Saturday, August 15, 2020


Volturnalem Palatualem Furinalem

Johannes Vahlen, ed., Ennianae Poesis Reliquiae (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1854), p. 20 = Ennius, Annals 125-126 (II.iii):
Volturnalem Palatualem Furrinalem
Floralemque Falacrem et Pomonalem fecit
Hic idem.
E.H. Warmington, ed., Remains of Early Latin, Vol. I: Ennius and Caecilius (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1935), pp. 44-45 = Ennius, Annals 127-129 (II.iii):
Volturnalem Palatualem Furinalem
Floralemque Falacrem et Pomonalem fecit
hic idem.

He [Numa Pompilius] likewise established the priests of Volturnus, of Palatua, of Furina, of Flora, of Falacer, and of Pomona.
Otto Skutsch, The Annals of Q. Ennius. Edited with Introduction and Commentary (1985; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), p. 80 = Ennius, Annals 116-118 (II.iii):
Palatualem Furinalem Floralemque
Falacrem<que> et Pomonalem fecit hic idem

116 sqq. uersus dist. Lachm.
If Palatualem is scanned as a quadrisyllable, with a long first syllable and consonantal u, then we have (in either arrangement of the lines) a hexameter consisting of just twelve syllables (six spondees). See G.B.A. Fletcher, "Catulliana," Latomus 26.1 (January-March, 1967) 104-106 (at 106):
116.3 qui te lenirem nobis neu conarere. Fordyce, like F. Vollmer, Römische Metrik, p. 11 in Gercke-Norden, Einl. in die Altertumswissenschaft, repeats the statement by Baehrens and Thomas that this is the only hexameter consisting entirely of spondees to be found outside Ennius. Iuuencus 4.233 is another.
The list of Ennian spondaic hexameters in Béla Adamik, "Zur Prosodie, Metrik und Interpretation von Catullus Carmen 116," Wiener Studien 127 (2014) 151-164 (at 158), doesn't include this one.

Also, if we adopt the arrangement of Vahlen and Warmington, then Volturnalem Palatualem Fur(r)inalem is also a hexameter consisting entirely of adjectives in asyndeton. For similar hexameter lines in Greek and Latin see:


The Torch of Truth

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), Waste Books G.13 (tr. Steven Tester):
It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone's beard.

Es ist fast unmöglich, die Fackel der Wahrheit durch ein Gedränge zu tragen, ohne jemanden den Bart zu versengen.

Friday, August 14, 2020


To Be Sure

Henry Fielding (1707-1754), Tom Jones, Book VII, Chapter V (Squire Western speaking):
'Ay, to be sure the woman is in the right, and the man in the wrong always.'



Kathleen Freeman, Greek City-States (1950; rpt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1963), p. 45:
There was, it is true, another Greek city-state, Selinus, between Acragus and the Phoenician tip...
For Acragus read Acragas.

Id., p. 68 (discussing Hannibal's attack on Acragas):
By the spring of 416 B.C. the Carthaginians were ready.
For 416 read 406.



At the Lychgate

Oxford English Dictionary:
lich-gate | lych-gate, n. < LICH n. corpse + GATE n.1 archaic. The roofed gateway to a churchyard under which the corpse is set down, to await the clergyman's arrival.
Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (November 12, 1940; on the death of Neville Chamberlain):
The fierce and bitter controversies which hung around him in recent times were hushed by the news of his illness and are silenced by his death. In paying a tribute of respect and of regard to an eminent man who has been taken from us, no one is obliged to alter the opinions which he has formed or expressed upon issues which have become a part of history; but at the Lychgate we must all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review.

It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.

What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.


A Breach of Decorum

Xenophon, Education of Cyrus 1.2.16 (tr. Walter Miller):
There remains even unto this day evidence of their moderate fare and of their working off by exercise what they eat: for even to the present time it is a breach of decorum for a Persian to spit or to blow his nose or to appear afflicted with flatulence; it is a breach of decorum also to be seen going apart either to make water or for anything else of that kind.

καὶ νῦν δὲ ἔτι ἐμμένει μαρτύρια καὶ τῆς μετρίας διαίτης αὐτῶν καὶ τοῦ ἐκπονεῖσθαι τὴν δίαιταν. αἰσχρὸν μὲν γὰρ ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἐστι Πέρσαις καὶ τὸ πτύειν καὶ τὸ ἀπομύττεσθαι καὶ τὸ φύσης μεστοὺς φαίνεσθαι, αἰσχρὸν δέ ἐστι καὶ τὸ ἰόντα ποι φανερὸν γενέσθαι ἢ τοῦ οὐρῆσαι ἕνεκα ἢ καὶ ἄλλου τινὸς τοιούτου.

πτύειν Cobet: ἀποπτύειν codd.
C.G. Cobet, "Ad Xenophontis Cyropaediam," Mnemosyne 3.4 (1875) 378-409 (at 378):
Non debebat punctum temporis Editor dubitare quin πτύειν pro ἀποπτύειν verum esset et recipiendum. Perinde est ac si respuere quis vellet dicere pro spuere vel sputare. Adhaesit praepositio ex sq. ἀπομύττεσθαι.



David O. Ross, Jr., Virgil's Elements: Physics and Poetry in the Georgics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 29-30:
One last point of introduction: Servius' commentary will be quoted frequently in what follows. I have come to find Servius of far greater value than anything written on Virgil since. Servius' commentary is a compilation, a variorum, part of which must go back four centuries to comments of various sorts made soon after the first publication of Virgil's poems. (For this reason I have not found it worthwhile here to attempt to distinguish consistently between Servius and Servius Auctus—the Donatus commentary.) These notes are often valuable in two ways. First, they illuminate because so frequently they provide us with a set of ideas entirely different from our own, an entirely neglected view of a word, or phrase, or passage that proves reasonably to have been Virgil's intention, long forgotten or overlooked simply because his own terms had been forgotten; understanding the Georgics is so often a matter of seeing the exact terms used in any passage. Second, even when a comment seems to us trivial, unnecessary, or silly, it often indicates that in antiquity some problem existed, that a line that seems clear enough to us seemed then to call for explanation, either because we simply don't see what bothered an ancient reader, or (as I suspect may frequently be the case) a comment, good and informed in itself, elicited another (but trivial) comment later, after which the informed comment dropped from the tradition, leaving only the dross to mark the place. I cite Servius, then, whenever I feel that what is there recorded provides a possible indication of the truth, known once and since forgotten.

Thursday, August 13, 2020



Terence, Phormio 948-951 (tr. Betty Radice):
What the devil do you mean, putting me off with all this shilly-shallying like a pair of stupid children? 'I won't; I will; then, I will, I won't; take it, give it back; take what's said as unsaid, cancel what was just agreed.'

quid vos, malum, ergo me sic ludificamini
inepti vostra puerili sententia?
nolo, volo; volo, nolo rursum; cape, cedo;        950
quod dictum indictumst; quod modo erat ratum irritumst.

949 sententia codd.: inconstantia Kayser
John Barsby in his Loeb Classical Library edition of Terence, Vol. II (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 122, attributes the conjecture inconstantia (line 949) to Richard Bentley, but I don't see it in Bentley's edition of Terence, rpt. by Eduard Vollbehr (Kiel: Sumptibus Librariae Academicae, 1846). Others attribute it to Alfred Fleckeisen, who does print it in his edition (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1898), p. 206, but credit seems to be due to Carl Ludwig Kayser, ed., Cornifici Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium libri IIII (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1854), p. 262.

In line 950, cĕdo is an imperative: see Allen and Greenough, A New Latin Grammar, § 206.g.

Heather Vincent, "Fabula Stataria: Language and Humor in Terence," in Antony Augoustakis and Ariana Traill, edd., A Companion to Terence (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp. 69-88 (at 85):
Note how the chiasmus, repetitions, and iterative phonetics provide a sing-song end rhyme, which we can imagine would couple well with a bit of hyperbolic mimicry: nolo, volo; volo, nolo rursum; cape, cedo. And in the final line the chiasmus and iteration provide something of a tongue twister: quod DICT(um) ¬INDICTumst. quod eRAT RAT(um) ¬IRRATumst.


