Saturday, August 11, 2007

Today's French

Lazzarone: An interesting word. According to Le Petit Robert, it means a beggar from Naples. In English, a "Lazzaroni" is a homeless idler of Naples, from the Hospital of St. Lazarus that served as their refuge. (Of course, I assume it means the same in Italian!) However, I found it today in a French poem used to mean a beggar more generally; this use (Vrai lazzarone aussi libre que l'air) was used to describe a Parisian beggar, and I would say it translates better to: "A true vagabond as free as the air".

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