Years ago an old colleague showed me a poem which had a miraculous feature: it was perfectly valid Latin and perfectly valid Italian. With clever choices of words one can make that happen, but it also happened to convey a message or tell a story. My recollection is that the theme was Christianity.

Does this ring a bell to someone? I would be glad if someone could either identify this or provide another text with the same bilingual property. I understand that the level of detail might be insufficient to find the exact poem (and I may or may not recognize it), but the phenomenon should be unambiguous enough.

1 Answer 1


This page (in Italian) has three bilingual Italian-Latin poems.

"Salve Regina" by Anacleto Bendazzi (1883-1982) seems to be the Christian-themed one (though I don't know either Italian or Latin well enough to translate it myself):

Salve Regina ! Te saluto, o pia,
nostra tutela in tenebrosa via,
in sinistra terrifica procella
benigna stella.

Quando te non saluto, o nostra vita,
gemo in amaritudine infinita;
in tranquilla quiete, te invocata,
vivo, o beata.

Saluto te, Regina gloriosa,
arca divina, intemerata rosa;
te, bella oliva, Iris serena, pura,
nivea figura.

Quando miser vacillo in vento infido,
Regina generosa, in te confido;
in te confido in fausta, in dura sorte,
in vita, in morte.


Hail Queen! I salute thee, o loving,
our safeguard in a dark path,
in a menacing and terrifying storm,
benevolent star.

When I do not salute thee, our life,
I suffer in infinite bitterness;
having invoked thee,
I live in peaceful serenity,
o blessed.

I salute thee, glorious Queen,
divine ark, faultless rose;
thee, beautiful olive, serene Iris,
pure, snow-white figure.

When I, miserable, waver in treacherous wind,
generous Queen, in thee I trust;
in thee I trust in auspicious, in ominous fate,
in life, in death.

The two other poems on the page are one by Gabriello Chiabrera (1552-1638) and "Elogio a Venezia" by Mattia Butturini (1752-1817). In prose there are also the sentences I vitelli dei romani sono belli and Cane Nero magna bella Persica (in Italian (Roman dialect for the latter), respectively, The calves of the Romans are beautiful and Black dog eats nice peach).

  • 3
    +1! I added the translations, feel free to rollback or change some wording for the English version of the poem. Oct 16, 2019 at 19:56

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