The Storm

Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (January 20, 1940):
Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear — I fear greatly — the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely.
Very few wars have been won by mere numbers alone. Quality, will-power, geographical advantages, natural and financial resources, the command of the sea, and, above all, a cause which rouses the spontaneous surgings of the human spirit in millions of hearts — these have proved to be the decisive factors in the human story. If it were otherwise, how would the race of men have risen above the apes; how otherwise would they have conquered and extirpated dragons and monsters; how would they have ever evolved the moral theme; how would they have marched forward across the centuries to broad conceptions of compassion, of freedom, and of right? How would they ever have discerned those beacon lights which summon and guide us across the rough dark waters, and presently will guide us across the flaming lines of battle towards better days which lie beyond?



Xenophon, Education of Cyrus 1.2.7 (tr. Walter Miller):
And they bring one another to trial also charged with an offence for which people hate one another most but go to law least, namely, that of ingratitude; and if they know that any one is able to return a favour and fails to do so, they punish him also severely. For they think that the ungrateful are likely to be most neglectful of their duty toward their gods, their parents, their country, and their friends; for it seems that shamelessness goes hand in hand with ingratitude; and it is that, we know, which leads the way to every moral wrong.

δικάζουσι δὲ καὶ ἐγκλήματος οὗ ἕνεκα ἄνθρωποι μισοῦσι μὲν ἀλλήλους μάλιστα, δικάζονται δὲ ἥκιστα, ἀχαριστίας, καὶ ὃν ἂν γνῶσι δυνάμενον μὲν χάριν ἀποδιδόναι, μὴ ἀποδιδόντα δέ, κολάζουσι καὶ τοῦτον ἰσχυρῶς. οἴονται γὰρ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ περὶ θεοὺς ἂν μάλιστα ἀμελῶς ἔχειν καὶ περὶ γονέας καὶ πατρίδα καὶ φίλους. ἕπεσθαι δὲ δοκεῖ μάλιστα τῇ ἀχαριστίᾳ ἡ ἀναισχυντία· καὶ γὰρ αὕτη μεγίστη δοκεῖ εἶναι ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ αἰσχρὰ ἡγεμών.
Hubert A. Holden in his commentary ad loc. quotes William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night 3.4.353-356 (here with John Dover Wilson's line numbering and text):
I hate ingratitude more in a man,
Than lying vainness, babbling drunkenness,
Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.
See also Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Chapter VI ("Of the inhabitants of Lilliput..."):
Ingratitude is among them a capital crime, as we read it to have been in some other countries: for they reason thus, that whoever makes ill returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind, from whom he hath received no obligation, and therefore such a man is not fit to live.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Earth to Earth

Ennius, Annals 11-12 = I.vii Skutsch (tr. E.H. Warmington):
And earth who herself bestowed the body takes it back and wastes not a whit.

                                           terra<que> corpus
quae dedit ipsa capit neque dispendi facit hilum.

que add. Bergk
Otto Skutsch ad loc.:

Related posts:


A One-Sided Account

Terence, Phormio 696-698 (tr. Betty Radice):
Look here, sir, everything sounds worse if it's told all wrong. You leave out all the good bits and only mention the bad ones.

                                   nil est, Antipho,
quin male narrando possit depravarier.
tu id quod bonist excerpis, dicis quod malist.
Cf. Menander, fragment 236 Kassel and Austin, lines 14-16 (from The Misogynist; tr. S. Douglas Olson):
But if you constantly focus on what's making you unhappy, and don't balance it against the anticipated benefits, you'll always be miserable.

                                              ἂν δ' ἐκλέγῃ‎
ἀεὶ τὸ λυποῦν‎, μηδὲν ἀντιπαρατιθὶς‎
τῶν προσδοκωμένων‎, ὀδυνήσῃ διὰ τέλους.


What a Way to Go

Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. Translated with Introduction and Notes by Lee M. Hollander (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), pp. 14-15 (The Saga of the Ynglings, Chapter 11):
Once when Fjolnir went to visit Fróthi on the Island of Selund, a great banquet had been prepared and many had been invited from near and far. Fróthi had a large estate, and a vat had been built there, many ells high, and reinforced by stout timbers. It stood on the lower floor of a storehouse, and above it was a balcony with an opening in the floor, so that liquids could be poured down, and mead mixed in it. An exceedingly strong drink had been prepared. In the evening Fjolnir and his retinue were led to lodgings in a loft close by. During the night he went out on the balcony to find a place to relieve himself. He was drowsy with sleep and dead drunk, and on his way back to his lodgings he went along the balcony and to the wrong loft door and through it. He missed his footing and fell into the mead vat and drowned.



