few
That number not the half of those we knew,
Ye, against whose familiar names not yet
The fatal asterisk of death is set,
Ye I salute! The horologe of Time
Strikes the half-century with a solemn chime,
And summons us together once again,
The joy of meeting not unmixed with pain.

Ah me! the fifty years since last we met
Seem to me fifty folios bound and set
By Time, the great transcriber, on his shelves,
Wherein are written the histories of ourselves.
What tragedies, what comedies, are there;
What joy and grief, what rapture and despair!
What chronicles of triumph and defeat,
Of struggle, and temptation, and retreat!
What records of regrets, and doubts, and fears!
What pages blotted, blistered by our tears!
What lovely landscapes on the margin shine,
What sweet, angelic faces, what divine
And holy images of love and trust,
Undimmed by age, unsoiled by damp or dust!
Whose hand shall dare to open and explore
These volumes, closed and clasped forevermore?
Not mine. With reverential feet I pass;
I hear a voice that cries, “Alas! alas!
Whatever hath been written shall remain,
Nor be erased nor written o’er again;
The unwritten only still belongs to thee:
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be."

What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day?
The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
Cut off from labor by the failing light;
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode,
Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode
Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn,
But other something, would we but begin;
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Reference:
Wikipedia: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“… Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) … was born in Portland, Maine … After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. … Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing … His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. …"

Photo credit:
Wikipedia Ave Imperator morituri tesalutant

“Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant" (“Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you") is a well-known Latin phrase quoted in Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum (“The Life of the Caesars", or “The Twelve Caesars").It was used during an event in AD 52 on Lake Fucinus by naumachiarii–captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters–in the presence of the emperor Claudius. Suetonius reports that Claudius replied “Aut non" (“or not").

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