Lacremae Rerum


From one language to the other the most confusing subject to learn is prepositions: there are no correspondences between them. Is this why a quantity of ink was spilled over translating Virgil’s “tears for things?” I guess preposition could be at the heart of the problem. Although choosing between for and of seems like a strange issue: things do not really cry.

Nevertheless, there is an order of things, like Hallmark cards, that has a potential for touching various sentimental cords in our bosom, and therefore should merit an appelation of tearful, or capable of invoking sad thoughts. Undoubtedly, the French Revolution left in its wake such hot buttons that vie with antiquity for the emotional pool of those given to contemplation. A new unfathomable pool was created, stretching from sublime to ridiculous and back to sublime, which even the Romantic XIX century failed to drain. Tearful things were left for us to muse over, weighing thoughtfully prepositions, moving words on page, words about tears and their things. It’s not easy to find the right preposition there, especially when there is none.

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