Saturday, July 31, 2010


The notes here are taken from the actual Scala, so be warned that references to the "previous" proverb refer to its order in the Scala, not its order here. You can read more about the word at the Verbosum blog: QUI.

Quod dixi, dixi.

Esto quod esse videris. ~ Note: This saying plays on the difference between being (esto) and seeming to be (esse videris). Note also the use of the future imperative: esto. Although the future imperative forms are not commonly found in Latin prose and poetry, they are quite common in the world of Latin proverbs.

Non dat qui non habet.

Qui non habet, ille non dat. ~ Note: This is a legal maxim in Latin, but it can also apply to human life in general.

Deus dat cui vult. ~ Note: This was the royal motto of King Eric XIV of Sweden.

Quod vis videri, esto. ~ Note: This plays on the same idea as in the previous proverb: BE what you want to be, and appearances will take care of themselves!

Cum dixeris quod vis, audies quod non vis. ~ Note: Note the nice parallel structure: dixeris/audies and vis/non-vis. You can find a similar saying in Erasmus's Adagia, 1.1.27: Qui quae vult dicit, quae non vult audiet.

Quod bonum est, bonos facit. ~ Note: This is a Stoic principle you can find expressed in the writings of Seneca, where he is making the argument that virtue must be a good thing, because the practice of virtue makes people good.

Qui sibi malus, nulli bonus. ~ Note: Note that the unambiguously dative sibi gives you a nice little reminder that the form nulli is also dative. (Nullus is one of those sneaky adjectives that takes mostly first-second declension endings, but which has -ius in the genitive and -i in the dative.)

Age quod agis.

Agamus quod agendum. ~ Note: Note the subjunctive, agamus, "Let us do..." As for agendum, this is the origin of our English word "agenda," "the things which are to be done." As often, the relative pronoun "quod" does not have an expressed antecedent; it is only implied, as is the "est" at the end: Agamus [hoc] quod agendum [est].

Nihil dat qui non habet. ~ Note: Another Latin legal maxim.

Sibi quisque habeat quod suum est. ~ Note: Note the independent use of the subjunctive, habeat: "let each person have..."

Quod tuum, tene! ~ Note: This expresses the same idea as the previous proverb, but now it is put into second person, using an imperative: Hold on to what is yours!

Sumus quod semper facimus. ~ Note: As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is not expressed: Sumus (hoc) quod semper facimus.

Non semper ea sunt quae videntur. ~ Note: Recall that the verb "videre" in the passive, as here (videntur), conveys the notion of "seeming" in English: Things are not always what they seem. You can find this saying expressed in a poem by Phaedrus, 4.2: "Non semper ea sunt quae videntur: decipit /frons prima multos," "Things are not always what they seem: the first appearance deceives many people."

Qui petit a te, da ei. ~ Note: As often in Latin, the relative cause comes before its so-called antecedent. You can re-arrange the saying as: Da ei, qui petit a te. You can find this Biblical saying in Matthew 5:42.

Quod verum est, meum est. ~ Note: This is a sentiment expressed by Seneca in his Epistulae Morales, 1.

Quod video, id credo mihi.

Id quod volunt, credunt quoque. ~ Note: The idea here is that when someone wants something, they are quick to believe it.

Vincit qui se vincit. ~ Note: You can see this saying as a tattoo here: image.

Frater est amicus quem nobis dedit Natura. ~ Note: You can also find this saying with the words: Frater est amicus quem donat natura.

Quod sequitur fugio; quod fugit, ipse sequor. ~ Note: This paradox of desire comes from one of Ovid's love elegies, 19.

Gratis dare debemus, quae gratis accepimus. ~ Note: As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is omitted: dare debemus (haec), quae...

Quae gratis accepimus, gratis demus. ~ Note: Note the contracted form, gratis - which is a Latin word we have adopted directly into English! The full form is gratiis, and it has the meaning of "out of favor" or "as a kindness," i.e. "at no cost."

Redde, quod debes. ~ Note: As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is not expressed: Redde (hoc), quod debes. You can find this principle discussed in Seneca's Epistulae Morales, 18.

