|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1841 to 1843 > Humor
He delighted, too, in puns, and was equally ready in all languages. He laughed heartily at Cardinal Rivarola's Italian pun against himself, about the orecchini;* and one day, while he was speaking German with Guido Gorres, the latter having made some allusion to his Eminence's increasing gray hairs, and spoken of him as a weiss-haar (white-haired,)
"Ach !" he replied with a gentle smile, not untinged with melancholy ;—" ach ! gabe Gott dass ich, wie weiss-haar, so auch weiser geworden ware.
It will easily be inferred from this, that, among etymologies, he was especially attracted by those which involved a play upon words :—if they admitted a pun so much the better. He was much amused by Herr Fleck's suggestion, that the name Mezzofanti, was derived from Ev meso fainetai and Cardinal Wiseman told me that once, after learnedly canvassing the various etymologies suggested for Felsina, the ancient name of his native city, Bologna, he laughingly brought the discussion to a close by suggesting that probably it was Fé l'asina, (the ass made it.)
Probably it was to this taste he was indebted for that familiarity with Hudibras—a writer, otherwise so unattractive to a foreigner—which took Mr. Badeley by surprise.
|Copyright 2009 - All rights reserved|
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.
Printed from http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/mezzofanti/biography/15.13-humor.html