Sunday, August 07, 2011

Scala 58 (2851-2900)

<== Go back to Scala 57 (2801-2850)

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2851. De tanta laetitia, quanta tristitia!

[laetitia: happiness, delight, joy] The word quanta is being used as an exclamation here, as the word quam can also be used as an exclamation: Quam triste! How sad!

2852. Musica laetitiae comes et medicina dolorum.

Note the parallel structure, with a chiastic inversion: laetitiae/dolorum and comes/medicina.

2853. Semper est laetitia mixta cum dolore.

You can find this idea already in the words of Livy: reciperatumque Auli corpus mixta cum dolore laetitia uictores in castra referunt.

2854. Semper graculus cum graculo.

[graculus: jackdaw] Compare the English saying, "Birds of a feather flock together."

2855. Nihil graculo cum Musis.

In English we would say: "A jackdaw has nothing (to do) with the Muses." The call of the jackdaw is singularly unmusical, of course!

2856. Nihil graculo cum fidibus.

[fides-is: lyre, chord, string] This is a variation on the previous saying; this time instead of the Muses, the saying features a musical instrument - the lyre.

2857. Quid graculo cum fidibus?

This takes the idea of the previous saying and turns it into a rhetorical question. The implied answer, of course, is that a jackdaw has nihil, nothing, to do with a lyre!

2858. Nihil sui cum fidibus.

[sus: pig, sow] Note that sui is the dative singular of the noun, sus, pig (it is not from the familiar adjective suus). The pig, like the jackdaw, and also the donkey, is regularly the butt of proverbial jokes, as here.

2859. Sus seipsum laudat.

This saying always reminds me of the little story about Aesop and the bad writer (source): A man had read to Aesop selections from a badly written work in which he stupidly boasted at length about what a great writer he was. The man wanted to know what Aesop thought, so the writer said to him, 'Surely you do not think I have too high an opinion of myself? My confidence in my own genius is not misplaced, is it?' 'Not at all,' said Aesop, who was utterly exhausted by the writer's wretched book. 'I think it is a very good idea for you to praise yourself, given that no one else is ever likely to do so!'

2860. Sus sui pulcher.

Just as the pig is glad to praise himself, he is also quick to praise another pig!

2861. Asinus asino et sus sui pulcher.

For a hilarious little story about two donkeys praising one another, see this fable: Asini Duo et Vulpes.

2862. Sus Minervam docet.

Like the Muses, Minerva (Athena) stands here for the realm of intelligence and learning. The idea of a pig teaching Minerva is a preposterous fool's errand!

2863. Aquilam volare doces.

[aquila: eagle] The idea of teaching an eagle to fly is, like the previous saying about Minerva and the pig, a preposterous fool's errand.

2864. Aquila petit solem.

This is a motto of the Kendall family.

2865. Ne te, aquila, iactes graculos inter leves.

The idea is that, if you are an eagle, you should not vaunt among the lowly jackdaws. Here it is not the jackdaws who are being made fun of, but the eagle who unwisely has anything to do with them!

2866. Aquila non parit columbam.

[columba: dove, pigeon] Here the opposition is between the eagle as a war-like bird and the dove as the proverbial bird of peace. In English, we would likely say: "A hawk does not give birth to a dove," since "hawks and doves" are regularly used to refer to people in favor of war and people in favor of peace.

2867. Aquilae non generant columbas.

[genero: create, procreate, produce] This expresses the same idea as in the previous saying - Aquila non parit columbam - but with a different verb. You can also find this saying expressed in the singular: Columba non generat aquilam.

2868. Lupus non leporem sed lupum generat.

This takes up the same idea with a different pair of animals - the wolf, as a proverbial figure for boldness, and the rabbit, as a proverbial coward. The sound play between "lupus" and "lepus" reinforces that pairing in Latin!

2869. In terra non omni generantur omnia.

Note how the prepositional phrase "in terra omni" wraps around the negative non. The subject of the sentence, omnia, is in final position.

2870. Sol generat umbras.

This is one of those many paradoxical proverbs: it is the light of the sun that creates the darkness of the shadows! There are no shadows in the night (except by the light of the moon and stars, of course).

2871. Vis vim generat.

The meaning of "vis" that you want here is an act of force or violence - one act of violence gives rise (generat) to another.

2872. Lis litem generat.

[lis: lawsuit, quarrel] You can also find the saying in this form: Lis litem parit.

2873. Lis litem serit.

This explores a different metaphor of generation than in the previous saying: serit comes from the world of agricultural reproduction.

