Amusing and stimulating small minds

Featured in

  • Published 20060307
  • ISBN: 9780733316210
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

EVERYONE KNEW HIS name was Michael, but no one whom he instructed in Latin would have dreamed of calling him anything other than Mr Keary. On the occasions we have met since my schooldays, in fact, the sensation of calling him “Michael” has seemed the most appalling breach of propriety. It even takes a certain amount of fortitude to write about him: I’ve been staring at the foregoing five lines for half an hour. But, as they say in the classics, alea jacta est (the die is cast). As I recall they do anyway.

For I was never a scholar of significance in Mr Keary’s language. About the only phrase I retain today is one for use when people, learning that I studied Latin for six years, ask me to translate something into Latin: Illud Latine dici non potest (You can’t say that in Latin). My ineptitude is revealed most starkly by mottos. “Oh,” I say, “it’s something about work. And God. That looks like the Latin for owl, too; no, it can’t be. Might it be to do with cheese? Or a chair? Look, errr, I’m a bit, y’know, rusty.” In other respects, however, Mr Keary taught me quite a lot of everything I know.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

More from author

No one to blame

EssayIN THE MEDIA, we do love a trend. If one doesn't exist, in fact, we'll make it up. Two observable instances will suffice for...

More from this edition

Research to excellence

DebateWHAT PETER DRUCKER described as the "knowledge economy" in 1969 is now a competitive global market, with higher education at its centre. While Australian...

Encounters with Mrs L BA(OXON)

MemoirAbout suffering they were never wrong,The Old Masters; how well, they understoodIts human position....– WH AudenABOUT GLAMOUR THEY were also never wrong, the Old...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.