A palindrome for St. Martin’s Day

From a reader from back on 11/11/11:

I thought that you and your readers might find this legend of Satan, St. Martin of Tours, and two exquisitely long palindromes, to be of interest particularly on this palindromic day of 11/11/11.

From The Book of Days, Vol. II, R. Chambers, ed., W. & R. Chambers, Ltd., London & Edinburgh, 1864, p. 568:

“Martin, having occasion to visit Rome, set out to perform the journey thither on foot. Satan, meeting him on the way, taunted the holy man for not using a conveyance more suitable to a bishop. In an instant the saint changed the Old Serpent into a mule, and jumping on its back, trotted comfortably along. Whenever the transformed demon slackened pace, Martin, by making the sign of the cross, urged it to full speed. At last, Satan, utterly defeated, exclaimed:

‘Signa te signa: temere me tangis et angis:
Roma tibi subito motibus ibit amor.’

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wmeyer says:

    Google translate offers a stunningly bad result:

    ‘Sign signals: random touch me and Angie:
    Rome motions of a sudden you will go for love. ‘

  2. Joe in Canada says:

    Was it Attila’s threat “Te tero Roma, manu nuda, date tela, late te!” that prompted St Pope Leo to go out and speak to him? (this was presented to me as tete roro mama nunu dada tete lala te in college Latin as a conundrum. That’s when we learned dato datare alongside do dare))

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Happy Martinmas!

    É dia de São Martinho;
    comem-se castanhas,
    prova-se o vinho.

    [It is Saint Martin’s Day,
    we’ll eat chestnuts,
    we’ll taste the wine.]

  4. ajf1984 says:

    The Fisheaters website (http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost15.html) is a tad more helpful than Google Translate for those of us with only a little Latin: “Cross, cross thyself, you plague and vex me without need / For by my labors you shall soon reach Rome, the object of your wishes.”

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  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    An odd tangent: in reading Northwest European Martinmas begging songs (which can include cursing the ungenerous), I encountered this (which I translate from dialect):

    Kip kap kugel [ultimately from “cappa” and “cucullus” – I am not sure about the ‘kip’ ],
    My mum is a devil,
    My father is a satan,
    There’s who I’m the child of.

    While I’m being tangential… In some places the folk celebration was on the vigil (as also with St. Nicholas), with a proecssion on Martinmas. In some German usage, this was as it were ‘kidnapped’ by replacing St. Martin songs with ones celebrating Martin Luther (who was born on 10 November – whence ‘Martin’?). Some songs (presumably sung on Martinmas) note (I translate), “Today is St. Martin, tomorrow is St. See [i.e., Pope St. Martin]”.

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