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Latin Poems

Our Latin competition operates under a slightly different set of rules: participants will recite one poem that need not be memorized. Proper pronunciation will be our primary focus. Latin students will be evaluated as follows: Pronunciation (50%) and Stage Presence / Delivery (50%).

Students must recite their chosen passages according to the rules of proper pronunciation — proper Latin pronunciation. The judge/instructor will pay particular attention to these rules:

Table of how to pronounce consonants, vowels and diphthongs in Latin poems.

.DOWNLOAD ALL 2018 LATIN POEMS

Year One Options: Latin 1

Option 1

(Part A): Martial’s Epigrams V.81
How things have changed in 2000 years!

semper pauper eris, sī pauper es, Aemiliāne:
dantur opēs nūllīs nunc nisi dīvitibus.

You will always be poor, if you are poor, Aemilianus:
nowadays wealth is given to none but the rich.

(Part B): Martial’s Epigrams XII.47
A lover ponders love’s double-edge.

difficilis facilis, iūcundus acerbus es īdem:
nec tēcum possum vīvere, nec sine tē.

Difficult and easy, pleasant and sour, you are the same:
I can live neither with you nor without you.

Option 2

Ovid’s Metamorphoses VIII.707-710
Baucis and Philemon ask a favor from Jupiter.

“esse sacerdōtēs dēlūbraque vestra tuērī
poscimus, et quoniam concordēs ēgimus annōs,
auferat hōra duōs eadem, nec coniugis umquam
busta meae videam, neu sim tumulandus ab illā.” 710


“To be your priests and to watch over your shrines
we request, and since we have spent our years united/harmonious(ly),
may the same hour take (us) both away, and may I never see
my wife’s tomb, nor should I be entombed by her.”

Option 3

Vergil’s Aeneid IV.1-5
Dido’s agony worsens.

at rēgīna gravī iamdūdum saucia cūrā
vulnus alit vēnīs et caecō carpitur ignī.
multa virī virtūs animō multusque recursat
gentis honōs; haerent īnfixī pectore vultūs
verbaque nec placidam membrīs dat cūra quiētem. 5


But the queen, injured now for a long time with a serious grief,
nurses her wound in her veins and is consumed with a hidden fire.
In her mind return the man’s plentiful courage and his family’s
abundant distinction; planted in her heart linger his looks
and words, and her grief gives her limbs no peaceful rest.

Year Two Options: Latin 2

Option 1

Ovid’s Metamorphoses X.1-7
Hymen comes to Orpheus’s wedding.

inde per inmēnsum croceō vēlātus amictū
aethera dīgreditur Ciconumque Hymenaeus ad ōrās
tendit et Orphēā nēquīquam vōce vocātur.
adfuit ille quidem, sed nec sollemnia verba
nec laetōs vultūs nec fēlīx attulit ōmen. 5
fax quoque, quam tenuit, lacrimōsō strīdula fūmō
ūsque fuit nūllōsque invēnit mōtibus ignēs.


From there through the boundless air, clad in a saffron mantle,
departs Hymen and to the shores of the Cicones
he stretches and is summoned by the voice of Orpheus — (but) in vain.
In fact, he was present, but neither hallowed words
nor happy faces nor a lucky omen did he bring.
The torch, too, which he held, with tearful smoke was sputtering
constantly and found no fires with movements (i.e., brandishing).

Option 2

Martial’s Epigrams I.109 (1-7)
The poet praises Publius’s pooch.

Issa est passere nēquior Catullī,
Issa est pūrior ōsculō columbae,
Issa est blandior omnibus puellīs,
Issa est cārior Indicīs lapillīs,
Issa est dēliciae catella Pūblī. 5
hanc tū, sī queritur, loquī putābis;
sentit trīstitiamque gaudiumque.



Issa is worse than Catullus’s sparrow,
Issa is purer than a dove’s kiss,
Issa is more charming than all the girls,
Issa is more precious than Indian gems,
Issa is a puppy, Publius’s favorite.
If she whines, you will think that she is talking;
she feels both sadness and joy.

