Sunday, November 08, 2009

Further reflections on a Classical education

Whereas most young boys dream of being train drivers (I did too, when I was very young; but the enchantment faded when I realised I'd missed the Age of Steam) or astronauts or footballers, for a while back in my early teens I had a pretty serious fixation on the idea of becoming a Classical scholar.  I think it was probably this poem that saved me from self-incarceration in an Ivory Tower.  Thank you, Mr Yeats.
[By the by, there's a 'Poetry Sunday' offering over on The Barstool today as well.]
The Scholars
Bald heads, forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love's despair
To flatter Beauty's ignorant ear.
All shuffle there, all cough in ink;
All wear the carpet with their shoes;
All think what other people think;
All know the man their neighbour knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?
W.B. Yeats  (1865-1939)


JES said...

Now you're attracting spammers interested in the classics. Excelsior!

There was a time when I might have swung Classics-ward myself. I had a weird affinity for Latin, through high school and into college. As a freshman there, I took an advanced-placement exam which situated me in a junior-level course (led by a professor with the wonderful surname Andronica).

Alas, I transferred to a different school the next year; no Latin courses, nor even a Classics program in general.

My siblings tease me still about my youthful Latin nerdishness. At least I never wore a toga.

Froog said...

The spam is becoming annoying. I don't think it's the Classical allusions that are attracting them.

I may have to consider adding one of those word-verification widgets - although I do find them a bit of an irritation too; and, as we know, they don't always work anyway.

stuart said...

Not sure why, but reading that I was reminded a little of Thomas' 'Do not go gentle into that goodnight':

"Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay"