Top Girls

Professor Tara Welch of the Classics Department at the University of Kansas assists with the Latin verses spoken by Pope Joan in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls.


Lines from De Rerum Natura by Lucretius, as spoken by Pope Joan in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls:

Professor Tara Welch of the University of Kansas speaks the first few lines from Book Two of Lucretius’ poem De Rerum Natura (Of The Nature of Things), demonstrating the Italianate pronunciation she believes Pope Joan would have used. These lines are spoken by the character, Pope Joan, in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. Professor Welch also discusses the rules of dactyllic hexameter verse, and gives some guide to the pronunciation. The recording was made by Paul Meier, IDEA’s Founder and Director.

Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem;
non quia vexari quemquamst iucunda voluptas,
sed quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suavest.
suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri
per campos instructa tua sine parte pericli;
sed nihil dulcius est, bene quam munita tenere
edita doctrina sapientum templa serena,
despicere unde queas alios passimque videre
errare atque viam palantis quaerere vitae,
certare ingenio, contendere nobilitate,
noctes atque dies niti praestante labore
ad summas emergere opes rerumque potiri.
o miseras hominum mentes, o pectora caeca!
qualibus in tenebris vitae quantisque periclis
degitur hoc aevi quod cumquest! nonne videre
nihil aliud sibi naturam latrare, nisi ut qui
corpore seiunctus dolor absit, mente fruatur

Running time: 00:07:52