I was trying to determine whether there was an English word “titulature” (it seems to exist on the very margins of the vocabulary as an equivalent of Latin intitulatio—it is not in any of my dictionaries, but the OED recognizes a word “intitulation,” and some authors use both at apparent random: “The Uigur Qaγans, except Bügü Qaγan, are known only through their official titulature. In official titles the intitulation can be dropped off…”) when my eye fell on one of the most unexpected entries I’ve seen in Webster’s Third New International:
tityre-tu \ʹtid-ərēʹt(y)ü\ n -s usu cap 1st T [fr. L Tityre tu (patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi) Tityrus, thou reclining beneath the shelter of the spreading beech tree, opening line of the 1st Eclogue of Vergil; fr. their being regarded as wealthy and idle]: one of a gang of roistering brawling young blades in 17th century London similar to the Mohocks
In the first place, what an etymology! In the second place, could this conceivably have been regarded as a useful entry for an American dictionary in the year 1961? I think the editors just couldn’t say no to it, and I can certainly understand. (Oddly, having swiped that entry from the OED, they didn’t take the following one: “Tityrus… a fictitious monster supposed to be bred between a sheep and a goat.” Why this prejudice against fictitious monsters and in favor of roistering rowdies?)
As far as the Vergil quote is concerned, M. Owen Lee, on p. 49 of Death and Rebirth in Virgil’s Arcadia (SUNY Press, 1989), says it is “almost surely intended to call to mind and ear the hády ti tó of Theocritus’ opening” [Ἁδύ τι τὸ ψιθύρισμα καὶ ἁ πίτυς, αἰπόλε, τήνα, the first line of Idyll 1], for what that’s worth.