Many years ago, Latin was still taught in schools, and we had it inflicted on us. Actually I realise now that if you have an interest in the English language then knowing Latin is a useful tool in helping to understand it, as so many English words have Latin roots. So, better late than never: I’m sure our Latin teacher, Mr Carter-Johnson, would be pleased at even such a delayed appreciation of his efforts.
Even so, about the only thing I can remember clearly from those lessons is the motto at the top of this page. which we were told meant “It is my intention to die in the pub”. At the time I though that this was a great ambition and ever since I have considered it to be the family motto.
I have since discovered that it is a medieval song from around 1160 and the full text, with a translation, is shown here.
I must make it clear that this translation is not my work: I am indebted to the following site for the full text and a literal translation. http://ingeb.org/Lieder/meumestp.html
Meum est propositum in taberna mori
Poculis accenditur animi lucerna,
Jejunant et abstinent poetarum chori,
Unicuique proprium dat natura donum,
Mihi nunquam spiritus poetriae datur,
Tales versus facio, quale vinum bibo,
Archipoeta, around 1160
My proposal is to die in the tavern
The lamp of my soul is lit by goblets;
The choirs of poets fast and abstain,
Nature gives each person his personal gift;
Poetic inspiration is never given to me
The verses I make are as good as the wine I drink;
Literal translation by J. Mark Sugars, 1997