Monday, July 04, 2011

Scala 30 (1451-1500)

<== Go back to Scala 29 (1401-1450)

1451. Quanti est sapere!

Here the genitive quanti expresses the notion of value: Of what great (value) it is to be wise!

1452. Cum ames, non sapias, aut cum sapias, non ames.

Note the subjunctives, ames and sapias, which give a hypothetical quality to the cum clauses. This is another one of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus.

1453. Tum sapimus, cum causas cognoscimus.

[tum: then, at that time, next] Here you can see how the words cum and tum work as a correlative pair, similar to qualis...talis, quam...tam, etc.

1454. Lege: sapere aude.

[lego-ere: read, gather, collect] This is the motto of the Alpha Upsilon Alpha honor society.

1455. Disce legendo.

Here you see the use of the gerund in the ablative, legendo, "by reading."

1456. Legite et discite.

This is a motto of the Asley family.

1457. Libros lege.

This is advice from the so-called Cato in his "monostichs."

1458. Quod non legitur, non creditur.

Compare the English saying, "Seeing is believing." This proverb advises us that reading is believing!

1459. Aliud legunt pueri, aliud viri, aliud senes.

This is another one of those aliud...aliud sayings, but this time it is a triple expression: "one thing... another thing... and yet another thing," aliud...aliud...aliud.

1460. Qui legit, intellegat.

[intellego: understand] Note the subjunctive, intellegat: Let the person who reads understand (what he is reading). The Latin plays nicely with the etymological connection between the verbs legere and intellegere.

1461. Frustra legit, qui non intellegit.

This proverb gives the consequences of failing to heed the advice of the previous saying!

1462. Audite et intellegite.

You can find these words in the Gospel of Matthew, 15.

1463. Intellegenti satis dictum est.

Compare the English saying, "A word to the wise."

1464. Intellegenti pauca.

[paucus: a small number, few] This expresses the same idea as the previous saying: when someone has understanding (intellegenti), he needs only a few bits of information (pauca) to figure things out.

1465. Pauca, sed bona.

The adjectives pauca and bona are being used substantively: "few (things)" and "good (things)."

1466. Pauci, sed boni.

Here you have the adjectives being used substantively to refer to people: pauci, "few men," and boni, "good men."

1467. Natura est paucis contenta.

The simplicity of nature is a recurring theme in Latin proverbs, suggesting a model for us to imitate: if Nature can be satisfied with just a few things, why can't we do likewise?

1468. Natura delectatur paucissimis.

This restates the same idea as the previous saying, but this time with a superlative: paucissimis, "extremely few things, the fewest possible things."

1469. Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora.

This is one of the various ways in which the principle of Occam's Razor has been formulated.

1470. Paucorum est intellegere, quid celet Deus.

Here you have the genitive used with an infinitive, paucorum est intellegere, which can be rendered in English as "Few people can understand." The subjunctive celet is because of the indirect question introduced by quid.

1471. Paucissimi sunt, qui sua sorte vivunt contenti.

Here the superlative is used to mean "there are very few (people)," "extremely few (people)," etc.

1472. Apud paucos post rem manet gratia.

[apud: at, by, at the home of] The words are from Seneca, De Beneficiis: Apud paucos post rem manet gratia; plures sunt, apud quos non diutius in animo sunt donata quam in usu.

1473. Multa paucis.

[multus: much, many] The implied context here is communication: multa paucis (verbis), to say many things in just a few (words).

1474. Non multa sed multum.

You can also find this saying in the form: Multum, non multa. The contrast is between "many things" and "much" (i.e. deeply, fully, etc.). Instead of trying to accomplish many tasks, you should do fewer tasks but with much care and attention.

1475. Multum legendum, non multa.

This takes the idea of the previous saying and applies it to the of reading: the goal is not to read lots of books (multa) but to read "muchly" - to read deeply, with understanding, fully, etc.

1476. Libros paucos legere utilius, quam multos habere.

Here the contrast is between reading books and merely possessing them! "It is more useful (utilius) to read a few books (libros paucos legere) than (quam) to have many of them (multos habere)."