David O. Ross, Jr., Virgil's Elements: Physics and Poetry in the Georgics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), p. 7:
We are of course foreigners in the Roman world, in language, culture, and thought, as every classicist is aware. We do not feel anything sinister or magical in an ash tree. Infatuation, for us, is the proper concern of psychiatrists. We know what causes violent storms, our hurricanes and tornadoes, and in the case of the former, at least, we know beforehand exactly when and where they will strike; and we have agencies, public and private, to pick up the pieces afterwards and pay insurance claims. Glory is a concept we know only by hearsay, a somewhat archaic notion that has been replaced by notoriety or celebrity.
Thanks very much to the kind and generous reader who sent me a copy of Ross' book. I have been out of town and only just received it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


A Proverb

Terence, Phormio 318 (tr. Betty Radice):
It's your cooking, you must eat it.

tute hoc intristi, tibi omnest exedendum.
intristi (intrivisti) = 2nd person singular perfect active indicative of intero ("to rub into fragments, crumble up," Oxford Latin Dictionary, sense 1.b).

Donatus ad loc. (vol. II, p. 427 Wessner):
παροιμία apta parasito, quia de cibo est.
A proverb suited to a parasite, since it's about food.


Long Hair

Agathias, Histories 1.3.4 (tr. Joseph D. Frendo):
For it is the practice of the Frankish kings never to have their hair cut. It is never cut from childhood onwards and each individual lock hangs right down over the shoulders, since the front ones are parted on the forehead and hang down on either side. It is not, however, like that of the Turks and Avars, unkempt, dry and dirty and tied up in an unsightly knot. On the contrary they treat it with all kinds of soap and comb it very carefully. Custom has reserved this practice for royalty as a sort of distinctive badge and prerogative. Subjects have their hair cut all round, and are strictly forbidden to grow it any longer.

θεμιτὸν γὰρ τοῖς βασιλεῦσι τῶν Φράγγων οὐπώποτε κείρεσθαι, ἀλλ’ ἀκειρεκόμαι τέ εἰσιν ἐκ παίδων ἀεὶ, καὶ παρῃώρηνται αὐτοῖς ἅπαντες εὖ μάλα ἐπὶ τῶν ὤνμων οἱ πλόκαμοι· ἐπεὶ καὶ οἱ ἐμπρόσθιοι ἐκ τοῦ μετώπου σχιζόμενοι, ἐφ’ ἑκάτερα φέρονται. οὐ μὴν ὥσπερ οἱ τῶν Τούρκων τε καὶ Ἀβαρῶν ἀπέκτητοι καὶ αὐχμηροὶ καὶ ῥυπῶντες, καὶ ἐνέρσει ἀπρεπῶς ἀναπεπλεγμένοι, ἀλλὰ ῥύμματα γὰρ ἐπιβάλλουσιν αὐτοῖς ποικίλα, καὶ ἐς τὸ ἀκριβὲς διαξαίνουσι. τοῦτο δὲ ὥσοπερ τι γνώρισμα καὶ γέρας ἐξαιρετὸν τῷ βασιλείῳ γένει ἀνεῖσθαι νενόμισται· ἐπεὶ τό γε ὑπήκοον περίτροχα κείρονται, καὶ κομᾷν αὐτοῖς περαιτέρω οὐ μάλα ἐφεῖται.


Common Ground

George Macaulay Trevelyan, Clio, a Muse, and Other Essays Literary and Pedestrian (London: Longmas, Green and Co., 1913), pp. 130-131:
The best poetry should be the common ground of all creeds and of all parties. What a blessing it is that we do not know what "party" or "Church" or no-Church Shakespeare "belonged to"; and the innate conservatism of Paradise Lost so neatly balances Milton's Republicanism that he remains a national instead of a party asset. Poetry unites those whom all other writing divides. It is a body of scripture, almost a religion, common to those who, though not of one opinion in everything, seek some method by which to approach one another on subjects of deepest feeling and importance. Liberal spirits and pious souls would have greater difficulty in understanding each other, if it were not for Milton, Wordsworth and Shelley, and the emotions to which they give the most perfect expression. If poetry were at all widely understood and loved, we should find among men more of those several qualities to engender which is the true function of religion and of free thought, of conservative and liberal movements.

