Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Scala 34 (1651-1700)

<== Go back to Scala 33 (1601-1650)

1651. Nascimur in lacrimis.

Here is a fuller version of the saying: Nascimur in lacrimis, lacrimabile ducimus aevum: clauditur in lacrimis ultima nostra dies, "We are born in tears; we lead a tearful life; our final day comes to a close in tears."

1652. In lacrimis voluptas.

The verb is implied, but not stated: voluptas est, "There is a pleasure..."

1653. Et lacrimae pondera vocis habent.

[pondus: weight, burden] You can find these words in Ovid's Heroides, 3, the letter of Briseis to Achilles.

1654. Conscientia grave pondus.

[conscientia: conscience, sense of guilt] Here you have two noun phrases with the verb implied but not stated: Conscientia (est) grave pondus. The noun pondus is one of those sneaky third-declension nouns - it ends in -us but it is a neuter noun, like tempus, etc.

1655. Magna vis conscientiae.

Here you have a noun with a predicate adjective: magna (est) vis conscientiae.

1656. Etiam sine lege poena est conscientia.

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

1657. Conscientia testis.

[testis: witness] You can see an emblematic illustration of this saying here: image.

1658. Dii sint mihi testes.

Note the subjunctive, sint, with a dative we would probably express in terms of possession in English: Let the gods be my witnesses.

1659. Testis unus, testis nullus.

This reiterates the idea of corroborating testimony, as you have seen in earlier sayings: "Unus vir non omnia videt," "Unius dictum, dictum nullius," etc.

1660. Nullum mendacium sine teste.

[mendacium: lie, falsehood] This is one of the things that makes lies so hard to detect: they may seem to come with testimonials! Just think of all the testimonials in ads for fraudulent products, for example.

1661. Mendacia non diu fallunt.

[diu: all day, for a long time] Compare the English saying, "Truth will out."

1662. Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.

The verb refert, "it matters," introduces an indirect question, hence the subjunctive vivas here: it matters not how long you live (non quam diu) but how well (quam bene).

1663. Homo, diu vivendo, multa, quae non vult, videt.

You have the gerund in the ablative case: diu vivendo, "by living a long time, as a result of living a long time."

1664. Diu non latent scelera.

[lateo: lie hidden, escape notice] If you are not familiar with the word "scelera" you might think it is a feminine noun, but the verb gives you a clue: latent is plural, so you are dealing here with a neuter plural, from the third-declension noun, scelus.

1665. Latet in cauda venenum.

You saw an abbreviated form of this saying earlier: In cauda venenum.

1666. Irritare canem noli dormire volentem, nec moveas iram post tempora longa latentem.

You have two different negative imperatives here: the first is expressed with noli (noli irritare) and the second is expressed by a subjunctive (nec moveas). The nice rhyme, volentem-latentem, lets you know that this is a medieval saying.

1667. Bene vixit qui bene latuit.

Notice the perfect tenses of these verbs: vixit (from vivo) and latuit (from lateo).

1668. Rape, trahe, fuge, late.

You will find this advice in Plautus's Trinummus.

1669. Nusquam facilius culpa quam in turba latet.

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

1670. Latent futura.

Here you have the neuter plural, futura, "future things," which is used in Latin much like our English noun, "the future."

1671. Ultima latet hora.

[ultimus: farthest, latest, last] You can also find this saying abbreviated - Ultima latet - where the context (inscription on a clock, on a sun-dial), gives you the clue you need to supply the missing word: hora.

1672. Ultimam time.

This is another saying about the final hour: Ultimam (horam) time.

1673. Sit ultima felix.

Here is a more optimistic take on your final hour: Sit ultima (hora) felix.

1674. Horam dum petis, ultimam para.

This is an inscription from a sundial, where "horam petis," means to seek the time, to ask what time it is. As often, the sundial is meant to be a type of "memento mori."

1675. In bello nec primus nec ultimus esto.

Note the construction, which is equivalent to the English "neither...nor..." As often, the proverb is urging us to take the middle ground, avoiding both extremes.

