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The New Orpheus

Francois J. T. Desbillons (1711-1789)

De nocte quidam subditus Amoris iugo       De=during; subditus=subdued; iugo from iugum=yoke

Hispanus aegra lacrimabundus lyra

duras puellae suppicabat ad fores.           puellae (dative off supplicabat); fores=door

At illa blandum miseri amotoris melos        blandum melos=flattering song

saxis repente depluentibus obruit;            depluentibus = raining down; obruit = hushed

saltem obruisse credidit; sed musicus         saltem = at least; musicus = the (Spanish) musician

pulsa canit adhuc obstinatius lyra;            obstinatius (from obstinatius, a, um)

retroque cedens gradibus ad numeros graves    numeros = (musical) measures

bene temperatis; "Orpheus ego pol novus,"     pol = (an exclamation) by Pollux!

dixit, "canoris saxa qui traham sonis."         canoris = melodious; traham (from trahere) to control

  1. Line one suggests that someone​
    1. is in love
    2. succeeds in avoiding love
    3. steals someone's love
    4. laughs at love
  2. The god Amor (Amoris in line 1) is also known as​
    1. Aesculapius
    2. Faunus
    3. Morpheus
    4. Cupid
  3. In line 2, Hispanus aegra lacrimabundus lyra is an effective use of synchysis, which is defined as
    1. agreement of sound and sense
    2. extreme understatement
    3. interlocked word order
    4. an explicit comparison
  4. The subject of supplicabat (line 3) is
    1. Hispanus
    2. Amoris
    3. lyra
    4. puellae
  5. What does lacrimabundus (line 2) mean?
    1. daring
    2. sarcastic
    3. angry
    4. tearful
  6. In line 3, duras may be read as a transferred epithet, in that it agrees grammatically with fores but could more rightly describe
    1. the lover's song
    2. the girl
    3. the musician
    4. the lyre
  7. Lines 4-5 indicate that the girl's reaction to the young man's entreaty was
    1. somewhat indifferent
    2. impossible to perceive
    3. obviously negative
    4. very encouraging
  8. The understood subject of credidit (line 6) is
    1. the Spaniard
    2. the Spaniard's song
    3. the lyre
    4. the girl
  9. The best translation of obstinatius (line 7) is
    1. persistent
    2. persistently
    3. more persistently
    4. most persistently
  10. The best translation of cedens (line 8) is
    1. must step
    2. stepped
    3. to step
    4. stepping
  11. Lines 8-9 (gradibus...temperatis) suggest that the poet's manner
    1. matched his music
    2. was more aggressive than his music
    3. was difficult to perceive
    4. was very cheerful
  12. In the Latin phrase, "Orpheus ego pol novus," (line 9) the verb sum should be supplied; this omission of a word understood in context is called
    1. ellipsis
    2. antithesis
    3. hendiadys
    4. polysyndeton
  13. According to lines 9-10, why does the Spaniard consider himself a "New Orpheus,"?
    1. He lost his girlfriend in death.
    2. His music makes girls weep.
    3. His music can control inanimate objects
    4. His music can overcome death
Using your knowledge of Latin literature and classical mythology, answer the following questions:
  1. The meter of this poem, iambic trimeter, was often used in works written for the stage and therefore would have been used by
    1. Catullus
    2. Plautus
    3. Caesar
    4. Pliny
  2. The gifted musician Orpheus is often considered the son of
    1. Zeus
    2. Artemis
    3. Demeter
    4. Apollo
  3. Besides playing the lyre, the would-be lover in the poem has something in common with Orpheus in that they both
    1. preferred to play their music at night
    2. failed in an attempt to gain the woman they loved
    3. sought the love of many girls
    4. sought the love of a girl too beautiful to win

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