Redde cuique quod suum est. ~ Note: This is the motto of the Adventurers House at the King Edward VII and Queen Mary School in Lancashire, England.

Multos timere debet, quem multi timent. ~ Note: This is another one of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus.

Date Caesari quae sunt Caesaris. ~ Note: This refers to the famous testing of Jesus in the Temple, which you can read about in the Wikipedia article entitled "Render unto Caesar."

Reddite quae sunt Caesaris Caesari, et quae sunt Dei Deo. ~ Note: This refers to the famous testing of Jesus in the Temple, which you can read about in the Wikipedia article entitled "Render unto Caesar."

Qui rapit, habet. ~ Note: This is something like the English "finders keepers," although this is more like "grabbers keepers."

Bene vixit is, qui potuit, cum voluit, mori. ~ Note: Notice how the verbal phrase, potuit...mori, wraps around the cum clause. Very elegant!

Quem amat deus, moritur iuvenis. ~ Note: Notice how the adjective iuvenis agrees with the unexpressed subject of the verb, moritur; in English we might say, "dies young."

Dare nemo potest quod non habet. ~ Note: Notice how the verb phrase "potest dare" is elegantly wrapped around the subject: nemo. As often, the antecedent for the relative pronoun is implied but not state: Dare nemo potest (hoc) quod non habet.

Nemo dat quod non habet, nec plus quam habet. ~ Note: Sometimes it helps to replace "nec" with "et non" just to see how all the pieces fit together: Nemo dat quod non habet, et non (dat) plus quam habet.

Bonus vir nemo est, nisi qui bonus est omnibus. ~ Note: The "nisi qui" is another example of how the antecedent of the relative pronoun can just be implied in the Latin: nisi (is) qui bonus est omnibus, "unless he is good to all." This one of the sayings you can find collected by Publilius Syrus.

Nemo est qui semper vivat. ~ Note: Note the subjunctive here, vivat. The subjunctive is often used in relative clauses to convey a sense of not just "who" but "anybody who," generalizing the idea: "There is nobody who (might, could possibly) live forever."

Solus non est quem diligant dii. ~ Note: Note the subjunctive diligant; this gives the statement a generalized quality: (anyone) whom the gods love.

Amicus est quem diligis ut animam tuam. ~ Note: The words are adapted from the Biblical book of Deuteronomy, 13.

Esto quod audes.

Qui nihil audet, nihil gaudet. ~ Note: The rhyme reveals the medieval origins of this proverb. Compare the English rhyming proverb: No pain, no gain.

Deus est qui regit omnia.

Ea pueri discant quibus sunt senes usuri. ~ Note: Note the elegant future active participle: sunt senes usuri, "they, (as) old men, are going to use."

Quo plus habent, eo plus cupiunt. ~ Note: If you listen closely, you can hear this proverb included in the lyrics of the Enya song, "Cursum Perficio."

Beatus est qui non cupit quae non habet. ~ Note: Compare the unfortunate person who suffers from endless desire: Quo plus habent, eo plus cupiunt.

Quod nimium est, fugito. ~ Note: Here is a fuller version of the saying: Quod nimium est, fugito; medio gaudere memento.

Quae dantur munera lauda. ~ Note: Notice that munera here is neuter plural, hence the relative pronoun quae. As often, the so-called antecedent of the relative pronoun actually comes after the pronoun itself!

Omnia probate; quod bonum est, tenete. ~ Note: Here the sense of probare is not so much "prove" as "test" - you should give everything a try (or trial), but keep only what is good. You can find this saying in I Thessalonians, 5.

Qui nimium probat, nihil probat. ~ Note: This is a type of logical fallacy: people who make sweeping conclusions can end up undermining what they originally set out to demonstrate. So, here is some advice to those of your writing the obligatory five paragraph essays for school: Don't feel obliged to show in the final paragraph that you have made an argument on a cosmic scale; just stick to what you originally set out to show. Qui nimium probat, nihil probat!