1676. Ultima nos omnes efficit hora pares.

Notice how the noun phrase (ultima...hora) wraps around the verb (nos omnes efficit), with the predicate adjective dramatically at the end: pares, rhyming with omnes.

1677. Arripe horam; ultimam timeas.

[arripio: seize, grasp, snatch] Notice the two different types of commands: arripe is an imperative, while timeas is a subjunctive.

1678. Occasionem arripe.

Compare the similar advice you saw earlier: Occasio capienda est.

1679. Arripe quae offeruntur.

[offero: present, offer, bestow] Here the antecedent of the relative pronoun is implied but not stated: Arripe (haec), quae offeruntur.

1680. Arripienda quae offeruntur.

This takes the same idea but expresses the necessity through the use of the gerundive, neuter plural, agreeing with the implied haec.

1681. Oblata arripe.

This takes the idea of "quae offeruntur" and turns the phrase into a participle: oblata.

1682. Oblata occasione utendum.

Here you have an impersonal gerundive expressing necessity, utendum (est). The verb utor takes an ablative complement: oblata occasione.

1683. Preces diis, non boves, offer.

[prex: prayer, request] Note the parallel structure of this saying: preces diis (offer), non boves (diis) offer.

1684. Preces iniustas non audit Deus.

[iniustus: unjust, wrong, wrongful] Here it is not a matter of offerings versus prayers but rather the two different types of prayers, righteous and wrong.

1685. Beneficium qui dare nescit, iniuste petit.

[beneficium: good deed, kindness, favor] Notice the parallel structure here: beneficium dare nescit, (beneficium) iniuste petit. As often, Latin omits the word which is repeated in establishing the parallel.

1686. Qui dat beneficia, deos imitatur.

[imitor: imitate, copy, mimic] Notice the nice alliteration in this saying: dat-deos.

1687. Ars imitatur naturam.

Compare the saying you saw earlier: Ars est simia naturae.

1688. Imitantur hamos dona.

[hamus: hook, fishing hook] Of, as we would say in English, "There's a catch."

1689. Latet hamus in esca.

This is from a version of the Aesop's fable about the man trying to entice a watch dog with an offer of food, which the dog wise refuses: Fert munus mea damna tuum; latet hamus in esca.

1690. Ut pisces hamo, ita homines beneficio capiuntur.

Note the parallel structure, coordinated by the "ita" and "ut" - ut pisces hamo (capiuntur), ita homines beneficio capiuntur.

1691. Sua munera mittit cum hamo.

[mitto: send, cast, let out] Compare the earlier saying: Imitantur hamos dona.

1692. Nescit vox missa reverti.

[reverto: return, go back] Notice the passive infinitive: reverti. In English, we use the word "return" both transitively (I shall return the book to the library) and intransitively (MacArthur's "I shall return"). In Latin, the active form of verto expresses the transitive use, while the passive form expresses the intransitive use: A sound, once emitted, does not know how to go back.

1693. Tempus fugit, nec revertitur.

Like the previous saying, this saying also features the intransitive revertitur: Time runs away, and it does not return.

1694. Pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Note the future tense: reverteris. Again, the passive form is being used to express the intransitive meaning, "return, come back."

1695. Omnia de terra facta sunt et in terram pariter revertentur.

Note the future tense: revertentur.

1696. Omnes aquae in mare revertentur.

[mare: sea, ocean] Note again the future tense: revertentur (it's all a matter of vowels: present revertuntur, future revertentur, subjunctive revertantur).

1697. In mari aquam quaeris.

[quaero: search for, seek] This is a proverbial fool's errand. Compare the English saying, "Not being able to see the forest for the trees." This is one of the sayings Erasmus collected in his Adagia, 1.9.75.

1698. Pax quaeritur bello.

This was the motto of Oliver Cromwell.

1699. Quaerite bonum et non malum.

The words are from the Biblical book of Amos, 5.

1700. Quaerimus verum.

The neuter adjective verum can be used substantively to mean "the true (thing)," "the truth," etc.

Scala 35 (1701-1750)

No comments: