Auris Vermis

So, there I was, sorting images to use for a lesson about the Roman Empire. And Kipling attacked.

Marching Song of a Roman Legion of the Later Empire

Enlarged From "Puck of Pook's Hill"

When I left Rome for Lalage's sake, By the Legions' Road to Rimini, She vowed her heart was mine to take With me and my shield to Rimini-- (Till the Eagles flew from Rimini--) And I've tramped Britain, and I've tramped Gaul And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall As white as the neck of Lalage-- (As cold as the heart of Lalage!) And I've lost Britain, and I've lost Gaul, And I've lost Rome and, worst of all, I've lost Lalage! - When you go by the Via Aurelia As thousands have traveled before Remember the Luck of the Soldier Who never saw Rome any more! Oh, dear was the sweetheart that kissed him, And dear was the mother that bore; But his shield was picked up in the heather, And he never saw Rome any more! And he left Rome, etc. When you go by the Via Aurelia That runs from the City to Gaul, Remember the Luck of the Soldier Who rose to be master of all! He carried the sword and the buckler, He mounted his guard on the Wall, Till the Legions elected him Caesar, And he rose to be master of all! And he left Rome, etc. It's twenty-five marches to Narbo, It's forty-five more up the Rhone, And the end may be death in the heather Or life on an Emperor's throne. But whether the Eagles obey us, Or we go to the Ravens--alone, I'd sooner be Lalage's lover Than sit on an Emperor's throne! We've all left Rome for Lalage's sake, etc.

You see, I’ve hiked a lot of the Limes, the Roman frontier line in Germany, Austria, and a chunk of Hungary. I almost managed a detour to catch the bit in Slovakia, but the others balked at the distance off our intended path. And I’ve hummed a certain tune to Kipling’s words over a lot of those stadia et miles.

Auris vermis can translate either “worm of the ear” or “ear of the worm.” Ah, the joys of Third Declension, where context truly is everything.

Latin: a language that always is declining.

8 thoughts on “Auris Vermis

  1. And, you included the Fish song! Excellent!
    Then there’s the Frank Hayes parody, “Spring Break” – different era and protagonist. but vaguely similar saga. Vaguely.

  2. Kipling always works.

    Show the march distances, and play some background music. Pass on the earworm.

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