Frater est amicus quem donat natura. ~ Note: As often, proverbs are often diametrically opposed to one another: brothers can be the worst of enemies (e.g., Fratrum irae acerbissimae, as you just read) or natural friends, as here.

Res age quae prosunt. ~ Note: The relative pronoun quae is very ambiguous by itself (feminine nominative plural? neuter nominative plural? neuter accusative plural?) - the neuter forms are more commonly found, but here you can see that the quae goes with res, making it feminine plural. You can find this sentiment expressed in one of the distichs of Cato (so-called).

Ipse fecit cui prodest. ~ Note: This expresses the same idea as the previous saying, more compactly.

Nil, nisi quod prodest, carum est. ~ Note: You can find this saying expressed in Ovid's Epistulae Ex Ponto, 3.

Quae prosunt sequor. ~ Note: Here not only does the relative pronoun come before the antecedent, the antecedent is implied but not stated. If you rearrange the word order to match what we expect in English, you have: Sequor (haec), quae prosunt.

Quae recta, tene. ~ Note: As often, the Latin relative pronoun has no expressed antecedent: tene (haec), quae recta (sunt).

Quis eum diligat quem metuat? ~ Note: Note the subjunctive, diligat, which gives the question a hypothetical quality: who would be able to love...?

Morimur omnes qui nascimur.

Moritur omne quod nascitur. ~ Note: The fact that Latin uses deponent verb for both birth and death creates a nice sound echo here in the verb endings: moritur...nascitur.

Quae nocent, docent. ~ Note: This is a plural version of the preceding proverb: (Haec), quae nocent, docent.

Qui nihil sperat, nihil timet. ~ Note: (Verinus)

Non omnia quae vera sunt utile dicuntur. ~ Note: The neuter form of the adjective, utile, is being used here adverbially, as so often with the neuter: utile dicunter, "are usefully said, are useful to say."

Quae rarissima, carissima. ~ Note: This expresses the same idea in the superlative, which can be rendered in English with a superlative ("the most uncommon things") or simply with a strong affirmation: "things which are extremely uncommon," "very uncommon," etc.

Quae optima sunt, rara sunt. ~ Note: This takes a different approach, bringing in a new idea of value: Those things which are best are uncommon. Of course, you do not have to use the superlative in English: Those things were are extremely good are uncommon. {Latin uses the superlative independently much more than English does.)

Cui prodest scelus, is fecit. ~ Note: The idea expressed here is very similar to the principle of "Cui bono?" which you saw earlier.

Ea credimus libenter quae cupimus. ~ Note: This proverb plays with a nice sound play between credimus and cupimus. For a less euphonic version of this same idea, compare this saying: Homines libenter credunt quod volunt.

Ea facile facimus, quae libenter facimus. ~ Note: This proverb shows the etymological relationship between the verb, facere, and the adjective, facilis, "easy (to do)." Note the two different kinds of adverbs here: facile (neuter adjective used as an adverb) and libenter (-ter suffix on the adjectival stem).

Cave ab eo quem non nosti. ~ Note: Notice that you can be wary of something in the accusative (cave canem), but you can also be wary of something with the preposition ab, as you can see in this saying: cave ab eo...

Frustra habet qui non utitur. ~ Note: In other words: if something is to be useful, you need to use it - not just possess it. This is one of the proverbs you can find in Erasmus's Adagia, 3.9.20.

Quae post vitam futura sunt, incerta. ~ Note: Note the use of the future passive participle here to express the idea of what is about to be, what is going to be.

Novos caelos et novam terram expectamus, in quibus iustitia habitat. ~ Note: The words are from the Biblical letter called 2 Peter, 3.

Stultum facit Fortuna, quem vult perdere. ~ Note: As often, the antecedent of the relative pronoun is omitted: Stultum facit Fortuna (eum), quem...

Quem diligis, ni recte moneas, oderis. ~ Note: This is another one of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus.

Odimus quem laesimus.

Felix, quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. ~ Note: You can find this advice quoted in Poor Richard's Almanack of 1743, written by Benjamin Franklin. It is also one of the sayings collected by Wegeler, 422.

Ulula cum lupis, cum quibus esse cupis.

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