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The following paper has now appeared in print as “A Latin Legacy”,

published by Cressar Publications, ISBN 978-0-9535399-2-5, price £7.99.


The distributors are York Publishing Services. More information can be
found on www.ypdbooks.com/437__cressar-publications.

Introduction
Although officially classified now as “dead”, Latin has left us post mortem a
rich legacy. Through this legacy the language still lives on, in our everyday
lives and in our reading, and this book is a celebration of the fact. It is a
collection of more or less well-known (or deserving of being better known)
phrases or passages in Latin, and it is offered to the student as well as to the
general reader.
For the general reader as well as for the student, part of the interest may lie in
identifying the source of passages met with in books written in English by
authors with some knowledge of Latin. For example, Anthony Trollope says
in Doctor Thorne that “Frank Gresham regarded himself as one who had
already fought his [amorous] battles, and fought them not without glory.”
There can be no doubt that when Trollope wrote these words, he had in mind
the passage from Horace: Vixi puellis nuper idoneus et militavi non sine
gloria − “In days gone by I lived equipped for ladies’ love, and fought not
without glory”. It can be satisfying so to locate a provenance, and the author
in fact expects his readers to be able to do so. It is a confidence and a
pleasure shared equally between the writer and the reader.
For the benefit particularly of the student, many passages in this account have
been rewritten in a word order closer to that to be expected in English, to give
as nearly as possible a word for word translation and so to help make clearer
the meaning of the passage.
In addition, notes on the grammar of many words in the passages have been
added, and are supplied to help those readers who already have at least an
elementary knowledge of Latin. However even the more advanced student
often finds it difficult to trace a given word in a dictionary. In the standard
dictionaries verbs are usually entered only as the first person singular present
active indicative: nouns are entered as the nominative singular; and adjectives
are entered as the masculine nominative singular. When such verbs, nouns or
adjectives occur in a passage in the present collection, they are generally
passed over without comment, being easy to find in the dictionary. A note is
usually added however:

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a) for other parts of a verb, when reference will be made to the first person
singular present followed by the (present) infinitive. So the reader meeting
with tetegisti is directed to tango, tangere, “to touch”. When a verb is in the
infinitive, mention will be made only of the first person singular present of
the verb. Thus sapere is explained by sapio, “I discern”. Note however, that
when the first person singular present and the infinitive are both quoted the
translation is given as the infinitive, e.g., “to discern”. (All verbs can be
assumed to be in the active voice and the indicative mood, unless it is stated
that they are passive or subjunctive.)
b) for other cases of a noun and for the plural, when reference will be made to
the nominative singular followed by the genitive singular (unless this is
identical to the nominative singular, which is true of some third and fourth
declension nouns). So the reader, on meeting bubus, is directed to bos, bovis,
“ox”.
c) for other cases, numbers, genders or developments of an adjective, when
reference will be made to the nominative singular masculine. So the reader
faced with optimo is directed to bonus, “good”.
In order to save space, no note is normally made of the verb est where it
occurs in a quote. The reader should note here and now that it is the third
person singular present of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
The book is divided into four sections. The first, second and third sections
contain phrases of three, four and five words respectively, while the fourth
contains phrases and quotations of more than five words. These sections are
each set out in alphabetical order. To make it easier to locate a known phrase
or word, an index is provided of all the words used in the selection. Thus the
phrase “sub tegmine fagi” can be located by looking up “tegmine”: it is to
found on page 176. Another very short index (Appendix I) shows the head
words of a quotation in which a particular phrase is hidden. The phrase
“decus et tutamen” is engraved round the edge of the English pound coin, and
the short index locates it in the passage beginning “Donat habere”.
Some examples of the use of certain phrases refer to the works of
P. J. Dorricot. This is a pseudonym of the present author, but the works
mentioned have so far not been published (or even completed).
The attention of those readers looking for information on single words such
as “cornucopia” or two-word phrases such as “pari passu”, is drawn to the
present author’s book “Ad Hoc, Ad Lib, Ad Nauseam”, published by
Summersdale, where such information may often be found.

2
John Parker
Ludgvan, Cornwall
2015

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Some particular points of grammar
1. Many adjectives are used as nouns in the masculine plural when
they designate a class, by the grammatical process known as ellipsis, “a
falling short”. A similar process operates in English. Examples to be found
in this account include defuncti, “the dead” and fortes, “the strong”, and
where they occur they are marked as “by ellipsis”. Occasionally ellipsis
operates in the singular also, cf. “I bone”.
2. Adjectives of the second declension are sometimes used as neuter
nouns in the genitive after words of quantity or after pronouns. Examples to
be found in this account include aliquid novi (novum) and nil humani
(humanum).
3. A noun which is in the genitive case usually tells us more about
another noun, as in e.g. in loco parentis, literally “in place of a parent”, where
parentis tells us more about loco. In this account such genitives are
designated as being dependent on the other noun.
4. The interjection O, meaning the same as our “O” as in “O God our
help in ages past”, can be followed by the vocative case or by the nominative
or by the accusative. In O fons Bandusiae the case could be either vocative
or nominative. In O fortunatos it is accusative. It has been suggested that the
accusative is used to show deep emotion. It can also stand indepenently as in
O mihi praeteritos . . .
5. The verb “is” is frequently missed out in Latin and has to be
supplied in translation. Examples are In vino veritas (In wine is truth), Mors
janua vitae (Death is the gate of life), and Varium et mutabile semper femina
(A fickle and changeful thing is woman ever).
6. The verb sum, esse is normally a “copulative” verb, joining a subject
to a “complement”. This complement tells us more about the subject. It may
be another noun as in “Tiberius was emperor”, or an adjective as in “Tiberius
was kind”, or a phrase such as in “Tiberius was in the bath”. The adjective in
the complement agrees with the subject in case, number and gender, as in
humanum est errare. Very often the noun behaves in the same way but not
always. In stipendium peccati mors est, the subject, stipendium, is neuter
while the complement, mors, is feminine. In amantium irae amoris
integratio est, the subject is irae, which is plural, but the complement,
integratio, is singular, as is the verb. In varium et mutabile semper femina
(where the verb est is missed out) the subject is femina, a feminine noun,
while the complement comprises two neuter adjectives, varium and mutabile,
referring to “a thing” which is not mentioned but which is taken to be neuter.
7. Many Latin prepositions “govern” the accusative case of the noun,
which in the singular ends usually in “-m”, the exceptions being some neuter
nouns. Examples are found in post mortem, ad infinitum and supra

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crepidam. The accusative plural usually ends in “-s” or “-a”, as in in medias
res and inter alia.
8. The dative case traditionally carries the implication of being “to” or
“for” something. It is used normally without a preposition. The term comes
from datum, the supine of do, dare, “to give.”
9. The ablative is a multi-purpose case. In the singular it ends in a
vowel, while in the plural it ends in “-is” or “-bus”. It can be used with a
preposition “governing” it, as in ab origine, de facto, and in situ (all
singular), and in in excelsis and de gustibus (both plural). The ablative can
also however stand alone. If it does stand alone then it usually has a meaning
traditionally associated with one of the words “by, with or from”. If the
meaning is “by” then it may be described in the notes as an ablative of
“instrument” or of “cause” or of “agent”. If the meaning is “with” then it
may be described as an ablative of “association” or of “comparison” or of
“instrument” as in pede claudo. If the meaning is “from” then it may be
described as an ablative of “separation”. (These terms are to be found in the
best grammar books and are not, please note, the invention of the present
author.) The term itself comes from ablatum, the supine of aufero, auferre,
“to take from”.
10. A feature of Latin is the use of the accusative and the infinitive in
oratio obliqua (reported speech) and in a dependent clause after verbs of
saying, believing, perceiving, etc. The construction is mirrored in English: “I
know him to be an honest man”, as an alternative to “I know that he is an
honest man”.
11. Latin verbs fall into four main conjugations. However there are
some, including facio, facere; accipio, accipere; effugio, effugere; sapio,
sapere; incipio, incipere, which in the infinitive have the -ere ending of the
third conjugation but in the first person singular present have the -io ending
of the fourth conjugation. In his book Learn Latin, Peter Jones classes these
verbs as a fifth conjugation, but Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer puts them
into a “mixed” conjugation, and the present book follows Kennedy’s
nomenclature.
12. The word order in Latin poetry is very much determined by the
requirements of scansion. Syllables will usually be either long or short and
the words containing them will be fitted in where the metre requires. An
example is Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis (q.v. infra) where the
position of nos (long) and et (short) is determined by the pattern of syllables
in the hexameter. In the passages below, following the guidance of Cassells
Latin Dictionary, long vowels are marked by macrons to help pronunciation,
although no attempt has been made to mark the length of syllables in the
verse extracts.

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Section I
Abiit ad plūrēs
Petronius, Satyricon 42
He has gone to (join) the majority, i.e., the dead
A stock reply to the Roman child’s query: “Haven’t seen Grandpa around
lately − is he all right?” A classical euphemism, comparable with “popped
his clogs”.
In 2003 The Computer Journal carried a tribute to Roger Needham, “In
Memoriam Roger Needham”. It suggested that Roger’s career and his life’s
work were an inspiration to all working in computer science and related
fields. “Abiit ad plures now. His achievements will be remembered.”
However the phrase is not necessarily applicable today, since it has been
calculated that we, the living, now outnumber the dead and are ourselves the
new “majority”. In his Religio Medici (“The medico’s religion”), Sir Thomas
Brown quoted abiit ad plures as having been inappropriate also just after the
Creation, until such time as Adam and Eve and their descendants had begun
to die off in sufficient numbers.
Abiit The third person singular perfect of the verb abeo (= ab + eo), abire,
“to go away”.
Plūrēs The accusative plural of the third declension noun plus, pluris,
“more”, governed by the preposition ad. Plus is the comparative of the
adjective multum, “much”. Here plures qualifies an absent noun homines,
“men”, and hence by ellipsis takes on the attributes of a noun meaning “the
majority (of humans)”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ab īmō pectore
From the bottom of the heart, from the pit of the stomach
Literally “from the bottom-most breast”. It is a phrase said to have been used
first by Julius Caesar, who being a man of few words (cf. “veni, vidi, vici”
infra) is also credited with reducing it to ab imo. Despite the efforts of Galen
to educate the ancients into the internal geography of the human anatomy, it
seems the Romans were not much clearer than we are about the exact part of
one’s entrails from which a gut feeling should come.
I have a letter from a friend, now sadly long gone ad plures, containing the
apology “Mea culpa (q.v.) ab imo.”
“[Henry] described (in words which were no doubt pathetic, for they came
imo pectore, and caused honest Dick to weep plentifully) his youth, his

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constancy, his fond devotion to that household that had reared him; . . .”
W. M. Thackeray, Henry Esmond.
Īmō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective imus, “the lowest”,
qualifying pectore. Imus itself is the superlative of the adjective inferus,
“(be)low”.
Pectore The ablative singular of the third declension neuter noun pectus,
pectoris, “the breast, the seat of the emotions”, governed by the preposition
ab.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ab urbe conditā (AUC)
From the founding of the city (Rome)
Every civilisation uses a calendar in which years are numbered from some
landmark event in the past. For the Jews this event is the Creation, for the
Muslims it is the Hegira, for the Western nations it is the birth of Christ. For
the Romans it was the year in which Rome was founded. All happenings in
Roman history were dated from this point, which we today reckon as 753
B.C. but which to the Romans was their year dot or zero. Lord Macaulay
prefaces his poem “Horatius”, one of the “Lays of Ancient Rome”, with the
words: “A Lay Made about the Year of the City CCCLX”, which is about
(754 - 360) = 394 B.C. [Note that if A.U.C. 1 is 753 B.C., then A.U.C. 2 is
752 B.C., and the two corresponding numbers will always add up to 754 until
1 B.C. To convert A.U.C. dates to dates A.D., simply subtract 753.] An
alternative form is “Anno urbis conditae” − “In the year from the founding
of the city”. Note that to the Romans, urbs, “the city”, always meant Rome.
Frank Morley, in The Great North Road, moves the phrase from Rome to
London. “Concealed for the many centuries, the north front of the Wall (of
London) was now disclosed, . . . as it was ab urbe condita.”
In Angels and Insects, A. S. Byatt has Natty Crompton agree that the name of
the Blood-Red Ants’ nest should be “Red Fort”, and that he would embark on
its geography and history “if not ab urbe condita then from our discovery of
it.”
Urbe The ablative singular of urbs, urbis, “city”, governed by the
preposition ab.
Conditā The ablative singular feminine of conditus, the perfect participle of
the verb condo, condere, “to establish”. It agrees in gender with urbe, and
behaves like a noun, “the foundation”, and together with urbe is governed by
the preposition ab. If the Romans wished to refer to events before 0 A.U.C.,
which they did but rarely, they used the formula ante urbem conditam,

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“before the founding of the city”. (Here both urbem and conditam, being
governed by the preposition ante, are in the accusative case.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Acta nōn verba
Deeds not words
This is the motto of the Jameson family and is precisely the sort of motto
which, being pithy and easy to spell, was likely to appeal to aristocratic
families who valued the busy life of the court and the hunting field over the
less congenial and often more strenuous pursuits of reading and writing. It
could almost be translated as “War, war, not jaw, jaw”. Sir Leander Starr
Jameson put the family motto into practice and brought the family name into
prominence in December 1895 by leading the “Jameson Raid” into the
Transvaal in the hope of stirring up rebellion against the president, “Oom”
Paul Kruger. He failed, although his attempt apparently inspired Rudyard
Kipling to write his poem “If −”. Jameson died in 1917, but his name lived
on, at least locally, and in 1967 a commemorative stamp was issued in
(Southern) Rhodesia to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death.
[It should be remembered that a Latin word ending in “a” could be a singular
feminine noun, e.g., stella, alea, angina; or a plural neuter noun, e.g., studia,
acta, verba. The nominative singular of these neuter nouns, where it exists,
usually ends in “-um”.]
Acta The nominative plural of actum, the supine of the verb ago, agere, “to
set in motion”, used here as a neuter noun. Acta were strictly public acts or
ordinances, such as are Acts of Parliament today. Human actions and deeds
were facta, so the motto does not really say what it purports to say. For the
“Acts” of the Apostles, the Vulgate uses Actūs, the nominative plural of the
fourth declension noun actus, again derived from ago.
Verba The nominative plural of the neuter noun verbum, verbi, “a word”.
Cf. “Facta non verba” infra.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ad captandum vulgus
Seeking to win over the rabble
This phrase is anything but flattering, implying as it does that someone,
usually a demagogue or lesser (or even greater) politician, is no more than a
rabble-rouser, employing specious arguments to serve his own ends, and
exuding insincerity and duplicity with every word he utters to a credulous
audience.

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“Why did Mr. Disraeli take the duties of the Exchequer with so much relish?
Because people said he was a novelist; an ad captandum man . . . that could
not add up.” W. Bagehot, Literary Studies, “Shakespeare”.
“It was curious how vulgar Nature could be at times, − meretricious, ad
captandum vulgus effects − . . .” Patrick O’Brian, H.M.S. Surprise.
“The pretext given, ’tis clear, was ad captandum vulgum, powder to blind
other eyes. . . .” John Fowles, A Maggot. [Here Mr. Fowles treats “vulgus”
as a masculine noun, whereas it is normally treated as being neuter. Cf. “odi
profanum vulgus” infra.]
Captandum The accusative neuter of captandus, the gerundive adjective of
the verb capto, captare, “to seek to win, to entice”, qualifying vulgus. The
literal meaning of the whole phrase is “to the mob which is to be won over”.
Vulgus The accusative singular of vulgus, vulgi, “the mob”, governed by the
preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aegri somnia (vānae)
Horace − Ars Poetica, 7
The dreams of a sick man
There seems to be some confusion over the meaning and origin and correct
form of this phrase. The full sentence in Horace runs: velut aegri somnia,
vanae fingentur species − “like the dreams of a sick man, from (which) will
be created empty visions”. Here vanae qualifies species, but the three-word
phrase aegri somnia vana is also frequently quoted, which can be translated
as “the empty dreams of a sick man”, with vana qualifying somnia. Ovid
also talks of somnia vana in Metamorphoses ii. 614.
“(Henry, wounded,) was passing the days in these crazy fancies and vana
somnia, whilst the army was singing Te Deum for the victory.”
W. M. Thackeray, Henry Esmond.
Aegri Somnia is the title of a track on the 2001 album Ex Oriente Lux (“Light
from the East”) by Asgaard, a Polish heavy metal band (with Gothic
influences). Jules Verne uses Aegri somnia as the title of chapter 23 of
volume I of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, while Aegri Somnia
Vana is the title of a poem by Willowdown of the Tir na nOg poetic
community to be found on the ezboard website.
Aegri The genitive singular of aeger, “an invalid”, dependent on somnia.
Somnia The nominative plural of somnium, somnii, “a dream”.
Vāna The nominative plural neuter of the adjective vanus, “empty”,
qualifying somnia.

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Ālea iacta est
The die is cast
At this point there is no going back. Julius Caesar is said by Plautus to have
quoted this proverbial saying (in its original Greek form, ,
“anerrhiphtho kubos”derived from Menander) after crossing the Rubicon
with his legions on 10th January 49 B.C. (A.U.C. 705). He should by rights
have told his soldiers to fall out and go home, and then have gone on to
Rome solus, but in view of what happened to him eventually, he could hardly
be blamed for not doing this. But by so crossing the Rubicon, the “point of
no return”, he rejected the authority of the Senate and precipitated the civil
war between himself and Pompey.
For some reason Alea Iacta Est is the name of a research training programme
network in tissue engineering.
[The fact that he said Alea iacta est − “the die (two or more of which make
dice) is cast”, suggests that Caesar was a gambling man at heart, perhaps
addicted to a primitive form of backgammon. Had he lived in our day and
age and been a musician, he might have taken pleasure in aleatory music,
tunes composed by such chance methods as throwing dice. In reply to those
(and there were some) who could have sworn that he said not “Alea iacta est”
but “Iacta alea est”, he would have doubtless replied to the effect that the
order of words in Latin is immaterial − he could have said “Iacta est alea” or
any other of the six different arrangements possible of any three chosen
words, and still have made his meaning clear. On the other hand it was
Plutarch who claimed that Caesar spoke in Greek, which makes the above
conjectures somewhat pointless.]
Iacta The nominative singular feminine of iactus, the past participle of the
mixed conjugation verb iacio, iacere, meaning “to cast dice”. It could be
taken to be an adjective, the complement of alea; or iacta est could be taken
to be the third person singular perfect passive of the verb, meaning “has
been cast”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Argūmentum ad hominem
An argument to the man
Not involving so much an appeal to a man’s better nature, but appealing
rather to his inner nature, calling up his own deeply-held views and principles
in support of the argument: “. . . that soft and irresistible piano of voice,
which the nature of the argumentum ad hominem absolutely requires . . .”
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy.

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John Locke, in Human Understanding, writes: “Argumentum ad hominem −
to press a man with consequences drawn from his own principles or
concessions.”
The phrase ad hominem can also be applied to an attack made on a person’s
character so as to avoid having to counter his arguments. Writing in The
Observer, Anita Brookner suggested that the tutelary genius of all
commentators on eighteenth-century French painting was Diderot, “whose
hectic ad hominem attacks and enthusiasms would not pass muster in today’s
world of professionals.”
Hominem The accusative singular of homo, hominis, “a man”, governed by
the preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Arma virumque canō
Virgil, Aeneid, i. 1
Arms and the man I sing
The opening words of the Aeneid. The man in question was Aeneas, a
Trojan, the son of Venus and Anchises, who by tradition was ancestor to the
eventual founders of Rome.
From Arma virumque cano George Bernard Shaw took the title, anglice, of
his play “Arms and the Man”.
Patrick O’Brian in H.M.S. Surprise reports a harsh voice saying: “ ‘Arma
virumque cano,’ . . . as some recollection of Diana’s mad cousin set
Stephen’s memory in motion.”
“Arms and the Man” is the motto of Number 2 Air Armament School of the
R.A.F.
Arma This is the accusative of a plural neuter noun of which the putative
singular, *armum, “an implement of war”, is never used. Its meaning here
could be “wars”.
Virum This is the accusative singular of the second declension noun, vir,
viri, “a man” (as opposed to a woman).
-que This suffix means “and”. It is an alternative to et, atque, or ac. It is an
“enclitic” and joins two things which are, as with arma and virum, in some
way alike or of equivalent weight. (Cf. “virginibus puerisque” infra.)

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Ars grātiā artis
Art for art's sake
The slogan “L’art pour l’art” was coined by Théophile Gautier (1811−72).
As “Art for art’s sake”, it was taken up by Walter Pater and others in the
Aesthetic movement in Britain. Millions of cinema-goers have become
familiar with the Latin version: it is the legend around the roaring lion (Leo)
on the logo of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films.
Not to be outdone by the art world, Edgar Allan Poe, feeling much the same
about poetry, suggested that the poem per se was what mattered, that the
poem was written solely for the poem’s sake.
Grātiā The ablative singular of gratia, gratiae, a word with many meanings,
all favourable. Here gratia means “on account of”, “for the sake of”, which
is its meaning in an even better-known phrase exempli gratia (e.g.), “for the
sake of example”. It is followed by the genitive case.
Artis The genitive singular of ars, “art”, dependent on gratia.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Audī alteram partem
St.Augustine, De Duabus Animabus, XIV. 2
Hear the other side
Augustine wrote in fact audi partem alteram, which is a better Latin order of
words, but time has changed the order, perhaps to add fluency and force to
the admonition but possibly also influenced by the word order in English.
T. Winsor in a letter to The Guardian noted that a certain defendant had not
so far been heard in his own defence. “Audi alteram partem . . . is a well-
established . . . rule of law on both sides of the border.”
Traditionally the statues of Themis, the Greek goddess of justice, show her
holding her sword and scales, and blindfold. The statue of Justice standing
above the portals of the Old Bailey in London has the sword and scales but
not the blindfold. But blindfold or not, it is to be understood that, whatever
other bits of Justice’s person are covered up, her ears are wide open.
Audī The second person singular imperative of the verb audio, audire, “to
hear”.
Alteram The accusative singular feminine of the adjective alter, “the other”,
qualifying partem.
Partem The accusative singular of pars, partis, “a part”, the object of audi.

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Britanniārum Omnium Rex (Britt. Omn. Rex)
King of all the Britains
These words in their abbreviated form, inscribed on British coins of the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, announced, at least to the monied
classes, that the monarch was ruler of all the Britains, both here and overseas.
Victoria was Britt. Omn. Regina, Queen of all the Britains, or of the British
Territories. There was never enough room round the edge of any coin,
however large, to accommodate all the sovereign’s titles, hence the
abbreviations. In fact, Victoria often had to make do with a bare Britt.
Regina. (Britt. is an abbreviation of Britanniarum with the double “t”
indicating a plural.)
Had Victoria reigned a hundred years earlier, she could have rejoiced in
being Queen of France as well. Edward III had laid claim to the throne of
France as far back as 1337. A medallion struck in the reign of Charles I was
inscribed CAROLVS I D:G MAG[NAE] BRITTANN[IAE] FRAN[CIAE] ET
HIBERN[IAE] REX – “Charles I, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain,
France and Ireland”; while in one of the early deeds of a former house of
mine, dated 1754, appears a reference to “our Sovereign Lord George the
Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King
Defender of the Faith and so forth”; and I have come across a deed of 1792
which still mentions France in the king's titles. The British monarch
relinquished the title of King of France only after two centuries or more had
passed since the loss in 1558 of Calais, the last possession held by Britain in
France.
Brittaniārum The genitive plural of Brittania, Brittaniae, “Britain”,
dependent on Rex.
Omnium The genitive plural of the adjective omnis, “all”, qualifying
Brittaniarum.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13
Caeca invidia est
Livy, xxxviii. 49
Envy is blind
Unlike jealousy, which is reported to have green eyes.
Caeca The nominative singular feminine of the adjective caecus, “blind”,
the complement of invidia.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cīvis Rōmānus sum
Cicero, In Verrem, V, lvii. 147
I am a Roman citizen
Civis Romanus was a qualification of no little value to its holder when the
Empire was at its height. Cicero’s case against Verres, set down fully in In
Verrem, included the charge that, under Verres’ administration, Roman
citizenship had ceased to be a protection against injustice.
St. Paul was a Roman citizen: “And as they bound him with thongs, Paul
said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man
that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
“When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying,
Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.” – (. . . hic enim homo
civis Romanus est.) Acts xxii. 25, 26.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cōgitō, ergō sum
Rene Descartes, Le Discours de la Méthode
I think, therefore I am
In French this was “Je pense, donc je suis”. Brigitte Bardot used to sing a
song: “Je danse, donc je suis”. (Salto ergo sum?)
Descartes almost immediately after writing the Discours dropped the cogito
and changed the phrase to ego sum, ego existo (“I am, I exist”).
Iris Murdoch, in The Message to the Planet, has a character who could have
mentioned cogito ergo sum, “only I detest that shallow but influential maxim,
now I’m glad to say discarded.”

14
Cui bonō (fuisset)?
Cicero, Pro Milone, xii. 32
To whom might it have been the profit? or Who stands to gain?
Cicero quotes Lucius Cassius Longinus, a judge who asked this question in
the search for a motive behind whatever suspect action he was looking into.
The phrase does not mean “What good does it do?” This latter meaning
might be supplied by a phrase like Quid prodest? which is the motto of the
family of Webb of Knocktoran.
“Now it was you, Sherlock, who rightly asked the key question: cui bono?
And you concluded that the real beneficiary was Wyndham.” Colin Dexter,
“A Case of Mis-identity”.
Cui The dative singular of the interrogative pronoun quis, “who”.
Bonō The dative singular of bonum, boni, “good”, an abstract noun formed
from the accusative neuter of the adjective bonus. This is a “predicative”
dative, following the verb fuisset, and accompanied by cui, a dative of
“reference”. A literal translation might be: “To whose good might it have
been?”
Fuisset The third person singular pluperfect subjunctive of the verb sum,
esse, “to be”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dēlenda est Carthāgo
Carthage must be destroyed
Cato the Elder was implacably anti-Carthage and took every opportunity to
express his antipathy towards her, slipping into each of his speeches the
words Censeo delenda est Carthago (or according to another source, Censeo
Carthaginem esse delendam) − “In my opinion Carthage, etc.”
“He was especially great in his hatred of l’infâme Angleterre. Delenda est
Carthago was tattooed beneath his shirt-sleeve.” W. M. Thackeray, The
Newcombes.
Dēlenda The nominative singular feminine of the gerundive adjective
delendus of the verb deleo, delere, “to destroy”, and the complement of
Carthago. Carthage “has to be destroyed”.
Carthāginem The accusative of Carthago, Carthaginis, “Carthage”. In
Censeo Carthaginem esse delendam we have the construction with the
accusative and the infinitive after censeo. (Vide grammatical note 10.)

15
Deō optimō maximō (D.O.M.)
To God, most good, most great
Deo optimo maximo is the motto of the Benedictine Order, and the
abbreviation of this motto, D.O.M., appears on bottles of Benedictine.
Goodness and greatness have long been attributes of the godhead. The
national god of the Roman state was Jup(p)iter Optimus Maximus, and it is
clear that Christians at some point adapted and adopted this title for their own
God. It seems however that although optimo and maximo are both
superlatives, when applied by the Romans to persons (or to gods) they meant
no more than simply “good” and “great”.
Deō The dative singular of deus, dei, “a god”, meaning “to God” without the
need for a preposition.
Optimō The dative singular masculine of optimus, the superlative of the
adjective bonus, “good”, qualifying deo.
Maximō The dative singular masculine of maximus, the superlative of the
adjective magnus, “great”, also qualifying deo.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dē Rērum Nātūrā
On the nature of things
Circa 59 B.C. Lucretius wrote a longish poem, stretching to no fewer than six
“books”, with the title De Rerum Natura. The poem can be taken as a sort of
apologia for Epicureanism, a philosophy which aimed at giving man
happiness, inter alia by making him self-sufficient and by persuading him to
live a simple life. Vide “Medio de fonte . . .” infra.
Rērum The genitive plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing, an
affair”, dependent on natura.
Nātūrā The ablative singular of natura, naturae, “Nature”, governed by the
preposition de.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Deus ex māchinā
A god from the machine
One of the special stage effects of the old Greek drama, much favoured in
particular by Euripides, saw a god being lowered by a pulley from above the
stage to take an unexpected hand in the action. In a metaphorical form Deus
ex machina is still a very handy device for resolving an impasse in a drama,

16
when a quite independent agent is brought in to act in an unpredictable and
often improbable way.
In John Fowles’ “The Enigma”, Isobel Dodgson talks of the need for a story
to have a credible ending, and proposes “to dismiss the deus ex machina
possibility. It’s not good art. An awful cheat, really.”
In Something to Declare, Julian Barnes mentions those like Dr. Larivière
“who make a single, splendid cameo appearance: three pages of existence as
a deus ex machina . . .”
Section 10 of Fougasse and McCullough’s book You Have Been Warned has
the title “Dea in Machina” (“a goddess in the machine”). It records the
emotions of a driver who offers a lift in his car to a strikingly beautiful girl
(“an exquisite vision of loveliness”) and who against all hope has the offer
accepted.
Māchinā The ablative singular of machina, machinae, “a machine, a
device”, governed by the preposition ex.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dīs aliter vīsūm
Virgil, Aeneid, ii. 428
The gods decided otherwise, the gods had other ideas
A more succinct way of saying Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit, q.v. infra.
Some versions of the original have the full phrase Dis aliter visum est, which
literally means “To the gods it appeared better otherwise”.
“ ‘It’s ext-traordinary’, said Brian, . . . ‘that you shouldn’t ever have met
her.’ ‘Dis aliter visum,’ Anthony answered. . . .” Aldous Huxley, Eyeless in
Gaza.
“But none of these methods [of disposing of the body] had found favour. Dis
aliter visum.” Colin Dexter, The Daughters of Cain.
Robert Browning wrote a long poem called Dis aliter visum, while Bartłomej
Jurkowski gave the same title to a digital painting.
Dīs The dative plural of deus, dei, “a god”, an alternative to the more
“regular” dative, deis.
Aliter The addition of −iter to the stem of an adjective (here al- from
al-ius, “other”) is one method in Latin of forming an adverb. Here aliter
modifies visum.
Vīsūm (est) This is the third person singular perfect passive of the verb
video, videre, “to see”, used impersonally, so “it was seen, it seemed”. Used
in this particular way, the verb has the enhanced meaning “it seemed good”.

17
Disjecta membra (poētae)
Dismembered limbs of a poet
Ovid in his Metamorphoses wrote of disjecta membra − “scattered limbs”,
and Horace wrote metaphorically of disjecti membra poetae, “the limbs of
the dismembered poet”, viz the remaining fragments of his work, any one or
two of which selected at random would be enough to allow you to assess the
poet’s degree of greatness. Disjecta membra are the scattered fragments
themselves.
Byron wrote to his publisher, John Murray, about Don Juan: “Cut me up root
and branch − quarter me in the Quarterly − send round my disjecti membra
poetae like those of the Levite’s concubine − . . . − but don’t ask me to alter
it.”
“The works of Shelley lie in a confused state, like the disjecta membra of the
poet of our boyhood. They are in the strictest sense ‘remains’.” W. Bagehot,
Literary Essays, “Percy Bysshe Shelley”.
The phrase can be used in a literal sense. “. . . I can hardly see what use the
disjecta membra of my late acquaintance [viz the bones of a goose] are going
to be to me.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes −
“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”.
Disjecta The nominative plural neuter of disjectus, the past participle of the
mixed conjugation verb disjicio, disjicere, “to cast asunder, to scatter”, used
as an adjective qualifying membra.
Membra The nominative plural of membrum, membri, “a limb, member of
the body”. Not all membra are bony: the membrum virile, “the male
member”, is (much of the time) flexible.
Poētae The genitive singular of the first declension noun poeta, “a poet”,
dependent on membra. Poeta is a masculine noun, so that in the phrase
disjecti membra poetae the adjective disjecti, which qualifies poetae, is the
masculine genitive singular of disjectus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Domine, dīrige nōs
Lord, lead us
The word dirige is the first word of an antiphon sung in the Office for the
Dead, taken from Psalm v. 8: “Lead me, Lord, in thy righteousness”. It gave
the English language the word “dirge” for a sad musical tribute to the dead.
Domine Dirige Nos is the motto of the City of London, and also of numerous
regiments connected with the City, as well as of the City of London
Freemen’s School in Surrey.

18
Dirige me, Domine − “Lead me, O Lord” − is the motto of the Le Mee-Power
family.
Domine The vocative singular of dominus, domini, “lord, master”.
Dīrige The second person singular imperative of the verb dirigo, dirigere,
“to lead, to guide”.
Nōs The accusative of nos, “we”, and the object of dirige.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dominus illūminātio mea
Psalm 27
The Lord (is) my light
Dominus Illuminatio Mea is the motto of the University of Oxford and
appears on the colophon of that city’s University Press.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the title Dominus illuminatio mea is
given to R. D. Blackmore’s poem, “In the hour of death, after this life’s
whim.”
Illūminātio A feminine noun, a late Latin derivative of illumino, illuminare,
“to illuminate”, in apposition to Dominus.
Mea The nominative singular feminine of the possessive pronoun meus,
“my”, qualifying illuminatio.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dōnō dēdit dēdicāvit (D.D.D.)
Gave (and) dedicated as a gift
The epitaph to Thomas Porter in the parish church of Rockbeare, Devon,
includes the words liberi hoc monumentum D.D.D. “(his) children gave and
dedicated this monument as a gift”. Here D.D.D. is short for Dono dederunt
dedicaverunt, which has the two verbs in the plural with a plural subject.
Dōnō The dative of donum, doni, “a gift”. Dono dare was commonly used
in classical Latin with the meaning “to give for a gift”, or “as a gift”.
Dēdit The third person singular perfect of do, dare, “to give”. Dederunt is
the plural form.
Dēdicāvit The third person singular perfect of dedico, dedicare, “to
dedicate, consecrate”. Dedicaverunt is the plural form.

19
Dum spīrō spērō
Cicero. Epistolarum ad Atticum, ix. 10, 4
While I have breath I have hope
For centuries this encouraging cry has no doubt burst forth from the lips of
members of the MacLennan clan, and in the course of time has also been
adopted as a motto by several dozen prominent families, including those of
Bannatyne of Newhall, Coryton of Pentillic Castle, and Jackson of Putney
Hill. It is also the motto of St. Andrews in Scotland. In 1776 the words
“Dum spiro, spero” were incorporated into the Great Seal of the state of
South Carolina, and it is also the proud boast of the Kingdom of Sarawak.
The variant “Dum Spiro Agnew” (Spiro who?) is not attested, but it is
inconceivable that no one at least muttered the phrase beneath his breath
during the reign of Mr. Agnew as U. S. Vice-President from 1969 to 1973.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ē plūribus ūnum
From many (comes) the one
This phrase was the motto of the United States of America from 1782 until
1956 (replaced then by “In God We Trust”), and was adapted from one used
by Virgil in his Moretum, 104: E pluribus unus. Whether the motto means
that many individual states combined to form the Union, or that millions of
people from all over the world came together as “America”, might be open to
debate.
“. . . Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
These beckoning lines from a sonnet (1883) by Emma Lazarus appear on a
plaque in the reception hall at John F. Kennedy Airport. The whole sonnet of
14 lines appears on a plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
“E pluribus unum” is at the time of writing the heading given to a puzzle in
The Guardian in which the letters of two or more words have to be
reassembled to make a single word. Unum e pluribus was the motto of
Wokingham Rural District Council.
Variants on this motto are popular. E duobus unum − “One from two” − is
the motto of the Welding Institute, and also of the Corinthian Casuals
Football Club, formed in 1939 by the amalgamation of the Corinthians and

20
the Casuals football clubs. E tribus unum − “One from three” − is the motto
of the Norfolk Joint Police Authority.
Ē The form used sometimes before consonants of the much more common
preposition ex, “from”, governing pluribus.
Plūribus The ablative plural of the third declension noun plus, pluris,
“more”, governed by the preposition e. Plus is the comparative of the
adjective multum, “much”. Here pluribus is an adjective qualifying some
absent noun, and meaning by ellipsis “the many”.
Ūnum The nominative neuter of unus, “one”. Neuter is the default gender
accorded to an unspecified and nebulous “thing”, though perhaps “nebulous”
is an inappropriate term to apply to the teeming population of the United
States.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Esse quam vidērī
To be, rather than to seem to be
Esse quam videri is found in Cicero’s essay “On Friendship” (De Amicitia,
ch. 98): “Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt” −
“Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so”.
Just a few years after Cicero, Sallust, in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), used the
phrase with a more favourable flavour, writing of Cato the Younger that
“esse quam videri bonus malebat” − “He preferred to be good rather than to
seem so”.
Esse quam videri is the motto of a large number of families, doubtless
following Cato rather than Cicero, and the motto also, inter alia, of Bedford
College, London, Truro School, the State of North Carolina, the British
Standards Institute, and the General Dental Council.
Non Videri, sed Esse − “Not to seem, but to be” − is the motto of the Hare
family.
Esse The infinitive of the verb sum, “I am”.
Quam A conjunction of comparison.
Vidērī The passive infinitive of the verb video, videre, “to see”, with the
meaning “to appear, to seem”.

21
Et tū, Brūte
And you as well, Brutus?
Reported by Suetonius to have been said by Julius Caesar to Brutus in the
Forum when Brutus, along with the other conspirators, stabbed him. Just to
add a bit of confusion to the scene and in keeping with the spirit of the
present compilation, he is said to have scorned to use the vernacular and to
have spoken in Greek:  (kai su, teknon?) − “And you, my
child?”
Shakespeare uses the phrase in Caesar’s last words:
“Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.” [Dies]
Later, Antony rubs it in with a forceful double superlative:
“Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabbed. . .
This was the most unkindest cut of all. . .”
“While I watched, her eyes lifted to me a gaze more reproachful than haughty
− more mournful than incensed. ‘Oh, Moore!’ said she − it was worse than
‘Et tu, Brute!’ ” Charlotte Brontë, Shirley.
Brūte The vocative of Brutus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ex post factō
From what is done after: retrospectively
Or “as a consequence of what has happened later”. In particular an ex post
facto law allows the conviction and punishment retrospectively of someone
who commits an act before it becomes an offence in law. It seems rather
unfair and underhand, not least in the eyes of the offender.
Chas. Surface: “. . . here’s the family tree for you. . . . you may knock
down my ancestors with their own pedigree.”
Sir Oliver: [aside] “What an unnatural rogue! − an ex post facto
parricide!”
R. B. Sheridan, School for Scandal, IV, 1
Ex Post Facto was the title of an episode in “Star Trek: Voyager”, in which
Paris is convicted of murder.
Post This is not a preposition, but an adverb, “afterwards”.
Factō The ablative singular of factum, facti, “a deed”, a neuter noun formed
from the supine of the mixed conjugation verb facio, facere, “to do”,
governed by the preposition ex.

22
Facta nōn verba
Deeds not words
Besides being the name of an independent eclectic rock group from the
Ozarks, Facta non Verba is the motto of St. Edmund’s School, Shillong,
India, and of a number of eminent families such as those of Eager, De
Rinzey, Dawson of Edwarebury, and Huntingdon of the Clock House.
Compared with those families who ill-advisedly chose acta non verba
(q.v. supra) as their motto, these got it right.
Facta The nominative plural of factum, facti, “a deed”, a neuter noun
formed from the supine of the mixed conjugation verb facio, facere, “to do”.
Verba The nominative plural of the neuter noun verbum, verbi, “a word”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fatigātus et aegrōtus
Tired and sick
Or just plain “sick and tired”.
“A wife who can behave irreproachably when her husband is by his own
confession fatigatus et aegrotus of her, must be . . . ‘either a goddess or a
beastess’; and poor Elizabeth . . . Sterne appears to have been a very human
creature.” G. Saintsbury, Introduction to the Everyman edition of Laurence
Sterne, A Sentimental Journey.
[Saintsbury’s “either a goddess or a beastess” echoes a Greek phrase from
Aristotle’s Politics,  – “e therion e theos” – “either a beast
or a god”.]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fēlo dē sē
Suicide
This is the “felon(y) against oneself”. It does not mean, as suggested in the
schoolboy howler, “found drowned” (“fell in the sea”).
The Ratcatcher’s Daughter “made an ’ole in the Riviere Thames” but:
“ ’Twas a haccident they all agreed,
And nuffink like self-slaughter;
So not guilty o’ fell in the sea
They brought in the ratcatcher’s daughter.’ ”
A. K. Hamilton Jenkins in Cornwall and the Cornish, describes how the
corpse of a murdered man was discovered on a road near Penryn. The body
was buried next day near the junction of two roads in a corner of the

23
common, since it was thought to be “a case of felo de se, in which burial in
consecrated ground was, of course, prohibited.”
Felo De Se is the title of a poem by James Elroy Flecker.
Fēlo A legal term from Mediaeval Latin, with genitive felonis, meaning “a
felon, a criminal” but with no antecedent in Classical Latin.
Sē The ablative of the reflexive pronoun se, referring to felo, and governed
by the preposition de.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fons et orīgo
The source and origin
The literal meaning of fons is a fountain or spring. Fons et Origo is the
motto of the La Fontaine family.
“ . . . you have the privilege of knowing one of the most complete young
blackguards about town, and the fons et origo of the whole trouble.”
E. W. Hornung, Raffles.
“The fons et origo of this view [that a woman should not resist attack by a
man] seems to be Chief Inspector B-. H-.” John Naughton, writing in The
Observer.
Julian Barnes in Talking It Over claims that he was being good and was aping
“the fons et origo of domestic virtue. If we had twins I’d call them Lares and
Penates (qq.v. infra).”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fortīs fortūna adiuvat
Terence, Phormio, 203
Fortune favours the brave
This phrase has all the makings of a good motto, although it does not seem to
have been claimed by anyone as a motto in exactly this form. Families such
as those of Blennerhassett, Dickson of Blackbeck, Dickson-Poynder and
Troyte, have adapted it as Fortes fortuna iuvat, which says the same thing,
while the Judd of Stewkley Grange and Pryce-Jenkin families have Fortuna
favet fortibus, which again says much the same thing.
Fortīs The accusative plural of the third declension adjective fortis, “strong,
brave”, with the meaning by ellipsis of “brave men”. It is the object of
adiuvat. The long “ī” indicates that it is the accusative plural, an alternative
to the fortes in the Troyte motto.

24
Adiuvat The third person singular present of the verb adiuvo, adiuvare, “to
help”, which is ad + iuvo, whose second element is used in the Troyte motto.
Favet The third person singular present of the verb faveo, favere, “to
favour”, followed usually, as here, by the dative.
Fortibus The dative plural of fortis, “brave (men)” (as above). The
translation of the Pryce-Jenkin motto could perhaps be “Fortune is
favourable to the brave”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gradūs ad Parnassum
Steps to Parnassus
“Here is your book. . . . In fact . . . it was my cribbing book, and I always
kept it by me when I was writing at Athens, like a gradus, a gradus ad
Parnassum, you know.” Benjamin Disraeli, Venetia.
The first Latin “Gradus” was published in 1702. In Fielding’s Tom Jones,
published in 1748, the barber lists Gradus ad Parnassum as one of the books
he owns, along with inter alios Ovid’s De Tristibus and Robinson Crusoe.
My own Gradus is dated 1883 and was edited by a Dr. Carey. The book is a
Latin dictionary aimed to help anyone tasked with writing Latin verse, and I
understand that the “Steps” in the title refer to the metres of the “feet” used in
Latin verse, of which there are 28. Now 28 = 16 + 8 + 4; there are 16 feet of
four syllables, eight feet of three syllables and four feet of two syllables. As
mathematicians we see at once that this must be correct, since two syllables,
each either long and short, can be put together in four different ways − short,
short (pyrrhic); short, long (iambus); long, short (trochee); and long, long
(spondee): if we replace "short" with 0 (zero) and "long" with l (one), then
we can label each foot with a binary number: 00, 01, 10 and 11, which is
from 0 to 3 inclusive or 4 in all. In the same way we can number the feet of
three syllables from 0 to 7 inclusive (8 in all), e.g., long, short, short (dactyl)
is 100 or 4; and we can number the feet of four syllables from 0 to 15
inclusive, or 16 in all. (Carey gives names to all 28 feet, names which
include the choriamb and the First to Fourth Epitrites.)
Parnassus was a mountain in Bœotia sacred to Apollo and the Muses, and as
such was the goal of the student of Latin verse-writing, which in the grammar
schools of the nineteenth century was a very popular pastime (except perhaps
among most of the students). Parnassus was in fact a twin peak, the other
peak being sacred to Bacchus, but I cannot suppose Dr. Carey or any of his
predecessors had this second peak in mind when choosing this title for the
book.

25
Gradus ad Parnassum is also the title of a musical treatise on counterpoint
published in 1725 by Johann Joseph Fux.
Gradūs The nominative plural of the fourth declension noun gradus, “a
step”.
Parnassum The accusative singular of Parnassus, governed by the
preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hinc illae lacrimae
Terence: also Horace, Epistles I, xix. 41
Hence those tears
Although Terence used these words in his play “Andria”, this is only one
sighting of the phrase, and it was commonly used in other works to mean:
“So that’s what the fuss was really about!”
“Enrapture − Hinc Illae Lacrimae” is the title of the first track of the album
Domus Mundi (Home of the World) by the Austrian symphonic black metal
band Hollenthon.
“I am too much addicted to the study of philosophy; hinc illae lacrymae, sir,
that’s my misfortune. Too much learning hath been my ruin.” Henry
Fielding, Tom Jones.
“Were Freud right and sex supreme, we should live almost in Eden. Alas,
only half right. . . Hinc illae lac.” Aldous Huxley, Eyeless in Gaza.
Edgar Allan Poe in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” adapts the phrase as Et
hinc illae irae? or “And hence that anger?”
Illae The nominative plural feminine of the demonstrative pronoun ille,
“that”, referring to lacrimae.
Lacrimae The nominative plural of lacrima, lacrimae, “a tear”. This word
also appears as lacrymae or lacrumae, or as lachrimae, etc., with “ch” in
place of “c” (this being a mediaeval development of the spelling). Lachryma
Christi − “Christ’s tear”, is the name of a sweet wine made from grapes
grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
[Īrae The nominative plural of ira, “anger”, usually with a meaning in the
plural of “quarrels, a falling out”. Here Poe, having committed himself to
illae, cannot avoid irae, which therefore must translate as “anger”.
Cf. “Amantium irae amoris integratio est” infra.]

26
Hūmānum est errāre
Seneca the Younger, Naturales Quaestiones, iv. ch. 2
It is human to err
Seneca merely repeats here one of the most widely used of all Latin proverbs,
which continues perseverare diabolicum − “to persist is of the devil”.
Alexander Pope extended its scope in a different direction in “An Essay on
Criticism”, line 525: “To err is human, to forgive, divine”.
In Giovanni Guareschi’s The Little World of Don Camillo, Peppone admits
that he had made one mistake in his life. “ ‘I tied crackers to the clappers of
your bells. It should have been half a ton of dynamite.’ ‘Errare humanum
est,’ remarked Don Camillo.”
Hūmānum This is the nominative singular neuter of the adjective humanus
“human”, the complement of the infinitive verb errare. All infinitives are
taken as being of neuter gender.
Errāre The infinitive of the verb erro, “I wander, I make a mistake”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In articulō mortis
At the point of death, in the arms of death
In Articulo Mortis is the title of a track on the 2001 album Ex Oriente Lux
(“Light from the East”) by Asgaard, a Polish heavy metal band (with Gothic
influences).
“As to the youthful sufferer, he weathered each storm like a hero. Five times
was that youth ‘in articulo mortis’, and five times did he miraculously
survive.” Charlotte Brontë, Villette.
Sometimes written (for the sake of proper scansion for English verse) as
mortis in articulo. In his poem “The Song Against Grocers”, which begins
“God made the wicked Grocer . . .”, G. K. Chesterton writes:
“The evil-hearted Grocer
Would call his mother ‘Ma’am’,
And bow at her and bob at her
Her aged soul to damn,
And rub his horrid hands and ask
What article was next,
Though mortis in articulo
Should be her proper text.”
In Epistolae ad Quintum Fratrem, V, 19, Cicero says in ipso articulo
temporis − “at this same point in time”. Perhaps not surprisingly there
appears to be no phrase in Latin for “at this moment in time”.

27
Articulō The ablative singular of articulus, articuli, “a joint”, governed by
the preposition in. Articulus carries other connotations, however, and here is
used for “point”.
Mortis The genitive singular of mors, “death”, dependent on articulo.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Indocilis pauperiem patī
Horace, Odes I, i. 18
(He) cannot be taught to endure poverty
Or “He cannot get used to being in reduced circumstances”. Horace was
talking of the trader who, despite shipwrecks and other setbacks, still keeps
sending his ships to sea, trying thereby to scrape a decent living.
Thackeray uses the same idea metaphorically in Henry Esmond: “When
Lady Castlewood found that her great ship had gone down, she began . . . to
put out small ventures of happiness . . . as a merchant on ’Change, indocilis
pauperiem pati, having lost his thousands, embarks a few guineas upon the
next ship.”
Indocilis pauperiem pati is the motto of the Society of Merchant Adventurers
of the City of Bristol.
Indocilis Used here with the meaning “unteachable”.
Pauperiem The accusative singular of the fifth declension noun pauperies,
pauperiei, “poverty”. Pauperies was a gentle or even genteel form of
poverty, often temporary, as opposed to inopia, which was destitution
indeed.
Patī The infinitive of the deponent verb patior, “I suffer”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In flagrante dēlictō
In the act
Usually in the act of (illicit) love. The Latin has the implication of a “blazing
crime” being committed at the time.
In Close Quarters, one of William Golding’s characters suggests that, had
little Marion not detained her “uncle”, he would have been “a devil of a sight
nearer being detected in flagrante delicto than I was!” .
In The Jewel that was Ours, Colin Dexter has Morse observe that it was
unfortunate that Cedric Downes discovered the guilty pair “in flagrante
delicto, which as you will remember, Lewis, is the Latin for having your
pants down”.

28
Very occasionally the crime is venial rather than cardinal. “They nabbed him
in fragrant (sic) delicto swigging the sacramental wine.” Lawrence Durrell,
Clea.
Flagrante The ablative singular of flagrans, “blazing”, the present participle
of the verb flagro, flagrare, “to blaze”, here used as an adjective qualifying
delicto.
Dēlictō The ablative singular of delictum, delicti, “a fault, a crime”,
governed by the preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In hōc signō (vincēs)
By this sign (thou shalt conquer)
In hoc signo was the motto of Constantine the Great and the sign in question
was that of the Cross, which Constantine saw in a vision before the Battle of
Milvian Bridge in A. D. 312. (In fact the “cross” was more likely a labarum,
the “Chi-Rho” symbol. The two Greek letters chi and rho are the first and
second in , the Greek name for “Christ”.) The sign was
accompanied by a message in Greek −  (en toutoi nika) − “in
this (sign), conquer”. Constantine did a rough rendering of this into Latin
and adopted it as his battle-cry.
In hoc signo vinces was a phrase used by the Knights Templar and by the
Freemasons, and it was also adopted by the band Deadsy as its band
manifesto.
Many families share the motto In hoc signo vinces, and crosses are displayed
in their coats of arms. These families include those of Burke, of Glinsk, of
Campbell of Bleaton-Hallett, of Ormsby-Gore and Taafe, and of the Earls of
Arran. Hoc signo vinces is the motto of the family of Moore of Mayes Park.
“The pink of her face was the in hoc signo of a culinary temper and a warm
disposition.” O. Henry, “Telemachus, Friend”.
Hōc The ablative singular neuter of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”,
qualifying signo.
Signō The ablative singular of the neuter noun signum, signi, “a sign”,
governed by the preposition in.
Vincēs The second person singular future of vinco, vincere, “to conquer”.

29
In locō parentis
As a parent
One of the major detractions from the enjoyment of school-teaching is the
presence in school of other people’s children. Being in loco parentis, a
teacher is entrusted with the care of these children and is adjured to treat
them as a loving parent would. The true teacher does this both unconsciously
and conscientiously, but is usually quite happy to return the children to the
care of their true loving parent(s) at the end of the school day. Recently
however this implicit quasi-parental rôle of the teacher has been replaced by
the legal requirement that a teacher give such care as “can be expected of a
competent professional acting within the constraint of circumstances”.
“ ‘And why, Colonel Newcombe,’ Virtue exclaimed, laying a pudgy little
hand on its heart – ‘why did I treat Clive so? Because I stood towards him in
loco parentis; because he was as a child to me and I to him as a
mother.’ ” W. M. Thackeray, The Newcombes.
In Loco Parentis is the motto of Cheadle Hulme School, Cheshire, and also
somewhat unexpectedly of 200 Squadron of the R.A.F.
Locō The ablative singular of locus, loci, “a place”, governed by the
preposition in. The phrase in loco here means simply “as” and is followed
by the genitive.
Parentis The genitive singular of parens, “a parent”, dependent on in loco.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In mediās rēs
Horace, Ars Poetica, 148
Into the midst of things
Horace was irritated by Homer’s habit of plunging the reader into the middle
of a story, on the assumption that the reader already knew or could somehow
divine telepathically what went before.
Writing of C. S. Lewis’s novels in The Guardian, John Mullan observed that
at the opening of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund, Lucy and
Eustace found themselves simply plunged into the sea near King Caspian’s
ship. “In medias res is how most of the novels begin, with children hurried
into a story that has already begun.”
In Medias Res is the motto of 258 Squadron of the R.A.F., while Silenter in
Medias Res − “Silently into the thick of things” − is the motto of 177
Squadron of the R.A.F.

30
There is a good case to be made for using certain Latin phrases rather than
the equivalent English ones, on the grounds that the Latin is dispassionate
and not loaded with connotations. In medias res is a case in point. “Into the
thick of things” brings with it a suggestion of “hurly-burly” whereas in
medias res is a simple statement that we are entering without fuss into a
situation which is already partly developed.
Mediās The accusative plural feminine of the adjective medius, “middle”,
qualifying res. It carries with it the notion of “the middle of” something.
Rēs The accusative plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing”,
governed by the preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In propriā persōnā
In his/her own person
Said of someone acting on his own behalf in person and not through a deputy
or agent. It is anglicised as “in proper person” in Fenimore Cooper’s The
Last of the Mohicans.
“. . . under the serene sway of Madame Back, who, in propriâ personâ, was
giving one of her orderly and useful lessons . . .” Charlotte Brontë, Villette.
(The circumflex on the â indicates that it is a “long a”, the ablative case both
of the noun and of the adjective.) [The implication here seems to be that
Mme. Back was often in the habit of entrusting the delivery of her orderly
and useful lessons to a subordinate. Scope for research?]
“There was no real need for Aunt Karen to tell us bed-time ghost stories to
frighten us into insomnia. She was scary enough in propria persona.”
P. J. Dorricot, Nursery Tales.
Propriā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective proprius, “one’s
own”, qualifying persona.
Persōnā The ablative singular of persona, personae, “personality”,
governed by the preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Inquīsītio post mortem
An investigation after death, an inquest
This phrase gave English the word “inquest” as well as the phrase post
mortem (“after death”) for the clinical examination of a body. In the Middle
Ages however an inquisitio post mortem after the death of a prominent man
or woman was a judicial enquiry into the property owned by the deceased,
into services owed to an overlord or to the Crown, and especially and

31
urgently into who might be the rightful heir or heirs to the deceased’s
property. A vast number of documents recording the results of such
enquiries over many centuries is held in the National Records Office, and
photocopies may be had on request.
Mortem The accusative singular of mors, mortis, “death”, governed by the
preposition post.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In statū pūpillāri
In the position of a ward
This is the complement of in loco parentis, q.v. supra.
“Philip had a joke about his wife’s housekeeping which perhaps may apply to
other young women who are kept by over-watchful mothers too much in
statu pupillari.” W. M. Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip.
Julian Barnes in Talking It Over admits he could not quite remember the
identities of the people under consideration but that were those currently “in
statu pupillare (sic) to be assembled in a décontractée atmosphere − rather
like, say, a police line-up”, he felt that the whole matter could be discussed.
Statū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun status, “a
(standing) position”, governed by the preposition in.
Pūpillāri The ablative singular of the adjective pupillaris, “relating to a
ward”, qualifying statu. The English translation requires “of”; and the
relationship is much closer and perhaps more stifling than that of a pupil to a
teacher.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In statū quō (ante)
As it was before
This is an understandable shortening of the full phrase: In statu in quo ante
erat − “In the state in which it was before”.
I possess a letter dated 12th October 1762 and written by a surgeon, in which
he describes to a friend a visit by two ladies known to them both: “I saw
Mrs. Parkinson and Miss the day before they set out for Liverpoole (sic), the
Mother in statu quo, Broad and Blunt, the Daughter tall and Marketable,
provided trade runs brisk. . . .”
“There had been no robbery, nor is there any evidence as to how the man met
his death. . . . I have left everything in statu quo until I hear from you.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet.

32
In statu quo may be used as a euphemism for man’s initial state of nakedness.
“All this summer I’ve slept, if you’ll believe me, practically in statu quo, and
had my morning tub as cold as I could get it.” M. R. James, “Mr. Humphreys
and his Inheritance”.
Closely connected with this phrase is the phrase status quo. Time is, as it
were, of the essence when we come to use this phrase. When we seek to
maintain the status quo we are seeking to preserve our present state in face of
an imminent threat to alter it; we intend to keep it exactly as it was a moment
ago. On the other hand, in seeking to restore the status quo we may be
looking at a state of affairs at any point in the near or distant past.
P. G. Wodehouse in Much Obliged, Jeeves, in deference to a new generation
of classically-illiterate readers, suppresses his feeling for Latin grammar and
has Bertie Wooster state that “I wasn’t getting struck by lightning or even
wet, which enabled me to remain in status (sic) quo.”
Statū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun status, “a
(standing) position”, governed by the preposition in.
Quō The ablative singular masculine of the relative pronoun qui, “which”,
referring to statu, but also governed by a second (understood) preposition in.
(Vide the longer phrase mentioned above.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In vīnō vēritas
Pliny, Historia Naturalis, ii, xiv. 141
In wine, truth, that is, drunken men speak the truth
In Vino Veritas is the name of a Scottish Black Metal/Ambient band, and the
title of a syndicated wine column by Jonathon Alsop.
“In vino veritas, they say,
Yet lying is so much the custom
Of certain folk, the safest way
Is, drunk or sober, not to trust ’em.” - Anon.
Just to keep the record straight, we should note that the phrase is distilled
from the longer one which Pliny actually wrote: volgoque veritas iam
attributa vino est − “truth in the popular mind has come to be credited to
wine”.
John Steinbeck in Sweet Thursday suggested that the Greek restaurateur
Sonny Boy probably knew more secrets than any man in the community, his
martinis being a combination of truth serum and lie detector. “Veritas is not
only in vino but regularly batters its way out.”

33
Vīnō The ablative singular of the noun vinum, vini, “wine”, governed by the
preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Iūs prīmae noctis
The right of the first night
The French Droit de Seigneur included inter alia the alleged right of the
feudal lord to spend the first night of a vassal’s marriage with his (sc. the
vassal’s) wife. Those to whose minds the story clearly has a certain appeal
may be disappointed to learn that there seems to be no firm evidence that
such a practice ever existed.
George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-four mentioned a law by which every
capitalist had the right to sleep with any woman working in any of his
factories. This was “the jus primae noctis, which would probably not be
mentioned in a textbook for children.”
The “first night” need not be a nuptial one. Aldous Huxley in “Two or Three
Graces” observed that simple mortals, accustomed to pay for their pleasures,
were always impressed by the sight of a free theatre ticket. “The critic’s jus
primae noctis seems to them an enviable thing.”
Prīmae The genitive singular feminine of the adjective primus, “first”,
qualifying noctis.
Noctis The genitive singular of nox, “a night”, dependent on ius.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Labor omnia vincit
Work conquers everything
This was the apt motto of Lord Attlee, Labour Prime Minister from 1945 to
1950. It is also the motto of a number of other industrious families, and of
Ashton-under-Lyne, of Bradford, of Cheltenham College and of the Royal
Marsden Hospital, as well as of the State of Oklahoma.
In Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope quotes a longer form of the phrase
which appears in Virgil’s Georgics: Labor omnia vincit improbus −
“Unceasing work conquers everything”.
Omnia The accusative plural neuter of the adjective omnis, “all”, here by
ellipsis meaning “everything”, and the object of vincit. Note that Latin uses
the plural noun where English uses the singular.
Vincit The third person singular present of the verb vinco, vincere, “to
conquer”.

34
Laborāre est ōrāre
To work is to pray (work is prayer)
Laborare est orare was the old motto of the Benedictine monks, and is also
the title of a painting by John Roger Herbert (1810-1890) now in the Tate
Gallery. It is also the motto of Gloucester Training College and of the
London Borough of Willesden.
Aldous Huxley in Point Counter Point, has Spandrell declare that he was
damned if he’d do anything. “Work, the gospel of work, the sanctity of
work, laborare est orare, − all that tripe and nonsense.”
“ ‘The world has gone well with you, I am glad to hear and see.’ ‘Qui
laborat, orat,’ [Who works, prays] said Hatton . . ., ‘is the gracious maxim of
our Holy Church, and I venture to believe my prayers and vigils have been
accepted, for I have laboured in my time . . .’ ” Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil.
Ora Et Labora − “Pray and work” − is the name of a trawler (Z34) registered
in Zeebrugge.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Larēs et penātēs
Household gods
Lares et penates are those personal possessions which make up a “home”.
To the Romans lares were the household gods, often deified ancestors, who
had a guardian role; while penates were also deities, but with the more active
function of bringing prosperity to the house, and in particular of bringing into
it a regular supply of food.
“They flit from furnished room to furnished room, transients for ever − . . .
they carry their lares et penates in a band-box. . . .” O. Henry, “The
Furnished Room”.
“In Grosvenor Square there were no Lares − no toys, no books, nothing but
gold and grandeur, pomatum, powder and pride.” Anthony Trollope, The
Way We Live Now.
“I am aping the fons et origo of domestic virtue. If we had twins I’d call
them Lares and Penates.” Julian Barnes, Talking It Over.
Writing in The Guardian of the Aga stove, Matthew Fort suggested that in a
way it had become “the contemporary equivalent of the lares et penates −
household gods − of ancient Rome . . .”
Larēs The nominative plural of lar, laris, “a household god”. Penates is
also a nominative plural, but the singular noun *penatis is not used.

35
Magnā cum laude
With great praise
Magna cum laude is somewhat less praiseworthy than summa cum laude
(q.v.) but definitely more praiseworthy than just plain cum laude. The phrase
illustrates the habit of Latin writers of placing the preposition between the
adjective and the noun.
Colin Dexter, in The Jewel that was Ours, comments that the tour leader had
been pleased with the way the session had gone “with both Sheila Williams
and Cedric Downes acquitting themselves magna cum laude . . .”
Magnā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective magnus, “great”,
qualifying laude.
Laude The ablative singular of laus, laudis, “praise, commendation”,
governed by the preposition cum.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Magnī nōminis umbra
The shadow of a great name
Possibly “the black sheep of the family”, but more probably pin-pointing, if
not high-lighting, the heirs to some dead hero. Magni nominis umbra is the
name of a track on the album Domus Mundi by the Austrian symphonic black
metal band Hollenthon. It is also the name of a group of young people in the
Philippines devoted to community service, and is the motto of the King
Edward VII School in Taiping, Perak.
Magnī The genitive singular neuter of the adjective magnus, “great”,
qualifying nominis.
Nōminis The genitive singular of nomen, “a name”, dependent on umbra.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meā (maximā) culpā
From the Mass
Through my (very great) fault
This phrase, repeated, comes in the Public Confession in the Mass, following
the words: Peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opere − “I have sinned
exceedingly in thought, word and deed”. Then: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea
maxima culpa − “through my fault, through my fault, through my most
grievous fault.”
Richard Brooks wrote in The Observer of a former government economic
adviser who had suspicions that his advice in the past had helped create

36
unemployment: “Budd’s mea culpa, admirable in principle, may not go down
so well with the jobless”.
“But Oliver used to be called Nigel. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Or
rather, not. . .” Julian Barnes, Talking It Over
The negative of mea culpa is mea non culpa or “Don’t blame me!” Gideon
Haigh in Silent Revolutions, commented that “Slater’s mea non culpa was
ghosted by an Australian rock journalist, Jeff Apter,” and that it read at times
like one of those self-mortification memoirs beloved of showbiz figures,
lacking only a visit to the Betty Ford Clinic.
In The Bell, Iris Murdoch, no doubt with St. Augustine or Book XII of
Paradise Lost or the Catholic service for Holy Saturday in mind, uses the
phrase felix culpa − “joyous fault”: “. . . the joys of repentance, . . . the
delicious pleasure of . . . grovelling in the dust. O felix culpa!”
Meā The ablative singular feminine of the possessive pronoun meus, “my”,
qualifying culpa.
Maximā The ablative singular feminine of maximus, the superlative of the
adjective magnus, “great”, qualifying culpa. The superlative here means
“very great” rather than “greatest”.
Culpā The ablative singular of culpa, culpae, “a fault”. It is an ablative of
instrument and is used without a preposition.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mors jānua vītae
Death (is) the gate of life
This encouraging phrase appears in John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps.
The narrator, Richard Hannay, has just met Digby, alias Scudder, who
observes that his friends hadn’t yet played their last card. They had the ace
up their sleeves, and unless Digby could keep alive for a month they were
going to play it and win. “ ‘But I thought you were dead,’ I put in. ‘Mors
janua vitae,’ he smiled.”
Janua is a word for “door” associated with Janus, the god of beginnings,
whence our word “January”. Vide also “Facilis descensus Averno” infra.
Mors janua vitae is the title of a tomb by Alfred Gilbert in the Royal College
of Surgeons in London, and is also the motto of H.M.S. Valhalla.
Vītae The genitive singular of vita, “life”, dependent on janua.

37
Multum in parvō
Much in a small space
An example which comes to mind is a Swiss Army penknife.
O. Henry, in “The Hand that Riles the World”, speaks, tongue in cheek, of “a
combination steak-beater, shoe-horn, marcel-waver, monkey wrench, nail
file, potato masher and Multum in Parvo tuning fork”.
Multum in Parvo is the motto of Rutland, the smallest county in England
(smallest except at high tide when the Isle of Wight is fractionally smaller).
It was also the name given to an 1880’s compact lawn mower made by the
firm of Green.
A bronze sculpture of a pug dog by Louise Peterson has the title Multum in
Parvo. The Connecticut firm of Pugsplace offer items of clothing such as a
“Multum in Parvo Pug Hoodie” for humans and a “Multum in Parvo tee-
shirt” for dogs.
Multum This is the nominative of a neuter noun derived from the adjective
multus, “much”, neuter because it is abstract.
Parvō The ablative singular of the abstract neuter noun parvum, “little”,
derived from the adjective parvus, “small”, and governed by the preposition
in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nē plūs ultrā
No more, no further, the ultimate
Literally “no more beyond”. It can be argued that Marilyn Monroe was the
ne plus ultra of twentieth-century pin-up girls, with Betty Grable just failing
to come abreast of her.
J. Sams, writing in The Observer, calls Semiramide the “ne plus ultra of
opera seria, a great, neo-classical edifice built of everything that Rossini had
learned.”
“ ‘Well, if this isn’t the fair nefus ultra!’ articulated the sergeant.” Ernest
Bramah, “The Holloway Flat Tragedy”.
Tradition has it that the twin Pillars of Hercules, situated at the Straits of
Gibraltar and marking the westward boundary of the classical world, were
joined by a scroll bearing the legend Ne Plus Ultra. An issue of a Spanish
silver dollar in 1563 displayed the two pillars linked by such a scroll, and it is
said that this design was simplified to give the familiar symbol for a dollar, $
(with two vertical lines).

38
Nē An adverb, “not”, modifying plus.
Plūs The comparative of the adjective multus, “much”.
Ultrā An adverb derived from an adjective, a shortening of ultra parte, “on
the further side”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nōlī mē tangere
John xx. 17
Touch me not
“Jesus saith unto her (sc. Mary), Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to
my Father.”
This New Testament incident has been a source of inspiration for many
paintings with the title “Noli Me Tangere”, such as that by Hans Holbein the
Younger, now in Hampton Court, and that by Titian in the National Gallery.
According to Solinus, white stags found 300 years after Caesar’s death had
their collars inscribed with “Noli me tangere, Caesaris sum”, meaning “Do
not touch me, I am Caesar’s”. Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote a poem, “Whoso list
to hunt?”, acknowledging despondently that his former mistress, thought to
have been Anne Boleyn, had abandoned him, now that Henry VIII had begun
to take a close interest in her. The poem concludes with the lines:
“There is written her fair neck round about;
‘Noli me tangere; for Caesar’s I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.’ ”
The wild balsam plant has seed cases which when ripe and when touched
spring open and scatter their seeds. A common name for the plant is “Touch-
me-not” and its scientific name is Impatiens noli-tangere.
Noli Me Tangere is the motto of the families of Wormald and Graeme of
Garvock, and of 103 Squadron of the R.A.F.
Nōlī This is the second person singular imperative of the verb nolo, nolle,
“to be unwilling”, and in effect means “do not”.
Mē The accusative of ego, “I”, the object of tangere.
Tangere The infinitive of tango, “I touch”.

39
Nōn compos mentis
Not of sound mind, mentally challenged
Or “not in full possession of (his) mental faculties”. It is a legal term, hedged
around with doubts about what constitutes sanity, and used by Cicero: In
Pisonem, Ch.20, §48.
Compos Mentis is the name of a Melodic Death/Rock Metal band
(“Symphonic Rock from Hell”) in Denmark, and also of an Australian Funk
band.
“Shakespeare was really a Literary Syndicate. Rainproof [Nogg] is
demonstrably non compos mentis on that subject, and his infirmity is
spreading.” Ernest Bramah, “The Ingenious Mind of Mr. Rigby Lacksome.”
“. . . the clown, . . . , was non compos, not entirely there, and couldn’t be
called to account for his actions.” Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay.
The phrase non compos mentis spawned a noun “non-composser”, a useful
and exotic (since it does not appear in most modern dictionaries) alternative
label for anyone who is intellectually challenged. “If you are not then
knocked on the head, your being a non-composser will protect you.”
J. Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans.
Compos An adjective meaning “in possession of”, followed by the genitive.
Mentis The genitive singular of mens, “mental faculties”, following compos.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nōn est inventus
He has not been found
When a writ is served on a person and that person cannot be found, the
phrase Non est (for non est inventus) is or was written on the writ by the
sheriff or bailiff.
“Would that it were not my unhappy duty to inform Your Grace that my
journey . . . has met . . . with defeat . . . Non est inventus.” John Fowles, A
Maggot.
At the conclusion of his essay “On Murder considered as one of the Fine
Arts”, Thomas de Quincey signs off with a Latin song, supposing that one of
the company has been murdered: Ubi est ille Toad-in-the-hole? (Where is
that Toad-in-the-hole?) . . . Non est inventus.
Non est inventus is the name of a motet by Manuel Leitão de Aviles.
Inventus (est) The third person singular perfect passive of invenio, invenire,
“to find”.

40
Ō Dea certē
Virgil, Aeneid, i. 327
O Goddess beyond doubt!
Aeneas was the son of Anchises and of the goddess of love, who was
Aphrodite to the Greeks and Venus to the Romans. Venus seems to have
been an absent parent since when she appeared to Aeneas after his shipwreck
near Carthage he failed to recognise her. However he did recognise the
goddess in her, and addressed her as Dea certe.
The coronation medal of Mary of Modena, wife of James II, was inscribed O
DEA CERTE on the reverse.
In Thackeray’s Henry Esmond, young Henry, on first meeting the
Viscountess Castlewood, looked “at her in a sort of delight and wonder, for
she had come upon him as a Dea certe and appeared the most charming
object he had ever looked on”.
Ō The interjection “O!”
Dea The vocative of dea, deae, “a goddess”, or possibly the nominative,
which happens to be the same.
Certē An adverb, “assuredly”, formed from the adjective certus, “certain”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ōrā pro nōbīs
Pray for us
The “Anthem of Our Lady”, known as Regina Cœli and attributed by some to
Pope Gregory V, ca. A.D. 998, contains the phrase Ora pro nobis Deum, a
request to the Virgin Mary to “pray (to) God for us”.
Ōrā The second person singular imperative of the verb oro, orare, “to
speak, to pray”.
Pro A preposition meaning here “on behalf of”.
Nōbīs The ablative of nos, “we”, governed by the preposition pro.

41
Pānem et circensēs
Juvenal, Satires, X, 81
Bread and circuses
Juvenal suggested that the two things the Roman populace most valued in
their decadence were free food and entertainment − “Duas res optat − panem
et circenses” − “Two things it goes for − bread and circus games”.
“The masses are unalterable. . . . Panem et circenses! Only today education
is one of the bad substitutes for a circus.” D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s
Lover. [Both panem and circenses are in the accusative case which is fine
when they are the object of the verb “optat”, in apposition to res. The
nominative is “panis et circenses”.]
Pānem The accusative singular of panis, “bread”.
Circensēs The accusative of the plural noun circenses, “the circus games”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Persōna nōn grāta
An unacceptable person
Persona grata is a technical phrase used to confirm that a member of a
diplomatic mission is acceptable to the country to which he is assigned. If
for any reason, or if indeed for no reason at all, he is not acceptable, he is
persona non grata.
Persona non grata is the name of a book by Jorge Edwards, who was made
to feel unwelcome in Cuba; and is also the name of a Polish film by
Krzysztof Zanussi.
“He (sc. Francis) and Celia would have to withdraw to Paris, persona non
grata in London.” Richard Condon, Any God Will Do. (It was only Francis
who was persona non grata in London, having been declared an undesirable
alien following the unfortunate skirmish with the belligerent dwarf. In
Condon’s sentence it is not made clear which of the two was non grata. Had
both been so, then the phrase would/should have appeared in the plural,
personae non gratae.)
Grāta The nominative singular feminine of the adjective gratus, “pleasing,
welcome”, qualifying persona.

42
Prīmus inter parēs
First among equals
The epithet primus inter pares was used in an attempt to mollify those
members of the Roman Senate who considered the Emperor to be too
powerful, and was intended to suggest that he was really just one of the boys,
although a bit more so. In more recent times the phrase has been used to
define the status of the British Prime Minister in relation to his cabinet
colleagues. It can in fact be applied to the nominal heads of many
organisations, implying that they may at any time be eased from office and
replaced by others equally well (or ill) qualified to carry out the duties of the
post. An exception is the Pope who, as the Vicar of Christ and leader of the
bishops and successor to St. Peter, is seen as holding a post senior to the
other bishops, who are not his equals.
Gideon Haigh in Silent Revolutions points out that although New South
Wales is on the surface just one among six Australian states, its people have
always regarded themselves “as primus inter pares, reflected in the car
number plates, which still boast of theirs being ‘The Premier State’.”
Parēs The accusative plural of par, paris, “the like, the equal”, governed by
the preposition inter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pro bonō publicō
For the public good
Two prolific writers of letters to the newspapers are, or have been,
“Disgusted” of Tunbridge Wells, and “Pro Bono Publico”. The latter always
writes quite disinterestedly, merely putting into words the thoughts of less
articulate fellow members of the public, their implicit support making firm
his own locus standi.
Pro bono can also mean “free of charge”. “The Tax Advice for Older People
project provides pro-bono advice . . . for low-income earning older people.”
(The Guardian.) This is another of the useful Latin phrases which lawyers
are now discouraged from using. I understand that the search for a suitable,
succinct and clear English substitute is ongoing and promises to be so for
some years ahead.
Pro bono omnium − “For the good of all” is the motto of Guinness Mahon
Holdings, Ltd., linked possibly to the slogan “My goodness, my Guinness”?
Omnia pro bono − “All things for good” − is the motto of the Murdoch
family and of the Manchester Port Health Authority.

43
Bonō The ablative singular of bonum, boni, “good”, an abstract noun
formed from the accusative neuter of the adjective bonus, and governed by
the preposition pro.
Publicō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective publicus, “public”,
qualifying bono.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pro rē natā
Created for a special occasion
Literally “for the thing born”. On medical prescriptions pro re nata is
abbreviated to “prn” and means “(take) when needed.” The phrase is a shade
more elegant than its modern synonym, “one-off”.
The constitution of the Free Church of Scotland makes provision for pro re
nata meetings designed to deal with unforeseen situations which require
urgent action.
“He invented rule and reference pro re nata . . .” R. Kipling, “The Pit That
They Digged”.
W. S. Gilbert’s Mikado planned to “make the punishment fit the crime”,
devising ordeals pro re nata, such as that for the billiard sharp, made to play
“on a cloth untrue, with a twisted cue and elliptical billiard balls”.
In “The Handbook of Hymen”, O. Henry uses the phrase as a malapropism
for persona grata. “We was soon pro re nata with the best society in Rosa.”
Rē The ablative singular of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing, an
affair”, governed by the preposition pro.
Natā The ablative singular feminine of natus, the past participle of the
deponent verb nascor, nasci, “to be born”, used as an adjective qualifying re.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quia amōre langueō
Song of Solomon, ii. 5
Since I languish for love
The full Vulgate version of the verse is Fulcite me floribus, stipate me malis,
quia amore langueo. The Authorised Version renders this as “Stay me with
flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love”. (Floribus is “with
flowers” rather than “with flagons”, and more modern versions have “with
raisins”. The original Hebrew has “grape-cakes”.)
The Authorised Version is slightly misleading in its use of the phrase “sick of
love”, which is analogous with “sick of the palsy”, and which means “love-
sick” rather than fatigatus et aegrotus.

44
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the heading Quia Amore Langueo is
given to an anonymous 14th century poem “In a valley of this restles (sic)
mind . . .”, each of whose fifteen stanzas ends with Quia amore langueo. In
this allegorical poem Christ is wooing mankind, and yearns for His love to be
returned. Part of the poem was set to music for an a capella chorus by
Francis Pitt in 1989, with the title Amore Langueo.
Amōre The ablative singular of amor, amoris, “love”. It is an “ablative of
cause”, following langueo.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quid pro quō
Something equivalent in return
Literally, “something for something”. F. P. Smoler, writing in The Observer,
mentions “the gangster Frank Costello, with whom (J. Edgar) Hoover had a
notorious quid pro quo”, a mutual understanding of give and take.
“ . . . he was not aware . . . of the extraordinary service he would have to
render as the quid pro quo of the agreement.” Colin Dexter, The Jewel that
was Ours.
When the secretary of a village football club wrote asking a town club of
somewhat higher standing for a friendly match, the secretary of the other club
wrote suggesting a date for the game “providing you will be willing to give
us a quid pro quo”, i.e., a return game. The first secretary replied saying:
“My committee has asked me to send the pound for the professional you
mentioned, although they are surprised at such a request from a club of your
standing”.
The technically correct plural of quid pro quo is either qua pro quo or quae
pro quo, but it seems sensible to follow the example of such writers as Ivor
Brown who, in Chosen Words, mentioned quids pro quo. This is certainly far
preferable to quid pro quos.
Quō The ablative of the indefinite pronoun quid, “something”, which itself
is the neuter of quis. It is governed by the preposition pro.

45
Quod erat dēmonstrandum (Q.E.D.)
Euclid passim
Which was to be demonstrated
On a note of triumph the initials Q.E.D. appeared at the conclusion of each
proof in the geometry book I used at school, ignoring the fact that for myself
and for my fellow sufferers the logic of the steps leading to most proofs was
totally incomprehensible.
Colin Dexter, in The Wench is Dead, has Morse observe that the matter was
clear: first, the shoes in the cabin belonged to Joanna Franks; secondly, the
shoes had been worn by the drowned woman; “therefore, three, the drowned
woman was Joanna Franks − QED.”
Q.E.D. is the name of a website for computer graphics.
Quod The nominative singular neuter of the relative pronoun qui, “which”,
referring to the matter which has just been under discussion.
Erat The third person singular imperfect of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
Dēmonstrandum The nominative singular neuter gerundive of the verb
demonstro, demonstrare, “to show”, used here as an adjective, the
complement of quod.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reductio ad absurdum
Reduction to the absurd
A method of proof which begins by making certain assumptions that prima
facie seem quite reasonable and likely to be true, and which then follows the
logical implications of those assumptions until a conclusion is reached
“which is absurd”, thereby showing that one or more of the original
assumptions must be false.
“If there be two boarders on the same flat, . . . and the wrangle between
one boarder and the landlady be equal to the wrangle between the landlady
and the other, then shall the weekly bills of the two boarders be equal also,
each to each.
For if not, let one bill be the greater.
Then the other bill is less than it might have been − which is absurd.”
Stephen Leacock, Literary Lapses, “Boarding-house Geometry”.
In Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell argued that “The reductio ad absurdum of
M.D.’s view [that only professional diplomats, inveterate idiots and women
view diplomacy as a long-term substitute for war], . . . was that science
devises ever bloodier means of war . . .”

46
Nowadays the phrase is used to categorise any absurdity. In an Observer
article on the question of abortion in Ireland, Emily Bell quoted the Irish
Times as describing the sequence of events as “just the latest reductio ad
absurdum in the theatre of the absurd of Irish public life”.
Absurdum This is the accusative of the neuter noun absurdum (neuter
because it is abstract), derived from the adjective absurdus, “foolish”,
governed by the preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rem acū tetigistī
Plautus, Rudens, V, ii. 19
You have touched the thing with a needle
The Romans seem to have had a more delicate touch than the barbarians who
displaced them, who preferred to hit the nail on the head.
“ ‘Extremely gratifying, sir,’ [Jeeves] said, and I agreed . . . that he had
tetigisti-ed the rem acu.” P.G.Wodehouse, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen.
“ ‘Rem acu once again,’ said Sir Piercie, ‘and not without good cause, since
my neck, if I remained, might have been brought within the circumstance of a
halter.’ ” Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery.
Rem The accusative singular of the fifth declension noun res, rei “a thing”,
and the direct object of tetigisti.
Acū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun acus, “a needle”, an
ablative of instrument.
Tetigistī The second person singular perfect of the verb tango, tangere, “to
touch”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Requiēscat in pāce (R.I.P.)
May he/she rest in peace
R.I.P. is a familiar inscription on tombstones and memorial tablets.
“Lady Mary did not live long after her return to England. . . . Requiescat in
pace; for she quarrelled all her life.” W. Bagehot, Literary Essays, “Lady
Mary Wortley Montague”.
“After running up the house [the mine-owner] finds he only had $2.80 left to
furnish it with, so he invests that in whisky and jumps off the roof on a spot
where he now requiescats in pieces.” O. Henry, “The Chair of
Philanthromathematics”.

47
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the heading Requiescat is given to
Matthew Arnold’s poem, “Strew on her roses, roses, And never a spray of
yew. In quiet she reposes: . . .”
Requiēscat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb
requiesco, requiescere, “to rest”, used as an imperative.
Pāce The ablative singular of pax, pacis, “peace”, governed by the
preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rēs ipsa loquitur
Cicero, Pro Milone 53
The thing itself speaks
Or “The facts speak for themselves”. On the surface it suggests the argument
to end all argument, but for a description of its full legal implications, see, for
example, John Gray’s Lawyers’ Latin (Hale).
Ipsa The nominative singular feminine of the intensive pronoun ipse,
“itself”, referring to res.
Loquitur The third person singular present of the deponent verb loquor,
loqui, “to speak”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rus in urbe
Countryside in the town
Martial uses this phrase in his Epigrammata, xii, 57, 21 (A.D. 103).
“Bloomsbury is the very height of the mode . . . ’Tis rus in urbe. You have
gardens all the way to Hampstead.” W. M. Thackeray, Henry Esmond.
Per contra the County Borough of Solihull in Warwickshire has adopted the
reverse of this concept as its motto; Urbs in Rure, “Town in the
Countryside”.
Custodes Ruris in Urbe − “Guardians of the Countryside in the City” − is the
motto of the Wimbledon and Putney Common Conservators.
Urbe The ablative singular of urbs, urbis, “town, city”, governed by the
preposition in.
Rure The ablative singular of rus, ruris, “countryside, governed by the
preposition in.
Custōdēs The nominative plural of custos, custodis, “a guardian”.
Ruris The genitive singular of rus, “countryside”.

48
Sine quā nōn
Without which nothing (happens)
Short for causa (or conditio) sine qua non. It is the motto of 540 Squadron of
the R.A.F.
“Mr. Wilson held, secondly, that the sine qua non, the great prerequisite to a
good paper currency, was the maintenance of an adequate reserve by the
issuer.” W. Bagehot, “The Right Hon. James Wilson”.
Philip Larkin, in “What Are We Writing For?”, suggests that we have, or
should have, the Unity of Action, “because this condition is surely a sine qua
non of all good writing . . .”
“It is a sine qua non of the Coarse costume that it is impossible to move in
it.” Michael Green, The Art of Coarse Acting.
A government farming expert, speaking on the radio about grassland, once
famously remarked that a sine qua non of a good ley was a firm bottom.
Quā The ablative singular feminine of the relative pronoun qui, “which”,
governed by the preposition sine, (referring to causa or conditio understood).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sit venia verbō
May the word be allowed
Literally “may there be permission to the word”; that is “forgive the
expression” or even “pardon my French”. A useful phrase, used mostly by
German writers following Nietzsche, but there is no reason why English
writers should not adopt it. In The Guardian, in an extract from On Love and
Death translated from the German by Anthea Bell, Patrick Süskind suggests
that the entire act “has something terribly well-constructed about it, and
indeed − sit venia verbo − can be described as Kleist’s magnum opus.”
Sit venia verbo is the title of a book on Heidegger by Michel Deutsch and
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
Sit The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb sum, esse “to
be”.
Verbō The dative singular of verbum, verbi, “a word”.

49
Sub specie aeternitātis
Spinoza, Ethics
Taking a long-term view, in the eye of time
Literally, “beneath the gaze of eternity”.
Aldous Huxley, in Point Counter Point, has Philip Quarles suggest that to get
rid of industrialism, you would have to slaughter half the existing number of
men and women. “Which might, sub specie aeternitatis . . . , be an excellent
thing.”
Specie The ablative singular of the fifth declension noun species, speciei,
“sight, view”, governed by the preposition sub.
Aeternitātis The genitive singular of aeternitas, “eternity”, dependent on
specie.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Summā cum laude
With highest praise
Used particularly to denote the award in the U.S.A. of a university degree of
the highest class, more or less equivalent to a British first class degree.
Below this class is magna cum laude, “with great praise” (q.v. supra), and
below this is plain cum laude. The phrase illustrates the habit of Latin
writers of placing the preposition between the adjective and the noun.
Nearer home, a friend of mine who is a dentist obtained her degree of
Bachelor of Dental Science in the University of Wales (Universitas
Cambrensis) in 1978 and her certificate is written in Latin. It records that she
passed with distinction – summa cum laude.
Summā The ablative singular feminine of summus, the superlative of the
adjective superus, “higher”, qualifying laude.
Laude The ablative singular of laus, laudis, “praise, commendation”,
governed by the preposition cum.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tē Deum laudāmus
We praise thee, O God
The canticle sung at Mattins, which, tradition says, was composed by
St. Ambrose while baptising St. Augustine ca. A.D. 386. However it is now
thought to have been written by Nicera, Bishop of Remesiana (ob. ca. A.D.
414).

50
“When savage wild dogs bark in Wragby, and savage wild pit-ponies stamp
on Tevershall pit-bank! te deum laudamus!” D. H. Lawrence, Lady
Chatterley’s Lover.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, and the object of laudamus, in
apposition to Deum.
Deum The accusative singular of deus, dei, “god”, the object of laudamus.
(In the English phrase, “God” is vocative, but the vocative of deus is deus.)
Laudāmus The first person plural present of the verb laudo, laudare, “to
praise”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tempus edax rērum
Ovid, Metamorphoses, xv. 234
Time the devourer of things
Tempus edax rerum is the name of a Doom Black Metal group in Brazil.
“ ‘Mr. Western a daughter grown up!’ cries the barber. ‘I remember the
father a boy; well, tempus edax rerum!’ ” Henry Fielding, Tom Jones.
But we must be fair, for Time is also a healer, and the same speaker
acknowledged this later. “ ‘Time, however, the best physician of the mind, at
length brought me relief.’ ‘Ay, ay; tempus edax rerum,’ said Partridge.”
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones.
Tempus edax rerum appears on a sundial which was fixed to the wall of
Gulval Church, near Penzance, until thieves stole it in 1998. It is tempting,
albeit unchristian, to hope something devours them, even if it is no more than
remorse.
Rērum The genitive plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing, an
affair”, dependent on edax. As noted below (fortiter in re . . .), res has a very
wide variety of meanings.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Terminus ad quem
The inevitable result
The culmination, the “limit to which”. Michael Hofmann, writing in The
Guardian, said: “It [sc. the history of Germany] comes inevitably down to
Hitler, the terminus ad quem.” Conversely terminus a quo is a “starting
point”.
These two terms are also used in a slightly different context, together with the
related (and preferred) pair terminus ante quem − “the limit before which”,

51
and terminus post quem − “the limit after which”, to mark the limits of the
time during which a particular event could have taken place. For example,
the terminus ante quem for a borough charter for Looe, Cornwall, circa A.D.
1212, is taken to be the date at which one witness to the charter is known to
have inherited his estate and title, while the terminus post quem is the date at
which another witness is known to have died.
Quem The accusative singular masculine of the relative pronoun qui,
“which”, referring to terminus and governed by the preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ultima ratiō rēgum
The final argument of kings
War has been described as “ultima ratio regum.” Louis IV of France had
Ultima ratio regum embossed on each of his cannons; and Ultima ratio
regum is the name of a track on the album Domus Mundi by the Austrian
symphonic black metal band Hollenthon.
Patrick O’Brian, in Ionian Mission, suggests that the truth would remain
unaltered if “Captain Aubrey were to turn his cannon − the ultima ratio
regum and other bullies − on Professor Graham”.
The use of the phrase strays into dispatches from the battle of the sexes.
“Having twice sallied out and been beaten back, she now, as I expected, tried
the ultima ratio of women, and had recourse to tears.” W. M. Thackeray,
Henry Esmond.
Ultima The nominative singular feminine superlative of an adjective *ulter,
found only in derivatives such as ultra. It qualifies ratio.
Rēgum The genitive plural of rex, regis, “a king”, dependent on ratio.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Urbī et orbī
To the city and to the world
The motto Urbi et Orbi is affixed to the gates of the Vatican. Formerly it
was the standard opening phrase of Roman proclamations and it is now the
formula accompanying papal rescripts. The Pope addresses Rome and the
world in his Easter message Urbi et Orbi, reminding us that to the Romans,
urbs meant Rome and no other city. Urbi et Orbi is also the name of the
blessing given by the Pope in St. Peter’s Square at Christmas.
Urbī The dative singular of urbs, urbis, “town, city”,
Orbī The dative singular of orbis, “a circle, the world”.

52
Usque ad fīnem
As far as the end or To the very end
“That was the way. To follow the dream and again to follow the dream − and
so − . . . − usque ad finem. . . .” Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim.
Usque ad finem is the motto of 428 Ghost Squadron of the R.A.F.
Fīnem The accusative singular of finis, “the limit, the end”, governed by the
preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Venite, exultēmus Dominō
O come, let us rejoice in the Lord
These are the first words of Psalm 95, although the earlier Latin spelling is
exsultemus, and the Authorised Version begins “O come, let us sing unto the
Lord”. The psalm is used as a canticle at Mattins.
Venite The second person plural imperative of the verb venio, venire, “to
come”.
Exultēmus This is the first person plural present subjunctive of the verb
exulto, exultare, “to dance, to rejoice”, used here as an imperative. (Exulto is
a later spelling – the verb is exsulto in classical Latin dictionaries.)
Dominō The dative singular of dominus, domini, “master, lord”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vēnī, vīdī, vīcī
I came, I saw, I conquered
Julius Caesar, writing to Amantius, thus announced his victory over
Pharnaces at Zela in Pontus, in 47 B.C.
Lawrence Durrell in Sauve Qui Peut, “What-ho on the Rialto”, describes a
French lady ambassador who wrought havoc with men’s hearts in the
Vulgarian diplomatic community, “enmeshing them with her veni vidi vici,”
and whose tactics included “tapping you on the lips with her closed fan,” an
idiosyncracy which won all hearts.
Tawdry Hepburn, the San Francisco indie-rock loungecore group, uses “veni
vidi vici” as a refrain in “Sink”, a song about mythic female dominance
borrowed from the rock group Apocalipstick. (Credite posteri!)
In October 2005 The Guardian, advertising a T.V. series on ancient Rome,
used an inscription which read: “Veni, vidi, volo in domum redire” − “I
came, I saw, I want to go home”. [Better would have been: Veni, vidi, volo

53
domum redire, since domum (accusative without a preposition) means “to
home”.]
Vidi Vici is the motto of 191 Squadron of the R.A.F.
Vēnī The first person singular perfect of the verb venio, venire, “to come”.
Vīdī The first person singular perfect of the verb video, videre, “to see”.
Vīcī The first person singular perfect of the verb vinco, vincere, “to
conquer”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vincit qui patitur
He overcomes who endures
In 1583 John Whitgift became Archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1596 he
founded the Whitgift schools in Croydon, bequeathing them his motto, Vincit
qui patitur. I myself attended what is now the Trinity School of John
Whitgift, and we were all as children expected to be inspired by this motto,
although nobody we asked seemed to be at all sure exactly what it meant.
Vincit qui patitur is also widely used as a motto by other bodies, among them
Stockport Grammar School and the families of Prescott of Godmanchester
and Disney of the Hyde.
Vincit The third person singular present of the verb vinco, vincere, “to
conquer”.
Patitur The third person singular present of the deponent verb patior, pati,
“to suffer, to endure”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vīs medicātrix nātūrae
The healing power of Nature
Vis Medicatrix Naturae is the name of a firm, formed in Portland, Oregon, by
two naturopathic physicians, and supplying natural medicines.
In Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer, the Fifth Earl of Gonister
wonders whether he owed his recovery “to the Carp, to the Return of Spring,
or to the Vis medicatrix Naturae.”
“ ‘I am a great believer in nature’s remedies, vis medicatrix naturae,’
explained Uncle Percy, sneezing a little as he mixed himself a hot whisky and
lemon.” P. J. Dorricot, Beyond the Nursery Slopes.
Medicātrix This appears to be a late Latin word, not found in classical
writings. It is the nominative singular feminine of an adjective medicator,
“healing”, and qualifies vis.

54
Nātūrae The genitive singular of natura, “Nature”, dependent on vis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vox ultima crucis
The final voice of the cross
In The Oxford Book of English Verse the heading Vox ultima crucis is given
to John Lydgate’s poem “Tarye no lenger; toward thyn heritage / Hast on thy
weye . . .”, a poem set to music as an anthem by Sir William H. Harris. The
voice is that of Christ, inviting the reader or listener to Heaven.
Ultima The nominative singular feminine superlative of an adjective *ulter,
found only in derivatives such as ultra. It qualifies vox.
Crucis The genitive singular of crux, “a cross”, dependent on vox.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

55
Section II
Abēunt studia in mōrēs
Ovid, Heroides, Epistle xv. 83
Studies (or habits) pass into (or create) character
This is the motto of the (teacher training) College of St. Mark and St. John in
Plymouth, bearing touching witness to the belief of teachers that, despite the
well-attested existence of academic rogues, education is a good thing. But
perhaps Ovid wasn’t thinking of middle-class morality. Francis Bacon in his
essay “Of Studies” analysed the dictum:
“Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural
philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt
studia in mores.”
The book Abeunt Studia in Mores: A Festschrift for Helga Doblin is written
by Sarah A. Merrill.
Studia / abeunt / in / mores
Studies / pass / into / character
Abēunt The third person plural present of the verb abeo (= ab + eo), abire,
“to go away”.
Studia The nominative plural of the second declension neuter noun studium,
studii, “ a study”, and the subject of abeunt.
Mōrēs The accusative plural of the third declension noun mos, moris, “a
custom”, governed by the preposition in. The plural of mos generally
signifies “character, morals”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Abiit, excessit, ēvāsit, erūpit
Cicero, In Catilinam, II, i. 1
He has gone, he is fled, he has eluded our watch, he has broken through our
guards
The resourceful escaper was Catiline who had plotted to overthrow the
government of Rome and who, being accused of treason, had deemed it
prudent to flee Rome and seek safety among his army of rebels. [N.B. There
appears to be no word in Latin, or in any other known language, for
“escapee”.] Cicero clearly wanted to leave his hearers in the least possible
doubt that Catiline had in fact gone away, and in doing so he offers us a
choice of four ways in which to say in Latin “he has slung his hook”.
“He (sc. the pig) bolts! He’s off! − Evasit! Erupit!” Leigh Hunt, “On the
Graces and Anxieties of Pig-driving”.

56
“Then abiit − what’s the Ciceronian phrase? −
Excessit, evasit, erupit − off slogs boy,
Off like a bird, avi similis − (You observed
The dative? Pretty i’ the Mantuan!) − Anglice
Off in three flea skips. . .”
C. S. Calverley, “The Cock and the Bull”.
Abiit The third person singular perfect of the verb abeo, abire, “to go
away”.
Excessit The third person singular perfect of the verb excedo, excedere, “to
pass beyond”.
Ēvāsit The third person singular perfect of the verb evado, evadere, “to
escape”.
Erūpit The third person singular perfect of the verb erumpo, erumpere, “to
break through”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ad majōrem Deī glōriam (A.M.D.G.)
To the greater glory of God
This is the motto of the Society of Jesus (alias “The Jesuits”), and also of St.
Ignatius College in Middlesex. It is a favourite dedication for war
memorials, rolls of honour and stained glass windows up and down the land,
as well as being the standard dedication for the compositions of Johann
Sebastian Bach.
[This is an example of the stylish Roman practice of separating two closely
linked words (majorem, gloriam) with another (Dei).]
Ad / majorem / gloriam / Dei
To / the greater / glory / of God
Majōrem The accusative singular of major, the comparative of the adjective
magnus, “great”, qualifying gloriam.
Glōriam The accusative singular of gloria, gloriae, “glory”, governed by
the preposition ad.
Deī The genitive singular of deus, “a god”, dependent on gloriam.

57
Afflāvit Deus et dissīpantur
God breathed and they are scattered
These words were inscribed on a medal struck by order of Queen Elizabeth I
to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, giving due credit
to God but not necessarily thereby devaluing the contributions of Sir Francis
Drake et al. Drake himself acknowledged God’s part in his many successes
by having the motto Auxilio Divino − “By divine aid” − appear on his crest.
The words Afflavit Deus et dissipantur appeared also on a medal struck in
1797 to commemorate the dispersal by storms of a French invasion fleet off
Bantry Bay, County Cork.
Afflāvit The third person singular perfect of the verb afflo, afflare, “to blow
on”.
Dissīpantur The third person plural present passive of the verb dissipo,
dissipare, “to scatter”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Agnoscō veteris vestīgia flammae
Virgil, Aeneid, iv. 23
I feel the stirrings of the former fires (of love)
Dido is confiding to her sister Anna that she is beginning to feel for Aeneas
stirrings of that same love which she felt for her dead husband Sychaeus.
(Vide also “Varium et mutabile semper femina” infra.)
“Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae! Something dim and far removed − . . . −
stirring beneath the surface − coming to life − . . . ” C. S. Lewis, “Psycho-
analysis and Literary Criticism”.
Agnosco / vestigia / veteris / flammae
I recognise / the traces / of an old / flame
(N.B. The “old flame” was internal and emotional and was unlikely to be a
former admirer.)
Veteris The genitive singular of the adjective vetus, “old, former”,
qualifying flammae.
Vestīgia The accusative plural of vestigium, vestigii, “a footstep, a trace”,
the object of agnosco.
Flammae The genitive singular of flamma, “a flame”, dependent on
vestigia.

58
Aliquandō bonus dormītat Homērus
Even good Homer nods at times
Homer nodded off permanently a few centuries ago but the phrase is still
pertinent today: simply replace “Homer” with the name of any cricket
umpire. It is often used to excuse someone’s lapse of memory or inattention
to detail, but it is in fact a variant on a critical remark of Horace, who, in Ars
Poetica 359, says: Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus – “I deem it
unworthy of him if Homer, usually good, nods for a moment.” Horace will
happily accept human frailty in any other artist: but Homer? − from him only
the best will do.
“. . . for if aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus, they should remember how
long he stayed awake . . .” Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote.
Gideon Haigh in Silent Revolutions tells of how Errol Hunte, a West Indian
test cricketer, was usually referred to in Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack as R.
L. Hunte. Haigh comments on this error: “Quandoque bonus dormitat
Homerus of course.”
Dormītat This is the third person singular present of the verb dormito,
dormitare, a development of dormire, “to sleep”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Apologia pro suā vītā
A defence of the conduct of his life
In 1864 Cardinal John Newman wrote an account of his life and opinions
under the title Apologia pro Vita Sua. Wilfred Owen wrote a poem –
“Apologia Pro Poemate Meo [for my poem]” – beginning “I, too, saw God
through mud.” Over the years the term “apology” has acquired connotations
of guilt and confession, of mea culpa, but the original apologia was in no
sense apologetic.
Sara Wheeler, reviewing in The Guardian a book on Iran, suggested that the
book “is, above all else, an apologia for the unifying underlying meaning of
Islamic art”.
Suā The ablative singular feminine of the possessive pronoun suus,
“his/their own”, qualifying vita.
Vītā This is the ablative of vita,vitae, “life”, governed by the preposition
pro.
Poēmate The ablative singular of the neuter noun poema, poematis, “a
poem”, neuter because it derives from the Greek neuter noun 

59
Meō The ablative singular masculine of the possessive pronoun meus, “my
own”, qualifying poemate.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ā posse ad esse
From potentiality to being
“Even before puberty Martin had known that deep within him were the
makings of a great lover. . . . Samantha’s initial response to his tentative but
markedly amorous advances seemed to hold out hope of his proceeding
shortly a posse ad esse.” P. J. Dorricot, Beyond the Nursery Slopes.
A Posse ad Esse is the motto (though surely referring strictly to the
development only of moral and intellectual potential) of Pierrepont School,
Surrey.
[N.B. Although a and ad normally govern the ablative and accusative of the
noun respectively, both posse and esse are infinitives and as such are
indeclinable.]
Posse The infinitive of the verb possum, “I am able”.
Esse The infinitive of the verb sum, “I am”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aquila nōn capit muscās
An eagle does not catch flies
This is a declaration that certain trivial annoyances and inconveniences are
beneath the notice of the well-bred. It is the motto of many well-bred and
aquiline families, including those of Illidge, Keevil, Manningham-Buller and
Yarde-Buller.
Capit The third person singular present of the mixed conjugation verb
capio, capere, “to take, seize”.
Muscās The accusative plural of musca, muscae, “a fly”, the object of capit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ars est cēlāre artem
True art lies in concealing art
A Latin proverb, literally “Art is to conceal art”. Ovid may have had it in
mind when he said (Artis Amatoriae, ii. 213): Si latet ars, prodest − “If the
art is concealed, it succeeds”, the art here being the sly and subtle art of
seduction.

