I am writing a text to be sung by a small chorus for a recording, and I need a check on my Latin use, as I'm a less active student of the language than others, and don't entirely trust myself to nail it, especially when it comes to a more poetic context like this. I'll put the text in its current permutation as well as notes on what I'm trying to convey (will be English) & grammar functions I'm exploiting.

Latin text thus far




Ideas to convey in English (as dryly as I can phrase it)

The tasks have been done (completed)
and I, the seer, have too. (been worn out)
Circling [your] rings,
King of Titans, I come

In your unseen cloak
I have spent these thirteen years
And it summons [me] to be near to you
Son of Uranus, I come.

An old man to an old man,
Children of Gaia
A brother to a brother
Bind us together, tear me apart.

Lines 1 & 2 both are meant as subject to "cōnficimur", each with a different meaning of the verb
Line 5 - ablative of place in which (locative)
Line 6 - accusative of duration of time
Line 12 - subjunctive to imply wish rather than command

There. Now tear it apart! I'm not going for poetic perfection (God knows I can't make dactylic hexameter work), but let me know if you think my grammar uses work or not, or if I've completely butchered an idea.

  • Does 'in your unseen cloak' in line 5 go with 'I come' or 'I have spent these 13 years'? Better punctuation in these lines would help clarify meaning. Also what does 'it' in line 7 refer to? The cloak? That doesn't seem to make sense. I also don't understand the last stanza. The only thing I can think is that the first 3 lines are meant to specify the identify of 'us' in the last line.
    – cnread
    Aug 3, 2018 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


Lines 1 & 2

You state in your notes:

Lines 1 & 2 both are meant as subject to "cōnficimur", each with a different meaning of the verb

However, if this is the case, then you should not be using cōnficiō in the first person plural. Furthermore, in your provided translation you explicitly state "have been done", indicating a completed past action, i.e, the perfect. As such, given this, and the fact that your subject is a plural group ("tasks" and "I"), cōnficiō should be in the 3rd person plural perfect passive indicative, not the 1st person singular present passive indicative, thus making lines one and two:

Opera cōnfecta sunt
Cōnfectus et egō augur

Line 3

In your translation, you specify that line three should be interpreted as:

Circling [your] rings

As far as I can tell from context, circling is being used as a participle here, describing egō, the last stated subject. However, for some reason, you used the present passive infinitive, which is translated as to be circulated. Utilizing a participle, it should be:

Circumiēns ānulōs

Line 4

Line four is mostly fine, however, Titan is not in the correct case or number. It should be in the genitive plural. If you are using the form Tītānus, Tītānī, m., then line four should be:

Rēx Tītānōrum, veniō

However, if you are using the form Tītan, Tītānis, m., then line four should be:

Rēx Tītānum, veniō

Line 5 & 6

Despite the incorrect labeling in your notes of a prepositional phrase as the locative, line five is essentially fine. However, your usage of the noun clamys is probably not right. It carries a very specific connotation, representing a cloak or a cape, but usually of a ceremonial or Greek military type (see here). I would suggest the noun pallium instead.

Line six is fine. You did, however, incorrectly label "hōs tredecim annōs" as an accusative of duration of time. In this context, it is simply the object of "ēgī", indicating I spent/consumed these thirteen years. An accusative of duration of time would usually be translated as for [time] and is used to indicate the time spent doing something.

Line 7

Line seven feels extremely awkward. In your translation you state that the direct object of it summons is me, yet don't provide this in your Latin, making it rather nonsensical. Furthermore, adsum doesn't really carry the connotation of being near something. Rather, it deals more with being present or arriving at something. I would suggest scrapping the entire phrase and going with something more like this:

Et iubet mē esse prope tē

Line 8

I'm not really sure how you managed to extricate Uranus from caelum. It means sky. Uranus in Latin is... well... Ūranus. Line eight should be:

Filī Ūranī, veniō

In short

To conclude, your full poem should be rendered as follows. You may have to make some adjustments, especially if you are trying to fit a meter, need a specific word order, etc.

Opera cōnfecta sunt
Cōnfectus et egō augur
Circumiēns ānulōs
Rēx Tītānum, veniō

In palliō caecō tuō
Hōs tredecim annōs ēgī
Et iubet mē esse prope tē
Filī Ūranī, veniō

Senex ad senem
Liberī terrae
Frāter ad frātrem
Nōs ligēs, laniēs mē

  • Not so sure about all this. Liberi does mean "children", of course. And there is a lot more that could be said.
    – fdb
    Aug 3, 2018 at 14:13
  • @fdb Ack! Don’t know how I managed to overlook that. Are there any qualms in particular that you have regarding my answer? Always open to improvements. :) Aug 3, 2018 at 14:23
  • My problem is that I really don't understand what he is trying to say, especially in the last stanza. But perhaps others are more atuned to arcane wisdom.
    – fdb
    Aug 3, 2018 at 14:33
  • 1
    @EthanBierlein Thank you so much for being so specific! Oh dear, apologies for leaving out the premise (shaking my head at my own oversight there)! A few colleagues and I are making an instrumental piece evoking the "Finale" of the Cassini mission to Saturn, wherein the craft dove through the planet's atmosphere and was destroyed. When the idea got pitched to add text (as if the craft were speaking some verse to the planet through the metaphor of the deity), it fell to me as the resident language geek to figure it out. As you can see, my skills are far from academically exceptional.
    – Gray Day
    Aug 3, 2018 at 21:38
  • 1
    Ergo (ha), "unseen cloak" = gravity as bent spacetime; "Caelus" I had read somewhere was another Roman name for Ouranos (could be wrong). The last stanza is meant to highlight the link between Saturn being born of Uranus and Terra, and Cassini literally being made on Earth, and between their ages (Saturn being a first gen Titan [also the planet's some 4.5 billion yrs old] & Cassini the craft being in operation well after its original mission period). Thanks all for your input!
    – Gray Day
    Aug 3, 2018 at 22:15

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