Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Latin Via Proverbs 40

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. This group again features fourth-declension nouns.

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 40

543. Man is God's plaything. (Notice that there is a four-declension noun lusus, "playing, sport," formed from the verb ludere, "to play," while there is also a second-declension noun, ludus, meaning a "game.")

544. Long is the hand of the law. (Luckily the English translation captures the alliteration of the Latin, legis...longa.)

545. Chance is changeable. (Notice that the fourth-declension noun casus is a verbal noun from the verb cadere, "to fall," so chance is what "falls" or "falls out," like something that falls from the sky.)

546. Easy is the descent to Avernus. (Avernus is the legendary gateway to the underworld. The ascent, of course, is not so easy! This is a phrase from Vergil's Aeneid.)

547. After joys, grief. (A fuller form of this phrase is Gaudia post luctus veniunt, post gaudia luctus / Semper in ambiguo, speve metuve, sumus., "Joys come after griefs, and after joys, grief. / We are always in doubt, either hope or fear." This is one of John Owen's epigrams.)

548. Beneath his mask, the grief of the heir is laughter. (This is one of the sayings of Publilius Syrus. You can read about the fascinating word persona in this Bestiaria Latina blog post.)

549. The outcome of a battle is changeable and uncertain. (Compare 2 Samuel: varius enim eventus est proelii et nunc hunc nunc illum consumit gladius, "Various is the outcome of battle, and the sword devours now this man, now that man.")

550. The outcome is the teacher of fools. (You can read a commentary on this proverb at the Latin Audio Proverbs blog.)

551. Oaks come from tiny acorns. (Without a verb, you cannot be sure whether quercus is nominative singular or nominative plural. I've translated it here as plural: what do you think? Here's a traditional English translation: "Great oaks from little acorns grow.")

552. Glory is the fruit of effort. (You can see this saying illustrated in the emblems of Otto Vaenius.) Fructus laboris gloria.

553. Learning is the sweet fruit of a bitter root. (Compare this similar saying: Litterarum radices amarae, fructus dulces, "The roots of scholarship are bitter, its fruits are sweet.") Doctrina est fructus dulcis radicis amarae.

554. This body is not a home but a temporary lodging. (The saying is adapted from Seneca.)

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