Lesson in Latin by Lewis Carroll (May 1888)
Our Latin books, in motley row,
Invite us to our task --
Gay Horace, stately Cicero:
Yet there's one verb, when once we know,
No higher skill we ask:
This ranks all other lore above --
We've learned "'Amare' means 'to love'!" -
So, hour by hour, from flower to flower,
We sip the sweets of Life:
Till, all too soon, the clouds arise,
And flaming cheeks and flashing eyes
Proclaim the dawn of strife:
With half a smile and half a sigh,
"Amare! Bitter One!" we cry.
Last night we owned, with looks forlorn,
"Too well the scholar knows
There is no rose without a thorn" --
But peace is made! We sing, this morn,
"No thorn without a rose!"
Our Latin lesson is complete:
We've learned that Love is Bitter-Sweet!
Now we will count to twelve
And we will all keep still.
from "Keeping Quiet" -- in Extravagaria by Pablo Neruda, trans. Alastair Reid