60
Ars est celare artem was the motto chosen by the Central Signals
Establishment of the R.A.F., but presumably not for its seductive
implications. On the other hand, and I speak as an ex-R.A.F. man, who
knows?
Cēlāre The infinitive of celo, “I hide”. Celare artem is the complement of
ars.
Artem The accusative singular of ars, artis, “art”, the object of celare.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ars longa, vīta brevis
Hippocrates; De Brevitate Vitae (Of the Brevity of Life),
(quoted by Seneca)
Art (is) long, life (is) short,
or So long a time to learn the art, so short a time to live
The art was the art of healing, as one might suppose of Hippocrates. The
phrase does not mean, as the schoolboy howler suggests, “a short skirt on a
fat bottom”, although Punch magazine once added its own comment on an
obituary notice: “John Longbottom, aged 3 months, dies: Ars longa vita
brevis.”
Sir John Millais took Ars longa, vita brevis as his family motto. Longfellow
translated it as: “Art is long but time is fleeting”.
In Doctor in the House, Richard Gordon states that over the entrance to
St. Swithin’s Hospital was engraved “Hippocrates’ discouraging aphorism
‘The Art is Long’.”
For the sake of brevity, the Latin twice omits the verb est, “is”.
Longa The nominative singular feminine of the adjective longus, “long”, the
complement of ars.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Avē Maria grātiā plēna
Hail Mary, full of grace
In Luke i. 28 the archangel Gabriel addresses Mary in these words: “Hail,
thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among
women”. The Vulgate has Ave gratia plena, Dominus tecum. . . – “Hail, full
of grace, the Lord is with thee”. In neither of these versions does the angel
mention Mary by name until two verses later, and only later did the practice
arise of making it clear immediately who the highly-favoured lady was. The

61
version to be found for example in the Visconti Book of Hours has the angel
say explicitly: Ave Maria gratia plena, . . . − “Hail Mary, full of grace, . . .”
The passage was a prayer to be repeated a set number of times as penance
after Confession. In the rosary, the small beads were known as Ave Maria
beads, distinct from the larger Paternoster beads. The Ave Maria bell was
sounded at six o’clock and again at twelve o’clock to invite the faithful to
repeat the prayer.
Two farm workers were debating a serious problem. Should Jake remain
faithful to Maria, his childhood sweetheart, or transfer his affections to
Emily, the seductive new parlourmaid at the Hall? Suddenly Reuben had a
bright idea. Jake should pray for heavenly guidance. The local Catholic
church was close at hand, and Reuben persuaded Jake to go in and pray.
Two seconds later, Jake was out again. “You ain’t ’ad time to pray, surely!”
said Reuben. “ ’Tweren’t no need!” said Jake, his face aglow. “I got in
through the door, and there ’twere writ up for me all in gold
letters − ‘’Ave Maria’!”
Avē The second person singular imperative of the verb aveo, avere, “to be
well”. Only the imperative singular and plural (avete, aveto) of this verb are
used: they can also be used to mean “Farewell”.
Grātiā The ablative singular of gratia, gratiae, “grace”. It is an ablative of
association, following plena.
Plēna The nominative singular feminine of the adjective plenus, “full”,
qualifying Maria, usually followed either by the genitive or, as here, by the
ablative.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Coitus plēnus et optābilis
Perfect and desirable coitus
For many of us the desired climax of love-making and perhaps one of the
most frequently hoped-for gifts on the average man or woman’s Santa Claus
list.
In Arigato, Richard Condon relates that Bitsy had taken deep pleasure in sex
“until it became a hobby with almost slogan proportions: coitum plenum et
optabilem”. (It is not clear why Condon sets the phrase in the accusative case
rather than in the nominative, unless it is in remote apposition to “deep
pleasure” or “hobby”.)
Plenus / et / optabilis / coitus
Full / and / desirable / coitus

62
Plēnus This adjective can have the enhanced meaning of “perfect”. It
qualifies coitus.
Optābilis A third declension nominative masculine adjective, also
qualifying coitus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Crēdō in ūnum Deum
The Mass
I believe in one God
Credo in unum Deum begins the Creed of the Latin Mass. Credo gives us
our English word “Creed”.”
Credo is also used for the totality of a person’s beliefs, secular as well as
religious. “Cressida suddenly stopped and stooped down. Carefully and
tenderly she picked up the worm from the road and deposited it safely on the
grass verge, for kindness to all animals was a central tenet of Cressida’s
Credo.” P. J. Dorricot, Beyond the Nursery Slopes.
A Credo need not belong to a single person. The firm of Johnson & Johnson
publish a comprehensive “Our Credo” in which they declare their
responsibility to all who use their services, to their employees, and to the
local and world community, as well as to the stockholders.
Credo is also the motto of the Lords Sinclair of Cleeve.
Crēdō This verb was followed by the dative when used in the sense of
“trusting someone”, but the object of a belief was put in the accusative. Here
the accusative is used after the preposition in.
Ūnum The accusative singular masculine of the adjective unus, “one”,
qualifying Deum.
Deum The accusative singular of deus, dei, “a god”, governed by the
preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Crēdō quia absurdum est
I believe it because it is so unreasonable
The origin of this phrase might lie in statements of Tertullian about Christian
belief being independent of probabilities. In Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter
Point, Walter Bidlake adopted and adapted the phrase, avowing that he loved
Lucy Tantamount because it was unseemly and unworthy, that knowing all
about her, he could listen to anything that might be said of her. “And the
more atrocious the words, the more desperately he loved her. Credo quia

63
absurdum. Amo quia turpe, quia indignum. . . .” (Huxley’s lines translate as:
“I believe [it] because [it is] so unlikely. I love because [it is] shameful,
because [it is] unworthy”.)
Absurdum This is the nominative singular neuter of the adjective absurdus,
neuter because it qualifies an impersonal subject “it”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cucullus nōn facit monāchum
The cowl (hood) does not make the monk
Don’t judge by outward appearances, for better or for worse. (The hoodie is
no modern phenomenon.)
Escalus: “Signor Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar Lodowick to
be a dishonest person?”
Lucio: “ ‘Cucullus non facit monachum:’ honest in nothing but in his
clothes; . . .”
Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, V, i.
Clown: “Lady, cucullus non facit monachum, that’s as much to say as I
wear not motley in my brain . . .”
Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, I, v.
Facit The third person singular present of the mixed conjugation verb facio,
facere, “to make”.
Monāchum The accusative singular of monachus, monachi, a Late Latin
word for “monk”, and the object of facit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Et in Arcadiā ego
I too [have lived] in Arcadia
Et in Arcadia ego appears on the tomb in Nicolas Poussin’s painting of “The
Arcadian Shepherds”, as well as in paintings by Guercino and Bartolomeo
Schidoni. An alternative reading is: “Even in Arcady will you find me
(sc. Death)”.
Evelyn Waugh gives the heading Et in Arcadia ego to the first part of his
Brideshead Revisited, in which we meet a table decoration in the form of a
human skull which “bore the motto ‘Et in Arcadia ego’ inscribed on its
forehead”.
Arcadia was a district of the Peloponnesus inhabited largely by shepherds
and other rustics, and was according to Virgil an area noted for its pastoral

64
simplicity and happiness. In short, the ideal place in which to live, or at least
in which to have a second home.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem with the title Et tu in Arcadia vixisti −
“You too have lived in Arcadia”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ex nihilō nihil fit
Nothing is made from nothing
This is a distillation of a statement of Lucretius in De Rerum Natura, i. 155,
Nil posse creari de nilo − “Nothing can be created out of nothing”.
Karen Armstrong, in A Short History of Myth, notes that the Babylonian
creation myth Enuma Elish begins with a theogony showing how the gods
themselves first came into being. “There is no creation ex nihilo but an
evolutionary process. . . .”
Nihil / fit / ex / nihilo
Nothing / is made / from / nothing
Nihilō The ablative of nihilus, “nothing”, governed by the preposition ex.
Fit The third person singular present of the verb fio, fieri, “to become, to be
made”. The verb supplies the passive of the mixed conjugation verb facio,
facere, “to make”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fragrat post fūnera virtus
Virtue smells sweet after death
One of many dicta or sententiae making the virtuous feel less miserable
about the prospect of dying.
“The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things; . . .
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”
James Shirley.
Fragrat The third person singular present of the verb fragro, fragrare, “to
smell sweet”.
Fūnera The accusative plural of the third declension neuter noun funus,
funeris, “a interment”, governed by the preposition post and used here in the
plural with the meaning of “death”.

65
Virtus This has a variety of meanings, ranging from moral excellence to
courage in battle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Generōsus nascitur nōn fit
A gentleman is born, not made
This is the motto of the Wharton family, and is a variant of Poeta nascitur
non fit (q.v. infra).
Nascitur The third person singular present of the deponent verb nascor,
nasci, “to be born”.
Fit The third person singular present of the verb fio, fieri, “to become, to be
made”. This verb supplies the passive of the mixed conjugation verb facio,
facere, “to make”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Glōria in excelsīs Deō
The Mass
Glory (be) to God on high
This is the start of the hymn of praise known as “The Gloria”, which is part
of the Communion Service in the Book of Common Prayer.
It continues: Et in terra pax, hominibus bonae voluntatis − “And on earth
peace to men of good will”. Compare this with the heavenly chorus in Luke
ii. 14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward
men”, which in the Vulgate Bible is “Gloria in altissimis Deo”, etc.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo is the motto of Trinity College of Music.
Excelsīs The ablative plural of excelsum, excelsi, “a high place”, governed
by the preposition in.
Deō The dative singular of deus, dei, “a god”, meaning “to God” without the
need for a preposition.

66
Latet anguis in herbā
Virgil, Eclogue III, 93
A snake lurks in the grass
We may safely assume he or she does not lurk for any benevolent purpose,
hence the pejorative flavour of the phrase “a snake in the grass”.
Latet The third person singular present of the verb lateo, latere, “to be
concealed”.
Herbā The ablative singular of herba, herbae, “a plant, grass”, used here in
a collective sense, and governed by the preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mātre pulchrā fīlia pulchrior
Horace, Odes I, xvi. 1
O fairer daughter of a fair mother
(Horace begins his ode by addressing not the mother but the
daughter – O . . . filia pulchrior . . .)
“Faith, the beauty of filia pulcrior (sic) drove pulcram (sic) matrem out of
my head! and yet as I came down the river, and thought about the pair, the
pallid dignity and exquisite grace of the matron had the uppermost, and I
thought her even more noble than the virgin.” W. M. Thackeray, Henry
Esmond.
(O) / pulchrior / filia / pulchra / matre
(O) / fairer / daughter / (from) a fair / mother
Mātre The ablative singular of mater, matris, “mother”, suggesting the
daughter is “from” or “born of” a fair mother.
Pulchrā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective pulcher, “fair”,
qualifying matre.
Fīlia The vocative singular of filia, “daughter”.
Pulchrior The (vocative singular of the) comparative of pulcher, “fair”,
qualifying filia.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maxima dēbētur puerō reverentia
The utmost reverence is due to a child
That is to say, a child’s innocence (whenever it can be found) is to be
respected at all times.
“ ‘Maxima debetur pueris’, says Jones (a fellow of very kind feeling . . .), and
writing on his card to Hoskins, hinted to him that a boy was in the room, and

67
a gentleman who was quite a greenhorn; hence that the songs had better be
carefully selected.” W. M. Thackeray, The Newcombes. (The speaker uses
the plural pueris, “to children”.)
Maxima / reverentia / debetur / puero
The greatest / reverence / is due / to a child
Maxima The nominative singular feminine of maximus, the superlative of
the adjective magnus, “great”, qualifying reverentia.
Dēbētur The third person singular present passive of the verb debeo,
debere, “to owe”.
Puerō The dative singular of the second declension noun puer, pueri, “a
boy”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Memento hominem tē (esse)
Remember thou art a man
That is, mortal rather than immortal or divine. When a Roman general was
enjoying his triumphal parade, he was accompanied by a slave whose duty it
was to whisper from time to time in his ear: Respice post te: hominem
memento te − “Look behind you: remember you are a man.”
Kate Kellaway, writing in The Observer and reviewing the work of Allen
Kurzweil, in particular, “A Case of Curiosities”, says of a glass box and its
contents: “It’s a memento hominem which, ‘rather than proclaiming
mortality, registers a life’.”
Hominem et esse memento, meaning much the same as hominem memento, is
the motto of the Wybergh family.
Memento The second person singular imperative of memini, meminisse, “to
remember”. These are the perfect tense forms of a defective verb used as
present tenses. (Memini, “I remember”, could mean “I have just called to
mind”.)
Hominem The accusative singular of homo, hominis, “a man”, the
complement of te.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, combining with esse understood to
form a noun phrase which is the object of memento.

68
Nēmō mē impūne lacessit
None provokes me with impunity
This is the motto of the kings of Scotland and of all Scottish regiments. It is
the motto of the Order of the Thistle, and also of the Nettles family, which if
one thinks about it seems appropriate. The phrase is engraved around the
edge of the Scottish pound coin, the coin itself bearing the impression of a
thistle.
Mē The accusative of ego, “I”, the object of lacessit.
Impūne An adverb, “without punishment”, the accusative singular neuter of
a lost adjective *impunis, “unpunished”.
Lacessit The third person singular present of the verb lacesso, lacessere, “to
provoke”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nescit vox missa reverti
Horace, Ars Poetica, 390
The published word can never be recalled
Nescit vox missa reverti is the motto of the Halsey family.
Literally the phrase means “a voice sent forth knows not how to return”.
Horace addressed his Ars Poetica to Piso and his family, and is here advising
Piso’s eldest son to refrain from rushing too precipitously into print (or in
those days, into manuscript). A safe interval in which to give full
opportunity for second thoughts to clock in between writing and publishing
would be circa nine years.
”He was gone; and Morse knew, . . . , that he would not be forgiving himself
easily for such monumental ingratitude. But the damage was done: nescit
vox missa reverti.” Colin Dexter, The Wench is Dead.
In his edition of A. E. Housman’s collected poems and selected prose,
Christopher Ricks notes that in 1955 Tom Burns Haber published some of
Housman’s manuscript poems in violation of Housman’s will and with a
number of mistranscriptions. “The dust . . . has since settled. And here too
Nescit vox missa reverti, the voice sent forth can never be recalled.”
A variant of this sententia is Nescit semen missum reverti, an uncomfortable
truth which fuelled the search for a morning-after pill.
Nescit The third person singular present of the verb nescio, nescire, “not to
know”.

69
Missa The nominative feminine singular of missus, the past participle of the
verb mitto, mittere, “to send”, and so “sent forth, lost”, used here as an
adjective qualifying vox.
Reverti The infinitive of the deponent verb revertor, “I return”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nulla diēs sine līneā
Pliny, Historia Naturalis, II, xxxv. 91
No day without a line
A saying attributed to the Greek artist Apelles. The line could be a drawn
line or a written line − the important thing if you were an artist or a writer
was to keep your hand in.
Nulla The nominative feminine singular of the adjective nullus, “no, none”,
qualifying dies. In the plural, dies is masculine, but in the singular it can be
either masculine or feminine. Here it is feminine.
Līneā The ablative singular of linea, lineae, “a line”, governed by the
preposition sine.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ō tempora, ō mōrēs
Cicero, In Catilinam, I, i. 1
O what times! O what conduct!
This was Cicero’s reaction to his suspicion that Catilina might be planning
some sacrilegious crime. It could loosely be translated as “Fings ain’t what
they used to be”.
Writing in The Guardian, Tom Holland used these words in bemoaning the
fact that the OCR examination board had decided to abolish the A-level
papers in Ancient History.
O tempora, o mores is the title of a juvenile poem by Edgar Alan Poe: “O
Times! O Manners!”
Ogden Nash in “The Baffled Hermit” extended the sentiment: “O tempora, O
mores, O Montreal!”
Ō The interjection “O!”
Tempora The vocative plural of the third declension neuter noun tempus,
temporis, “time”.
Mōrēs The vocative plural of the third declension noun mos, moris, “a
custom”. The plural of mos generally signifies “character, morals”.

70
Per ardua ad astra
Through toil to the stars
The motto of the Royal Air Force, and before that of the Royal Flying Corps,
possibly adapted from an early Latin tag, Ad astra per aspera − “To the stars
through difficulties”, which itself is the motto of the State of Kansas. To me
as an ex-R.A.F. man (A.C.1), the modern version sounds an improvement. It
might be considered that No. 27 (Bomber) Squadron went one better with
their own motto, scorning difficulties: Quam celerrime ad astra − “As
quickly as possible to the stars”.
Ardua The accusative plural of arduum, ardui, “difficulty”, governed by the
preposition per.
Astra The accusative plural of astrum, astri, “a star”, governed by the
preposition ad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Persicōs ōdī, puer, apparātūs
Horace, Odes, I, xxxviii. 1
Boy, I hate Persian luxury
Persicus was used by Roman writers as a label for any exotic eastern luxury.
“. . . his chest of mangoes, chutney and currie-powders: his shawls for
presents to people whom he didn’t know as yet: and the rest of his Persicos
apparatus.” W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse the heading Persicos Odi is given to
W. M. Thackeray’s poem which begins: “Dear Lucy, you know what my
wish is, − / I hate all your Frenchified fuss: . . . ” Persicos Odi is also the title
of a poem by Charles Edward Merrill Jr.: “Boy, I detest these modern
innovations. . .”
“Apparatus” is a word adopted in toto into English from Latin but is curious
in that, being a fourth declension noun, apparatus as written may be either
singular or plural. (The Romans pronounced the word differently however in
the singular and in the plural, with a “short u” and “long u” respectively.)
Only rarely do we talk about “an apparatus”, though there is no reason why
we shouldn’t do so. It is equally correct to say, “The apparatus is broken”,
and “The apparatus are broken”. The usual way of avoiding this perhaps
subconsciously-felt ambiguity is to talk about a “piece of apparatus”.
When I was in training for my spell of National Service, we were given
instructions on how to fall flat on our faces preparatory to firing our rifles.
Our corporal suggested that we “grasp the rifle firmly in the left hand and fall

71
forward on to the right hand, being careful to avoid the wedding apparatus as
you go down.”
Puer / odi / Persicos / apparatus
Boy / I hate / Persian / pomp
Persicōs The accusative plural masculine of the adjective Persicus,
“Persian”, qualifying apparatus.
Puer The vocative of the second declension noun puer, pueri, “a boy”.
Ōdī The first person singular present tense of the verb, odi, odisse, “to
hate”. It is technically the first person singular perfect tense, but is used as a
present tense.
Apparatūs The accusative plural of the fourth declension noun apparatus,
“splendour, pomp”, the object of odi. Apparatus originally meant “a
preparation” but later was applied to things prepared, and then to things
prepared with great care and no expense spared.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Poēta nascitur nōn fit
A poet is born, not made
The origin of this saying is uncertain, as is that of a linked saying: Orator fit,
poeta nascitur − “An orator can be made, a poet is born”.
Lewis Carroll chose not to agree with the statement and wrote a poem
entitled Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur, and starting “How shall I be a poet . . .?”
In Eyeless in Gaza, Aldous Huxley adapts the phrase to “A man is not born
but is made”, made from his natal elements and potentialities. “ ‘Swine will
be swine.’ ‘But may become human,’ I insisted. ‘Homo non nascitur, fit.’ ”
A. E. Housman also adapted the phrase to his own purpose. Textual criticism
of the classical authors was his trade, and he suggested that this science and
this art required more in the learner than a simply receptive mind; “and
indeed the truth is that they cannot be taught at all: criticus nascitur, non fit.”
Poēta This is a first declension masculine noun, despite its “–a” ending, one
of a group which includes nauta, “sailor”, and agricola, “farmer”.
Nascitur The third person singular present of the deponent verb nascor,
nasci “to be born”.
Fit The third person singular present of the verb fio, fieri, “to become, to be
made”. The verb supplies the passive of the verb facio, facire, “to make”.

72
Quōrum animābus propitiētur Deus
On whose souls may God have mercy
This phrase in various states of abbreviation terminated the inscriptions on
many of the memorial brasses set up in English parish churches prior to about
1600, referring to the man commemorated and to his wife and often to their
children as well. On some of these propitietur is spelled propicietur. (If only
one person is commemorated, the phrase begins cuius animae . . ., “on whose
soul”.)
Quorum / Deus / propitietur / animabus
Of whom / God / may he have mercy on / the souls
Quōrum The genitive plural masculine of the relative pronoun quis, “who”,
literally meaning “of whom”, referring back to the persons named on the
memorial, and relating to animabus.
Animābus The dative plural of anima, animae, “soul”. Instead of the usual
ending -is, the ending -abus for the dative and ablative plural was used with
dea and filia, to avoid confusion with deus and filius. Here it is used to avoid
confusion with the dative plural of animus, which for the Romans had a
spiritual meaning, but which was rejected by Christianity in favour of anima,
which the Romans took to be the soul imprisoned in the body rather than
free-ranging. Although a dative, animabus is the direct object of propitietur,
a verb showing favour.
Note also that St. Augustine wrote a book called De Duabus Animabus, “Of
the two souls”, arguing against a Manichaean doctrine of the duality of the
soul. Here animabus is ablative, governed by the preposition de and
qualified by duabus, the ablative feminine of duo, “two”.
Propitiētur The third person singular present subjunctive of the deponent
verb propitior, propitiari, “to have mercy on”. This is a Late Latin,
ecclesiastical, use of the verb, whose earlier meaning was something like “to
be atoned for”.
Cuius The genitive singular of the relative pronoun quis, “who”, relating to
animae.
Animae The dative singular of anima, animae, “soul”.

73
Rādix malōrum est cupiditas
The root of (all) evils is the love of money
This is a shortened form of the verse in 1 Timothy vi. 10: “Radix enim
omnium malorum est cupiditas” − “Hence the root of all evil is the love of
money”. Chaucer quotes it in the Prologue to the Pardoner's Tale:
“My theme is alwey oon, and evere was −
Radix malorum est Cupiditas.”
[Enim is a a sort of all-purpose link word carrying on the story, and can be
given a variety of translations. It is usually the second or third word in the
sentence, rarely the first.]
Cupiditas / est / radix / malorum
The love of money / is / the root / of evils
Omnium The genitive plural of omnis, “all”, qualifying malorum.
Malōrum The genitive plural of malum, mali, “an evil”, derived from the
adjective malus, “bad”, dependent on radix.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ruat coelum, fiat justitia
Though the heavens fall, let justice be done
Vide “Fiat justitia, et ruant coeli” infra.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sīc transit glōria mundī
Thomas à Kempis, De Imitatione Christi (Of the Imitation of Christ)
Thus passes the glory of the world
À Kempis in fact wrote: O quam cito transit gloria mundi − “O how swiftly
passes the glory of the world.” The phrase Sic transit . . . derives from this.
The enthronement of a new pope is three times interrupted by a monk
holding a piece of burning flax on a pole and saying Sic transit gloria mundi
as the flax burns away. Cf. “memento hominem” supra.
“. . . as I reached the spot, there was nothing left but the sweep of a white
muslin curtain, and a balsam plant in a flower-pot, covered with a flush of
bloom − ‘sic transit,’ et cetera.” Charlotte Brontë, Shirley.
At some time in the future, if it has not already happened, an Asian-owned
transport firm will surely find a receptionist who can legitimately answer the
telephone with the statement: “Sikh Transit, Gloria Munday.”

74
The phrase can be adapted to lament the passing of the glory of places of
lesser extent, such as a town. “Outside the railings, the hollow square of
crumbling houses, shells of a bygone gentry, leaned as if in ghostly gossip
over the forgotten doings of the vanished quality. Sic transit gloria urbis.”
O. Henry, “Proof of the Pudding”.
Sīc “In this way”. This is a word which has been adopted into English to
make it clear that whatever is printed, however badly spelt or ungrammatical,
is someone else’s error, and not that of the current writer.
Transit The third person singular present of the verb transeo (= trans + eo),
transire, “to pass by”.
Mundī The genitive singular of mundus, “the world”, dependent on gloria.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sīc volō sīc iubeō
Such is my will, such is my command
In his Satires, vi. 223, Juvenal presents the picture of a vindictive wife
demanding of a hen-pecked husband that a slave be crucified for an
imaginary misdemeanour: Hoc volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas −
“This I wish, thus I command, let (my) will be reason (enough).” From this
derives the (fairly) commonly-used phrase, sic volo, sic iubeo.
“When Lady Kew said Sic volo, sic jubeo, I promise you few persons of her
ladyship’s belongings stopped, before they did her biddings, to ask her
reasons.” W. M. Thackeray, The Newcomes.
A review of Georges Duby’s France in the Middle Ages recognises that “It is
a major tribute . . . that he has been able to deal with publishers in his sic
volo sic iubeo style.”
“Surely you’re not mowing the lawn at this time of the year? It’s mid-
winter!” “I’m doing it to please my wife. She wanted it done.” “Why?”
“Sic volo, sic iubeo. Who can fathom the workings of a woman’s mind?”

75
Sī monumentum requīris, circumspice
If it’s a monument you want, look around you
These words appear on Sir Christopher Wren’s memorial stone in St. Paul’s
Cathedral, set there by his son, Christopher. The old English pronunciation
of Latin can be inferred from the story of the old verger who believed that the
last word translated as “Sir, come, spy, see”.
Si Monumentum Requiris is the title of a poem by the Australian poet Bruce
Dawe, dedicated to the orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Wai-ki Pun who gave him
two new hips.
In Eyeless in Gaza, Aldous Huxley conflates two quotations, this one and
Horace’s Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus (q.v.):
“Millions of books. . . . Mountains of the spirit in interminable birth-pangs;
and the result was – what? Well, si ridiculum murem requiris, circumspice.”
(If you want to see a laughable little mouse, just look around you.)
Monumentum The accusative singular of monumentum, monumenti, “a
monument”, the object of requiris.
Requīris The second person singular present of the verb requiro, requirere,
“to seek”.
Circumspice The second person singular imperative of the verb
circumspicio, circumspicere, “to gaze around”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Stīpendium peccāti mors est
Romans vi. 23
The wages of sin is death
Faustus in Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus reads this verse aloud: “For the
wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord.” The Vulgate reads: “Stipendium enim peccati, mors”.
William Albright wrote a piece for organ, piano and percussion called
Stipendium peccati.
Peccāti The genitive singular of the second declension neuter noun
peccatum, “a sin”, dependent on stipendium. There exists also a fourth
declension masculine noun peccatus, which translates as “a fault”, not quite
in the same league as a full-blown sin.

76
Suum cuique bene olet
Erasmus, Adagia
What is one’s own smells sweet
Readers are expected to supply for themselves the answer to “one’s own
what?”
Suum Cuique is the title of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The rain has
spoiled the farmer’s day ... I will attend my proper cares”.
“Does not Freud underrate the extent to which nothing, in private, is really
shocking as long as it belongs to ourselves? Suum cuique bene olet.”
C. S. Lewis, “Psycho-analysis and Literary Criticism”.
Cuique / suum / olet / bene
To each one / his own / smells / well
Suum The nominative singular neuter of the possessive pronoun suus, “his
own”, neuter because it is here used as an abstract noun.
Cuique The dative of the pronoun quisque, “each one severally”.
Olet The third person singular present of the verb oleo, olere, “to smell”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Timor mortis conturbat mē
The Office of the Dead.
The fear of death disturbs me
This refrain from the Roman Catholic Office of the Dead is used by William
Dunbar in his poem “Lament for the Makaris” (makers, sc. poets). In the
poem he rehearses the names of twenty-four poets who have died recently
and of another who is in extremis: surely Dunbar himself is next in line.
I that in heill was and gladness
Am trublit now with great sickness
And feblit with infirmitie:
Timor mortis conturbat me.
“ ‘I don’t want to die, why should I? . . . But . . . it doesn’t interest me, you
know.’
“ ‘ “Timor mortis conturbat me”,’ quoted Birkin.” D. H. Lawrence, Women
in Love.
Mortis The genitive singular of mors, “death”, dependent on timor.
Conturbat The third person singular present of the verb conturbo,
conturbare, “to disturb”.
Mē The accusative of ego, “I”, the object of conturbat.

77
Verbum sapientī sat est
A word to the wise is enough
An old Roman proverb, found in Plautus (Persa 729) and in Terence (Formio
541). Usually abbreviated to verbum sap. or even verb. sap.
VerbSap is the name of an online literary magazine publishing concise prose.
“Verb. Sap. Take the hint from me, old boy. Drop the monocle. . . . Be a
boozer. It’s much more fun.” Aldous Huxley, “The Monocle.”
Sapientī The dative of sapiens, sapientis, “a wise man”, derived through
ellipsis from the present participle of the mixed conjugation verb sapio,
sapere, “to have taste, to be wise”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vīvit post fūnera virtus
Virtue lives on after death
Vivit post funera virtus appears on a 1673 memorial in St. Martin’s Church,
Exeter, to the memory of Winifred Butler, daughter of Sir Richard Prideaux.
It is the motto of the Earls of Shannon and of the City of Nottingham, and
could formerly be read on the buttons of employees of the Nottingham
Corporation Tramways. (Cf. “Fragrat post funera virtus” supra.)
Vīvit The third person singular present of the verb vivo, vivere, “to live”.
Fūnera The accusative plural of the third declension neuter noun funus,
funeris, “a interment”, governed by the preposition post and used here in the
plural with the meaning of “death”.
Virtus This has a variety of meanings, ranging from moral excellence to
courage in battle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vox et praetereā nihil
Ovid, Metamorphoses, iii. 397
A voice and nothing more
The phrase is also used by Lactantius (III, fab.V) and refers to a nightingale,
which when plucked ready for the pot proves to be “all voice and nothing
else”. Plutarch included the phrase in his Laconic Apophthegms.
In Aldous Huxley’s Chrome Yellow. Mr. Scogan bemoans the fact that
whereas in a sane world he would be a great man; “In this curious
establishment, . . . , to all intents and purposes I don’t exist . I am just Vox et
praeterea nihil.”

78
“. . . the fellow is not worth her − a poor groatsworth of a man, vox et
praeterea nihil (though a very fine vox) . . .” Patrick O’Brian, The Mauritius
Command.
Vox / et / praeterea / nihil
A voice / and / beyond this / nothing
Praetereā An adverb formed from the preposition praeter “beyond”, and
ea, the ablative singular feminine of the determinative pronoun is, “this”,
relating to re, “a thing”, understood.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vox Populī, vox Deī
Archbishop W. Reynolds
The voice of the People (is) the voice of God
Reynolds is quoting Alcuin who used the expression ca. A.D. 800 but in a
very negative context: “We would not listen to those who say ‘Vox Populi,
vox Dei’, for the voice of the people is near akin to madness.”
“ ‘− we are the only persons qualified to judge whether a priest suits us or
not, . . .’
‘Vox populi vox Dei,’ sighed the old bishop.”
G. Guareschi, The Little World of Don Camillo.
Vox Populi when abbreviated to “Vox Pop” refers to an extract from an
interview with a member of the general public (the plebs).
F. Anstey wrote a book called Voces Populi − “Voices of the People”, or
“Scenes from English Life”, and Longfellow wrote a poem under the title
Vox Populi.
Populī The genitive singular of populus, “the people”, dependent on vox (1).
Deī The genitive singular of deus, “a god”, dependent on vox (2).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

79
Section III
Ab ōvō usque ad māla
Horace, Satires I, iii. 6
From the egg to the apples, from the beginning to the end
The phrase refers to a feast which begins with an egg and finishes off with an
apple. It might also refer to your friend and mine who monopolises the
conversation at a meal from start to finish.
Ab ovo on its own may also be used synonymously with ab initio “From the
start”.
“Do you suppose that [dinner-time] is a pleasant period, and that we are to
criticize you between the ovum and the malum, between the soup and the
dessert?” W. M. Thackeray, Roundabout Papers.
Ab Ovo is the name of a fast-growing, innovative and independent ICT
services and products provider; of a French electronic duet; and of a Latvian
rhythm, beat and ethnic project headed by Nils Ile.
Ōvō The ablative singular of ovum, ovi, “egg”, governed by the preposition
ab.
Māla The accusative plural of malum, mali, “apple”, governed by the
preposition ad.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amantium īrae amōris integrātiō est
Terence, Andria, 555
Lovers’ quarrels are the renewal of love
This is perhaps one of the most controversial statements to have come down
to us from the Latin writers, and probably more loving couples have fallen
out arguing about it than for any other reason. A Latin T-shirt website offers
a shirt with this inscription as “a gift for your lover after an argument”.
W. M. Thackeray heads chapter 66 of Vanity Fair and Anthony Trollope
heads chapter 73 of Phineas Finn with Amantium Irae.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse Richard Edwardes’ poem “In going to
my naked bed” is given the heading Amantium Irae. The last line of each
stanza reads: “The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.”
Irae / amantium / est / integratio / amoris
The quarrels / of lovers / is / the renewal / of love

80
Amantium The genitive plural of amans, amantis, literally “loving”, and
the present participle of the verb amo, amare, “to love”, but used by ellipsis
as a noun meaning “ a lover”, dependent on irae.
Īrae The nominative plural of ira, “anger”, with a meaning in the plural of
“quarrels, a falling out”. Often in Latin a noun whose meaning is concrete in
the singular has in the plural a meaning which is abstract.
Amōris The genitive singular of amor, “love”, dependent on integratio.
Est A singular verb agreeing with integratio which is singular, rather than
with irae which is plural.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Avē Caesar moritūri tē salūtant
Hail, Caesar, those who are about to die salute thee
Suetonius reported that this was the cry of condemned prisoners who were
crewing galleys in a mock battle on Lake Fucinus in A.D. 52. However
tradition has it that it was also the shouted tribute paid to Caesar by the
gladiators about to engage in a fight to the death in the arena of the
Colosseum and other venues of relaxation and fun. It would seem that
whether on land or sea the stiff upper lip − labrum superius rigidum − was
not the invention of the English Public School, but was alive and flourishing
in ancient Rome, at least for as long as it took to fight to the death. An
alternative form is Ave Imperator morituri te salutamus − “Hail, Emperor, we
who are about to die salute thee.”
Longfellow’s poem “Morituri salutamus” begins: “ ‘O Caesar, we who are
about to die / Salute you!’ was the gladiators’ cry.”
Derived from this is Morituri nolumus mori - “we who are about to die don’t
want to”, the motto of the mission dispatched in Terry Pratchett’s The Last
Hero to foil the plan of the gods to destroy Discworld. Morituri nolumus
mori is also the name of a wargames website.
(Julius Caesar handed on his cognomen of Caesar to his heirs. Subsequent
Emperors of Rome, not to spurn a good thing, assumed the name as a title.
The Romans pronounced the word as “Kigh-zar” and from Caesar came the
word “Kaiser”, a title adopted by the emperors of Germany. The same name
was whittled down to “Csar” or “Czar”, a title adopted by the kings of
Bulgaria. “Czar” as a royal title also flourished in Russia from the fifteenth
century onward, though respelt as “Tsar” to look more Russian and less
Bulgarian. The title Tsar was snuffed out in Russia at Ekaterinburg on 17th
July 1918, although “Czar” has since been resurrected, we are told, in such
titles as “War Czar”.)

