Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
A: tristia fata iubent: similis fit femina matri: non fit vir similis (tristia fata!) suae. J: nonne sapis? A: pulchro modulor! sat vera loquela est: haud nimium veram suavibus esse decet. J: quippe salis taedet. coepit iam quisque lepores: occurrit lepidus, quicquid inibis iter. laeditur immenso lepidorum publica damno res. date, di, stultis posse manere! A: manent. J: nosse velim certe. quo more loquuntur? A: inepti? de lepidis. J: o mens stulta et inepta gregis!
from The Importance of Being EarnestAlgernon: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. Jack: Is that clever? Algernon: It is perfectly phrased! And quite as true as any observation in civilised life should be. Jack: I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left. Algernon: We have. Jack: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about? Algernon: The fools? Oh, about the clever people, of course. Jack: What fools.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès