Saturday, July 02, 2011

Scala 25 (1201-1250)

<== Go back to Scala 24 (1151-1200)

1201. O vita misero longa, felici brevis!

This is another of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus. It is built on a parallelism: misero/felici and longa/brevis.

1202. Breves dies et horae omnia sunt.

Notice the subject and predicate of this sundial motto: the subject is "omnia," everything - while "breves dies et hora" is the predicate, "short days and hours." In other words, the world is made up of time - the days and the hours - which pass by so quickly!

1203. Tempus breve est.

You can find these words in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, 7.

1204. Esto brevis, et placebis.

Note the future imperative: esto.

1205. Ordo et modus omnia breviora reddunt.

Note how breviora is being used as a predicate adjective: omnia breviora reddunt, they render all things more brief, they make things go more quickly, etc.

1206. Grata brevissima.

[gratus: pleasing, agreeable, dear] Out of context, this can mean "pleasing things (neuter plural) are the shortest, last the briefest time," etc. It can also be understood as the "the things that are very brief (brevissima) are pleasing," etc. But in the context of a sun-dial, you would probably take grata to refer to hora: The pleasant hour is the shortest.

1207. Eo breviores, quo gratiores.

The ablatives eo...quo set up a coordinated comparison. In English we might say, "The more pleasant they are, the shorter they seem" (the reference is again to the hours of the day, and how quickly the pleasant hours pass).

1208. In omni re semper grata varietas.

Compare the phrases you saw earlier: "In varietate voluptas" and "Varietas delectat."

1209. Invite data non sunt grata.

Here the participle data is being used substantively, things which are given, gifts. Like a verb, a participle can take an adverb which is what you have here: invite - gifts given unwillingly, invite data.

1210. Nihil gratius est pace.

As you have seen before, the indeclinable nihil is treated as a neuter noun, hence the neuter comparative form of gratus: gratius.

1211. Somnus donum deorum gratissimum.

[donum: gift, present] You can also find this saying in the form, "Somnus donum divum gratissimum" (i.e. donum divum instead of donum deorum).

1212. Magna fortunae dona non sunt sine metu.

The double negative of "non sine metu," "not without fear," means that they are indeed accompanied by fear!

1213. Hostium dona non sunt dona.

Compare the saying you saw earlier: Hostium munera non munera.

1214. Omne bonum dei donum.

Here again bonum is being used substantively: omne bonum, "every good (thing)." It makes for a very nice rhyme, too: bonum-donum.

1215. Musica donum Dei optimum.

[musica: music] If you compare this proverb to the earlier one - Somnus donum deorum gratissimum - I am not sure which to say: sleep is good and so is music!

1216. Musica pellit curas.

[pello: drive out, banish, push away] Here cura is being used in the negative sense of worry, anxiety, etc. This is a Latin inscription found on a harpsichord.

1217. Pelle timores.

[timor: fear] You can find this advice from Vergil in the Aeneid, 5.

1218. Res est imperiosa timor.

[imperiosus: powerful, masterful, imperious] Notice how the predicate noun phrase, res...imperiosa, wraps around the verb. Very elegant!

1219. Timor optimus custos.

[custos: keeper, guardian, watchman] A fuller form of this saying makes it more clear just what kind of fear is implied here: Timor optimus innocentiae custos, "Fear is the best guardian of innocence." It is deterrence, the fear of getting caught, that keeps people honest - at least according to this saying.

1220. Rerum sapientia custos.

[sapientia: wisdom] You can see this saying illustrated with an emblem here: image.

1221. Sapientia ars vivendi.

The saying comes from Cicero's De Finibus, 1. Note the use of the gerund (verbal noun): ars vivendi, "the art of living."

1222. Artes serviunt vitae; sapientia imperat.

In other words, sapientia artibus imperat - it is wisdom who rules those arts. You can find this declaration in Seneca's Epistulae Morale, 85.

1223. Mater bonarum artium est sapientia.

Here is another way of looking at the relationship between wisdom and the arts: she is not their commander (see previous saying), but their mother. This saying comes from Cicero's De Legibus, 1 - but the reading of the text is not clear; some modern editors render it as "Mater bonarum rerum sapientia," wisdom is the mother of good things (rerum).