Monday, August 10, 2020


When Wasteful War Shall Statues Overturn

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 55:
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this pow'rful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,        5
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth, your praise shall still find room,        10
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
    So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
    You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
A.L. Rowse, Shakespeare's Sonnets: A Modern Edition, with Prose Versions, Introduction and Notes, 3rd ed. (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 113:
Neither marble nor princes' gilded monuments shall outlive these verses: you shall shine more bright in them than unswept stone, dirty with decay. When wasteful war shall overturn statues and throw down buildings, neither sword nor fire shall destroy the living record of your memory. Against death and injurious oblivion shall you go forward: your praise shall still find place even in the eyes of posterity, until doomsday ends the world. So, till the day of judgment calls you to arise, you will live on in this and in the eyes of lovers.

All that one can say about this famous sonnet, this splendid incantation, is to notice the outburst of confidence in his verse on the part of the poet. Perhaps it came, naturally enough, along with the relief of his anxiety. Nor was he wrong: wars have come and gone, London been twice burnt down, yet Shakespeare's friend goes on immortally in his verse, as the poet assured him.
Colin Burrow, ed., William Shakespeare, The Complete Sonnets and Poems (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 490 (I added Ovid before Met.):
1–2 Not marble . . . rhyme Horace, Odes 3.30.1–9 and Ovid, Met. 15.871–9 are the chief precedents for this confident affirmation of the power of verse to immortalize. Golding 15.983–95: ‘Now have I brought a work to end which neither Jove’s fierce wrath, | Nor sword, nor fire, nor fretting age with all the force it hath | Are able to abolish quite. Let come that fatal hour | Which (saving of this brittle flesh) hath over me no power, | And at his pleasure make an end of mine uncertain time. | Yet shall the better part of me assurèd be to climb | Aloft above the starry sky. And all the world shall never | Be able for to quench my name. For look how far so ever | The Roman Empire by the right of conquest shall extend, | So far shall all folk read this work. And time without all end | (If poets as by prophecy about the truth may aim) | My life shall everlastingly be lengthened still by fame’. This poem differs from its predecessors in two respects: (a) The poet immortalizes not himself, as Horace and Ovid do, but the friend, whose literary afterlife gives him enough vitality to pace forth (l. 10); (b) Horace and Ovid both make the life of their verse coextensive with the sway of the Roman Empire in time and space; Shakespeare promises endurance in all lands (all posterity, l. 11) until Judgement Day (the ending doom, l. 12).This poem also notably fails to record any of the friend’s achievements or actions. It is the poem’s tenacity of remembrance rather than the deeds of the friend which is celebrated.

1 monuments ‘A monument is a thing erected, made or written, for a memorial of some remarkable action, fit to be transferred to future posterities. And thus generally taken, all religious Foundations, all sumptuous and magnificent structures, Cities, Towns, Towers, Castles, Pillars, Pyramids, Crosses, Obelisks, Amphitheatres, Statues and the like, as well as Tombs and Sepulchres, are called Monuments’, John Weever, Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631), 1.

2 pow’rful Q marks this as disyllabic by spelling it ‘powrefull’. ‘Power’ is usually monosyllabic and usually spelt ‘powre’ in Q. The only exception is 65.2, when ‘power’ rhymes with ‘flower’ in what may be a feminine rhyme.

3 contents ‘The sum or substance of what is contained in a document; tenor, purport’; hence ‘in the matter of these poems’ (OED 3a); here, as normally before the nineteenth century, accented ‘contènt’.

