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For immediate release: May 31, 2011
Media contact: Martin Mbugua, mmbugua@princeton.edu, (609) 258-5733

2011 Latin Salutatory Oration

2011 Latin Salutatory Oration
Veronica Shi
(English translation from text delivered in Latin)

Given in the Academic Assembly of Princeton
In New Jersey on the 31st of May
In the year 2011
In the 264th Academic Year

Salutatory Poem

With what measures, what beginnings, loving
Mother, should I greet your progeny?
Bless this endeavor, Muses, so that I
don't stumble blushing over untried feet!
Glorious tiller of harvests for us
and prosperous leader: you, good
guardian, I first salute, for all things
flourish under your guiding light; nor
Will I pass by in silence all of you who
wisely protect our kindly mother, always
and for all. Our professors too I praise
as a grateful daughter, and I sing
Of their scholarship, which nurtures their students
with special kindness, excellently, attentively,
patiently: your devotion to us
is great, your attachment deep and learned.
And you, our parents: this morning you believe
that we are scholars, since you have seen us
take pleasure in my little song: behold,
now we fulfill your honorable hopes.

Now, in rather humbler meters
I address you candidly, friends:
forgive me for being highfalutin just now --
I was told to sing in a serious manner.
But now, naughty Muses, reveal far and wide
all the various indiscretions of this class (Ha!):
the lectures we've ditched, the parties
of raging, Bacchic licentiousness we've thrown,
the long nights of shameful love, and how many
and with whom we spent them --
What now? Getting annoyed with me?
Don't pretend you're a bunch of saints or innocents --
and why fear? There's no way at all
your parents can understand what I'm saying.
And if you've really never done any of these --
Great Hercules! I say only this to you: "Miserable wretch!"
Cherish the memory of your foibles
as well as your success, o friends
(not that our Mother was ever grudging with success):
She knows all, but forgives: Real Life isn't always like that.
What joy it has been to be a young tiger!
But the jealous Fates, friends, have given
each of us, alas, only a short time here.

Here the heat-bearing days will return;
beneath a crisp sky, Autumn will flourish
in its fiery foliage, and then soon hoary,
freezing Winter
will be dissolved by Spring's changes. But we
do not return here; we, friends, will depart
from these gates, bearing far and wide, aflame
with lofty hearts,
the standards of our learning: with her diverse progeny
our Mother again enriches the world. So
the generations advance onward. Marching once
and only once, then, friends,
and all together, we sing, "Hurrah, Victory!"
exulting, and twice again say, "Hurrah, Victory!"
and will lift to heaven's lofty arch
the noble name
of Princeton, keeping each other close to our hearts,
ever forthright. Blessed friends, I shall say "Hail," not
"Farewell," and this too: "With undying loyalty,
love each other always."

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