81
Avē The second person singular imperative of the verb aveo, avere, “to be
well”. Only the imperative singular and plural (avete, aveto) of this verb are
used: they can be used to mean either “Hail” or “Farewell”.
Moritūri This is the nominative plural masculine of moriturus, the future
participle of the deponent verb moriar, mori, “to die”, used here by ellipsis
as a noun, the subject of salutant.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, and the object of salutant.
Salūtant The third person plural present of the verb saluto, salutare, “to
greet”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beneficium accipere lībertātem est vendere
Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, 49
To accept a favour is to sell (one's) liberty
Judging by reports of the incidence of official corruption world wide, the
value placed on liberty sometimes doesn’t seem to amount to very much.
Sententiae were thoughts put into the form of maxims or aphorisms, and
several in this present collection are taken from Publilius Syrus. The word
“maxim” itself derives from the phrase maxima sententia, a “greatest
thought”, or as one might say, a “lofty thought”.
Accipere / beneficium / est / vendere / libertatem
To accept / a favour / is / to sell / (one’s) liberty
Accipere The infinitive of the mixed conjugation verb accipio, “I receive”.
Beneficium This is the accusative singular of the second declension neuter
noun beneficium, “a favour”, the object of accipere.
Lībertātem This is the accusative of the third declension feminine noun,
libertas, libertatis, “freedom”, the object of vendere.
Vendere The infinitive of vendo, “I sell”, the complement of accipere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bis dat quī cito dat
Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, 6
He gives twice as much who gives quickly
A slimmed-down form of Bis dat qui dat celeriter, which says exactly the
same thing, viz, that a rapid albeit modest response to a call to alms can be an
inexpensive way of acquiring a reputation for generosity. From the
recipient’s point of view, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush − avis in
manu duas in frutice valet.

82
In theatrical or musical circles, “Bis!” − “twice”, is of course the French for
“Encore!”
Both cito and celeriter mean “quickly”: the former in its comparative form
appears in the motto of the Olympic Games: Citius, Altius, Fortius − “Faster,
Higher, Stronger”.
Dat The third person singular present of the verb do, dare, “to give”.
Quī The nominative singular masculine relative pronoun “who”. Here it
refers to a missing determinative pronoun is, “he”, the understood subject of
dat.
Cito An adverb derived from the adjective citus, “quick”. Citius is the
comparative of cito, formed from the accusative neuter of citior, the
comparative of citus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cantābit vacuus cōram lātrōne viātor
Juvenal, Satires, x. 22
A beggar will sing in the face of a thief
“Against Thugs I had Juvenal’s licence to be careless in the emptiness of my
pockets − Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.” Thomas de Quincey,
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
This may still have been true in de Quincey’s time as well as in that of
Juvenal, but by 1829 the growth in grave-robbing and body-snatching made
fashionable by the likes of Burke and Hare meant that no one was safe, alive
or dead: certainly poverty was no safeguard. Good money was paid by the
dissecting fraternity for corpses, a fact deplored by Sir Walter Scott in a letter
to Maria Edgeworth, “for there is an end of the Cantabit vacuus, the last
prerogative of beggary, which entitled him to laugh at the risk of robbery.”
Vacuus / viator / cantabit / coram / latrone
The empty-handed / traveller / will sing / before / a robber
Cantābit The third person singular future of the verb canto, cantare, “to
sing”.
Vacuus An adjective, “empty, void”, qualifying viator.
Lātrōne The ablative singular of latro, latronis, “a thief”, governed by the
preposition coram.

83
Cupīdō dominandī cunctīs affectibus flagrantior (est)
The desire to dominate is stronger than all other (human) feelings
Tacitus mentions this urge in his Annals, xv. 53.
A variant appeared in a book review of Nigel Hamilton’s “JFK” in The
Observer. F.P. Smoler wrote: “Joseph Kennedy was a . . . coward whose
regular passions were restricted to greed and libido dominandi . . .” Libido is
Latin merely for “desire”, although now the word has acquired firm sexual
connotations.
“Every man is born cupidus – desirous of getting; but not avarus – desirous
of keeping.” James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
Cupido / dominandi / flagrantior / cunctis / affectibus
The desire / to dominate / (is) stronger / than all (other) / feelings
Dominandī This is the genitive of dominandum, “the act of domineering”,
which is itself the gerund of the deponent verb dominor, dominari, “to rule”.
It is dependent on cupido.
Flagrantior This is the nominative singular feminine comparative of the
adjective flagrans, flagrantis, “blazing”, the complement of cupido.
Cunctīs This is the ablative plural of the adjective cunctus with the sense of
being “joined (all) together”, qualifying affectibus.
Affectibus This is the ablative plural of affectus, a fourth declension noun.
It is an “ablative of comparison” which is used as an alternative to using
quam, “than”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dā mihi animam, caetera tolle
Give me the soul and take away the rest
[Christ loquitur] “. . . all legs are equal. Moreover, they are not My
business. I am interested in souls. Da mihi animam, caetera tolle. I leave
the bodies on earth.” Giovanni Guareschi, The Little World of Don Camillo.
Dā The second person singular imperative of the verb do, dare, “to give”.
Mihi The dative of ego, mei, “I”, the indirect object of da.
Animam The accusative singular of anima, animae, “soul”, the direct object
of da.
Caetera An alternative spelling of cetera, the accusative plural neuter of
ceterus, ceteri, “the rest”, the object of tolle.
Tolle The second person singular imperative of the verb tollo, tollere, “to
carry off”.

84
Dē gustibus nōn est disputandum
There is no arguing about taste
Jeremy Taylor in “Reflections upon Ridicule” quotes this as an old Latin
proverb, and Henderson prints it on page 77 of his “Latin Proverbs”. Robert
Browning wrote a poem under the title “De gustibus . . .”
“Mrs. Knox, of Aussolas, was told that I had taken Mrs. McRory for a run in
the car at one o’clock in the morning, and on hearing it said, ‘De gustibus
non est disputandum’.
“Someone, unknown, repeated this to Mrs. McRory, and told her that it
meant ‘You cannot touch pitch without being disgusted’.”
E. Œ. Somerville and Martin Ross, Further Adventures of an Irish R.M.
An extended version of the proverb exists, designed perhaps to confound the
critics of contemporary art: De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum −
“There is no arguing about taste or colours.”
In Tchekhov’s The Seagull, Shamraev says: “But of course, it’s a matter of
taste. De gustibus aut bene aut nihil.” Whether deliberately or not,
Shamraev appears to be conflating the present phrase De gustibus . . . with
another of uncertain authorship, De mortuis aut bene aut nihil, − “Of the
dead (speak) either well or not at all”. Cf. “De mortuis nil nisi bonum” infra.
Gustibus The ablative plural of the fourth declension noun gustus, “a taste”,
governed by the preposition de.
Disputandum The nominative neuter of the gerundive of the verb disputo,
disputare, “to debate”. An impersonal passive construction with non est,
meaning “it is not to be argued (about)”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dē minimīs nōn cūrat lex
Francis Bacon, Letter cclxxxii
The law does not concern itself with trivialities (or trifles)
Literally “with the smallest things”.
Whenever a fellow called Rex
Flashed his very small organ of sex,
He always got off,
For the judges would scoff,
“De minimis non curat lex.” Anon.
However it is reported that such a defence was not accepted when offered by
a serial flasher convicted by Teesside Crown Court in 2007.

85
Lex/ non / curat / de / minimis
The law / does not / care / about / trivia
Minimīs The ablative plural of minimus, “very small”, the superlative of
parvus, “little, small”, governed by the preposition de. Minimis is used here
by ellipsis as a noun, whose nominative singular is probably minimum, a
neuter form indicating “a very little thing”.
Cūrat The third person singular present of the verb curo, curare, “to pay
attention to”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ex Africā semper aliquid novī
(There is) always something new out of Africa
A proverb derived from Livy. Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, II, viii. 42,
says: Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, which means much the same as
the proverb quoted. Africa is a big place and has always been viewed by
Europe as an inexhaustible Santa’s grotto of novelties.
“I thought you’d like to see something new,” he said, adding, not without
pride, “Ex Africa surgit semper aliquid novo - novi, eh?” Patrick O’Brian,
The Mauritius Command.
It seems reasonable to suppose that Karen Blixen found in this quotation the
title for her magnum opus, “Out of Africa”.
Semper aliquid novi is the motto of the Commission for the New Towns.
Semper / aliquid / novi / ex / Africa
Always / something / of new / out of / Africa
Aliquid The nominative singular neuter of the pronoun aliquis, “someone,
something”.
Novī This is the genitive singular of a neuter noun novum, “a novelty”,
derived from the adjective novus, “new”. The genitive is used after words of
quantity or after pronouns, so aliquid novi can be thought of as “something
of new”.
Africā The ablative of Africa, governed by the preposition ex.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Let justice be done, though the world may perish
This was the motto of Emperor Ferdinand I of Germany. Jeremy Taylor
attributes the saying Fiat ius et pereat mundus (“Let right be done ...”) to

86
St. Augustine of Hippo but a search of Augustine’s works has failed to bring
the saying to light.
Fiat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb fio, fieri, “to
become, to be made”. The verb supplies the passive of the mixed
conjugation verb facio, facere, “to make”.
Pereat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb pereo
(= per + eo), perire, “to vanish, to perish”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fiat justitia et ruant coelī
Let justice be done, though the heavens fall
William Watson wrote in Ten Quodlibetical Quotations Concerning Religion
and State (1601) “You go against that general maxim in the laws, which is
‘Fiat justitia et ruant coeli.’ ” This is its first known appearance in English
literature, but by this time the phrase was already a well-known legal maxim.
It has clearly always been a popular idea and it appears in several forms.
Vide “Ruat coelum ...” infra.
Fiat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb fio, fieri, “to
become, to be made”. The verb supplies the passive of the mixed
conjugation verb facio, facere, “to make”.
Ruant The third person plural present subjunctive of the verb ruo, ruere, “to
fall down”.
Coelī The nominative plural of *coelus, “heaven”, but for a discussion of
the provenance of this non-Classical word, vide “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus”,
infra.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gaudeāmus igitur, juvenēs dum sumus
Let us rejoice therefore, while we are young
The opening words of a song which I found first in The Scottish Students’
Songbook. It has been sung by students throughout Europe over the centuries
and is also known under the title De Brevitate Vitae − “On the Shortness of
Life”. It is set to music composed ca. A.D. 1267 by Strada, Bishop of
Bologna. Brahms quotes the tune in his Academic Festival Overture.
It is sadly unlikely that this phrase gave rise to the term “Gaudy”, an
academic and frequently rowdy entertainment at certain universities, but the
verb “gaudere” (“to rejoice”) is the common source of the two “g” words.
Gaudeāmus This is the first person plural present subjunctive of the verb
gaudeo, gaudere, “to rejoice”.

87
Juvenēs Juvenis means both “young” and “a young person”. (The term was
broad in application, covering the years from twenty to forty.) Juvenes is the
nominative plural of juvenis and could mean either “young” or by ellipsis
“young people”.
Sumus This is the first person plural present of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Homō prōpōnit, sed Deus dispōnit
Thomas à Kempis, De Imitatione Christi
Man proposes, God disposes
This is the motto of the Barber-Starkey family, perhaps expressing despair at
the failure of a string of ambitious plans for advancement in various
directions.
Cf. “Dis aliter visum” supra.
Homō Although translated as “man”, this is a generic noun, denoting “a
person” rather than “a man”, the latter being vir, while “a woman” is mulier.
Prōpōnit The third person singular present of the verb propono, proponere,
“to propose”.
Dispōnit The third person singular present of the verb dispono, disponere,
“to dispose”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hōrās nōn numerō, nisi serēnās
I count not the hours unless (they be) serene
William Hazlitt’s essay “On a Sun-dial” starts: “Horas non numero, nisi
serenas − is the motto of a sun-dial near Venice.”
The words appear on sun-dials nearer home. Serenas means unclouded and
hence “sunny”; our own word “serene” fits well here, being a shade more
euphonious than “sunny”.
A common variant is Horas non numero, nisi aestivas, where aestivas refers
to summer hours and summer suns. These words appear on a sundial in Petts
Wood, Kent, erected to the memory of William Willett, the promoter of
British Summer Time.
Hōrās The accusative plural of hora, horae, “time, an hour”.
Nisi “Unless”. The verb is understood, so nisi serenas is “unless they be
serene”.
Serēnās The accusative plural feminine of the adjective serenus, “fair,
bright”, a remote qualifier of horas.

88
Lentē, lentē currite, noctis equī
Slowly, oh run slowly, ye horses of the night
In Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe puts these words into the mouth of
Faustus as he awaits the hour when Mephistopheles will come to claim his
soul. Ovid, in Amores, I, xiii. 39, wrote: At si, quem malis, Cephalum
complexa teneres, / Clamares: lente currite noctis equi − “But if you held
Cephalus, whom you favour, tight in your arms, you might call out: Run
slowly, ye horses of the night”. For Ovid’s young lover, these words were a
prayer to Time that his bliss might be prolonged; for Faustus they were an
anguished supplication that his doom might be postponed.
Colin Dexter heads chapter 30 of The Wench is Dead with the words, Lente
currite, noctis equi!
Lentē An adverb derived from the adjective lentus, “slow”.
Currite The second person plural imperative of the verb curro, currere, “to
run”.
Noctis The genitive singular of nox, “night”, dependent on equi.
Equī The vocative plural of equus, equi, “a horse”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Magna est vēritas et praevalēbit
T.Brooks: The Crown and Glory of Christianity (1662)
Great is truth and it shall prevail
“ ‘But what did the poor devil believe himself? Truth shall prevail − don’t
you know. Magna est veritas et . . . Yes, when it gets a chance.’ ” Joseph
Conrad, Lord Jim.
Coventry Patmore called one of his short poems “Magna est Veritas”; it ends:
“For want of me the world’s course will not fail:
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.”
Magna The nominative singular feminine of the adjective magnus, “great”,
the complement of veritas.
Praevalēbit The third person singular future of the verb praevaleo,
praevalere, “to be powerful, to prevail”.

89
Mediā vītā in morte sumus
The Book of Common Prayer
In the midst of life we are in death
This is part of the service for the burial of the dead, recited by the priest at the
graveside. Media Vita in Morte Sumus is the name of a Mass by Nicholas
Gombert (fl.1540), and also the title of a Danish horror film of 1993 directed
by Nina Powers-Bates.
Mediā This is the ablative singular feminine of medius, an adjective
qualifying vita, but which means “in the middle of”.
Vītā This is the ablative of vita, vitae, “life”, meaning “in life”.
Morte The ablative singular of mors, mortis, “death”, governed by the
preposition in.
Sumus This is the first person plural present of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nē suprā crepidam sūtor iūdicāret
Pliny, Historia Naturalis, II, xxxv. 85
Let not the cobbler judge above (his) sandal
Or “The cobbler should stick to his last”. The renowned Greek artist Apelle
was happy enough to be guided by a cobbler as to the correct representation
of a shoe in one of his paintings, but issued this mild rebuke (in Greek) when
the cobbler began to offer advice on details of the painting unconnected with
feet.
Ne / iudicaret / sutor / supra / crepidam
Do not / let judge / the cobbler / above / (his) sandal
Nē A negative adverb, meaning “do not” or “let not”, here modifying the
subjunctive verb iudicāret.
Crepidam The accusative singular of crepida, crepidae, “a sandal”,
governed by the preposition supra.
Iūdicāret The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb iudico,
iudicare, “to judge”, used as an imperative.

90
Omne ignōtum pro magnificō est
Tacitus, Agricola 30
Everything unknown is taken for an object of wonder
Or “tends to be exaggerated”. Tacitus fathers these words on Galgacus,
leader of the Britons, as a comment on the current (and mistaken) view in
Rome of Britons as being wild and fierce. The following line notes that most
of Britain has however now been explored. The phrase also appears in
Robert Bland’s Proverbs of 1814.
“I begin to think, Watson,” said Holmes, “that I make a mistake in
explaining. ‘Omne ignotum pro magnifico’ you know, and my poor
reputation . . . will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid.” Arthur Conan Doyle,
“The Red-headed League”.
Omne The nominative singular neuter of the adjective omnis, “all”, used as
a noun meaning “everything”, the subject of est.
Ignōtum The nominative singular neuter of the adjective ignotus,
“unknown”, qualifying omne.
Magnificō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective magnificus,
“imposing”, used here as an abstract noun and governed by the preposition
pro.
Est The third person singular present indicative of the verb sum, esse, “to
be”. Its meaning here is “is held to be”, and as such is followed by pro and
the ablative.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Parturiunt montēs, nascētur rīdiculus mūs
Horace, Ars Poetica, 139
The mountains are in labour and there shall be born a laughable little mouse
Horace is warning against overweening ambition on the part of a boastful
writer, tempted to produce an epic which in the event falls flat.
There has been at least one sighting of this animal in modern literature.
W. S. Gilbert, in his poem “Etiquette”, (“The Ballyshannon foundered off the
coast of Cariboo”), has the line: “One day, when out a-hunting for the mus
ridiculus, . . .”
In Eyeless in Gaza, Aldous Huxley conflates two quotations, this one and Si
monumentum requiris, circumspice (q.v.). “Millions of books. . . . Mountains
of the spirit in interminable birth-pangs; and the result was – what? Well, si
ridiculum murem requiris, circumspice.” (If you want to see a laughable
little mouse, just look around you.)

91
Parturiunt The third person plural present of the verb parturio, parturire,
“to have the pains of labour”. (Some variant readings {variae lectiones}
have parturient, which is the future tense.)
Montēs The nominative plural of mons, montis, “a mountain”, the subject of
parturiunt.
Nascētur The third person singular future of the deponent verb nascor,
nasci, “to be born”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Post coitum omne animal triste est
After coitus every animal is sad
This saying has been attributed to Aristotle, but Galen is also quoted as the
source of a longer version: Quod omne animal post coitum est triste, praeter
mulierem gallumque − “For every animal is sad after coitus, except woman
and the cockerel”. The sadness is most evident perhaps in those species in
which after copulation the male is eaten by the female.
In Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point, Philip Quarles notes that the books
and lectures “are better sorrow-drowners than drink and fornication; they
leave no headache, none of that despairing post coitum triste feeling.”
“. . . the oily and balsamous parts (of animals) are of a lively heat and spirit,
which accounts for the observation of Aristotle, ‘Quod omne animal post
coitum est triste.’ ” Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy.
“The absence of the object that had . . . slaked my thirst made me realise . . .
the perversity of that thirst. Omne animal triste post coitum.” Umberto Eco,
The Name of the Rose.
Quod A causal conjunction.
Omne The nominative singular neuter of the adjective omnis, “all”,
qualifying animal.
Coitum The accusative singular of the fourth declension noun coitus, “a
union”, governed by the preposition post.
Triste The nominative singular neuter of the adjective tristis, “sad”, the
complement of and agreeing with animal.
Mulierem The accusative singular of mulier, mulieris, “woman”, governed
by the preposition praeter.
Gallum The accusative singular of gallus, galli, “a cockerel”, governed by
the preposition praeter.

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Post equitem sedet ātra Cūra
Horace, Odes, III, i. 40
Behind the horseman sits black Care
Throughout the ages the man on a horse was a wealthy man. The poor
walked.
Post Equitem is the title of a bronze roundel by Sir Alfred Gilbert, R.A.
“Anxiety? Pray Heaven he never may suffer the sleepless anguish, the
racking care which has pursued me! ‘Post equitem sedet atra cura’ our
favourite poet says.” W. M. Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip.
“ ‘Post equitem sedet atra Cura’ he quoth / They invite their destruction,
these drongos most loth.” Chris Oakley, “The Destruction of Balliol”.
Equitem The accusative singular of eques, equitis, “a horseman”, governed
by the preposition post.
Sedet The third person singular present of the verb sedeo, sedere, “to sit”.
Ātra The nominative singular feminine of the adjective ater, “black”,
qualifying Cura. In fact, atra is used here in a metaphoric rather than in a
chromatic sense, meaning “sombre” or “gloomy”. (Cf. “Facilis descensus
Averno...” infra.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Post hōc ergō propter hōc
After this, therefore because of this
Quoted by Richard Whately in Elements of Logic (1826), this well-known
logical fallacy suggests that if two seemingly connected things happen at
different times, the earlier must be the cause of the later.
There was a recent debate about whether or not the MMR vaccine could
cause personality disorders in some children. Opponents claimed that many
children show symptoms of such disorders after they had been vaccinated.
Defenders of the vaccine claimed that there was no firm evidence that it was
harmful, and suggested that those who claimed it was harmful were arguing
fallaciously along post hoc, ergo propter hoc lines.
Hōc The accusative singular neuter of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”,
the two words here being governed respectively by the prepositions post and
propter.

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Procul, Ō procul este, profānī
Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 258
Begone, begone, O ye profane ones.
These words were spoken by the Cumaean Sibyl as Æneas prepared to enter
the Underworld. Here is an extract from John Dryden’s translation of the
relevant passage:
Then earth began to bellow, trees to dance,
And howling dogs in glimm’ring light advance,
Ere Hecate came. “Far hence be souls profane!”
The Sibyl cried, “and from the grove abstain!
Now, Trojan, take the way thy fates afford;
Assume thy courage, and unsheathe thy sword.”
In other contexts the profane souls in question are those who have not been
initiated into the rites of whatever ceremony is in progress. Procul, O procul
este, profani is inscribed over the doorway to Henry Hoare’s Temple of Flora
at Stourhead, perhaps to warn off visitors who are not prepared in spirit for
enjoying the beauties of the place.
“The idea of a dangerous sanctity is strong: procul este, profani.” Frank
Kermode, Shakespeare’s Language.
Procul An adverb meaning “far off”, modifying este.
Este The second person plural imperative of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
Profānī The vocative masculine plural of the adjective profanus,
“uninitiated”, here used by ellipsis as a noun with “people” understood.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quem dī dīligunt adolēscēns moritur
Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18
He whom the gods love dies young
This whole phrase is the title of a track on the 2001 album Ex Oriente Lux
(“Light from the East”) by Asgaard, a Polish heavy metal band (with Gothic
influences).
(Is) quem / di / diligunt / moritur / adolescens
(He) whom / the gods / love / dies / young
Quem The accusative singular masculine of the relative pronoun qui,
“who”, the object of diligunt. It is relative to a missing is, “he”, the subject
of moritur, and introduces an adjectival clause.
Dī The nominative plural of deus, dei, “a god”, the subject of diligunt.

94
Dīligunt The third person plural present of the verb diligo, diligere, “to
love, esteem”.
Adolēscēns The present participle of the verb adolesco, adolescere, “to
come to maturity”. Here it is either an adjective complementary to is
understood, or alternatively a noun, here meaning by ellipsis “(as) a young
man”.
Moritur The third person singular present of the deponent verb morior,
mori, “to die”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sī vīs pācem, parā bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war
This is an adaptation of advice urged by Vegetius ca. 390 B.C. in his De Rei
Militari — “On War”. It is the motto of 604 Squadron (County of
Middlesex) of the Auxiliary Air Force.
NATO in its peace-keeping role adopted the 9 mm Luger Parabellum
cartridge for use in pistols and sub-machine-guns.
Vīs The second person singular present of the verb volo, velle, “to wish”.
Pācem The accusative singular of pax, pacis, “peace”.
Parā The second person singular imperative of the verb paro, parare, “to
prepare”.
Bellum The accusative singular of bellum, belli, “war”, the object of para.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Suppressio vērī suggestio falsī (est)
Suppression of the truth (is tantamount to) the implication of a falsehood
There seems to have been little need to coin the phrase “economical with the
truth”. The maxim above has the force of law behind it. Insurance
companies in particular require their policy-holders to reveal all relevant facts
when applying for any kind of cover.
“It seems — and who so astonished as they? — that they had held back
material facts; that they were guilty both of suppressio veri and suggestio
falsi (well-known gods against whom they often offended); . . .” Rudyard
Kipling, Stalky and Co.
In The Bell, Iris Murdoch says: “Michael did not share James’ view that
suppressio veri was equivalent to suggestio falsi”, that withholding the truth
was tantamount to promoting a lie.
Vērī The genitive singular of the neuter noun verum, “the truth”, derived
from the adjective verus, “true”.

95
Falsī The genitive singular of the neuter noun falsum, “an untruth, a lie”,
derived from the adjective falsus, “false”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ubi sōlitūdinem faciunt, pācem appellant
Tacitus, Agricola 30
When they make a wilderness, they call it peace
Calgacus, the British leader, had no illusions about the Pax Romana. Clearly
a scorched-earth policy is nothing new.
William Keegan, writing in The Observer, observed that nearly 2,000 years
ago Tacitus summed up the present situation in Iraq, “when writing about a
country closer to home: ‘Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant’ (‘Where
they create a wilderness, they call it peace’)”.
Ubi A conjunction which normally means “where” but can also as it does
here mean “when”.
Sōlitūdinem The accusative singular of solitudo, solitudinis, “ a state of
deprivation”, the object of faciunt.
Faciunt The third person plural present of the mixed conjugation verb facio,
facere, “to make”.
Pācem The accusative singular of pax, pacis, “peace”, the object of
appellant.
Appellant The third person plural present of the verb appello, appellare, “to
name”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vānitas vānitātum, et omnia vānitas
Ecclesiastes, i. 1
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity
“O my jolly companions, I have drunk many a bout with you, and always
found vanitas vanitatum written on the bottom of the pot.”
W. M. Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip.
In 1872 the Conservative government under Disraeli was passing numerous
public health and sanitary laws. Disraeli himself is reported as claiming that
the Vulgate had misquoted the author of Ecclesiastes, who had in fact said
“Sanitas sanitatum, et omnia sanitas”. “Gentlemen, it is impossible to
overrate the importance of . . . the health of the people.”
(The original meaning of sanitas was “physical health”, but it could also
mean “mental health” or sanity.)

96
(Vanitas vanitatum has the same construction as Sanctum sanctorum which
was the “Holy of Holies” in the Jewish Temple. This style of phrase was
used to express the superlative in Hebrew: just as the Holy of Holies is the
holiest place, so vanitas vanitatum denotes the utmost, the final vanity.)
Vānitātum The genitive plural of vanitas, vanitatis, “emptiness”.
Omnia The accusative plural of omnis, “all”, here meaning “everything”, the
complement to vanitas, via a missing est. It means “all things” by ellipsis.
Note that Latin uses the plural noun where English uses the singular.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Varium et mūtābile semper fēmina
Virgil, Aeneid, iv. 569
A fickle and changeful (thing is) woman ever
Kenneth Grahame in his Dream Days has a chapter entitled Mutabile Semper.
The Italians have “La donna è mobile”.
In Scott’s Guy Mannering, Dominie Sampsan is not impressed with the
devious nature of Miss Bertram’s thinking. He “left her presence altogether
crestfallen, and as he shut the door, could not help muttering the ‘varium et
mutabile’ of Virgil.”
While Aeneas was in Carthage dallying with Dido, the words Varium et
mutabile semper femina were spoken to him in a dream by Mercury. The
main import of Mercury’s message was that Jupiter expected Aeneas to be on
his way instanter, and so must leave Dido. The problem was that Dido,
despite professing to love Aeneas dearly, was a woman, and as such might
turn nasty if she suspected Aeneas was deserting her, and would try to block
his passage with her ships, so he had better get a move on, which he did.
Poor Dido was most upset when she discovered Aeneas had gone, and
finding that on fleeing the nest he had unaccountably left his sword lying on
the bed, she threw herself upon it (the sword, not the bed) à la Juliet and thus
did herself in.
Femina / (est) / semper / varium / et / mutabile
Woman / (is) / ever / a fickle / and / changeable (thing)
Varium, mūtābile The nominative neuter singular of the adjectives varius,
mutabilis respectively, each qualifying as it were a missing noun meaning
“thing”, the complement of femina.
Fēmina Here womankind in general, as opposed to mulier, a particular
woman.

97
Videō meliōra probōque; dēteriōra sequor
Ovid, Metamorphoses, vii. 20
I see and approve the better (path), but follow the worse
Jason, leader of the Argonauts, had asked Æetes, king of Colchis, to
surrender the Golden Fleece, but before he would agree to do this Æetes set
Jason a number of near impossible tasks to complete. Æetes’ daughter,
Medea, had fallen helplessly in love with Jason and was determined to help
him (the “deteriora”) using her magic powers, in opposition to her father’s
wishes (the “meliora”). With her help Jason succeeded in all the tasks and
left Colchis with both the fleece and Medea.
In Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza, Antony B. notes in his diary that “Five
words sum up every biography. Video meliora proboque; deteriora sequor.”
Like all other human beings, he knew what he ought to do, but continued to
do what he knew he ought not to do.
“. . . he taught me to see and approve better things. ’Tis my own fault,
deteriora sequi.” W. M. Thackeray, Henry Esmond. (“Sequi” is “to
follow”.)
Meliora sequamur — “May we follow the better path”, is the motto of both
Brighton Boys’ Grammar School and Blackpool Boys’ Grammar School, and
of the Borough of Eastbourne.
Video / meliora / -que / probo / sequor / deteriora
I see/ the better things/ and / I approve / I follow/ the worse
Meliōra The accusative plural neuter of melior, the comparative of the
adjective bonus, “good”. It is used by ellipsis as a noun which is neuter
because it is abstract.
Dēteriōra The accusative plural neuter of deterior, the comparative of a lost
adjective. It is used by ellipsis as a noun which is neuter because it is
abstract.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

98
Section IV
Accipe frāternō multum mānantia flētū
Atque in perpetuum, frāter avē atque valē
Catullus Carmina ci. 10
Accept (these gifts) drenched with many a brotherly tear,
and so for ever, brother, hail and farewell
Catullus, on his way to Bithynia, was visiting his brother’s tomb near Troy
for the first time and was not expecting to pass that way again.
Colin Dexter heads the final chapter of The Jewel that was Ours with these
two lines.
Ave atque Vale is the official website of the book on the history of the Vale-
Special sports car.
Tennyson, sympathizing with Catullus, wrote a poem entitled “Frater Ave
atque Vale”. A. C. Swinburne wrote a poem with “Ave atque Vale” as its
title, in memory of Baudelaire. Had the film “Brief Encounter” been made in
ancient Rome, its title might well have been “Ave atque Vale”. Up to the end
of the 1920’s the termly magazine of my grammar school used “Ave atque
Vale” as the title of the list of names of those pupils who either had just
entered the school or had just left it.
The heading “Ave Atque Vale” appeared in the Radio Times some years ago
for a programme of music by Shostakovich, Charles Ives and Haydn. I am
not quite sure why the “Ave”, but the programme finished with Haydn's
“Farewell” Symphony. In any case it was good to be reassured that the
phrase was still alive and in good shape.
Accipe / multum / manantia / fraterno / fletu
Accept (these gifts) / much / drenched / with a brotherly / tear
atque / in perpetuum / frater / ave atque vale
and so / for ever / brother / hail and farewell
Accipe The second person singular imperative of the mixed conjugation
verb accipio, accipere, “to receive”.
Multum This is the accusative singular neuter of the adjective multus,
“much”, used here as an adverb modifying manantia.
Mānantia This is the accusative plural neuter of manans, the present
participle of the verb manare, “to flow”, used as a noun. The implication is
of many “flowings”.
Flētū This is the ablative singular of the fourth declension noun fletus,
which is more than a tear (lacrima) and closer to continual weeping.

