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I'm a big aficionado of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. My favorite is The Goldoliers, which centers on two young gondoliers of Venice, brothers Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri.

The operetta begins with a quandary. Marco and Giuseppe are so handsome that, so long as they remain unmarried, every single young lady lives in hope of them and will pay no attention to any other young man! The bachelors (blue) and bachelorettes (red) banter.
    Do all you maidens love them?
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Passionately!
    These gondoliers are to be envied greatly!
    But what of us, who one and all adore you?
    Have pity on our passion, we implore you!

    . . .These gentlemen must make their choice before you;
    . . .In the meantime we tacitly ignore you.
    . . .When they have chosen two that leaves you plenty--
    . . .Two dozen we, and ye are four-and-twenty.
    . . .Till then, enjoy your dolce far niente.
    With pleasure, nobody contradicente!
dolce far niente – pleasant, carefree idleness
[Italian, literally "sweet doing nothing"; Latin dulcis sweet; + facere to make, do; + nec entem not a being]

contradicente – not an English term. But the Latin phrase nemine contradicente "(with) no one speaking against" is used in English with the same meaning – typically to refer to a motion that is passed without opposition.
 
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But the Latin phrase nemine contradicente "(with) no one speaking against" is used in English with the same meaning – typically to refer to a motion that is passed without opposition.

It's almost always abbreviated to nem con, as in "The motion was passed nem con." I suspect that very few people who use the abbreviation know the full Latin version.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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To choose brides, the brothers play a game of blind-man's-buff – and cheat to get the girls they want. (The banter in the game has no suitable word-a-day, but it's so amusing that I've posted it for you below.)

No one in these blissful twosomes is overly blessed with brains. Much later, as they sing a song together, each one pulls aside, one after the other, to tell the audience of his/her spouse's shortcomings. In other words, each sees the stupidity in his/her spouse, but not in his/her self.

First to speak are the ladies, Tessa beginning (red) and Gianetta following (red italic indented).
    I, no doubt, Giuseppe wedded--
    That's, of course, a slice of luck
    He is rather dunder-headed.
    Still distinctly, he's a duck.


    . . .I, a victim, too, of Cupid,
    . . .Marco married - that is clear.
    . . .He's particularly stupid,
    . . .Still distinctly, he's a dear.
dunder-headed – thick-headed; ponderously stupid

blind-man's-buff – a game in which one player is blindfolded, and tries to catch and identify any one of the others, who, on their part, push him about, and make sport with him

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    [blue: boys; red: girls]
    [regular type: 1st speaker; italic indented: 2nd speaker; double-indented: speaking together]
And now to choose our brides!
. . .As all are young and fair,
. . .And amiable besides,

. . . . . .We really do not care
. . . . . .A preference to declare.
A bias to disclose
Would be indelicate—

. . .And therefore we propose
. . .To let impartial Fate
. . .Select for us a mate!
. . .These handkerchiefs upon our eyes be good enough to bind,

And take good care that both of us are absolutely blind;
. . . . . .Then turn us round--and we, with all convenient despatch,
. . . . . .Will undertake to marry any two of you we catch!
Are you peeping? / Can you see me?
Dark I'm keeping, / Dark and dreamy!
If you're blinded / Truly, say so.
. . .All right-minded / Players play so!

Conduct shady! / They are cheating!
Surely they de- / Serve a beating!

. . .This too much is; / Maidens mocking—
. . .Conduct such is / Truly shocking

. . . . . .You can spy, sir!
. . . . . .Shut your eye, sir!
. . . . . .You may use it by and by, sir!
. . . . . .You can see, sir!
. . . . . .Don't tell me, sir!
. . . . . .That will do--now let it be, sir!
 
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The two ladies (red) sang as quoted yesterday, one first and the other (italic indented) after.
The two men (blue) follow.
    I, no doubt, Giuseppe wedded--
    That's, of course, a slice of luck
    He is rather dunder-headed.
    Still distinctly, he's a duck.


    . . .I, a victim, too, of Cupid,
    . . .Marco married - that is clear.
    . . .He's particularly stupid,
    . . .Still distinctly, he's a dear.


    To Gianetta I was mated;
    I can prove it in a trice:
    Though her charms are overrated,
    Still I own she's rather nice.


    . . .I to Tessa, willy-nilly,
    . . .All at once a victim fell.
    . . .She is what is called a silly,
    . . .Still she answers pretty well.
trice – a very short period of time; an instant
own (more-obscure meaning) – to admit or acknowledge that something is the case (own up to – to admit to having done something wrong or embarrassing)
willy-nilly1. whether you "like it or not"; without a choice 2. without direction/planning; haphazardly
 
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I wonder why, as a child, I (and all the other kids) always thought it was, "Blind Man's Bluff," not that I think we really knew what we meant by saying that. Does anyone know? Has anyone else had that experience?
Actually, it kinda makes sense to me. He's only bluffing that he doesn't know who's taunting him at any given moment... Hmmmmm. It's a ruse, and the joke's on those doing the taunting. I kind of like that possibility. Thoughts?
Also, as kids, we didn't know what a buff was--not in Manhattan, anyway!
 
