Friday, February 23, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 32

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group again features third declension adjectives, all the nominative case.

Please note: to read the proverbs in Latin, you need to acquire a copy of the book from! 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 32

438. A good neighbor is a great good. (Notice the gender of bonum, which is neuter. This is a substantive use of the adjective: a good thing.)

439. People's life is not ever-lasting, nor is their luck. (This is one of the sayings found in Publilius Syrus.)

440. The felicitous fault. (This is a saying made famous by Thomas Aquinas, in reference to the culpa of Adam and Eve, which led to their being expelled from the Garden of Eden, but which prepared the way for the coming of Christ. The phrase is part of the Latin Catholic mass: O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem, "O felicitious fault which merited our having such a good and great redeemer.")

441. Without health, no one is happy. (In English, the word "sanity" has come to have a meaning restricted to "mental sanity, mental health," while the Latin word has a broader meaning, "health" in general.)

442. An old man is a boy for the second time. (You can find this phrase embedded in this wonderful passage from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton: "or we are ad unum omnes, all mad, semel insanivimus omnes, not once, but always so, et semel, et simul, et semper, ever and altogether as bad as he; and not senex bis puer, delira anus, but say it of us all, semper pueri, young and old, all dote, as Lactantius proves out of Seneca; and no difference betwixt us and children, saving that, majora ludimus, et grandioribus pupis, they play with babies of clouts and such toys, we sport with greater baubles.")

443. Bold, when out of danger. (This is one of those proverbs about hypocrisy, like the ones we had earlier, such as Proverb 393. "In peace, lions; in time of war, deer.")

444. A dog is bold near his own home. (Compare Proverb 2157: "The rooster in his own dung-heap can accomplish great things.")

445. The judgment of the crowd is not to be believed. (As you can see here, fallax has just one nominative ending, so the form is masculine, feminine or neuter, depending on context. In this saying, it's neuter.)

446. God is not swift to punish. (Compare a proverb we had earlier, Proverb 220. "The gods are slow but certain avengers")

447. Speech about something true is straight-forward. (This is a phrase quoted by Seneca, which he attributes to the Greek tragic playwright, Euripides.)

448. The memory of good deeds is fleeting, but the memory of wongs is tenacious. (This is another saying from Publilius Syrus.)

449. The way is long by means of rules, but quick and efficient by means of examples. (This is another passage from the Roman author Seneca.)

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