99
Perpetuum The accusative neuter of the adjective perpetuus, “continuous”,
used here as a noun and governed by the preposition in.
Avē The second person singular imperative of the verb aveo, avere, “to be
well”. Only the imperative singular and plural (avete, aveto) of this verb are
used: they can also be used to mean “Farewell”.
Valē The second person singular imperative of valeo, valere, “to be strong”,
frequently used as a farewell greeting to the living or, as here, to the dead.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Agnus Deī, quī tollis peccāta mundī, miserēre nōbīs
The Mass
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
The origin of the passage is St. John’s Gospel, i. 29: “The next day John (the
Baptist) seeth Jesus coming unto him and saith, Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world.” In the Vulgate this is: Ecce agnus
Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mundi – “Behold the Lamb of God, (behold
him) who taketh away the sin of the world.”
The Agnus Dei is frequently said or sung as part of the Communion Service
of the Church of England, although it does not in fact appear separately in the
Communion section of the Book of Common Prayer: much of it however is
found in the Gloria.
Agnus Dei is the name given to a cake of wax or dough stamped with the
figure of a lamb carrying the banner of the Cross, and distributed by the Pope
on the Sunday after Easter. Such a symbol also appeared stamped on ingots
of tin produced in the past in Cornwall.
Ecce agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi is the motto of the Tallow Chandlers
Company.
Deī The genitive singular of deus, “a god”, dependent on agnus.
Tollis The second person singular present of the verb tollo, tollere, “to take
away”.
Peccāta The accusative plural of the second declension neuter noun
peccatum, peccati, “a sin”, the object of tollis. There exists also a fourth
declension masculine noun peccatus, which translates as “a fault”, not quite
in the same league as a full-blown sin.
Mundī The genitive singular of mundus, “the world”, dependent on peccata.
Miserēre The second person singular imperative of the deponent verb
misereor, misereri, “to have pity on”.
Nōbīs Misereor was usually followed by the genitive in classical Latin but
here instead of the genitive nostri of nos “we”, we have the dative nobis.
However in the invocation miserere mei we have the genitive “of me”, while

100
the dative crops up again in miserere mihi. Both of these last two cries can
be translated as “Have mercy on me” or “Woe is me”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ambō florentēs aetātibus, Arcadēs ambō,
et cantāre parēs et respondēre parātī
Virgil, Eclogues, vii. 4
Both in the bloom of youth, Arcadians both,
Both equal in singing and ready to respond (to a challenge)
To Virgil these Arcadians were well regarded as musicians, but Byron rather
unkindly diminishes them in Don Juan, Canto iv: “Arcades ambo, id est,
blackguards both”.
The implication frequently is that they are a well-matched pair. In Patrick
O’Brian’s The Fortune of War, Stephen Maturin says: “Arcades ambo. They
are the same species of curculio and there is nothing to choose between
them”, suggesting that it is difficult to distinguish one weevil from another.
Baroness Orczy, taking her cue from Byron, used Arcades Ambo as a heading
for chapter 8 of her Eldorado, which dealt with an underhand plot to foil the
Scarlet Pimpernel.
Ambo / florentes / aetatibus / ambo / Arcades
Both / blooming / with age / both / Arcadians
et / pares / cantare / et / parati / respondere
both / equal / to sing / and / ready / to respond
Ambō This is the nominative masculine of the adjective although it may not
look it. The case endings of ambo are similar to those of duo “two”, with the
nominative and accusative of both masculine and neuter all being ambo.
Florentēs The nominative plural of florens, the present participle of the verb
floreo, florere, “to bloom, to be in one’s prime”, used here as an adjective
qualifying ambo. It is followed by the ablative.
Aetātibus The ablative plural of aetas, aetatis, “age”.
Et ... et “Both ... and”.
Cantāre The infinitive of canto, “I sing”.
Parēs The nominative plural of the adjective par, paris, “equal”, qualifying
ambo.
Respondēre The infinitive of respondeo, “I respond”.
Parātī The nominative plural masculine of the adjective paratus,
“prepared”, qualifying ambo.

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Animula vagula, blandula,
Hospēs comesque corporis.
Quae nunc abībis in loca
Pallidula, rigida, nūdula,
Nec, ut solēs, dābis iocōs...
P. Aelius Hadrianus Imperator
Little soul, restless and bewitching,
Guest of the body and its companion.
Into what country will you now depart
Pallid, stiff with cold, and naked,
No longer, as is your custom, telling jokes...
This verse is said to have been written by the Emperor Hadrian in the face of
approaching death. It has intrigued poets ever since, from John Donne
through Pope and Byron to Stevie Smith, who have found it almost
impossible to translate satisfactorily, compressing, as the Latin does, such a
density of emotion into a minimum of words.
Animula This is the diminutive of anima, animae, “soul”. It implies a
degree of affection − animulus is an attested term of endearment.
Vagula This appears to be the single instance, coined perhaps by Hadrian
pro re nata, of a noun or adjective based on the adjective vagus, “wandering,
vagrant”. The -ula ending echoes that of animula. (If it is an adjective, then
it is the nominative singular feminine, qualifying animula. The same can be
said also, mutatis mutandis, of blandula, pallida, rigida and nudula.)
Blandula This appears to be the single instance, coined perhaps by Hadrian
pro re nata, of a noun or adjective based on the adjective blandus, “alluring,
enticing.” The -ula ending echoes that of animula.
Corporis The genitive singular of corpus, “a body”, dependent on both
hospes and comes.
Quae The accusative plural neuter of the interrogative pronoun qui,
“which”, referring to loca.
Abībis The second person singular future of the verb abeo (= ab + eo),
abire, “to go away”.
Loca The accusative plural of locus, loci, “a place”, governed by the
preposition in. Loca means “neighbourhood” or “region”, and is to be
distinguished from the alternative accusative plural locos which means
“individual places”.
Pallidula This appears to be the single instance, coined perhaps by Hadrian
pro re nata, of a noun or adjective based on the adjective pallidus, “pale”.
The -ula ending echoes that of animula.
Rigida This is the nominative singular feminine of the adjective rigidus,
“stiff from cold”. Some editors choose to read this as frigida, “cool”.

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Nūdula This appears to be the single instance, coined perhaps by Hadrian
pro re nata, of a noun or adjective based on the adjective nudus, “naked”.
The -ula ending echoes that of animula.
Ut An adverb of manner, modifying soles.
Solēs The second person singular present of the semi-deponent verb soleo,
solere, “to be accustomed to”.
Dābis The second person singular future of the verb do, dare, “to give”.
Iocōs The accusative plural of iocus, ioci, “a joke”, the object of dabis.
Some editors read this as ioca, which is an accepted nominative and
accusative plural of iocus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Augescunt aliae gentēs, aliae minuuntur;
Inque brevī spatiō mūtantur saecla animantum,
Et, quasi cursōrēs, vītai lampada trādunt
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, ii. 1
Some nations rise to power in the world, while others decline, and in a short
space of time the peoples suffer change, and, like runners in a race, hand on
the torch of life (to those who succeed them)
That is, pass on the torch of life and having done so, die.
The idea is captured in Rupert Brooke’s, “The Hill”.
“ ‘And when we die
All’s over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, other lips,’ said I, . . .”
and less comfortably in Walt Whitman:
“Those corpses of young men,
Those martyrs that hang from the gibbets, . . .
. . . live elsewhere with unslaughtered vitality.
They live in other young men, O Kings!
They live in brothers, ready to defy you!”
Sir Henry Newbolt wrote a poem with the title Vitai Lampada − “There’s a
breathless hush in the close tonight . . .”
“Lampada” derives from the Greek “lampas”, meaning a torch or lamp, the
old lamp burning oil and with a wick, so old in fact that the word has
travelled with the artefact all over Europe and into neighbouring regions.
The Portuguese for “lamp” is “lampada”; the word “lamp” or a variant of it
(lampa, lampe, etc.) still exists in most European languages today, from
Russian, Hungarian, Serbo-Croat, through all the Scandinavian languages to
Irish and Welsh, as well as in Turkish and Armenian.

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The  (lampade-dromia) was a torch-race in Athens in
which the runners carried lighted torches.
Quasi Cursores is the motto of Oakham School, Rutland.
Lampada ferens, “bearing a torch”, is the motto of Hull University.
Aliae / gentes / augescunt / aliae / minuuntur
Some / peoples / increase in strength / others / are made less
inque / brevi / spatio / saecla / animantum / mutantur
and in / a short / space / the generations / of living beings / change
et / quasi / cursores / tradunt / lampada / vitai
and / like / runners / hand over / the torch / of life
Augescunt The third person plural present of augesco, augescere, “to
increase”.
Aliae ... aliae “Some ... others”. The nominative plural feminine of the
adjective alius, “other”. The first aliae qualifies gentes, the second stands as
a noun by ellipsis − “other (peoples)” and is the subject of minuuntur.
Gentēs The nominative plural of gens, gentis, “a people”, the subject of
augescunt.
Minuuntur The third person plural present passive of the verb minuo,
minuere, “to make smaller”.
Inque In plus que, “and in”.
Brevī The ablative singular of the adjective brevis, “short”, qualifying
spatio.
Spatiō The ablative singular of spatium, spatii, “a space of time”, governed
by the preposition in.
Mūtantur The third person plural present passive of the verb muto, mutare,
“to move, to change”. The passive is used when the verb is intransitive.
Saecla A shortened form of saecula, the nominative plural of saeculum,
saeculi, “a generation”, and the subject of mutantur.
Animantum The genitive plural of animans, animantis, “a living being”.
An alternative to mortalium.
Cursōrēs The nominative plural of cursor, cursoris, “a runner”.
Tradunt The third person plural present of trado, tradere, “to hand over”.
Lampada The accusative singular of lampas, “ a lamp”, taken directly from
the Greek. (Lampas is the Greek word , and  is its
accusative.)
Vītai This word is used apparently only by Lucretius in place of vitae which
is the normal genitive of vita.

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Beātus ille, qui procul negōtiīs,
Ut prisca gens mortālium,
Paterna rūra būbus exercet suīs,
Solūtus omnī faenōre
Horace, Epodes, II, 1
Happy is he who, far from business cares, like the first generation of man,
cultivates his ancestral land with his own oxen, set free from all debts
The Beatitudes in Matthew’s gospel in the Vulgate translation often start with
Beati (pl.) qui — “Blessed are they who”. The secular beatitude above was
written perhaps half a century earlier. Like Virgil (cf. “O fortunatos” infra),
Horace was an enthusiastic advocate of the joys of rural life.
Beatus / ille / qui / procul / negotiis / ut / prisca / gens / mortalium
Happy / that man / who / far / from business / like / the first / breed / of
mortals
exercet / paterna / rura / suis / bubus / solutus / omni / faenore
cultivates diligently / paternal / lands / with his own / oxen / free / from all /
debt
Beātus An adjective meaning “happy, blessed”.
Ille A demonstrative pronoun, “that man”, qualified by beatus.
Qui A relative pronoun, “who”, relating to ille. It introduces an adjectival
clause and is the subject of exercet.
Procul “Far from”, an adverb followed by an ablative of separation
(negotiis).
Negōtiīs The ablative plural of negotium, negotii, “an occupation”, of which
the plural, negotia, is used to mean “public business”.
Ut “As being like”.
Prisca The nominative singular feminine of the adjective priscus, “ancient,
the first of his line”, qualifying gens.
Mortālium The genitive plural of mortalis, “a mortal man”.
Paterna The accusative plural neuter of the adjective paternus, “paternal”,
qualifying rura.
Rūra The accusative plural of rus, ruris, “country, land”, the object of
exercet.
Būbus The ablative plural of bos, bovis, “an ox”, an alternative to bobus.
This is an ablative of instrument or means.
Exercet The third person singular present of the verb exerceo, exercere, “to
work hard at”.
Suīs The ablative plural of the possessive pronoun suus, “his own”, with the
implication “of his own breeding”. It qualifies bubus.
Solūtus The past participle of the verb solvo, solvere, “to loosen”, used as
an adjective qualifying ille.

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Omnī The ablative singular of the adjective omnis, “all”, qualifying faenore.
Faenōre A variant spelling of fenore, the ablative singular of fenus, fenoris,
“indebtedness”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bis peccāre in bellō nōn licet
In war one may not blunder twice
“He pressed upon me the importance of planting (trees) at the first in a very
sufficient manner, quoting the saying, In bello non licet bis errare; and
adding, ‘this is equally true in planting.’ ” James Boswell. The Life of
Samuel Johnson, LL.D. [Peccare is “to sin”, errare is “to err”.]
In / bello / non / licet / peccare / bis
In / war / not / is it allowed / to blunder / twice
Peccāre This is the infinitive of the verb pecco, “I sin”, and the object of the
impersonal verb licet.
Bellō The ablative singular of bellum, belli, “war”, governed by the
preposition in.
Licet This is an “impersonal” verb, and only its third person singular exists
in each tense. It does not have a personal subject in the nominative. The
infinitive is licere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bonōsque sōlēs effugere et abīre sentit, qui nōbīs pereunt et
imputantur
Martial, Epigrammata, V, xx
And he sees that the good days are flying by and vanishing, the days which
are lost and are reckoned to our account
(Cf. “Soles occidere et redire possunt. . .” infra.)
The sundial over the porch of St. Buryan Church near Land’s End in
Cornwall offers to passers-by the timely reminder Pereunt et imputantur, and
these words also appear on the face of the 15th century clock in Exeter
Cathedral. For a more cheerful sundial message, vide “Horas non
numero . . .” supra.
Pereunt et Imputantur is the motto of Snakeskin, the poetry webzine.
Sentit / bonos / soles / effugere / et / abire / qui / pereunt / et / imputantur /
nobis
He observes / the good / days / to fly by / and / to vanish / which / perish /
and / are reckoned / to us

106
Bonōs The accusative plural masculine of the adjective bonus, “good”,
qualifying soles.
Sōlēs The accusative plural of sol, solis, “the sun”, the object of sentit.
(Soles are literally “suns” but are used poetically to mean “days”.)
Effugere The infinitive of the mixed conjugation verb effugio, “I fly away”.
Abīre The infinitive of the verb abeo, “I go away”. (= ab + ire.)
Sentit The third person singular present of the verb sentio, sentire, “to
notice, perceive,” followed by an accusative and an infinitive.
Nōbīs The dative of nos, “we”, the indirect object of imputantur.
Pereunt The third person plural present of the verb pereo (= per + eo),
perire, “to pass away”.
Imputantur The third person plural present passive of the verb imputo,
imputare, “to reckon (as a fault or merit)”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Caelum nōn animum mūtant quī trans mare currunt
Horace, Epistles, I, xi. 27
They change their sky but not their soul who flee across the sea
Caelum is sometimes spelled as coelum, which is said to be an error
perpetrated in the Middle Ages and perpetuated ever since, so that the
standard dictionaries of Latin use coelum in preference to caelum. This
preference extended to the Latin used in the Roman Catholic church, cf.
“Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus” infra.
Caelum non Animum is the motto of several families, including those of
Harper of Lamberts and Rhodes of Bellair.
Milton had a similar thought to Horace’s; but whereas Horace’s smacks
much of the despair of one who by travelling is unsuccessfully trying to
escape from the trammels of his own thoughts, Milton’s gives boundless
hope of mental freedom:
“The mind is its own place and in itself
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.” Paradise Lost, Book I.
Mutant / caelum / non / animum / qui / currunt / trans / mare
They change / (their) sky / not / (their) soul / who / run / across / the sea
Caelum The accusative singular of caelum, caeli, “the heavens, the sky”,
one object of mutant.
Animum The accusative singular of animus, animi, “spirit, character”, the
other object of mutant.
Mūtant The third person plural present of the verb muto, mutare, “to move,
to change”.

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Quī The nominative plural masculine of the relative pronoun qui, the subject
of currunt, introducing an adjectival clause. It relates to an absent ii or ei,
“they”, the subject (understood) of mutant.
Mare The accusative singular of mare, maris, “the sea”, governed by the
preposition trans.
Currunt The third person plural present of the verb curro, currere, “to run,
(more appropriately here) to sail”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cras amet quī nunquam amāvit, Quīque amāvit cras amet
Let him love tomorrow who never loved, whoever loved (before) let him love
tomorrow
These lines conclude John Fowles’ novel, The Magus. They are the start and
the refrain of Pervigilium Veneris − “The Eve of St. Venus”, an anonymous
love poem written circa A.D. 350. Evelyn Waugh used Pervigilium Veneris
for the title of a chapter in Decline and Fall, which partly concerns the
lamentably fleeting courtship of Paul Pennyfeather and Margot Beste-
Chetwynde.
Amet / cras / qui / nunquam / amavit
Let him love / tomorrow / who / never / loved
quique / amavit / amet / cras
whoever / loved (before) / let him love / tomorrow
Amet The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb amo, amare,
“to love”, acting as a third person singular imperative.
Quī This is a nominative masculine relative pronoun, “who”, referring to is,
“he”, understood. It introduces an adjectival clause.
Amāvit The third person singular perfect of the verb amo, amare, “to love”.
Quīque This is qui + que — “and (he) who”, referring to is, “he”,
understood. It introduces an adjectival clause.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dā mihi castitātem et continentiam, sed nōlī modo
St. Augustine
Grant me chastity and continence − but not just yet
This is the prayer not of our own St. Augustine of Canterbury “with his feet
of snow”, but that of a warmer-blooded St. Augustine, of Hippo in what is
now Algeria, who lived two centuries earlier (A.D. 354-430) and who wrote,
inter alia, “De Civitate Dei”, “Concerning the Kingdom of God”. The
prayer, quoted in his Confessions, was uttered while he was engaged to be

108
married but was still enjoying the comforts afforded first by a concubine and
then by a new love. Shortly after this however he was converted to
Christianity and became a (celibate) priest.
Da / mihi / castitatem / et / continentiam / sed / noli / modo
Give / to me / chastity / and / continence / but / don’t (do so) / yet
Dā The second person singular imperative of the verb do, dare, “to give”.
Mihi The dative of ego, “I”, and the indirect object of da.
Castitātem The accusative singular of castitas, castitatis, “chastity”, one
direct object of da.
Continentiam The accusative singular of continentia, continentiae,
“continence, self-restraint”, the other direct object of da.
Nōlī This is the second person singular imperative of the verb nolle, “to be
unwilling”, and in effect means “do not”. It is usually followed by a verb,
which here is understood to be dare, “to give”.
Modo This is an adverb with a variety of meanings. Here it means “now”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dēfunctōs plōrō, vīvōs vocō, fulmina frangō
The dead I mourn, the living I call, the thunderbolts I break
This is a common inscription on many a church bell, quoted by Iris Murdoch
in The Bell, as being on this occasion “contributed by that zealous
antiquarian, the Bishop: . . . Upon the shoulder of the bell there was also
written, . . . Gabriel vocor.” (“I am called Gabriel.”) (The bell tower of a
church was usually furnished with a lightning conductor.)
Dēfunctōs The accusative of defuncti, defunctorum, “the dead”. Defuncti is
the nominative plural masculine of defunctus, the perfect participle of the
deponent verb defungor, defungi, “to finish, discharge”, used here by ellipsis
as a noun, as an alternative to mortui (vide “de mortuis...” infra.). The
defuncti have literally been finished off.
Vīvōs The accusative of vivi, vivorum, “the living”. Vivi is the nominative
plural masculine of the adjective vivus, “alive”, used here by ellipsis as a
noun.
Fulmina The accusative plural of fulmen, fulminis, “thunderbolt”.

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Dē mortuīs nīl nisi bonum (dīcendum est)
Let naught but good be said of the dead
Diogenes Laertius (ca. A.D. 200-250) mentions this phrase in The Lives and
Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, attributing it to Chilon, one of the “Seven
Sages” of Greece.
“. . . there was praise without reservation for the victim, as if De mortuis was
engraved on every county heart.” John Fowles, “The Enigma”.
Dr. Johnson was all in favour of being generous to the dead in writing their
epitaphs. “In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath.” On the other
hand Mark Antony in Julius Caesar takes a jaundiced view of humanity’s
humanity to the dead.
“The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.”
The phrase does not mean, as suggested in the schoolboy howler, “When
you’re dead, there ain’t nothing left but bones”.
(Vide also “de gustibus non est disputandum” supra.)
Nil / est / dicendum / de / mortuis / nisi / bonum
Nothing / is / to be said / of / the dead / unless / good
Mortuīs The ablative plural masculine of the adjective mortuus, “dead”,
used here by ellipsis as a noun (“a dead person”), and governed by the
preposition de.
Nisi A subordinating conjunction introducing a (very short) conditional
clause.
Bonum This is the nominative of a neuter noun derived from the adjective
bonus, “good”, neuter because it is abstract.
Dīcendum The nominative neuter of the gerundive of the verb dico, dicere,
“to say”. Together with est it forms an impersonal passive construction,
meaning “there is to be said”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diēs īrae, diēs illa,
Solvet saeclum in favillā,
Teste David cum Sibyllā
(In) the day of wrath, (in) that day, man shall transmute into ashes, by the
witness of David with the Sibyl
In the thirteenth century Thomas of Celano wrote a poem of some seventeen
or more stanzas, of which the quotation above forms the first stanza. It is
likely that the poem was inspired by a passage in Zephaniah i. 15,16. In his

110
prophecy, Zephaniah warned that the great day of the Lord was near, a day of
wrath, of “trouble and distress”, of “wasteness and desolation”, and sundry
other forms of discomfort and woe.
For many years the poem was part of the Requiem Mass for the Dead, but in
1970 it was removed from the Mass, for fear no doubt that its message of
doom and despair might upset the faithful. It may now however be used ad
libitum in the Liturgy of the Hours.
In The Bell, Iris Murdoch quotes the tenth verse of the poem, “the egotistical
and helpless cry of the Dies Irae.”
“Quaerens me, sedisti lassus; / Redemisti , Crucem passus; / Tantus labor non
sit cassus.” − “Seeking me you sat exhausted; you redeemed (me) by
suffering the Cross; let so much toil not be in vain.”
W. J. Irons translated the poem as a hymn: “Day of wrath! O day of
mourning, / See fulfilled the prophet’s warning! / Heaven and earth to ashes
turning! . . .” (Hymns Ancient and Modern 466).
Dies / irae / illa / dies / saeclum / solvet / in favilla
The day / of wrath / that / day / the generation / will dissolve / in ashes
teste / David / cum / Sibylla
by the witness / of David / with / the Sibyl
Īrae The genitive singular of ira, “anger”.
Illa The nominative singular feminine of the demonstrative pronoun ille,
“that” qualifying dies (2). Its position, following dies, gives it an added
meaning of “that notorious (day)”.
Solvet The third person singular future of the verb solvo, solvere, “to loosen,
dissolve”.
Saeclum (or saeculum) This can mean a generation or an age, often a
century. In saecula saeculorum, “in the ages of ages” is the usual church
form of “for ever and ever”.
Favillā The ablative singular of favilla, favillae, “the glowing ashes of the
dead”, governed by the preposition in.
Teste The ablative singular of testis, “a witness”, an ablative of agent.
Sibyllā The ablative singular of Sibylla, governed by the preposition cum.
Sibylla is probably taken from the Greek, with the meaning simply of “a
prophetess”.

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Dīmidium factī quī coepit habet: sapere audē
Horace, Epistles, I, ii. 40
Whoever has begun a task has half completed it. Dare to be wise.
Sapere aude is the name of an Australian Heavy Metal band; and is also the
motto of Manchester Grammar School, of Oldham, and of Oxfordshire
County Council.
Qui / coepit / habet / dimidium / facti / aude / sapere
Whoever / has begun / has / the half / of the deed / dare / to be wise
Dīmidium “The half”, the object of habet. It is a noun of quantity and as
such is followed by the genitive.
Factī The genitive singular of factum, “a deed”, dependent on dimidium.
Quī A nominative masculine relative pronoun, “who”, referring to is, “he”,
understood, the subject of both coepit and habet.
Coepit The third person singular perfect of the verb coepio, coepere, “to
begin”. This verb is normally used only in the perfect tense.
Habet The third person singular present of the verb habeo, habere, “to
have”.
Sapere The infinitive of the mixed conjugation verb sapio, “I discern,
understand”, the object of aude.
Audē The second person singular imperative of the verb audeo, audere, “to
dare”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dōnat habēre virō decus et tūtāmen in armīs
Virgil, Aeneid, v. 262
(Aeneas) gives to this man a beauteous safeguard in battle
Decus et tutamen is inscribed around the edge of the English pound coin, as it
once was on the larger (gold and silver) coins of Charles II. For these earlier
coins the inscription was indeed a safeguard, being a protection against
clipping, while few in their right minds would wish to clip the present
coinage. Around the edge of the Scottish pound coin, which bears the
imprint of the thistle, is inscribed Nemo me impune lacessit (q.v.); while the
Welsh coin, bearing the leek, announces around its edge “Pleidiol wyf i’m
gwlad” − “I’m loyal to my country”, a line of the chorus of “Mae hen wlad fy
nhadau” − “Land of my Fathers”.
The “beauteous safeguard” referred to was a coat of mail “in triple woven
gold”, seized by Aeneas from Demoleus in single-handed combat and given
now to Mnestheus as a reward not for any heroic deeds in battle but merely
for being runner-up in a boat race.

112
Decus et Tutamen is the motto of the Borough of Gravesend in Kent, and of
the West Essex Yeomanry, while Decus et Tutamen in Armis is the motto of
the Feltmakers Company.
Donat / viro / habere / decus / et / tutamen / in armis
(Aeneas) gives / to the man / to have / an ornament / and / a safeguard / in
battle
Dōnat The third person singular present of the verb dono, donare, “to give
as a present”. This is an example of the use of the “Historic Present”.
Virō The dative singular of vir, viri, “a man”, the indirect object of donat.
Decus The accusative singular of the neuter noun decus, decoris, “an
ornament, honour”, one object of donat.
Tūtāmen The accusative singular of the neuter noun tutamen, tutaminis, “a
protection”, a second object of donat
Armīs The ablative of arma, “battle”, governed by the preposition in. Arma
is a plural neuter noun whose putative singular *armum, “an implement of
war”, is never used.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dulce et decōrum est pro patriā morī
Horace, Odes, III, ii. 13
It is sweet and proper to die for one's country
Tempora mutantur, and Wilfred Owen writing nearly two thousand years
after Horace took an understandably different view of death in battle. He
describes in his poem “Dulce et Decorum” the effects of mustard gas in the
trenches in France in the Great War.
“If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs . . .
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
Pro Patria Mori is the motto of the Wolfe family.
Morī The infinitive of the deponent verb morior, “I die”. (All infinitives are
taken as being of neuter gender.)
Dulce The nominative singular neuter of the adjective dulcis, “sweet,
agreeable”, the complement of the verbal noun mori.
Decōrum The nominative singular neuter of the adjective decorus, “fitting,
seemly”, the complement of the verbal noun mori.
Pro “On behalf of”.

113
Patriā The ablative of patria, patriae, “the fatherland” governed by the
preposition pro.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eheu fugācēs, Postume, Postume,
Lābuntur annī; nec pietas moram
Rūgīs et instantī senectae
Afferet, indomitaeque mortī
Horace, Odes, II, xiv. 1,2
Alas, O Posthumus, the fleeting years are slipping by, and devotion will not
delay wrinkles, the onslaught of old age, and unconquerable death
Or, as R.H.Barham expressed it:
“What Horace says is —
Eheu fugaces
Anni labuntur, Postume, Postume!
Years glide away and are lost to me, lost to me!”
The second verse of Barham’s poem is slightly more contrived but carries on
the same line of thought:
“Now, when the folks in the dance sport their merry toes,
Taglionis and Ellslers, Duvernays and Ceritos,
Sighing I murmur, ‘O mihi praeteritos!’ ”
The last line borrows from Virgil's Aeneid, viii. 560: O mihi praeteritos
referat si Iuppiter annos (q.v.infra).
A little later, Hilaire Belloc wrote in his “Dedicatory Ode”:
“Eheu Fugaces! Postume!
(An old quotation, out of mode);
My coat of dreams is stolen away,
My youth is passing down the road.”
Part of the verb from which labuntur comes is lapsus, so that the English “so
many years have elapsed” is equivalent to “so many years have slipped by”.
Eheu / Postume Postume / fugaces / anni / labuntur
Alas / O Posthumus Posthumus / the fleeting / years / are slipping by
nec / pietas / afferet / moram / rugis
nor / piety / will bring / delay / to wrinkles
et / instanti / senectae / indomitaeque / morti
and / approaching / old age / and unconquerable / death
Fugācēs The nominative plural masculine of the adjective fugax, fugacis,
“fleeting, hastening”, qualifying anni.
Postume The vocative of Postumus.

114
Lābuntur The third person plural present of the deponent verb labor, labi,
“to glide, slip”.
Annī The nominative plural of annus, anni, “a year”, the subject of
labuntur.
Pietas “Piety”, especially towards the gods. The subject of afferet.
Moram The accusative singular of mora, morae, “delay”, the object of
afferet.
Rūgīs The dative plural of ruga, rugae, “a wrinkle”.
Instantī The dative singular of the adjective instans, “present”, qualifying
senectae. Instans is the present participle of insto, instare, “to stand over”,
which, when applied to time, has the meaning “to approach, draw near”.
Senectae The dative singular of senecta, senectae, “old age”.
Afferet (sometimes adferet) The third person singular future of the verb
affero, afferre, “to bring”.
Indomitae The dative singular feminine of the adjective indomitus,
“invincible”, qualifying morti.
Mortī The dative singular of mors, mortis, “death”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Equō nōn crēdite, Teucrī.
Quidquid id est, timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentēs.
Virgil, Aeneid, ii. 48
Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it may be, I fear the Greeks,
especially when (they come) bearing gifts.
The gift in question was the wooden horse (Sinon) left by the departing
Greeks outside the gates of Troy, and the speaker is Laocoon, voicing his
deep misgivings at the sight of it.
“Tell Mrs. Boswell that I shall taste her marmalade cautiously at first. Timeo
Danaos et dona ferentes. Beware . . . of a reconciled enemy.” James
Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
“. . . on the principle of ‘timeo Danaos’ etc., I instantly smelt a ruse, . . .”
Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands.
The 216 (Bomber Transport) squadron of the R.A.F. has the motto CCXVI
dona ferens – “216 bringing gifts”.
Timeant Danaeios, “Let them fear those belonging to Danae”, is the motto of
H.M.S. Danae.
Non / credite / equo / Teucri
Do not / trust / the horse / Trojans
quidquid / id / est / timeo / Danaos / et / ferentes / dona
whatever / it / may be / I fear / the Greeks / even / bearing / gifts

115
Equō The dative singular of equus, equi, “a horse”, the direct object of
credite.
Crēdite The second person plural imperative of the verb credo, credere, “to
believe”, which takes a dative as direct object.
Teucrī The vocative of Teucri, “Trojans”.
Quidquid The nominative neuter of the compound pronoun quisquis,
“whatever”, the complement of id.
Id The nominative neuter of the demonstrative pronoun is, “it”.
Est The third person singular present indicative of the verb sum, esse, “to
be”. After relative pronouns such as quisquis, Latin tends to use the
indicative verb where in English one would use the subjunctive.
Danaōs The accusative of Danai, “the Greeks”, and the object of timeo.
Danaus was the mythical founder of Argos, the capital of a region of the
Peloponnesus, and the name Danai was extended to include all Greeks.
Et The conjunction “and” but here a little stronger − “I fear the Greeks and
more so when they come bearing gifts”.
Dōna The accusative plural of donum, doni, “a gift”, the object of ferentes.
Ferentēs The accusative plural of ferens, the present participle of the verb
fero, ferre, “to bring”, referring to and agreeing in number and case with
Danaos.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Est modus in rēbus, sunt certī dēnique fīnēs,
Quōs ultrā citrāque nequit consistere rectum
Horace, Satires, I, i. 106
There is a measure in all things. There are indeed fixed limits beyond which
and on this side of which right cannot find a resting place.
Est modus in rebus, translated as “There is measure in all things”, is the
motto of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Another possible
translation might be “There should be moderation in all things”.
Est / modus / in / rebus / sunt / denique / certi / fines
There is / a measure / in / things / there are / indeed / fixed / limits
ultra / citraque / quos / rectum / nequit / consistere
beyond / and this side of / which / right / cannot / take (its) stand
Modus “A measure, a limit, a boundary”.
Rēbus The ablative plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing”,
governed by the preposition in.
Certī The nominative plural masculine of the adjective certus, “certain,
fixed”, qualifying fines.
Fīnēs The nominative plural of finis, “a boundary, an end”.

116
Quōs The accusative plural masculine of the relative pronoun qui, “which”,
referring to fines, and governed by both ultra and citra.
Citrā This is complementary in meaning to ultra, the two prepositions
together indicating the space which lies outside the acceptable boundaries
referred to.
Nequit The third person singular present of the verb nequeo, nequire, “to be
unable” (= nequ + it).
Consistere The infinitive of the verb consisto, “I take my stand”.
Rectum The nominative neuter of the adjective rectus, “right”, used to form
a noun. It is the subject of nequit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Etiam sapientibus cupīdō glōriae novissima exuitur
Tacitus, Histories, IV, vi
Even with philosophers the thirst for fame is the last infirmity to be
shaken off
Cf. Milton in Lycidas:
“Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights and live laborious days; . . .”
Cupido / gloriae / exuitur / novissima / etiam / sapientibus
The desire / for fame / is laid aside / the last / even / by the wise
Sapientibus The ablative plural of sapiens, sapientis, “a wise man”, hence a
philosopher, derived by ellipsis from the present participle of the mixed
conjugation verb sapio, sapere, “to have taste, to be wise”.
Cupīdō This noun has various meanings, ranging from the innocent to the
lascivious. Here it means merely “desire”, and takes the genitive case.
Glōriae The genitive singular of gloria, “fame. renown”, following cupido.
Novissima The nominative singular feminine superlative of the adjective
novus, “new”. The Roman view of time was that the newest was the latest or
last, so that, e.g., in novissima die meant “on the last day”. [The translators
supply “infirmity” − no mention of infirmitas appears in the text, and we
assume that Roman readers recognised the desire for fame as a weakness,
and did not need to have it spelled out.]
Exuitur The third person singular present passive of the verb exuo, exuere,
“to lay aside, to put off”.