4 besmeared with sluttish time Most editors gloss ‘dirtied over by the filthy servant time’, in which sluttish is taken to mean ‘Of persons:Dirty and untidy in dress and habits’ (OED 1). ‘Besmeared with’, however, indicates that time is not the agent causing the dirt to spread on the monument, but that it is the substance with which it is besmeared (DuBellay’s poems on the Antiquitez de Rome frequently refer to the ‘poudreuse cendre’ (1.1), the dusty cinders, which obscure the lineaments of ancient Rome). Sluttish therefore probably means ‘Of things: Unclean, dirty, grimy; untidy’ (OED 2). Compare Lucrece ll. 945 and 1381.

6 broils tumults; esp. in Shakespeare civil war or internal disturbance
work of masonry stone structures which are the products of a stonemason’s labour

7 Mars his sword the sword of Mars, god of war
quick rapid; also, perhaps with a deliberate paradox, ‘alive’

8 record (stressed on the first syllable) is usually a written report in the Sonnets, as at 59.5 and 123.11.

9 all oblivious enmity ‘all hostilities which destroy records of antiquity’. Wars cause the decay of monuments and therefore bring about oblivion of the past. For the usage of oblivious to mean ‘bringing about oblivion’ see Macbeth 5.3.43–7: ‘Raze out the written troubles of the brain, | And with some sweet oblivious antidote | Cleanse the fraught bosom of that perilous stuff | Which weighs upon the heart’. Ingram and Redpath’s conjecture ‘oblivion’s enmity’ misses this idiosyncratic usage. Many editors hyphenate all-oblivious-enmity, which hardens the sense unnecessarily towards ‘hostility which destroys everything’, and excludes ‘all forms of hostility which generate oblivion’.

10 pace forth stride out with the measured confidence of a warrior
find room gain admittance

11 eyes of opinion of
posterity See 6.12 n.

12 ending doom apocalypse; end of the world

13 the judgement . . . arise the Last Judgement, in which you will be resurrected in your own body

14 this this poem


Expect the Worst

Terence, Phormio 241-246 (tr. Peter Brown):
That's why everyone, particularly at a time when things are going especially well for them, should think through how to bear trouble and adversity—danger, loss, or exile! A man returning from abroad should always expect his son to have behaved badly, or his wife to have died, or his daughter to have fallen ill, and should reXect that these things hit everyone, that they can happen; that way, nothing will catch him unprepared. If anything turns out better than he expected, he should reckon it all as proWt.

quam ob rem omnis, quom secundae res sunt maxume, tum maxume
meditari secum oportet quo pacto advorsam aerumnam ferant,
pericla damna exsilia. peregre rediens semper cogitet
aut fili peccatum aut uxoris mortem aut morbum filiae
communia esse haec, fieri posse, ut ne quid animo sit novom;        245
quidquid praeter spem eveniat, omne id deputare esse in lucro.
R.H. Martin ad loc.:
The thought of these lines corresponds very closely to a passage from Euripides' Theseus (Nauck fr. 392), translated by Cic. Tusc. III.29 (Cicero goes on to quote Phormio 241-6—with some minor differences in the text).
Euripides, fragment 964 Kannicht (among the incertae fabulae; tr. Christopher Collard and Martin Cropp, slightly modified by me):
I learned this from a wise man:
I kept my mind turned to anxieties and misfortunes,
presenting to myself exile from my fatherland,
and untimely death, and other paths of misery,
so that, should I suffer any of the things I imagined in my thoughts,
nothing might befall me unexpectedly and hurt me the more.

ἐγὼ δὲ <ταῦτα> παρὰ σοφοῦ τινος μαθὼν
εἰς φροντίδας νοῦν συμφοράς τ᾿ ἐβαλλόμην,
φυγάς τ᾿ ἐμαυτῷ προστιθεὶς πάτρας ἐμῆς
θανάτους τ᾿ ἀώρους καὶ κακῶν ἄλλας ὁδούς,
ἵν᾿ εἴ τι πάσχοιμ᾿ ὧν ἐδόξαζον φρενί,
μή μοι νεῶρες προσπεσὸν μᾶλλον δάκοι.

suppl. Nauck
Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 3.14.29 (translating Euripides; tr. Andrew P. Peabody):
I bore in mind the lessons of a sage,
And thought of ills the future had in store,
Of bitter death, or of an exile's doom,
Or some vast weight of evil hanging o'er me,
That so, if dire calamity should come,
It could not creep upon me unawares.

nam qui haec audita a docto meminissem viro,
futuras mecum commentabar miserias:
aut mortem acerbam aut exsili maestam fugam,
aut semper aliquam molem meditabar mali,
ut, si qua invecta diritas casu foret,
ne me imparatum cura laceraret repens.