Option 3

Catullus’s Carmen XLIX
The poet praises Cicero. Sort of.

dīsertissime Romulī nepōtum,
quot sunt quotque fuēre, Marce Tullī,
quotque post aliīs erunt in annīs.
grātiās tibi maximās Catullus
āgit pessimus omnium poēta —
tantō pessimus omnium poēta
quantō tū optimus omnium patrōnus.


Most eloquent of Romulus’s descendents —as many there are, and as many there have been, Marcus Tullius,And as many there will be in years later on.Catullus gives you the greatest thanks,(Catullus) the worst poet of all —As much the worst poet of allAs you [are] the best advocate of all.

Year Three Options: Latin 3

Option 1

Ovid Metamorphoses VIII.200-208
Daedalus instructs Icarus: take the middle path.

... postquam manus ultima coeptō 200
imposita est, geminās opifex lībravit in ālās
ipse suum corpus mōtāque pependit in aurā;
īnstruit et nātum “mediō” que “ut līmite currās,
Īcare,” ait “moneō, nē, sī dēmissior ībis,
unda gravet pennās, sī celsior, ignis adūrat: 205
inter utrumque volā. nec tē spectāre Boōtēn
aut Helicēn iubeō strīctumque ōriōnis ēnsem:
mē duce carpe viam!” ....

*Note on pronunciation: Boh-owe-tayn, Hell-ih-cayn

After the final touch was put on the project, the artisan himself balanced his own body in the twin wings and hung in the moving (moved) air; and he also instructed his son: ‘Icarus,’ he said, ‘I warn you to fly (run) by the middle range, so that the wave won’t drag you down if you go too low (lower), and so that, if you go too high, the fire won’t burn you. Fly between both. I order you not to watch Bootes or Helice and Orion’s drawn sword: with me as your leader, follow the path!’

Option 2

Ovid Amores I.1
The poet tried to write a serious poem, but love got in the way.

arma gravī numerō violentaque bella parābam
ēdere, māteriā conveniente modīs.
pār erat īnferior versus--rīsisse Cupīdō
dīcitur atque ūnum surripuisse pedem.
“quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iūris?
Pīeridum vātēs, nōn tua, turba sumus!
quid, sī praeripiat flāvae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accēnsās flāva Minerva facēs?”

NB: In Roman poetry, epic (heroic-style) poems have lines of equal length; love-poems have one line longer and one line shorter.

I was preparing to produce [to write about] weapons and violent wars in serious style, with material fitting for these rhythms. [But] my second verse turned out shorter--they say that Cupid laughed and snatched away one foot. “Cruel boy,” [the poet asks,] “who gave you this authority over [my] songs? I am a prophet of the Muses; I’m not one of your crowd. What if Venus snatched the weapons of blonde Minerva? Would blonde Minerva fan the burning torches of love?”

Option 3

Ovid’s Metamorphoses I.89-96
The poet recalls the Golden Age.

aurea prīma sata est aetās, quae vindice nūllō,
sponte suā, sine lēge fidem rēctumque colēbat. 90
poena metusque aberant, nec verba minantia fīxō
aere legēbantur, nec supplex turba timēbat
iūdicis ōra suī, sed erant sine vindice tūtī.
nōndum caesa suīs, peregrīnum ut vīseret orbem,
montibus in liquidās pinus dēscenderat undās, 95
nūllaque mortālēs praeter sua lītora nōrant;


First planted was the golden age, which — with no avenger —
used to practice faithfulness and virtue freely without the law.
Punishment and fear were missing, neither were threatening words
read in posted/immovable bronze, nor did the crowd — humble — fear
the “words” of its own judge, but they were safe without a protector.
Not yet had the pine, cut down to view a foreign world,
descended from its own mountains into the flowing waves,
nor had mortal men come to know anything beyond their shores;

Year Four-Five Options: Latin 4-5+

Option 1

Vergil’s Aeneid I.81-91
Aeolus releases the winds.