2874. Fuge lites cum viro maiore.

Compare the advice you saw earlier about dealing with someone greater than yourself: Cede maiori.

2875. Lis de umbra asini.

This alludes to a famous Aesop's fable about whether a man who had rented a donkey had also rented the use of the donkey's shadow; the story is famously told by the orator Demosthenes, as a rebuke to his foolish audience.

2876. Litem ne quaere cum licet fugere.

You can also find the saying in this form: Dum licet fugere, ne quaere litem.

2877. Lites ex litibus nascuntur.

Compare the earlier saying about how one quarrel (or lawsuit) gives rise to another: Lis litem serit.

2878. Ira parit litem, lis proelia, proelia mortem.

Here you get a ladder effect, reaching all the way from anger unto death: Ira parit litem, lis (parit) proelia, proelia (parit) mortem. The idea of giving birth to death, parit mortem, is a very striking paradox!

2879. Lis litem parit, et noxa noxam.

[noxa: hurt, harm, injury] Note again the parallel structure, with the verb implied but not stated in the second pair: Lis litem parit, et noxa noxam (parit).

2880. Noxa malus vicinus.

Note that, as often, the verb "est" has been omitted, leaving only the subject and predicate noun phrases: Noxa | malus vicinus (est).

2881. Litem parit lis; noxa item noxam parit.

[item: likewise, also, besides] Here the adverb "item" coordinates the two phrases: one quarrel gives rise to another and, likewise (item), one injury gives rise to another.

2882. Superbia numquam sine noxa.

[superbia: pride] This saying is included in the Superbia entry in Margalits' marvelous Florilegium of Latin sayings.

2883. Regina omnium vitiorum superbia.

Because superbia is a feminine noun, she gets to be a queen - regina - instead of a king.

2884. Superbia initium est omnium malorum.

Compare the words of Sirach, 10: Initium omnis peccati est superbia.

2885. Sequitur superbia formam.

Note that sequitur, despite its passive form is a transitive verb and can take a direct object: formam.

2886. Superbia oriente, occidit felicitas.

[occido-fall: fall, fall down, perish, die] The opening words, superbia oriente, form an ablative absolute, with a paradoxical pairing of the verbs oriente (rising) and occidit (falling).

2887. Virtute orta occidunt rarius.

This is a motto of the Aiton family. Note that "virtute orta" serves as a noun phrase, the subject of the verb: (things that) "arise thanks to virtue." The comparative rarius, the absence of an explicit comparison, can be understood as "very rarely" or "quite rarely."

2888. Soles occidere et redire possunt.

The implication, of course, is that while the suns in the sky do this, we mortals cannot.

2889. Sol omnium dierum nondum occidit.

[nondum: not yet] In other words: the end of time has not yet come. The words are adapted from Livy: elatus deinde ira adiecit nondum omnium dierum solem occidisse.

2890. Cum sol oritur, stellae fugiunt.

[stella: star] The relationship of the sun and the stars is able to express metaphorically the idea of the greater and the lesser, as in this tiny Aesop's fable: Sol et Stellae.

2891. Numera stellas, si potes.

[numero: number, count] The words are from the Biblical book of Genesis, 15.

2892. Undas numeras.

This is a variation on the previous saying; for a fable about counting the waves, see Vulpes et Vir Fluctus Numerans .

2893. Disce dies numerare tuos.

This is a sundial inscription; as often, the sundial "speaks" to us, issuing a command: disce.

2894. Utere horis; non numera.

This is a different command than the one you saw in the previous saying: you need to use your days (utere horis!), rather than just counting them.

2895. Tempore felici multi numerantur amici.

The ablative, tempore felici, is used to express the time when something happens: When the occasion is a happy one...

2896. Lupus oves etiam numeratas devorat.

[devoro: devour, gobble up] The shepherd may indeed keep a close count of his sheep, but that will not deter the wolf!

2897. Piscium vita haec, minorem maior ut devoret.

You can see this traditional proverb illustrated in a bizarre and fascinating engraving by Pieter Bruegel the Elder: image.

2898. Non bonus est socius qui devorat omnia solus.

Note that the adjective solus agrees with the subject of the verb devorat; in English we would probably render that with an adverbial expression such as "on his own" or "by himself."

2899. Plus oculis quam ventre devoras.

Compare the English saying, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach."

2900. Tempus nos avidum devorat.

[avidus: insatiable, consuming, devouring] The adjective avidum agrees with the subject of the verb, tempus. In English, we would probably render that with an adverb: "greedily devours."

Scala 59 (2901-2950)

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