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quote:
I wonder why, as a child, I (and all the other kids) always thought it was, "Blind Man's Bluff,"

Apparently the game is called "buff" in the UK while it is "bluff" in the US.

See the article in Wikipedia on "Blind Man's Bluff", which for some reason wouldn't link properly here.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Blind Man's Bluff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...27s_bluff_%28game%29


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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We called it "bluff." I don't mean to judge either way, but doesn't "bluff" make more sense?

[Never mind, I just read the Wikipedia explanation. In fact, while our game could be based on the older sense of "bluff" meaning to blindfold, it also could be a corruption of the UK's "buff."]
 
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I thought it was "bluff" too. But I didn't want to be called out, so I checked, and learned.
 
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timoneer – a helmsman; a steersman; the man who steers a boat or ship
[Latin temon a pole]
stripling – a young man; an adolescent youth

Off to the altar go the happy couples. Enter Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, with a dark secret. The two grooms think they are brothers, but in fact one of them is "no less a personage than the son and heir of His Majesty the immeasurably wealthy King of Barataria!" Years ago, "that misguided monarch abandoned the creed of his forefathers, and became a Wesleyan Methodist of the most bigoted and persecuting type. The Grand Inquisitor, determined that the innovation should not be perpetuated in Barataria, caused [the infant prince] to be stolen and conveyed to Venice."

The time has come for the prince, now grown, to return to Barataria and claim the throne. Unfortunately, Grand Inquisitor tells us, no one knows which "brother" is which!
    I stole the Prince, and I brought him here,
    And left him gaily prattling
    With a highly respectable gondolier,
    Who promised the Royal babe to rear,
    And teach him the trade of a timoneer
    With his own beloved bratling.
    Both of the babes were strong and stout,
    And, considering all things, clever.
    Of that there is no manner of doubt--
    No probable, possible shadow of doubt--
    No possible doubt whatever.

    But owing, I'm much disposed to fear,
    To his terrible taste for tippling,
    That highly respectable gondolier
    Could never declare with a mind sincere
    Which of the two was his offspring dear,
    And which the Royal stripling!
    Which was which he could never make out
    Despite his best endeavour.
    Of that there is no manner of doubt--
    No probable, possible shadow of doubt--
    No possible doubt whatever.
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:

    Do all you maidens love them?
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Passionately!
    These gondoliers are to be envied greatly!
    But what of us, who one and all adore you?
    Have pity on our passion, we implore you!

    . . .These gentlemen must make their choice before you;
    . . .In the meantime we tacitly ignore you.
    . . .When they have chosen two that leaves you plenty--
    . . .Two dozen we, and ye are four-and-twenty.
    . . .Till then, enjoy your dolce far niente.
    With pleasure, nobody contradicente!
dolce far niente – pleasant, carefree idleness
[Italian, literally "sweet doing nothing"; Latin dulcis sweet; + facere to make, do; + nec entem not a being]

contradicente – not an English term. But the Latin phrase nemine contradicente "(with) no one speaking against" is used in English with the same meaning – typically to refer to a motion that is passed without opposition.




Before this category expires entirely I'll add my tuppence --

Like many greats, G&S weren't above re-using their own work where appropriate.
In Iolanthe the same two phrases are used again:



LORD MOUNTARARAT. This gentleman is seen,
With a maid of seventeen,
A-taking of his dolce far niente;
And wonders he'd achieve,
For he asks us to believe
She's his mother-and he's nearly five-and-twenty!

LORD CHANCELLOR (sternly). Recollect yourself, I pray,
And be careful what you say-
As the ancient Romans said, festina lente.
For I really do not see
How so young a girl could be
The mother of a man of five-and-twenty.


and later


LORD TOLLOLLER. I have often had a use
For a thorough-bred excuse
Of a sudden (which is English for "repente"),
But of all I ever heard
This is much the most absurd,
For she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!

ALL. Though she is seventeen, and he is four- or five-and-twenty!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!

LORD MOUNTARARAT. Now, listen, pray to me,
For this paradox will be
Carried, nobody at all contradicente.
Her age, upon the date
Of his birth, was minus eight,
If she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!

PEERS and FAIRIES. If she is seventeen, and he is only five-and-twenty.

ALL. To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
Perhaps his brain is addled, and it's very melancholy!
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as injurious,
But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious,
And that's a kind of mother that is usually spurious.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
 
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(P.S. But Gondoiers was written first.)
 
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