1477. Non refert quam multos, sed quam bonos libros habeas ac legas.

The subjunctives habeas and legas are because of the indirect questions introduced by quam. Note also that refert is a contraction of re and fert ("it has to do with, it is a matter of"); it is not from the compound verb re-fero, "bring back."

1478. Multi multa, nemo omnia novit.

This proverb depends on the parallel construction: multi/nemo and multa/omnia. Notice that multi is masculine plural (many people), while multa is neuter plural (many things).

1479. Multi multa sapiunt, et seipsos nesciunt.

These are the words of Saint Bernard, famously included in Langland's Piers Plowman. Compare the saying you saw earlier: Frustra sapiens qui sibi non sapit.

1480. Multa ante temptes, quam virum invenias bonum.

Note how this saying is built around the idea of "antequam," before - ante...quam.

1481. Multa docet fames.

Compare the saying you saw earlier: Fames artium magistra.

1482. Cui commendaverunt multum, plus petent ab eo.

You can find these words in the Gospel of Luke, 12.

1483. Dulcior est fructus post multa pericula ductus.

The rhyme (fructus-ductus) reveals the medieval origins of this saying, which made its way into Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, 3.41.

1484. Multos timere debet, quem multi timent.

This is another one of the sayings collected by Publilius Syrus.

1485. Unus lupus non timet multas oves.

This is a saying associated with Alexander the Great, a great wolf who had no fear in the fact of the greater forces of the Persian king Darius.

1486. Nihil facit servus, si multi domini imperent.

Notice the subjunctive, imperent, which gives the statement a purely hypothetical quality.

1487. Amici nec multi, nec nulli.

You can also find this saying in the form: Neque nullis sis amicus, neque multis.

1488. Multus amicus, nullus amicus.

Compare the saying you saw earlier: Amicus omnibus, amicus nemini. The idea is once again is that someone who has too many friends is really no friend at all.

1489. Amici divitum multi.

[dives: rich, a rich man, wealthy] Here the genitive plural, divitum, expresses the idea of possession: Rich men have many friends.

1490. Dives est qui nihil cupit.

This is a wonderful proverbial paradox: wealth comes not from what you do have, but from what you don't want: nihil cupere.

1491. Dives est cui satis est quod habet.

This expresses the same idea as the previous statement, this time through the notion of satis: enough.

1492. Sorte sua quisque dives si contentus.

The ablative phrase, sorte sua, goes with contentus. Compare the proverb you saw earlier: Quisque sua contentus sorte vivat.

1493. Neminem pecunia divitem fecit.

This is another paradoxical take on wealth: people might think that is money that makes you wealthy, but this proverb disagrees. So, if it is not money that makes someone rich, then what would it be...?

1494. O dives, dives, non omni tempore vives!

Notice the wonderful rhyme in this line: dives-vives. Note also the future tense: vives.

1495. Mihi crede: non potes esse dives et felix.

This is from a collection of proverbs that circulated in the Middle Ages under Seneca's name (sometimes called the Liber Senecae, or the Proverbia Senecae).

1496. Valere malo quam dives esse.

[malo: prefer, want more than] Be careful with malo here: this is the verb malo, "I prefer," which is a contraction of "magis volo." As the word "magis" shows, the verb malo implies a comparison between the two infinitives: Valere malo (=magis volo) quam dives esse.

1497. Malo tacere mihi quam mala verba loqui.

This proverb plays with the verb malo and the adjective malus, which you can see here in the noun phrase "mala verba."

1498. Malo quod teneo quam quod spero.

Here the comparison is between two things, (hoc) quod teneo and (hoc) quod spero.

1499. Omnes sibi melius malunt quam alteri.

The dative sibi gives you a clue that alteri is also in the dative.

1500. Ego fidem meam malo quam thesauros.

[thesaurus: treasure, hoard, wealth] Here is one answer to the question posed earlier: if money does not make you rich, then what does? This proverb says that it is fides.

Scala 31 (1501-1550)

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