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.

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