117
Exēgī monumentum aere perennius
Rēgālīque sitū pyramidum altius;
Quod nōn imber edax, nōn Aquilo impotens
Possit dīruere, aut innumerābilis
Annōrum seriēs, et fuga temporum
Horace, Odes, III, xxx. 1
I have completed a monument more lasting than bronze,
higher than the pyramids that were reared by kings,
such as neither corroding rain nor uncontrolled winds
can displace, nor the countless
succession of years nor the flight of ages
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known to us as “Horace”, had just
completed his third book of Odes, and decided that the work he had so far
completed would be enough to win him immortality. Judging from the
number of quotations from Horace in this or any other collection, his
optimism was fully justified.
“Be pleased to accept of my best thanks for your ‘Journey to the Hebrides’, . .
. I . . . exulted in contemplating our scheme fulfilled, and a monumentum
perenne [a lasting monument] of it erected by your superior abilities.” James
Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
G. K. Chesterton, in “A Defence of Rash Vows”, says of the man who made
a vow that the moment of his resolve was a moment of immortality, “and the
desire to say of it exegi monumentum aere perennius was the only sentiment
that would satisfy his mind.”
In Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer, Mr. Mulge gives it as his opinion
that the name of Stoyte would for ever be remembered, “for the Auditorium
was a monumentum aere perennius, a Footprint on the Sands of Time –
definitely a Footprint.”
Exegi Monumentum is the title of a poem (1836) by Alexander Pushkin,
based broadly on Horace’s original ode, while Aere perennius is the motto of
the Norman family of Moor Place.
Exegi / monumentum / perennius / aere
I have completed / a monument / more lasting / than bronze
altius / regali / situ / pyramidum
higher / than the royal / building / of pyramids
quod / non / edax / imber / non / impotens / Aquilo
such as / neither / corroding / rain / nor / uncontrolled / winds
possit / diruere / aut / innumerabilis
can / displace / nor / the countless

118
series / annorum / et / fuga / temporum
succession / of years / nor / the flight / of ages
Exēgī The first person singular perfect of the verb exigo, exigere,
“to finish”.
Perennius The accusative singular neuter comparative of the adjective
perennis, “durable, perennial”, qualifying monumentum.
Aere The ablative of aes, aeris, “copper, bronze”. It is an ablative of
comparison following perennius.
Rēgālī The ablative singular of the adjective regalis, “royal”, qualifying
situ.
Sitū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun situs, “a placing,
construction”. It is an ablative of comparison following altius.
Pyramidum The genitive plural of pyramis, pyramidis, “a pyramid” (taken
from the Greek ), dependent on situ
Altius The accusative singular neuter comparative of the adjective altus,
“high”, qualifying monumentum.
Aquilo The north wind.
Impotens This can mean “impotent” in the accepted modern sense, but here
means “unable to control itself”.
Possit The third person singular present of the verb possum, posse, “to be
able”.
Dīruere The infinitive of the verb diruo, “I raze to the ground”.
Aut Usually the second element of the paired conjunctions aut ... aut or
neque ... aut, but here paired with non.
Innumerābilis An adjective qualifying series.
Annōrum The genitive plural of annus, anni, “a year”, dependent on series.
Temporum The genitive plural of tempus, temporis, “time, a period of
time”, dependent on fuga.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Facilis descensus Avernō;
Noctēs atque diēs patet ātrī jānua Dītis:
Sed revocāre gradum superāsque ēvādere ad aurās,
Hōc opus, hīc labor est
Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 126
The descent to Avernus is easy;
Night and day stands wide the portal of black Dis:
But then to retrace (your) footsteps and regain the light of day,
This is true toil, this is labour indeed
Aeneas is looking into the possibility of visiting the shade of his dead father
Anchises in the Underworld, and the Cumaean Sibyl here is warning him of

119
the difficulties of making the return trip. Avernus is a lake near Naples, close
to the reputed entrance to the Underworld.
Rixi Marcus, writing on bridge for The Guardian a little while before her
death, used phrases from this quotation as a commentary on successive stages
in the bidding and playing of a disastrous hand. The response to an opening
bid elicited Facilis descensus Averno; the final slam contract was marked
with Noctes atque dies; and the actual play was prefaced by Sed revocare
gradum . . .
(Occasionally the first line of this quotation appears as Facilis descensus
Averni, but Averni is not really grammatically acceptable.)
Hoc opus est was the motto of Pedro the Cruel of Castile and Leon
(fl. ca. 1360).
Descensus / Averno / facilis
The descent / to Avernus / (is) easy
noctes / atque / dies / patet / janua / atri / Ditis
night(s) / and / day(s) / stands wide / the portal / of black / Dis
sed / revocare / gradum / -que / evadere / ad / superas / auras
but / to retrace / (your) step / and / emerge / to / the upper / light
hoc / opus, / hic / est / labor
this / (is) toil, / this / is / labour
Avernō The dative of Avernus, the dative of direction, “to Avernus”.
Noctēs atque diēs Where English has “night and day”, Latin has “nights
and days”.
Patet The third person singular present of the verb pateo, patere, “to stand
open”.
Ātrī The genitive singular masculine of the adjective ater, “black”,
qualifying Ditis. (Ater is matt black and is widely used metaphorically, as
here, for “sombre” or “gloomy”. Glossy black is niger. Cf. “Post equitem
sedet atra Cura” supra.)
Dītis: The genitive singular of Dis, also known as Pluto, the god of the
Underworld.
Superāsque This is superas + que. Superas is the accusative plural
feminine of the adjective superus, “upper” and qualifies auras.
Ēvādere The infinitive of the verb evado, “I go out, I ascend”.
Aurās The accusative plural of aura, aurae, “air”, governed by the
preposition ad. The plural aurae is used to signify “the light of day”.
Hōc The neuter demonstrative pronoun with opus as its complement.
Hīc The masculine demonstrative pronoun with labor as its complement.

120
Fēlix qui potuit rērum cognoscere causās
Atque metūs omnēs et inexōrābile fātum,
Subjēcit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avārī
Virgil, Georgics, ii. 490
Blessed is he whose mind had power to probe
the causes of things and trample underfoot
all terrors and inexorable fate
and the clamour of devouring Acheron
Because knowledge helps dispel fear of the unknown, even though it may
often per contra be offset by heightened fear of the known.
I am an alumnus of the London School of Economics, whose motto is Rerum
cognoscere causas. The college was always among the avant-garde (acies
prima) of its day, especially in ladies’ fashion, and before the Second World
War it was known to its sister colleges of London University as:
“Rerum cognoscere causas,
The place where women wear trousers.”
Felix qui potuit is the motto of Sir William Carew of Devon, and Rerum
cognoscere causas is also the motto of Sheffield University and of the
Institute of Brewing, with hints of mystery ingredients in beer. (Sometimes it
is better perhaps not to know what you are drinking.)
Felix / qui / potuit / cognoscere / causas / rerum
Happy / (is he) who / has been able / to understand / the causes / of things
atque / subjecit / pedibus / omnes / metus / et
and / has put under / (his) feet / all / fears / and
inexorabile / fatum / -que / strepitum / avari / Acherontis
the inexorable / fate / and / clamour / of greedy / Acheron.
Qui This stands for is qui, “he who”.
Potuit The third person singular perfect of the verb possum, posse, “to be
able”.
Rērum The genitive plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing”,
dependent on causas.
Cognoscere The infinitive of the verb cognosco, “I perceive, recognise”.
Causās The accusative plural of causa, causae, “cause, reason”, the object
of cognoscere.
Metūs The accusative plural of the fourth declension noun metus, “fear,
dread”, the object of subjecit.
Omnēs The accusative plural of the adjective omnis, “all”, qualifying metus.
Subjecit The third person singular perfect of the mixed conjugation verb
subjicio, subjicere, “I put under”.

121
Pedibus The ablative plural of pes, pedis, “foot”. It can be taken as being
governed by the preposition sub which is prefixed to the verb subjecit.
Inexōrābile The accusative singular neuter of the adjective inexorabilis,
qualifying fatum.
Acherontis The genitive of Acheron, the river of sorrows, a river of the
Underworld which here by synecdoche designates the Underworld itself. It
is dependent on strepitum. (Plautus in his Casina speaks of Acherontis
pabulum, “food for Acheron”, which is how we all end up.)
Avārī The genitive singular masculine of the adjective avarus, “greedy”,
qualifying Acherontis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Forsan et haec ōlim meminisse iuvābit
Virgil, Aeneid, i. 203
Perhaps one day it will be pleasing to remember even these things
Aeneas is looking on the bright side of things after he and his crew, separated
from their friends, have put ashore on the coast of Lybia.
“These are the times we shall dream about and we’ll call them The Good Old
Days.” Ralph Reader.
Schooldays are also in retrospect said to be the happiest days of our lives.
“ ‘Think of me sometimes as I shall certainly think of you − Haec olim
meminisse iuvabit.’ ” James Hilton, Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
Forsan / iuvabit / meminisse / et / haec / olim
Perhaps / it will be pleasing / to remember / even / these (things) / one day
Forsan A contraction of forsitan, “perhaps”.
Et The conjunction “and” but here meaning something more like “even”.
Haec The accusative plural neuter of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”,
meaning “these things”, the object of meminisse.
Ōlim This can mean “once upon a time”, far into the past, as well as “far
into the future”, which is its meaning here.
Meminisse The infinitive of memini, “I remember”. Memini and meminisse
are the perfect tense forms of a defective verb used as present tenses.
(Memini could mean “I have just called to mind”.)
Iuvābit The third person singular future of the verb iuvo, iuvare, “to
please”. Used here with the infinitive meminisse, it translates impersonally
as “it will please”.

122
Forsitan et nostrum nōmen miscēbitur istīs
Ovid, Ars Amatoria, iii. 399
Perhaps too our/my name may be joined with those
Ovid had been reflecting on great poets of the past − Sappho, Propertius,
Tibullus, Virgil − and wondering and hoping. He had not the confidence of
Horace (cf. “exegi monumentum” supra), but he need not have worried.
Johnson. “I remember once being with Goldsmith in Westminster Abbey.
While we surveyed the Poets’ Corner, I said to him,
Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.
When we got to Temple Bar he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon it, and
slily whispered me,
Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.”
James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
[N.B. The heads of Fletcher and Townley, executed for the Jacobite rising of
1745, were placed on Temple Bar.]
[It was not uncommon for Romans to speak using the “royal we”. Nos, “us”
was frequently used for ego, “I”, and noster for meus, “my”, so that nostrum
(pl.) nomen − “this name of ours” − could well mean “my name”. In English
also it is still a widespread custom to use the plural for the singular, as in
such phrases as “Give us a bite of your apple”, i.e., “Give me a bite of your
apple”, or “Let’s have a look.”]
Miscēbitur The third person singular future passive of the verb misceo,
miscere “to mix, to mingle”.
Nostrum The nominative singular neuter of the possessive pronoun noster,
“our”, qualifying nomen.
Istīs The ablative plural of the demonstrative pronoun iste, “that”. A
distinction is made between ille, “that yonder” and iste, “that a bit closer at
hand and near you”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fortiter in rē, suāviter in modō
Determined in action, suave in manner
This antithetical phrase is literally, “determinedly in action, politely in
manner”.
“The bishop was very anxious to be gracious, and, if possible, to diminish the
bitterness which his chaplain had occasioned. Let Mr. Slope do the fortiter in
re, he himself would pour in the suaviter in modo.” Anthony Trollope,
Barchester Towers.

123
Sartorius: That is not true, sir. I −
Cokane: Gently, my dear sir. Gently, Harry, dear boy. Suaviter in modo;
fort−
George Bernard Shaw, Widowers’ Houses, Act II.
Fortiter in Re is the motto of, inter alia, H.M.S. Sussex and 42 Squadron of
the R.A.F. Suaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re is the motto of the families of
Beevor and Wynn. In Modo Suaviter, Fortiter in Re is the motto of the
Longsdon family.
Fortiter The addition of -iter to the stem of an adjective (here fort- from
fort-is, “strong”), is one method in Latin of forming an adverb.
Rē The ablative singular of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing, an
affair”, governed by the preposition in. Res has a very wide variety of
meanings and could mean literally “any thing”.
Suāviter An adverb formed by adding -iter to the stem of the adjective
suav-is, “sweet, agreeable”.
Modō The ablative singular of modus, modi, governed by the preposition in.
Modus has a variety of meanings: here it means “manner”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gallia est omnis dīvīsa in partēs trēs
Caesar, De Bello Gallico, I, i
The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts
The north-east of Gaul (which included present-day Belgium) was occupied
by the Belgae; the Aquitani squeezed themselves into a small corner in the far
south-west; but the greatest part by far was occupied by the Celtae, the
forebears of the modern Celts, whom the Romans called Galli or Gauls.
Gallia Gaul, approximately equivalent to modern France and Belgium
combined.
Omnis An adjective qualifying Gallia, but translating as a noun.
Dīvīsa The nominative feminine singular of divisus, the perfect participle of
divido, dividere, “to separate”, here used as an adjective, the complement of
Gallia. (Note that Gallia and divisa are separated by the verb est: otherwise
Gallia divisa est could be taken as the third person singular perfect passive of
the verb divido meaning “Gaul has been divided”.)
Partēs The accusative plural of pars, partis, “a part”, governed by the
preposition in.
Trēs The accusative of tres, “three”, qualifying partes.

124
Gallus in sterquilīniō suō plūrimum potest
Seneca, Ludum De Morte Claudii
A cockerel is most vociferous on his own dunghill
This is one version of a scurrilous comment made by Seneca on the character
of the emperor Claudius.
Sterquilīniō The ablative singular of sterquilinium, sterquilinii, “a dungpit
or dunghill”, governed by the preposition in.
Suō The ablative singular neuter of the possessive pronoun suus, qualifying
sterquilinio.
Plūrimum The superlative of the adverb multum, “much”, from which it
follows that plurimum means “most”. Together with potest it asserts that the
cockerel is doing his best, and he does his best on his own home ground.
Potest The third person singular present of the verb possum, posse, “to be
able”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Glōria Patrī, et Fīliō et Spīrituī Sanctō
The Mass
Glory (be) to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
This Gloria is sung after the Psalm in the Communion service.
Patrī The dative singular of pater, patris, “father”.
Fīliō The dative singular of filius, filii, “son”.
Spīrituī The dative singular of the fourth declension noun spiritus, “spirit”.
Sanctō The dative singular masculine of the adjective sanctus, “holy”,
qualifying spiritui.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Grātiās tibi agimus, Deus omnipotens,
Pro omnibus beneficiīs tuīs,
Qui vīvis et regnās in saeculā saeculōrum
We give Thee thanks, almighty God,
For all thy kindnesses
Who livest and reignest for ever and ever
This simple grace was said at my grammar school every day before the
midday meal, by the senior prefect present. We recognised that God’s
kindness helped provide the meal, which fact however didn’t necessarily
make it more palatable.

125
Agimus / tibi / gratias / omnipotens / deus
We give / thee / thanks / almighty / god
pro / omnibus / tuis / beneficiis
for / all / thy / kindnesses
qui / vivis / et / regnas / in saecula saeculorum
who / livest / and / reignest / for ever and ever
Grātiās The accusative plural of gratia, gratiae, “thanks”, the object of
agimus.
Tibi The dative of tu, “thou”, the indirect object of agimus.
Agimus The first person plural present of the verb ago, agere, “to set in
motion”. However gratias agere is specifically “to give thanks”.
Omnibus The ablative plural of the adjective omnis, “all”, qualifying
beneficiis.
Beneficiīs The ablative plural of beneficium, beneficii, “a favour, a benefit”,
governed by the preposition pro.
Tuīs The ablative plural of the possessive pronoun tuus, “thy”, qualifying
beneficiis.
Vīvis The second person singular present of vivo, vivere, “to live”.
Regnās The second person singular present of regno, regnare, “to reign”.
Saeculā The accusative plural of saeculum, saeculi, “a generation, an age”,
governed by the preposition in. However in saecula saeculorum, “in the
ages of ages” is the usual church form of “for ever and ever”.
Saeculōrum The genitive plural of saeculum, saeculi, “a generation, an
age”, dependent on saecula.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hanc tibi, Frontō pater, genetrīx Flacilla, puellam
Oscula commendō dēliciāsque meās,
Parvula nē nigrās horrescat Erōtion umbrās
Ōraque Tartareī prōdigiōsa canis.
*******
Mollia nōn rigidus caespēs tegat ossa, nec illī,
Terra, gravis fuerīs: nōn fuit illa tibi.
Martial, V, 34
I commend to you, father Fronto and mother Flacilla, this girl,
my sweetheart and my darling,
so that little Erotion may not begin to dread the black shades,
and the gaping mouths of the Tartarean dog.
******

126
Let not hard turf cover her tender bones,
nor, Earth, be heavy on her: she was not so on you.
These lines are the beginning and the ending of one of the most moving
poems written in Latin. Erotion was a slave girl who died six days short of
her sixth birthday. Martial is commending her to the care of his deceased
parents.
Commendo / tibi / pater / Fronto / genetrix / Flacilla / hanc / puellam
I commend / to you / father / Fronto / mother / Flacilla / this / girl
oscula / que / meas / delicias
(my) sweetheart / and / my / darling
parvula / Erotion / ne horrescat
(so that) little / Erotion / may not begin to dread
nigras / umbras / et / prodigiosa / ora / Tartarei / canis
the black / shades / and / the gaping / mouths / of the Tartarean / dog
******
non / rigidus / caespes / tegat / mollia / ossa
let not / hard / turf / cover / (her) tender / bones
nec / terra / fueris / gravis / illi / illa / non fuit / tibi
nor / earth / be / heavy / on her / she / was not (heavy) / on you
Hanc The accusative singular feminine of the demonstrative pronoun hic,
“this”, qualifying puellam.
Tibi The dative of tu, “thou”, the indirect object of commendo.
Puellam The accusative singular of puella, puellae, “a girl”, the direct
object of commendo.
Oscula The accusative plural of osculum, osculi, “a kiss”, in apposition,
together with delicias, to puellam. In the plural, oscula was used with the
particular meaning of “darling, sweetheart”.
Dēliciās The accusative of deliciae, a plural noun meaning, “delight,
pleasure”, but used here with the particular meaning of “darling, sweetheart”.
Meās The accusative plural feminine of the possessive pronoun meus, “my”,
qualifying both oscula and delicias. Note that it agrees in gender however
with delicias, the nearer of the two nouns.
Parvula The nominative singular feminine of the adjective parvulus, “tiny”,
a diminutive of parvus, “small”, qualifying Erotion.
Nigrās The accusative plural feminine of the adjective niger, “black”,
qualifying umbras.
Nē An adverb used with an imperative or, as here, with a subjunctive
(horrescat) to express a prohibition.
Horrescat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb
horresco, horrescere, “to begin to dread”.

127
Erōtion Erotion was a Greek name, the diminutive of  (eros), “love”.
The subject of horrescat.
Umbrās The accusative plural of umbra, umbrae, “a shade, shadow”, the
object of horrescat.
Ōra The accusative plural of the neuter noun os, oris, “a mouth”, another
object of horrescat. The Tartarean dog, Cerberus, had three heads and
therefore three mouths.
Tartareī The genitive singular masculine of the adjective Tartareus,
“Tartarean”, qualifying canis.
Prōdigiōsa The accusative plural neuter of the adjective prodigiosus,
“unnatural”, qualifying ora.
Canis The genitive singular of canis, “a dog”, dependent on ora.
Mollia The accusative plural neuter of the adjective mollis, “soft, pliable”,
qualifying ossa.
Tegat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb tego, tegere,
“to cover (with earth)”, expressing prohibition with non.
Ossa The accusative plural of the neuter noun os, ossis, “a bone”, the object
of tegat.
Illī The dative singular of illa, the demonstrative pronoun referring to
Erotion. This is a dative of disadvantage.
Terra The vocative of terra, terrae, “earth”.
Fuerīs The second person singular perfect subjunctive of the verb sum, esse,
“to be”, used with nec as an imperative to express prohibition.
Fuit The third person singular perfect of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
Illa “that one”, the nominative feminine of the demonstrative pronoun ille,
referring back to Erotion, and the subject of fuit.
Tibi The dative of tu, “thou”. Note that the dative (of disadvantage) is used
for “(heavy) on her, on you”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hī mōtūs animōrum atque haec certāmina tanta
Pulveris exiguī iactū compressa quiescent
Virgil, Georgics, iv. 86
All this turbulence of mind and all this savagery of conflict can be quelled
and laid to rest by the scattering of a little dust
Practical advice to farmers on how to subdue a swarm of warring bees.
Horace uses pulveris exigui in Odes I, xxviii when he reflects on the fate of
Archytas, a man of genius, now in his simple grave, the recipient of Pulveris
exigui prope litus parva Matinum munera, . . . – “the paltry gifts of a little
dust beside the Matine shore”. (Three handfuls of dust were thrown on
Roman soldiers killed in battle.)

128
John Ruskin wrote a book of six essays on the elements of political economy
entitled “Munera Pulveris”.
“Lord John Drummond’s hopeful scheme for seizing Edinburgh Castle was
quieted pulveris exigui jactu, ‘the gentlemen were powdering their hair’
drinking at a tavern, and bungled the business.” Andrew Lang, A Short
History of Scotland.
“. . . Queen Charlotte . . . has left a legacy of snuff to certain poor-houses;
and in her watchful nights this poor woman takes a pinch of Queen
Charlotte’s snuff, ‘and it do comfort me, sir, that it do!’ Pulveris exigui
munus.” (The gift of a little dust.) W. M. Thackeray, The Roundabout
Papers.
Hi / motus / animorum / atque / haec / tanta / certamina
These / motions / of minds / and / these / so great / contests
compressa / quiescent / iactu / exigui / pulveris
(are) subdued / (and) will settle down / by the throwing / of a little / dust
Hī The nominative plural masculine of the demonstrative pronoun hic,
“this”, qualifying motus.
Mōtūs The nominative plural of the fourth declension noun motus,
“movement”.
Animōrum The genitive plural of animus, animi, “mind”, dependent on
motus.
Haec The nominative plural neuter of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”,
qualifying certamina.
Certāmina The nominative plural of the third declension neuter noun
certamen, certaminis, “contest”.
Tanta The nominative plural neuter of the adjective tantus, “so great”,
qualifying certamina.
Compressa The nominative plural neuter of compressus, the perfect
participle of comprimo, comprimere, “to subdue”. There would appear to be
the need for a missing sunt to make the phrase mean “are subdued”, but
compressa sunt is the perfect passive, “have been subdued”. (Cf. “Gallia est
omnis divisa” supra.) Compressa here is an adjective qualifying both motus
and certamina but agreeing with the nearer noun certamina.
Quiescent The third person plural future of the verb quiesco, quiescere, “to
come to rest, settle down”.
Pulveris The genitive singular of the third declension noun pulvis, “dust”,
dependent on iactu.
Exiguī The genitive singular masculine of the adjective exiguus, “scanty”,
qualifying pulveris.
Iactū The ablative of the supine of iacio, iacere, “to throw”.

129
Homō sum: hūmānī nīl ā mē aliēnum putō
Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, I, i. 25
I am a man: I count nothing human to be outside my concern
In Heauton Timorumenos (“The Self-Tormentor”) the eponymous
Menedemus has driven his son from home for falling in love with an
unsuitable (i.e. poor) girl. His neighbour Chremes reproves Menedemus on
humanitarian grounds for his unkindness, using this phrase to justify his
interference in someone else’s private affairs. In our day it is the justification
for state aid to those who are in need, even if the Nanny State is the result.
“. . . he was one who could truly say with him in Terence, ‘Homo sum:
humani nihil a me alienum puto.’ He was never an indifferent spectator of
the misery or happiness of anyone, . . .” Henry Fielding, Tom Jones.
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto is the motto of The London
Hospital.
John Donne in “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions XVII” takes a similarly
wide view of the universality of the family of mankind. “No man is an Iland,
intire of it selfe; . . . any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in
Mankinde; . . .”
Sum / homo / puto / nil / humani / alienum / a / me
I am / a man / I count / nothing / human / alien / from / me
Homō Better translated as “human being” than as “man”. A “man” as
opposed to a “woman” is vir.
Hūmānī The genitive singular neuter of the adjective humanus, combining
with nil to give the meaning “nothing of human” or “no part of humanity”.
(Vide grammatical note 2.)
Nīl This a contraction of nihil, the resulting single vowel “i” becoming long.
It is the object of puto.
Aliēnum The accusative singular neuter of the adjective alienus, “foreign”,
the complement of and agreeing with the neuter pronoun nil.
Mē The ablative of ego, “I”, governed by the preposition a.

130
Ī, bone, quō virtus tua tē vocat, ī pede faustō.
Grandia lātūrus meritōrum praemia
Horace, Epistles, II, ii. 37
Go, good (lad), wherever thy courage calls thee, go with propitious step,
(certain) to carry away the rich rewards of thy deserts
In fact the “good lad”, having won his laurels in an earlier battle, was happy
now to rest on them and was very much disinclined to go anywhere near
further danger.
I pede fausto is the motto of the Windward Islands and of Oadby District
Council in Leicestershire.
I / bone / quo / tua / virtus / vocat / te
Go / good (lad) / wherever / thy / courage / calls / thee
i / fausto / pede
go / with propitious / step
laturus / grandia / praemia / meritorum
(certain) to carry away / the rich / rewards / of (thy) deserts
Ī The second person singular imperative of the verb eo, ire, “to go”.
Bone The vocative singular of the masculine adjective bonus, “good”, used
here by ellipsis as a noun (“good person”).
Vocat The third person singular present of the verb voco, vocare, “to call”.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, and the object of vocat.
Pede The ablative singular of pes, pedis, “foot”. It is an ablative of
instrument.
Faustō The ablative singular masculine of the adjective faustus, “lucky,
fortunate”, qualifying pede.
Grandia The accusative plural neuter of the adjective grandis, “large”,
qualifying praemia.
Praemia The accusative plural of praemium, praemii, “an honourable
award”, the object of laturus.
Lātūrus The nominative singular masculine of the future participle of the
verb fero, ferre, tuli, latum, “to carry”. A possible translation is “carrying
away in the future”.
Meritōrum The genitive plural of meritum, meriti, “a desert, a merit”,
dependent on praemia.

131
In nōmine Patris, et Fīliī, et Spīritūs Sanctī
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
These words introduce the Ordinary of the Mass in the Roman Catholic
Church.
Nōmine The ablative singular of nomen, nominis, “a name”, governed by
the preposition in.
Patris The genitive singular of pater, “father”, dependent on nomine.
Fīliī The genitive singular of filius, “son”, dependent on nomine.
Spīritūs The genitive singular of the fourth declension noun spiritus,
“spirit”, dependent on nomine.
Sanctī The genitive singular masculine of the adjective sanctus, “holy”,
qualifying spiritus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Integer vītae scelerisque pūrus
nōn eget Maurīs iaculīs neque arcū
nec venēnātīs gravidā sagittīs,
Fusce, pharētrā
Horace, Odes, I, xxii. 1
(He who is) blameless in respect to his life, Fuscus, and has no share in
wickedness, has no need of Moorish javelin nor bow nor quiver heavy with
poisoned arrows
Integer vitae scelerisque purus is literally “blameless of life and free of
wrongdoing”. Horace modestly ascribes to his own blameless life the fact
that a large wolf he met in the woods while unarmed refrained from attacking
him.
“Who so integer vitae scelerisque purus, it was asked, as Mr. Pontifex of
Battersby?” Samuel Butler, The Way of all Flesh.
D. H. Lawrence in Women in Love, has Birkin say that in his view the right
thing to do with Pussums was to pay them; with mistresses, to keep them;
and with wives, to live under the same roof with them. “ ‘Integer vitae
scelerisque purus−’ said Birkin. ‘There’s no need to be nasty about it,’ said
Gerald.”
In The Oxford Book of English Verse the heading Integer vitae is given to
Thomas Campion’s poem:
“The man of life upright,
Whose guiltless heart is free
From all dishonest deeds,
Or thought of vanity”.

132
Integer vitae is the motto of the Christie family of Glyndebourne.
Integer / vitae / scelerisque / purus
Blameless / of life / and of wickedness / pure
non / eget / Mauris / iaculis / neque / arcu
not / is in need of / Moorish / javelins / nor / a bow
nec / pharetra / gravida / venenatis / sagittis / Fusce
nor / a quiver / heavy / with poisoned / arrows / Fuscus
Vītae The genitive singular of vita, “life”.
Sceleris The genitive singular of scelus, “wickedness”. Where English has
“free from crime”, the Latin has “free of crime”.
Eget The third person singular present of the second conjugation verb egeo,
egere, “to be in need of”. The verb is followed either by a genitive or, as
here, by an ablative of separation.
Maurīs The ablative plural of the adjective Maurus, “Moorish”, qualifying
iaculis.
Iaculīs The ablative plural of iaculum, iaculi, “a javelin”, following eget.
Arcū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun arcus, “a bow”,
following eget.
Venēnātīs The ablative plural of the adjective venenatus, “poisoned”,
qualifying sagittis.
Gravidā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective gravidus, “laden,
full”, qualifying pharetra.
Sagittīs The ablative plural of sagitta, sagittae, “an arrow”, after gravida. It
is an ablative of association.
Fuscē The vocative of Fuscus, the friend to whom Horace is boasting.
Pharētrā The ablative singular of pharetra, pharetrae, “a quiver”,
following eget.

133
Linquenda tellus et domus et placēns
uxor, neque hārum quās colis arbōrum
tē praeter invīsās cupressōs
ulla brevem dominum sequētur
Horace, Odes, II, xiv
You must leave earth and home and affectionate wife, nor will any of those
trees which you are tending accompany you, their short-lived master, except
for the hated cypresses
This ode begins: Eheu fugaces (q.v. supra).
In his Enemies of Promise, Cyril Connolly reflects on the fate of a friend,
Godfrey Meynell, killed in action in Waziristan, gaining by his bravery a
posthumous Victoria Cross, but linquenda tellus et domus et placens uxor −
“having to leave the world and home and a loving wife”.
Less tragically: “The Colonel was not so depressed as some mortals would
be, who, quitting a palace and a placens uxor, find themselves barred into a
spunging-house; . . .” W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair.
Linquenda / tellus et / domus et / placens / uxor
You must leave / the world and / home and / pleasing / wife
neque / ulla / harum / arborum / quas / colis / sequetur
and not / any / of these / trees / which / you tend / will follow
te / brevem / dominum / praeter / invisas / cupressos
you / short-lived / master / except / the hated / cypresses
Linquenda (est) The nominative singular feminine of the gerundive
adjective linquendus of the verb linquo, linquere, “to leave”. The world and
home and wife “have to be left”. All these nouns are feminine and the
adjective agrees with each of them. (Linquenda is literally “things which
must be left behind or relinquished” and comes from the same stable as
agenda, corrigenda and videnda.)
Placēns The present participle of the verb placeo, placere, “to please”.
Here it is an adjective qualifying uxor.
Hārum The genitive plural feminine of the demonstrative pronoun hic,
“this”, qualifying arborum.
Quās The accusative plural feminine of the relative pronoun qui, “which”,
referring to arborum and the object of colis.
Arbōrum The genitive plural of the feminine noun arbor, arboris, “a tree”.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, in apposition to dominum and the
object of sequetur.
Invīsās The accusative plural feminine of the adjective invisus, “hated”,
qualifying cupressos. (Vide infra.)

134
Brevem The accusative singular masculine of the adjective brevis,
“short (-lived)”, qualifying dominum.
Dominum The accusative singular of dominus, domini, “master”, in
apposition to te.
Ne(que) ... ulla “Not any (one) at all”. Ulla is the nominative singular
feminine of the pronominal adjective ullus, “any” and qualifies arbor
understood.
Colis The second person singular present of the verb colo, colere, “to
cultivate”.
Cupressōs The accusative plural of cupressus, taken here as a second
declension noun. (Cupressus is taken at other times to be a fourth declension
noun.) It is qualified by invisas but since in Latin all tree names are
feminine, any conflict of gender is only apparent. Cupressos is governed by
the preposition praeter.
Sequētur The third person singular future of the deponent verb sequor,
sequi, “to follow”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Macte novā virtūtē puer, sīc ītur ad astra
Virgil, Aeneid, ix. 641
God speed thy youthful valour, boy, in this way one attains to the stars
Or “Go on as you have begun, etc.”
The Trojans led by Aeneas are camped near the mouth of the Tiber and are
being taunted by Numanus, one of the besieging force, who casts doubts on
their manhood. Aeneas’ son, Ascanius, draws his bow from within the camp
and transfixes Numanus through the skull with the arrow. Apollo, who
happens to have witnessed the feat from a passing cloud, speaks the above
words in congratulating Ascanius on his marksmanship.
Had the film “The Way to the Stars” been made in ancient Rome, it might
well have been called Sic itur ad astra.
Macte Virtute is the motto of the families of Hollins and Murray-Graham,
and of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, while Macte Virtute Esto is the
Lowndes family motto. Sic Itur ad Astra is the motto of Essex Girls’ High
School and of the families of Carnac, Kerry and MacKenzie of Glen Muick.
Macte A relic possibly of an adjective (mactus), eventually reduced to a
formulaic expression meaning “Well done!”, normally followed by an
ablative.
Novā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective novus, “new”,
qualifying virtute.
Virtūtē The ablative singular of virtus, virtutis, “courage”, following macte.

135
Puer The vocative of puer, pueris, “a boy”.
Ītur The third person singular present passive of the verb eo, ire, “to go”,
but used in an impersonal sense, “one goes”.
Astra The accusative plural of astrum, astri, “a star”, governed by the
preposition ad. Ad astra translates here as “to immortality”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maecēnas atavīs ēdite rēgibus,
Ō et praesidium et dulce decus meum
Horace, Odes, I, i
Maecenas, descended from noble ancestors, O my protector and my dear
friend
Maecenas was originally Horace’s patron (praesidium) but in time became a
close friend (dulce decus). James Boswell writes of Dr. Johnson that he had
numerous friends, one of whom was “Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was truly his
dulce decus, and with whom he maintained an uninterrupted intimacy to the
last hours of his life.”
Dulce was commonly used in addressing friends, just as in English we use
“dear” at the start of a letter, whether we mean it or not. St. Venantius
Fortunatus, “the last of the Roman poets”, wrote a poem (Carmen 11.5)
ca. A.D. 580 to Agnes, abbess of the Convent of the Holy Cross at Poitiers,
addressing her as Dulce decus nostrum, Christi sanctissima virgo − “My
beloved beauty, most holy virgin of Christ.” For the use of noster, literally
“our”, to mean “my”, vide “Forsitan et nostrum nomen . . .” supra.
Maecenas / edite / atavis / regibus
Maecenas, / descended / from ancestor / kings
O / et / praesidium / et / meum / dulce / decus
O / both / (my) protector / and / my / sweet / pride
Atavīs The ablative plural of atavus, atavi, “a great-great-grandfather”,
hence “ancestors”.
Ēdite The vocative masculine singular of editus, the perfect participle of the
verb edo, edere, “to bring forth”, hence “descended from”, used as an
adjective qualifying Maecenas (which itself is vocative).
Rēgibus The ablative plural of rex, regis, “king”, but here simply “the
great”. In function it is almost adjectival to atavis, so “of noble ancestors”.
Et ... et “Both ... and”.
Dulce The nominative singular neuter of the adjective dulcis, “sweet, dear”,
qualifying decus.
Meum The nominative singular neuter of the possessive pronoun meus,
“my”, qualifying both praesidium and decus.