History and Literature

George Macaulay Trevelyan, Clio, a Muse, and Other Essays Literary and Pedestrian (London: Longmas, Green and Co., 1913), pp. 24-25:
History and literature cannot be fully comprehended, still less fully enjoyed, except in connection with one another. I confess I have little love either for "Histories of Literature," or for chapters on "the literature of the period," hanging at the end of history books like the tail from a cow. I mean, rather, that those who write or read the history of a period should be soaked in its literature, and that those who read or expound literature should be soaked in history.

Sunday, August 09, 2020


You Won't Find This in the Prayer Book

Composed by a friend (adapted from the "Forms of Prayer to be Used at Sea" in the Book of Common Prayer):
O eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens, and rulest the raging of the sea; who hast compassed the waters with bounds until day and night come to an end: for such as pass on the seas upon their unlawful occasions, rebuke not the raging winds, and the roaring sea, but rather suffer the billows to swallow up their bark and all therein to perish in the mighty deep, that the inhabitants of our Continent may in peace and quietness serve thee our God; and that we may enjoy the blessings of the land, with the fruits of our labours; and with a thankful remembrance of thy mercies to praise and glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Bitter Cup

Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (October 5, 1938):
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.


Like a Fly Over a Dunghill

Tom Holland, Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West (2005; rpt. New York: Anchor Books, 2007), p. xxiii:
Readers should certainly be warned that many of the details out of which this book's narrative has been constructed are ambiguous and ferociously disputed—and that the sudden appearance of a number in the text, hovering like a fly over a dunghill, generally indicates that qualification is being offered in an endnote.


Prayers for an End to the Plague

Livy 3.7.7-3.8.1 (tr. Aubrey de Sélincourt):
The Senate, despairing of human aid, turned the people to their prayers, bidding them go with their wives and children and supplicate heaven for a remission of their sorrows. It was an official command, but no more than what each was impelled to do by his own distress: every shrine was packed; in every temple women lay prostrate, their hair sweeping the floor, praying the angry gods to grant them pardon and to put an end to the plague. It may be that the prayers were granted; in any case, the sickly season was now over, and from this time, little by little, those in whom the disease had run its course began to recover.

inopsque senatus auxilii humani ad deos populum ac vota vertit. iussi cum coniugibus ac liberis supplicatum ire pacemque exposcere deum, ad id quod sua quemque mala cogebant auctoritate publica evocati omnia delubra implent. stratae passim matres, crinibus templa verrentes, veniam irarum caelestium finemque pesti exposcunt. inde paulatim, seu pace deum impetrata seu graviore tempore anni iam circumacto, defuncta morbis corpora salubriora esse incipere.
R.M. Ogilvie ad loc.:
7.7. inops ... auxilii humani: cf. Tacitus, Hist. 2.16.3 (Fletcher).

7.7-8. iussi: the two past participles in asyndeton (iussi ... evocati) are harsh and not, I think, exactly paralleled elsewhere in L. iussos (Ver.), on the other hand, with a plural understood from populum, is impossible with deos so near at hand. The reverse corruption is found at 4.7.3 (usos N, usi sunt Ver.). It is probably best to punctuate, with Madvig and Luterbacher, ...vertit: iussi ... deum. ad id ... .

supplicatum ire: a rhetorical elaboration of a bare fact. L. indulges his fancy, painting a graphic scene of public prayer. For stratae matres cf. Tacitus, Hist. 1.63; for crinibus verrere, a symbol of the meekest supplication, cf. especially Apuleius, Metam. 6.2. pacem or veniam exposcere belongs to religious phraseology (1.16.3, 3.5.14, 4.30.10, 7.2.2, 44.44.4; cf. Catullus 64.203; Virgil, Aeneid 3.261; Val. Max. 1.1.1; and a plant prayer in Prec. Herb. 6).

8.1. seu ... seu: so also D.H. 9.60.7.


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