Search This Blog

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fast Day 180 November 14 2010 {Puzzle 1}

 Bruegel's Wedding Dance

Puzzle 1

Alive spent we our halcyon days
secure within our sylvan home,
free from th' assassin's blade;
never speaking, never dancing,
never buying, never selling;
and never spoken was a word:
cloistered like monkish priests;
meditation all sublime upon
the sun above and earth  below!

And when it came our time to die,
as all things mortal must,
we left our retired colonnade,
singing hymns, singing psalms,
with bells and drums and tabors;
a susurrous envelope widely
radiant; acreting stories
to sing at balls and wedding feasts!
We new factotums of your joy!


A puzzle; what is the poem about? It is about a certain class of things.

A hint: I based it on the motto of someone:
Viva fui in sylvis, sum dura occisa securi,
dum vixi, tacui, mortua dulce cano

th'assassin's blade   -  the assassin's blade
acreting - to gather to oneself
factotum - jack-of-all-trades


Ruth said...

It's a difficult one. I cheated. Are violins speaking? (singing)

Montag said...

Yes, wooden musical instruments: violin, cello, guitar, mandolin, etc.

I was going to write about a guitar when I was reading a Wikipedia page about guitar making and there was a picture of Gasparo Duiffropruggar with the Latin phrase; I tried to figure out the phrase - it was not like a personal motto since it was in the feminine gender, e.g. "Viva" versus "Vivus".

So the puzzle idea was right there.

The Latin:
(female voice, so we are probably thinking of mediaeval Latin "violina" for violin.)

I had lived in the forests,
I have been felled by the sharp axe;
while alive, I was silent;
while dead, I sweetly sing.

Montag said...

.... you cheated?! How could you have cheated? There were no rules.

Actually, I see that by Googling the phrase, everything is revealed, so next time I won't scatter hints, inklings, and tracks around so liberally.