Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brushing up on a classical education

I read a great letter last week. It was written by a specialist, when he saw a patient again after many years. The patient had a particularly bad injury but it had healed with resulting eye problems.

The specialist commented on his difficulty remembering the details where once he would have remembered every 'slice of the scalpel'. He was self-deprecating in reflecting on his increasing age. And then he said...

Tempus fugit.

I wish I could see Latin (or French, or Greek etc.) phrases and know what they mean. Oh, for a classical education, and the chance to go up or come down at Oxford (yes, I've read too much Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh in my time).

Praise the Lord for Google, I did a little wiki-research, and I discovered that tempus fugit means 'time flies' (or flees - which I like a little better).

It is from a poem by Virgil,
"Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore"

which means,
"But meanwhile it flees,
time flees irretrievably,
while we wander around,
prisoners of our love of detail."

Wow. How does he know us so well?


Brandee Shafer said...

I'm finally starting to feel my age. (I'm almost 38.) I feel like it crept up all at once. It's in the knees (and the gray hair). My oldest just turned 12. I can hardly understand how that happened.

Time DOES fly.

Susan Ravenhall said...