Resting Bird & Smiling Cat No. 4

A név (Lalage) Horatius kora után az irodalomtörténet számos oldalán tűnik fel, ahol a szerző – amellett, hogy nagy Horatius rajongó – a női szépséget, kecsességet, vagy éppen a letűnt Római Birodalom tündöklését hivatott kifejezni.

Rögtön itt van egy Kipling és egy James Joyce hivatkozás, de a magyar írófejedelem, Jókai Mór is megemlíti, egyik bravúros művében, a Sírkő-albumban.

A magyar olvasók számára, azonban vitathatatlanul Szabó Magda tette közismertté e ritka, ám édes nevet, mikor az írónő édesapja a kóbor Lalage macskával állított egyik nap haza, s a Für Elise lapjai után (18. fejezet) már sokan emlékeznek rá mosolyán keresztül. 🙂

Rudyard Kipling: Rimini

When I left Rome for Lalage’s sake,
By the Legions’ Road to Rimini,
She vowed her heart was mine to take
With me and my shield to Rimini–
(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini–)
And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage–
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!


When you go by the Via Aurelia
As thousands have traveled before
Remember the Luck of the Soldier
Who never saw Rome any more!
Oh, dear was the sweetheart that kissed him,
And dear was the mother that bore;
But his shield was picked up in the heather,
And he never saw Rome any more!


And he left Rome, etc.


When you go by the Via Aurelia
That runs from the City to Gaul,
Remember the Luck of the Soldier
Who rose to be master of all!
He carried the sword and the buckler,
He mounted his guard on the Wall,
Till the Legions elected him Caesar,
And he rose to be master of all!


And he left Rome, etc.


It’s twenty-five marches to Narbo,
It’s forty-five more up the Rhone,
And the end may be death in the heather
Or life on an Emperor’s throne.
But whether the Eagles obey us,
Or we go to the Ravens–alone,
I’d sooner be Lalage’s lover
Than sit on an Emperor’s throne!


We’ve all left Rome for Lalage’s sake, etc.


James Joyce – Ulysses:Lalege were scarce fair besides her” –
Lalage is one of many traditional names for beautiful women. S. T. Coleridge’s
poem „Names” is a catalog of such names; it begins,


„I ask’d my fair one happy one,
What I should call her in my lay;
By what sweet name from Rome or Greece;
Lalage, Neaera, Chloris,
Sappho, Lesbia, or Doris
Arethusa or Lucrece.”

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