1224. Post industriam sequetur sapientia.

Note the future tense, sequetur (it's all a matter of vowels: present sequitur, future sequetur, subjunctive sequatur). The words come from the Bibical book of Ecclesiastes, 10.

1225. Beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam.

These words come from the Biblical book of Proverbs, 3.

1226. Nemo sine sapientia beatus est.

The observation can be found in Saint Augustine, On Free Will, 2.

1227. Vitam regit fortuna, non sapientia.

Just how much power luck (Fortuna) really has is much debated in the world of proverbs, and this saying is firmly in the Fortuna camp as it were. The topic is debated in Cicero's Tusculan Disputations, 5.

1228. Sapientia auro melior est.

Here, by contrast, is a pro-wisdom saying: wisdom is even better than gold. You can also find this idea in the form of advice in the Bibical book of Proverbs, 16: Posside sapientiam, quia auro melior est, "Possess wisdom, because it is better than gold."

1229. Sapientia longe praestat divitiis.

As often, praestat is being used to express a comparison, with the ablative divitiis: Wisdom is far more outstanding (praestat) than wealth.

1230. Sapientia hominis lucet in vultu.

The words are from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 8.

1231. Sol vitae sapientia.

Be careful separating subject from predicate: sol vitae (est) sapientia.

1232. Discat qui nescit; discendo sapientia crescit.

Note the subjunctive: discat, let him learn! You also have the gerund of the same verb in the second half of the saying: "by means of learning." The rhyme nescit-crescit reveals the medieval origins of this saying.

1233. A sapiente viro sapientiam discere convenit.

Compare the saying you saw earlier: Qui bonus est, ab eo bona discito.

1234. Mora omnis odio est, sed facit sapientiam.

Note the dative predicate, otio, which functions something like an adjective in English: All delay is hateful...

1235. Pax, copia, sapientia.

[copia: plenty, abundance, resources] This is a motto of the Fleming family.

1236. Copia ex industria.

This is a motto of the Bird family.

1237. Legum copia, iustitiae inopia.

[inopia: lack, need, poverty] There is a rhyming paradox here: copia-inopia; the words may rhyme, but they are opposite in meaning, which is just the sort of paradox of which proverbs are so fond.

1238. Mala est inopia, ex copia quae nascitur.

This saying also plays on the relationship between copia and inopia, this time in the course of an individual person's life. The saying is one of those collected by Publilius Syrus.

1239. Gula inopiae mater.

[gula: throat, gullet, gluttony, greed] The word gula literally refers to the throat or gullet and, by metonymy, to the food that goes down that gullet - gluttony. Since the word gula is feminine, that is why it is a mother, mater, feminine.

1240. Gula plus occidit quam bellum.

[occido-kill: kill, cut down, slay] Note the parallel structure: Gula plus occidit quam bellum (occidit).

1241. Non occides.

Note the use of the future tense to express a type of command: You will not kill. This is one of the Ten Commandments from the Biblical book of Exodus.

1242. Tempus occidendi et tempus sanandi.

[sano: cure, heal] This is another of the gerund pairs from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 3.

1243. Tempus omnia sanat.

Compare the English saying, "Time heals all wounds."

1244. Medice, sana te ipsum.

[medicus: physician, doctor] This saying, found in many variants, is featured in the Gospel of Luke, 4.

1245. Medice, cura te ipsum.

This is the wording of the saying as found in the Gospel of Luke, 4.

1246. Medice, tibi ipsi medicus esto.

This expresses the same idea as the previous two sayings, this time with the future imperative: esto.

1247. Post mortem, medicus.

This is an ironic saying: if the doctor arrives after the patient is already dead, he will not be of much help. Compare the saying you saw earlier: Medicina mortuorum sera est.

1248. Medico male est, si nemini male est.

Note the parallel use of datives here: medico... nemini.

1249. Medicus curat, natura sanat.

As with so many proverbs, this one depends on a parallel structure: medicus/natura and curat/sanat.

1250. Omnis doloris tempus fit medicus.

The word omnis is here in the genitive, agreeing with doloris: "Time is the doctor of all pain."

Scala 26 (1251-1300)

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