haec ubi dicta, cavum conversā cuspide montem
impulit in latus: ac ventī, velut agmine factō,
quā data porta, ruunt et terrās turbine perflant.
incubuēre marī, tōtumque ā sēdibus īmīs
ūnā Eurusque Notusque ruunt crēberque procellīs 85
¨¨¨Africus, et vastōs volvunt ad lītora flūctūs.
īnsequitur clāmorque virum strīdorque rudentum.
eripiunt subitō nūbēs caelumque diemque
Teucrōrum ex oculīs; pontō nox incubat ātra.
intonuēre polī, et crēbrīs micat ignibus aethēr, 90
praesentemque virīs intentant omnia mortem.


When these things were said, with his spear turned he struck the hollow mountain
against its side: and the winds, just as in a formed battle-column,
rush by whatever gate is given and in a whirlwind blow through the lands.
They fell upon the sea, and from the bottom of its foundations
both the Eurus and Notus and Africus, crowded with gales,
together churn it all up, and they roll massive waves toward the shores.
Both the shouting of men and the creaking of cables follow.
Suddenly the clouds steal away both the sky and its daylight
from the Teucrians’ eyes; dark night lies upon the sea.
The heavens thunder, and the air flashes with repeated lightning bolts,
and for the men all things threaten imminent death.

Option 2

Ovid’s Fasti IV.809-818
Augury settles a land dispute.

iam luerat poenās frāter Numitōris, et omne
pastōrum geminō sub duce vulgus erat; 810
contrahere agrestēs et moenia pōnere utrīque
convenit: ambigitur moenia pōnat uter.
“nil opus est” dixit “certāmine” Rōmulus “ūllō;
magna fidēs avium est: experiāmur avēs.”
rēs placet: alter init nemorōsī saxa Palātī; 815
alter Aventīnum māne cacūmen init.
sex Remus, hic volucrēs bis sex videt ordine; pāctō
stātur, et arbitrium Rōmulus urbis habet.

Numitor’s brother had already suffered his punishments, and the whole
crowd of shepherds was under the twin brother[s];
For each to assemble the peasants/rustics and set up the walls
it is agreed: it is contested which [of them] shall set up the walls.
“There is no need,” said Romulus, “for any quarrel;
great is the trustworthiness of birds: let us put the birds to the test.”
The situation is pleasing: one goes onto the wooded Palatine’s crags;
the other goes onto the summit of the Aventine — in the morning.
Remus sees six birds, [but] this one sees two-times six in a row; by their agreement
they stand, and Romulus has the mastery of the city.

Option 3

Vergil’s Aeneid II.1-12a
Aeneas begins the story of Troy’s fall.

conticuēre omnēs intentīque ōra tenēbant
inde torō pater Aenēās sīc orsus ab altō:
“infandum, rēgīna, iubēs renovāre dolōrem,
Trōiānās ut opēs et lāmentābile rēgnum
ēruerint Danaī, quaeque ipse miserrima vīdī 5
et quōrum pars magna fuī. quis tālia fandō
Myrmidonum Dolopumve aut dūrī mīles Ulixī
temperet ā lacrimīs? et iam nox ūmida caelō
praecipitat suādentque cadentia sīdera somnōs.
sed sī tantus amor cāsūs cognōscere nostrōs 10
et breviter Troiae suprēmum audīre labōrem,
quamquam animus meminisse horret lūctūque refugit,
incipiam.”


They all fell silent and were intently holding their faces;
then Father Aeneas, after rising from his lofty couch, [spoke] in this way:
“Unspeakable grief, queen, you bid [me] to renew,
how Trojan wealth and its pitiable realm,
the Danaans destroyed, and which most wretched [things] I myself saw
and of which I was a large part. In speaking such things, which soldier
of the Myrmidons or Dolopes or of hard/cruel Ulysses
might refrain from tears? Even now damp night from the sky
falls and its setting stars advise sleep.
But if there is so great a desire to learn of our misfortunes
and to hear briefly of Troy’s final struggle,
though my mind shudders to remember and shrinks back from sorrow,
I shall begin.”