In 1937, a Latin teacher named L. E. Eyres published his “Ludus Elegiacus” in Greece & Rome (pages 56-57 and 155). It is a set of twenty-five epigrams in elegiac couplets, the first five of four lines each, the rest single couplets. As the editor’s introduction states, it was designed “to teach a School Certificate class to recognize the difference in meaning between words of similar appearance, and to use scansion as an aid to translation”. Because of copyright laws, I can’t reproduce the whole thing, but here are a few samples:
6. The street-singer and his dog.
Cane, canet canis hic: solus cantare recusat:
Deest mihi vox: tu, sis, cum cane, cane, cane.
9. Ship’s rations.
Navigat ad Cares coniunx meus: esurit ergo:
Quod tam cara caro, carne carina caret.
17. The scrounger.
Anulus annosae fuerat; mihi saepe precato
Annuit: insipiens est anus, anne sapit?
Of course, this last omits one of the Latin words beginning with an- as inappropriate for schoolboys. No such inhibition was felt by Colin Haycroft of Duckworth & Co. in a letter published in the (London) Spectator on July 20, 1985:
Sir: As the subject of ‘mooning’ at Greenham Common has raised its ugly head (?) in your columns (Home life, 13 July), may I submit to you an epigram (veiled in the decent obscurity of a learned language) inspired by a recent incident that occasioned a lady’s protest?
Terga tuens duri versa ad se militis olim,
‘ei mihi, nil gratum est’ dixerat ‘anus’ anus.