in American Senator

Chapter 77 – The Senator’s Lecture–No. 1


The notices around London to announce the Senator Gotobed’s speech are described as sesquipedalian, from the Latin sesqui- (“one and one half”) and ped- (“foot”).  This term is a poetic one used to describe excessively long words in poetry.  Horace uses it to admonish writers not to switch registers during poetry, especially into the bombastic.  The word imparts to the event of Gotobed’s public speech a pompous and bombastic air, which is what Horace warns against.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OED.
Horace, Ars Poetica 97.


meum and tuum

Trollope uses these Latin words (meaning “my thing” and “your thing” respectively) while describing the reaction of distant foreigners upon visiting different countries.  He states that those who travel abroad are more likely to notice that a seemingly disparate culture has much in common with their own (meum) rather than fixating on the alien aspects of the other culture (tuum).  However, American society sprang from British society.  Americans and British speak the same language and share many other attributes.  This, according to Trollope, means that the effects are reversed.  People from similar cultures are far more likely to notice what is different (tuum) rather than what is similar (meum).  Thus the Senator Gotobed’s behavior throughout the novel, culminating in his final address, is explained.  [CMC 2012]


pearl-drinking extravagance

Senator Gotobed uses this phrase to describe the contrast between the upper and lower classes he has seen in Britain.  The episode he references involves Cleopatra dissolving a priceless pearl in sour wine and drinking it to impress Marc Antony– a gesture which would have been an outrageous extravagance to the Romans.  The incident is related by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Pliny, Natural History 9.59.119-121.