I am writing a poem in Latin and am a bit torn as to the grammar.

In English, the poem would be as below:

In secrets there is power.
In truths there is freedom.
Lust is for now.
Love is forever.

Now I am not looking for a direct translation, but something with a similar meaning and more in the theme of Latin. Below is my best try:

In secretum virtas.
In verum libertas.
Libido pro tempore.
Amor ad infinitum.

Any comments/thought/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, comments on the poem itself would be great!

With help from the comments. I have reworked the poem to the following

In secreta potentia. In verita libertas. Libida est temporāria. Amor infinita.

I believe it still needs some work, some more comments would be great.

  • Just stylistically, I'd write it like this: In secretum virtas / in verum libertas // Libido pro tempore [est], / amor ad infinitum. That way, the parallelisms do come out better. The poem doesn't really have metric, but nonetheless you could include the "est" and it would be elided into "temporest", I think, so it wouldn't mess up your syllable count.
    – Narusan
    Oct 16, 2017 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


Miscellaneous remarks on grammar:

  1. The preposition in has a different meaning with ablative than with accusative. Accusative indicates motion, ablative indicates position. For example, in secretum means "into secret" and in secreto means "in secret". I think ablatives work better in your poem, but the nuance is ultimately your choice. You have used singular ("secret", "truth") instead of plural, but that is a matter of taste here.

  2. I am not familiar with a word virtas, and neither are the dictionaries I consulted. Did you perhaps mean virtus? It is not a very literal translation for "power", but can work well if the meaning fits what you want to say.

  3. The overall structure of the first two lines is good. The implicit est is probably best indeed left implicit.

  4. The phrase pro tempore sounds a little off to me. The ad infinitum ("to infinity") sounds better, but I would suggest something else. If I interpret correctly, you want to say that lust is but a temporary thing, whereas actual love lasts forever. To make this parallelism clearer, I recommend using similar structures. I would go with an adverb for both or an adjective for both. The adverbs (nunc and semper) might feel somewhat blunt, so I would choose adjectives. The first pair that comes to mind is temprarius and sempiternus.

  5. Overall, the poem has clear structure and is mostly intelligible. (Poems are often intended to be at least somewhat mysterious!) The biggest issue is the non-word virtas.

These are just my thoughts, so don't take them as the ultimate verdict. If I may, I would suggest the following kind of tweaked version:

In secreto virtus,
in vero libertas.
Libido est temporaria,
amor sempiternus.

  • 1
    1. I think I may go with secreta for secrets. 2. Doing more research, I have determined virtus is too 'good' of a word to use, as I am referring to the powers obtained from keeping secret; something a bit more sinister. 3. Thank you for your comments on the implicit est. 4. I used pro tempore and ad infininum, because they appear to be common Latin phrases, and so I knew that their structure would prove effective. 5. Thank you for your help! I am extremely grateful. Oct 16, 2017 at 21:44

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