Related to pending legislation that Thomas Jefferson championed for public education in Virginia, he wrote to Joseph C. Cabell:
Pray drop me a line when any vote is passed which furnishes an indication of the success or failure of the general plan. I have only this single anxiety in the world. It is a bantling of forty years’ birth and nursing, and if I can once see it on its legs, I will sing with sincerity and pleasure my nunc dimittas.
[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 270.]
From The Free Dictionary: n. A Christian canticle or hymn using the words of Simeon in Luke 2:29-32, beginning “Nunc dimittis servum tuum” (“Now lettest thou thy servant depart”).
This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading. These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.