Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 161

This group of proverbs introduces fourth conjugation verbs, which are relatively uncommon in Latin. These proverbs contain only present active indicative forms of the verb, along with first and second declension nouns and adjectives.

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. Please note: to read the proverbs in Latin, you need to acquire a copy of the book from lulu.com! What I am providing here in the blog are notes to help people who are making their way through the book either in a Latin class or on their own.

Group 161

2064. My time has not yet come. (These words are spoken by Jesus to Mary in the Gospel of John, at the occasion of the wedding in Cana.)

2065. Appropriate things happen to the appropriate people. (In other words: everyone gets what they deserve. This phrase is found in Plautus's Poenulus.)

2066. Tantalus thirsts amidst the waves. (Tantalus was punished in the underworld by gazing upon water he could not drink and reaching out for food he could not grasp. You can see an illustration of Tantalus from Alciato's Book of Emblems.)

2067. No misfortune comes alone. (Compare the proverb in Group 120, Cura curam trahit and the notes provided there.)

2068. By means of a wicked friend a man falls into flaws. (Notice the delightful alliteration in the Latin. I tried a bit of similar wordplay in the English.)

2069. A fool finds a fool. (This is a humorous variation on the idea that "birds of a feather flock together.")

2070. He's gathering water with a sieve. (This saying made its way into Erasmus's Adagia, 1.4.60. A fuller version of the saying in rhyme reads: Haurit aquam cribro, qui discere vult sine libro, "The person who wants to learn without a book is gathering water in a sieve.")

2071. He's drawing with a perforated jug. (The most famous example of this impossible task would be the punishment of the daughters of the Danaus, the Danaides, in the underworld. The Danaides killed their husbands and in the afterlife were punished by being condemned to carry water in jugs that had holes in them.)

2072. God discovers the evildoer. (In many ancient myths and fables, when human justice fails, it is up to the gods to intervene. Consider, for example, Phaedrus's fable about the thief in Jupiter's temple, rebuked by Religio herself.)

2073. The pot find its cover. (Compare the proverb in Group 9, Dignum patella operculum est and the notes provided there.)

2074. He who finds a friend, finds a treasure. (This phrase is adapted from the book of Ecclesiasticus, an apocryphal book of the Bible, also known as the Wisdom of Sirach.)

2075. Sometimes a blind pigeon finds a pea. (Notice the nice alliteration in the Latin, invenit interdum and caeca columba, along with the rhyme interdum...pisum.)

2076. No good chick ever comes from a bad egg. (Notice the intricate word order, where the phrase ex pravo ovo and pullus bonus ullus have been deftly intertwined.)

2077. From fried eggs no chick ever comes. (This saying breaks up the phrase pullus...ullus to make it a rhyming proverb. I guess you could consider this a variant on "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" - in other words, "don't fry your eggs before they're hatched," no matter how hungry you might be.)

This blog post is part of an evolving online guide for users of the book Latin Via Proverbs.

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