136
Mediō dē fonte lepōrum
Surgit amārī aliquid quod in ipsīs flōribus angat
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, iv. 1133
From the depths of this fountain of delights wells up some bitter taste which
chokes them even amid the flowers
Coleridge uses Medio de fonte leporum Surgit amari aliquid as a preface to
his cautionary poem “Julia”, in which an ardent lover kneels heavily before
her, not noticing that her lap-dog is at her feet.
Byron borrows the lines in “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”:
“Full from the fount of Joy’s delicious springs,
Some bitter o’er the flowers its bubbling venom flings.”
“Yes, indeed, it was a delightful little holiday; it lasted a whole week. With
the exception of that little pint of aliquid amari at Rotterdam, we were all
very happy.” W. M. Thackeray, Roundabout Papers.
“. . . why was there something as yet undefined beneath his exultation, the
aliquid amari of his schooldays?” Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander.
Amari Aliquid is the name of the Viskr Aspect of the Kumoti (Wyld) Faction
of the Ananasi werespiders.

Medio / de / fonte / leporum / surgit /


From the middle / of / (this) fountain / of delights / wells up
aliquid / amari / quod / angat / in / floribus / ipsis
something / bitter / which / chokes (them) / in / the flowers / themselves
Mediō This is the ablative singular masculine of medius, an adjective
qualifying fonte, but which means “in the middle of”.
Fonte The ablative singular of fons, fontis, “a spring, fountain”, governed by
the preposition de.
Lepōrum The genitive plural of lepor (sometimes lepos), leporis,
“pleasantness”.
Surgit The third person singular present of the verb surgo, surgere, which is
a contraction of subrigo, subrigere, and means “to rise”.
Amārī The genitive singular neuter of the adjective amarus, “bitter”. It is a
partitive genitive, so that aliquid amari is “something of bitter”. (Vide
grammatical note 2.)
Aliquid The nominative singular neuter of the indefinite pronoun aliquis,
“someone, something”.
Quod The nominative singular neuter of the relative pronoun qui, “who,
which”, referring to aliquid.
Ipsīs The ablative plural of the demonstrative pronoun ipse, “self”, referring
to floribus.

137
Flōribus The ablative plural of flos, floris, “a flower”, governed by the
preposition in.
Angat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb ango,
angere, “to throttle”. The subjunctive is used after quod which introduces a
consequential clause.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Misce stultitiam consiliīs brevem.
Dulce est dēsipere in locō
Horace, Odes, IV, xii. 28
Mix a little silliness with your business discussions. It is pleasant to let one’s
hair down on proper occasions.
“You haughty Southerners little know how a jolly Scotch gentleman can
desipere in loco, and how he chirrups over his honest cups.”
W. M. Thackeray, The Newcomes.
Misce / brevem / stultitiam / consiliis
Mix / a little / foolishness / with (your) business
desipere / in loco / est / dulce
to act foolishly / at the right time / is / sweet
Misce The second person singular imperative of the verb misceo, miscere,
“to mix”.
Stultitiam The accusative singular of stultitia, stultitiae, “silliness”, the
object of misce.
Consiliīs The ablative plural of consilium, consilii, “deliberation, business”.
Brevem The accusative singular of the adjective brevis, “brief”, qualifying
stultitiam.
Dēsipere The infinitive of the mixed conjugation verb desipio, “I act
foolishly”, used here as a noun. It is the deprivative of the mixed
conjugation verb sapio, sapere, “to be wise”
Dulce The nominative singular neuter of the adjective dulcis, “sweet”, the
complement of desipere. (Infinitives when used as nouns are taken as being
neuter.)
Locō The ablative of locus, “a place”, governed by the preposition in. Here
in loco means “in the right place, on the right occasion”.

138
Mors incertārum rērum certissima.
Incertum quandō, certum aliquandō morī.
Nullus ab occāsū procul est homō, nullus ab ortū.
Nec tamen illīus, nec memor hūius homō.
Death is the most certain of uncertain things.
Uncertain when, certain at some time to die.
No man is far from the sunset, none from the dawn.
Man knows not yet the former, nor remembers the latter.
The epitaph in Morchard Bishop church, Devon, of Walter Tuckfield, who
died in 1638, is rounded off by the second line of this passage:
“INCERTVM QVANDO CERTVM
ALIQVANDO MORI”

Mors / certissima / incertarum / rerum


Death (is) / the most certain / of uncertain / things
incertum / quando / certum / aliquando / mori
(it is) uncertain / when / certain / at some time / to die
nullus / homo / est / procul / ab / occasu / nullus / ab / ortu
no / man / is / far / from / death / none / from / birth
homo / nec / memor / huius, / nec / tamen / illius
man (is) / not / mindful / of the latter / nor / yet / of the former
Incertārum The genitive plural feminine of the adjective incertus,
“uncertain”, qualifying rerum.
Rērum The genitive plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing”.
Certissima The nominative singular feminine of the superlative of the
adjective certus, “certain”, qualifying mors.
Morī The infinitive of the deponent verb morior, “I die”.
Occāsū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun occasus, “the
setting of the sun, death”, governed by ab.
Ortū The ablative singular of the fourth declension noun ortus, “the rising
of the sun, birth”, governed by ab.
Nec ... nec “Neither ... nor”.
Illīus The genitive singular of the demonstrative pronoun ille, “that”, but
here meaning “the former”, following memor.
Memor An adjective meaning “mindful of, able to remember”, followed by
the genitive.
Hūius The genitive singular of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”, but
here meaning “the latter”, following memor.
Homō Neither man nor woman, “a person, a human being”.

139
Multīs ille bonīs flēbilis occidit, nullī flēbilior quam tibi, Vergilī
Horace, Odes, I, xxiv
He died mourned by many good men, to none more a cause of mourning than
to you, Virgil
The (often true) testimony flebilis occidit appears in many memorials on the
walls of our cathedrals and parish churches.
“Flebilis Occidit” is the title of an “Elegy upon the Death of Queen Mary” by
Henry Parker (1604-1652), set to music by Purcell.
Ille / occidit / flebilis / multis / bonis
He / died / a cause of mourning / to many / good men
nulli / flebilior / quam / tibi / Vergili
to none / more a cause of mourning / than / to you / Virgil
Multīs The dative plural of the adjective multus, “many” qualifying bonis.
Ille The demonstrative pronoun “he, that man”, the subject of occidit.
Bonīs The dative plural of the adjective bonus, “good”, here standing by
ellipsis for “good man”. It is a dative of reference following flebilis.
Flēbilis An adjective meaning “deserving tears, a cause for mourning”,
followed by the dative.
Occidit The third person singular perfect of the verb occido, occidere, “to
die”.
Nullī The dative singular masculine of nullus, “nobody”, following flebilis.
(In Classical Latin nemo, “nobody”, is normally used only in the nominative
and the accusative cases. For the other cases, nullus is used. An exception is
found in the modern ablative absolute phrase nemine contradicente, {nem.
con.}, “no-one speaking in opposition”.)
Flebilior The nominative singular masculine comparative of the adjective
flebilis (q.v. supra).
Quam A conjuction used with the comparative.
Tibi The dative of tu, “thou”, following flebilior.
Vergilī The vocative of Vergilius. (Vergil’s contemporaries spelled his
name with an “e”, but Virgil tends to be the preferred modern spelling.)

140
Nē puerōs cōram populō Mēdēa trucīdet,
Aut hūmāna palam coquat exta nefārius Atreus
Horace, Ars Poetica , 185
Let not Medea slaughter her boys in full view of the audience,
Nor wicked Atreus openly cook human entrails
Horace suggests that certain dramatic business should be enacted off-stage
rather than on-stage. (Atreus had killed his brother’s sons and served them
up to his brother as a tasty dish.) Horace did not exclude clean slaughter
from the public view: he would have accepted that the strangling of
Desdemona or even the stabbing of Julius Caesar on stage, though harrowing,
would not be overly offensive to any but the most squeamish playgoer, but he
would have approved of Shakespeare’s decision to have Macbeth beheaded
in the wings.
Other things may, indeed should, be enacted in full view of as many people
as possible. In 1953 the then Dean of Westminster, describing the ritual of
the forthcoming coronation, told how by partaking of Holy Communion
during the service, the Queen would present herself to be “a reasonable, holy
and lively sacrifice to God.” He stated: “She does this coram
populo, . . .” as it were, in the face of the congregation.
Ne / Medea / trucidet / pueros / coram / populo
Let not / Medea / slaughter / (her) boys / before / the people
aut / nefarius / Atreus / coquat / humana / exta / palam
nor / wicked / Atreus / cook / human / entrails / openly
Nē A negative adverb, meaning “do not” or “let not”, here used with the
subjunctive verb trucidet to express prohibition.
Puerōs The accusative plural of the second declension noun puer, pueri, “a
boy”, the object of trucidet.
Populō The ablative singular of populus, populi, “the people”, governed by
the preposition coram.
Cōram populō “In the presence of the people, in public”.
Trucīdet The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb trucido,
trucidare, “to cut to pieces”, acting as an imperative.
Aut A conjunction continuing the negative force of the adverb ne, now with
reference to coquat.
Hūmāna The accusative plural neuter of the adjective humanus, “human”,
qualifying exta.
Coquat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb coquo,
coquere, “to cook”.
Exta The accusative of a neuter noun exta, found only in the plural.

141
Palam An adverb which can also be used as a preposition equivalent to
coram.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nē sit ancillae tibi amor pudōrī
Horace, Odes II, iv. 1
Do not be ashamed of your love for a serving-maid
Serving maids are a sine qua non of any happy household and my regret is
that my own family has never been able to afford one, not even part-time.
They were frequently and unashamedly held by their masters to be a
legitimate object of affection. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem
(“There’s just a twinkle in your eye”) with the title Ne sit ancillae tibi amor
pudori, addressed to a “graceful housemaid, tall and fair”.
“Well, if I asked you to stay here, I should never hear the last of it from
Rhoda. She’s a little cracked . . . but the soul of devotion and capable of
anything. Ne sit ancillae, you know.” Rudyard Kipling, “My Son’s Wife”.
Ne / sit / amor / ancillae / pudori / tibi
Let not / be / the love / for a servant girl / shame / to you
Nē A negative adverb, meaning “do not” or “let not”, here used with the
subjunctive verb sit to express prohibition.
Ancillae The (objective) genitive singular of ancilla, ancillae, “a maid”.
Sit The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb sum, esse “to
be”.
Tibi The dative of tu, “thou”.
Pudōrī The dative of pudor, pudoris. (Pudori est mihi − “I am ashamed”.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nīl admīrāri prope rēs est ūna, Numīcī,
Solaque quae possit facere et servāre beātum
Horace, Epistles, I, vi. 1
To be disturbed by nothing is nearly, Numicius, the one and only thing which
can make and keep (a man) happy
(Horace says that finding that nothing is to be wondered at, is the only thing
that can make a man happy and keep him so. This is nonchalance carried to
extremes.)
“I maintained that Horace was wrong in placing happiness in Nil admirari,
for that I thought admiration one of the most agreeable of all our
feelings. . . .” James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

142
“ ‘It’s pretty, Miss Harriet,’ said Mick, looking up at the ceiling with a
careless, nil admirari glance.” Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil.
“Very many men nowadays . . . adopt or affect to adopt, the nil admirari
doctrine; but nevertheless to judge from their appearance, they are just as
subject to sudden emotions as their grandfathers and grandmothers were
before them.” Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers.
Nil admirari is the motto of, inter alias, the Bolingbroke and Carew families.
In 2003 Dorothy Farson gave the title nil admirari (“to be excited about
nothing”) to a picture in watercolour and charcoal on Sennelier paper.
Admirari / nil / est / prope / una / solaque / res / Numici
To admire / nothing / is / nearly / the one / and only / thing / Numicius
quae / possit / facere / et / servare / beatum
which / can / make / and / keep / (a man) happy
Nīl This a contraction of nihil, “nothing”, the resulting single vowel “i”
becoming long.
Admīrāri The infinitive of the deponent verb admiror, “I admire”, the
complement of res.
Ūna The nominative singular feminine of unus, “one”, qualifying res.
Numīcī The vocative of Numicius. (Names ending in -ius take the vocative
ending -i rather than the expected -ie.)
Sola The nominative singular feminine of the adjective solus, “only”,
qualifying res.
Quae The nominative singular feminine of the relative pronoun qui,
“which”, referring to res, and the subject of possit.
Possit The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb possum,
posse, “to be able”. The subjunctive is used after quae which here introduces
a consequential clause.
Facere The infinitive of the mixed conjugation verb facio, “I make”.
Servāre The infinitive of the verb servo, “I keep”.
Beātum The accusative singular masculine of the adjective beatus, “happy”,
qualifying an absent noun meaning “man”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nīl despērandum Teucrō duce et auspice Teucrō
Horace, Odes, I, vii. 27
We must not despair, with Teucer as leader and under Teucer’s star
Literally “Nothing is to be despaired of, with Teucer . . .” The speaker was
Teucer himself, desperately trying to cheer up his friends following his
banishment from Salamis by his father. It can be loosely translated as “Have
no fear, Teucer’s here”.

143
(This Teucer is not the earlier Teucer who was the ancestor of the Trojan
kings and who gave the name of “Teucrians” to the early Trojans, before his
great-grandson Tros renamed the city “Troy”. Vide “Equo non credite,
Teucri” supra.)
A horse called Nil desperandum was placed sixth in the Aintree Grand
National of 2005. Nil Desperandum is also the title of a 1904 poem by
Abdullah Quilliam: “Courage, brother! do not falter”.
Nil Desperandum is the motto of H.M.S. Dauntless and of a number of
families including those of Anson, Hedley-Dent, Walker of Teignmouth and
Williams of Tregullow.
Auspice Teucro is the apt motto of the Tucker family.
Variants such as Nil carborundum are of later date. During the Second
World War U. S. General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell adopted as his motto
Illegitimis Non Carborundum, translated loosely as “Don’t let the bastards
grind you down”.
Nīl This a contraction of nihil, “nothing”, the resulting single vowel “i”
becoming long.
Despērandum The nominative singular neuter of the gerundive adjective of
the verb despero, desperare, “to despair”, qualifying nil. Its literal meaning
is “to be despaired of”.
Teucrō The ablative of Teucer.
Duce The ablative singular of dux, ducis, “a leader”. Teucro duce is an
ablative absolute.
Auspice The ablative singular of auspex, auspicis, “a protector”. Auspice
Teucro is an ablative absolute.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nōn amō tē, Sabidī, nec possum dicere quārē,
Hōc tantum possum dicere, “Nōn amō tē”
Martial, Epigrammata, I, xxxii
I don’t love thee, Sabidius, I can’t say why,
All I can say is this, “I don’t love thee”
Martial put into words what all generations have felt about some of their
friends.
“My concern was to know just what it was offended you in him. Or is it
merely non amo te, Sabidi?” Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander.
“I do not love thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why, I cannot tell,

144
But this I know and know full well,
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell.” Thomas Brown (1662-1704)
Tē The accusative of tu, “thou”, the object of amo.
Sabidī The vocative of Sabidius. (Names ending in -ius take the vocative
ending -i rather than the expected -ie.)
Dicere The infinitive of dico, “I say”.
Quārē An adverb meaning “wherefore”, modifying the first dicere, but
almost acting as an object to the verb.
Hōc The accusative singular neuter of the demonstrative pronoun hic, “this”,
the object of the second dicere.
Tantum A noun formed from the accusative singular neuter of the adjective
tantus, “so much”. Together with hoc it is the object of dicere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nōn est vīvere, sed valēre vīta est
Martial, Epigrammata, VI, lxx
Life is not just being alive but being in health
A truth universally acknowledged, and the motto of various eminent health-
promoting institutions such as the Royal Society of Medicine and the Boyce
Hill Golf Club at South Enfleet.
Vita / est / non / vivere / sed / est / valere
Life / is / not / living / but / is / being healthy
Vīvere The infinitive of the verb vivo, “I live”, here used as a noun, the
complement of vita.
Valēre The infinitive of the verb valeo, “I am strong, I am healthy”, here
used as a noun, the complement of vita.
Est (2) The repetition of est here is for emphasis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nōn omnis moriar multaque pars meī
vītābit Libitīnam
Horace, Odes, III, xxx. 6
I shall not wholly die, but a great part of me shall avoid Death
This is a later and equally cheerful thought in the Ode which begins: Exegi
monumentum . . . q.v. supra.
Non Omnis Moriar is the name of a track on the album Domus Mundi by the
Austrian symphonic black metal band Hollenthon, and is also the motto of
the Wimberley family.

145
“Non omnis moriar – if dying I yet live in a tender heart or two.”
W. M. Thackeray, Henry Esmond.
“He . . . assured himself that a great part of him would escape oblivion. ‘Non
omnis moriar’, in some language of his own, was chanted by him within his
own breast, . . .” Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now.
Moriar / non omnis / multaque / pars / mei / vitabit / Libitinam
I shall die / not entirely / and a great / part / of me / will avoid / Death
Omnis “The whole”, here together with non meaning “not entirely”.
Moriar The first person singular future of the deponent verb morior, mori,
“to die”.
Multa The nominative singular feminine of the adjective multus, “much”,
qualifying pars.
Meī The genitive of ego, “I”, a partitive genitive dependent on pars.
Vītābit The third person singular future of the verb vito, vitare, “to avoid”.
Libitīnam The accusative of Libitina, Libitinae, the goddess of corpses,
here personifying “Death”, the object of vitabit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nulla domus tālēs umquam contexit amōrēs,
Nullus amor tālī coniunxit foedere amantēs
Quālis adest Thetidī, quālis concordia Peleō
Catullus, Carmina, lxiv, 334
No other house was ever home to loves such as these,
No love ever joined lovers in a compact
Such as that harmony which was present between Thetis and Peleus.
The first two of these lines and their translation above appear in Joanna
Hines’ The Lost Daughter. In Catullus’ poem the words were spoken by the
Fates (Parcae) on the occasion of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, a sea-
goddess. Their son was Achilles. Peleus, though a mortal, was a great hero,
and as such was accorded the special privilege of marriage to a goddess.
Nulla / domus / umquam / contexit / tales / amores
No / house / ever / concealed / such / loves
nullus / amor / coniuxit / amantes / tali / foedere
no / love / joined / lovers / with such / a compact
qualis / qualis / concordia / adest / Peleo / Thetidi
of a kind / as / the harmony / which is present / to Peleus / (and) to Thetis
Nulla The nominative singular feminine of the pronominal adjective nullus,
“none”, qualifying domus.
Domus A fourth declension feminine noun.

146
Umquam An adverb meaning “at any time”.
Contexit The third person singular perfect of the verb contego, contegere,
“to conceal”.
Amōrēs The accusative plural of amor, amoris, “love”.
Tālī The ablative singular of the demonstrative pronoun talis, “such”,
qualifying foedere.
Coniunxit The third person singular perfect of the verb coniungo,
coniungere, “to join together”.
Foedere The ablative singular of the third declension noun foedus, foederis,
“an agreement between individuals”.
Amantēs The accusative plural of amans, the present participle of amo,
amare, “to love”. Amans therefore means “loving” and is also used by
ellipsis as a noun, “a lover”.
Quālis ... quālis “Of such a kind as”.
Adest The third person singular present of the verb assum, adesse, “to be
present”. This is an example of the use of the “Historic Present”.
Thetidī The (possessive) dative (Greek) of Thetis, “to Thetis”.
Peleō The (possessive) dative of Peleus, “to Peleus”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nunc dīmittis (servum tuum, Domine, . . . in pāce)
Luke ii. 29
Now thou dismissest thy servant, Lord, in peace
When Simeon, who had been promised by God that before he died he would
see the Lord’s anointed, came into the temple and found the infant Jesus
there, he took him in his arms and spoke these words, followed by quia
viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum, “for mine eyes have seen thy salvation”.
God had fulfilled His promise and was thereby releasing Simeon from his
long vigil.
Dīmittis The second person singular present of the verb dimitto, dimittere,
“to send forth, let go”. The Authorised Version has “Lord, now lettest thou
thy servant depart in peace”, but “now thou lettest” would have been more
comprehensible to us.
Domine The vocative of Dominus, Domini, “Lord”.
Pāce The ablative singular of pax, pacis, “peace”, governed by the
preposition in.

147
Nunquam sē minus ōtiōsum esse quam cum ōtiōsus, nec minus
sōlum quam cum sōlus esset
Cicero, De Officiis, III, i. 1
Never less idle than when one is wholly idle, nor less alone
than when one is wholly alone
It is possible that Cicero acquired this meandering thought (via Cato) from
Scipio Africanus, who was writing circa 200 B.C. It is in oratio obliqua,
quoting Cato, and tells how Scipio, once relieved of official duties, was able
to find time to contemplate and to enjoy the pleasure of talking to himself.
Abraham Cowley quotes a shortened version in his essay “Of Solitude”:
“Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus, is now become a very vulgar
saying. Every man, and almost every boy, for these seventeen hundred years
has had it in his mouth.”
Hazlitt quotes the same shortened version, anglice, in his essay “On going a
Journey”, clearly confident that every reader will recognise its provenance.
“. . . out of doors, nature is company enough for me. I am then never less
alone than when alone.”
Nunquam It would appear that Cicero may have written nunquam, the
spelling preferred by the older dictionaries, but per contra he may in fact
have written numquam, the spelling preferred by modern dictionaries. The
word is a combination of ne and umquam (or unquam).
Sē The (accusative) reflexive pronoun “he”, the subject of esse in oratio
obliqua.
Minus The comparative of the adverb paulum, “little”.
Ōtiōsum The accusative singular masculine of the adjective otiosus, “idle”,
the complement of se.
Esse The infinitive of the verb sum, “I am”, in oratio obliqua.
Quam “Than” following the comparative minus.
Cum “When”, a conjunction each time introducing a temporal clause.
Sōlum The accusative singular masculine of the adjective solus, “alone”,
another complement of se.
Esset The third person singular imperfect subjunctive of the verb sum, esse,
“to be”, subjunctive after the conjunction cum.

148
Ōdī et amō: quārē id faciam, fortasse requīris
Nescio, sed fierī sentiō et excrucior
Catullus lxxxv
I hate and I love: why do I do this, you may ask.
I don’t know, but I feel it to be so and I suffer (excruciatingly).
Robert Graves, in The White Goddess, suggests that the poet is in love with
the White Goddess, with Truth. She is the Flower-goddess Blodeuwedd; but
she is also Blodeuwedd the Owl, with her foul nest in the hollow of a dead
tree. “Odi atque amo: ‘to be in love with’ is also to hate.” (Graves
misquotes slightly but excusably, with echoes perhaps of Ave atque vale
sounding in his ears.)
For some undisclosed reason Odi et Amo is the motto of the family of
Viscount Norwich. It is also part of the title of a series of television drama
programmes, “Odi et Amo − Of Love and Hate”, produced in Vancouver and
dealing with the “adult” themes of sadism and masochism.
Odi / et / amo / quare / faciam / id /fortasse / requiris
I hate / and / I love / why / do I do / this / perhaps / you ask
nescio / sed / sentio / fieri / et / excrucior
I don’t know / but / I feel (it) / to happen / and / I am tortured
Ōdī The first person singular present tense of the verb, odi, odisse, “I hate”.
It is technically the first person singular perfect tense, but is used with a
present tense meaning.
Id The accusative singular neuter of the demonstrative pronoun is, “that”,
the object of faciam, and referring to the phrase odi et amo.
Faciam The first person singular present subjunctive of the mixed
conjugation verb facio, facere, “to do”. (The verb in an indirect question is
in the subjunctive mood.)
Requīris The second person singular present of the verb requiro, requirere,
“to ask, enquire”.
Fierī The infinitive of the verb fio, “I become”. The verb supplies the
passive of the mixed conjugation verb facio, facere, “to make”.
Excrucior The first person singular present passive of the verb excrucio,
excruciare, “to torture”.

149
Ōdī profānum vulgus et arceō;
Favēte linguīs; carmina nōn prius
Audīta Mūsārum sacerdos
Virginibus puerīsque cantō
Horace, Odes, III, i. 4
I hate the vulgar throng, and keep them at a distance; say nothing; I, the
Muses’ priest, sing to maidens and young men songs previously unheard
Elitism is no modern phenomenon. Horace is defining his target audience,
after having disclaimed any interest in the common herd, the profanum
vulgus.
Odi profanum vulgus et arceo is the title of a piece for piano in E flat minor
written ca. 1861 by Charles Valentin Alkan. It is also the name of a (music)
album by Miss Violetta Beauregarde.
Odi profanum − “I hate everything profane” − is the motto of the families of
Hare and O’Hehir.
Favete linguis is literally, “be favourable with (your) tongues”, i.e., don’t say
anything inappropriate to the (sacred) occasion. Since the best way of doing
this was not to speak at all, the phrase came to be equivalent to a request for
silence.
“My good friends, favete linguis − To give you information, I must first,
according to logicians, be possessed of it myself; and, therefore, with your
leaves, I will retire into the library to examine these papers.” Sir Walter
Scott, The Antiquary.
In Winnie Ille Pu, the Latin version of Winnie the Pooh, Alexander Lenard
translates Rabbit’s “Now don’t talk while I think” as “Nunc, dum cogito,
favete linguis”.
Robert Louis Stephenson wrote a book entitled Virginibus Puerisque, which
included among other matters a number of essays on the problems of young
adulthood, addressed as by an agony aunt to young men and maidens.
Virginibus puerisque is the title of a poem by Alan Seeger, killed in action in
France in 1916 while serving with the French Foreign Legion. He was uncle
of the folk singer Pete Seeger.
Julian Barnes, in Talking It Over, observes that he had only had to dangle his
forged reference from the Hamlet Academy before Mr. Tim to be “unleashed
before the cosmopolitan virginibus puerisque couchant before their desks.”
Odi / profanum / vulgus / et / arceo
I hate / the vulgar / crowd / and / keep away (from them)
favete / linguis / sacerdos / Musarum

150
be favourable / to (your) tongues / the priest / of the Muses
canto / carmina / non / prius / audita / virginibus / puerisque
I sing / songs / not / before / heard / to virgins / and to young men
Ōdī The first person singular present tense of the verb, odi, odisse, “I hate”.
It is technically the first person singular perfect tense, but is used with a
present tense meaning.
Profānum The accusative singular neuter of the adjective profanus,
“common, not initiated in the service of the Muses”, qualifying vulgus.
Vulgus The accusative singular of the second declension neuter noun
vulgus, vulgi, “the mob”. It has the appearance of a masculine noun and
occasionally it is so treated.
Favēte The second person plural imperative of the verb faveo, favere, “to
favour”, followed usually, as here, by the dative.
Linguīs The dative plural of lingua, linguae, “tongue”, following favete.
Carmina The accusative plural of the third declension neuter noun carmen,
carminis, “a song”.
Audīta The accusative plural neuter of auditus, “heard”, the past participle
of the verb audio, audire, “to hear”, here used as an adjective qualifying
carmina.
Mūsārum The genitive plural of Musa, Musae, “a Muse”, of which there
were nine. It is dependent on sacerdos.
Virginibus The dative plural of virgo, virginis, “a girl” (of indeterminate
age).
Puerīs The dative plural of puer, pueri, “a boy” (below the age of
seventeen).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ō fons Bandūsiae, splendidior vitrō
dulcī digne merō nōn sine flōribus
Horace, Odes, III, xiii
O fountain of Bandusia, more sparkling than crystal, worthy of our finest
wine and flowers
Here is the source of F. Sidgwick’s “O fons Brent Reservoir” in his “The
Bankolidaid”, quoted in Appendix II.
O fons Bandusiae is the name shared by various pieces of choral music,
written by composers such as Randall Thompson and Douglas Lilburn; and
Horace’s ode has been cast in its entirety into English verse by such iconic
poets as A. H. Clough, James Joyce, and W. E. Gladstone.
O / fons / Bandusiae / splendidior / vitro
O / fount / of Bandusia / more glittering / than glass

151
digne / dulci / mero / non / sine / floribus
worthy / of sweet / wine / not / without / flowers
Ō Used exactly as the English “O” in addressing someone or something.
Fons The vocative of the third declension noun, fons, fontis, “a fountain,
spring”. The vocative here happens to be the same as the nominative.
Bandūsiae The genitive of Bandusia, which was probably a brook on
Horace’s own farm, whose source was presumably the fons in question.
Splendidior The comparative masculine of the adjective splendidus,
“shining”. It qualifies fons and again is vocative but doesn’t show it.
Vitrō The ablative singular of the neuter second declension noun vitrum,
vitri, “glass”. It is an ablative of comparison after splendidior.
Digne The vocative of the adjective dignus, “worthy”, qualifying fons, and
this time the e-ending does show the vocative case. Dignus usually governs
the ablative (rarely the genitive) so that digne ... mero is “worthy of wine”.
Dulcī The ablative singular of the adjective dulcis, “sweet”, qualifying
mero.
Merō The ablative singular of the second declension neuter noun merum,
meri, “wine unmixed with water”.
Flōribus The ablative plural of flos, floris, “a flower”, governed by the
preposition sine.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ō fortunātōs nimium, sua sī bona nōrint,
Agricolās! Quibus ipsa procul discordibus armīs
Fundit humō facilem victum iustissima tellus
Virgil, Georgics, ii, 458
O most fortunate farmers! If only they knew their own happiness! On whom,
far from the clash of arms the most just earth herself pours out an easy living
from the soil.
Like Horace (cf. “Beatus ille” supra), Virgil was a firm believer in the joys
of country life, although farmers throughout the ages might question his view
of the trade as an “easy living”.
O / nimium / fortunatos / agricolas / si / norint / sua / bona
O / extremely / fortunate / farmers / if / they knew / their own / happiness
quibus / procul / discordibus / armis / iustissima / tellus
on whom / far / from the clash / of arms / the most just / earth
ipsa / fundit / humo / facilem / victum
herself / pours forth / from the soil / an easy / living

152
Ō The exclamation “O!”
Fortunātōs The accusative plural masculine of fortunatus, “blessed”,
qualifying agricolas, the accusative being used here after the exclamation
“O”. (Vide grammatical note 4.)
Agricolās The accusative plural of agricola, agricolae, “a farmer”, which is
a masculine noun despite its “a” ending.
Nimium An adverb, the accusative neuter of the adjective nimius, “too
much”.
Sua The accusative plural neuter of the possessive pronoun suus, “his/their
own”, qualifying bona.
Sī “If”, introducing a conditional clause with a subjunctive verb, norint.
Bona The accusative plural of bonum, boni, “good”, a neuter noun derived
from the adjective bonus, “good”, with a more specific meaning in the plural
of “goods, property, blessings”; the object of norint.
Nōrint A contraction of noverint, the third person plural perfect subjunctive
of the verb nosco, noscere, “to know”.
Quibus The ablative plural of the relative pronoun quis, “who”, referring to
agricolas.
Ipsa The nominative singular feminine of ipse, “self”, an intensive pronoun
qualifying tellus.
Procul “Far from”, an adverb followed by an ablative of separation (armis).
Discordibus The ablative plural of the adjective discors, discordis,
“discordant”, qualifying armis.
Armīs The ablative of arma, following procul. Arma is a plural neuter noun
meaning “war” and has no singular, although if there were a singular its
nominative would be *armum meaning “battle”.
Fundit The third person singular present of the verb fundo, fundere, “to
pour out”.
Humō The ablative of humus, humi, “ground”, a feminine noun of the
second declension found only in the singular.
Facilem The accusative singular masculine of the adjective facilis, “easy”,
qualifying victum.
Victum The accusative singular of the fourth declension noun victus, “way
of living, nourishment”.
Iustissima The nominative singular feminine of iustissimus, the superlative
of the adjective iustus, “just”, qualifying tellus.
Tellus “The earth”. Tellus is the nominative singular of a third declension
feminine noun, whose genitive is telluris. It is the subject of fundit.

153
Ō mihi praeteritōs referat sī Iuppiter annōs
Virgil, Aeneid, viii. 560
If only Jupiter would restore to me the years (that are) fled
Evander, king of Arcady, is bidding farewell to his son Pallas, who is going
with Aeneas to fight the Latins under Turnus. Evander regrets that age and
infirmity prevent him from joining them.
In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, James Hilton has Chips remark that he had been a
master at the school for forty-two years, and had been very happy there. “ ‘It
has been my life,’ he said simply. ‘O mihi praeteritos referat si Iuppiter
annos.’ ”
O / si / Iuppiter / referat / mihi / annos / praeteritos
Oh / if / Jupiter / were to restore / to me / the years / (that have) passed by
Ō Used here much like the English “Oh!” to express some kind of emotion.
Mihi The dative of ego, “I”, the indirect object of referat.
Praeteritōs The accusative plural masculine of praeteritus, the past
participle of the verb praetereo (= praeter + eo), praeterire, “to go before, to
pass by”, here used as an adjective qualifying annos.
Sī Following “O”, this is a conjunction introducing a wish, so that the verb
(referat) is in the subjunctive.
Referat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb refero,
referre, “to bring back (time which is past)”.
Iuppiter The subject of referat. Note that the Romans spelled Jupiter’s
name with two p’s. Note also that Juppiter is a contraction of Jovis Pater,
and the accusative and genitive of Juppiter are respectively Jovem and Jovis.
Annōs The accusative plural of annus, anni, “a year”, the object of referat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Omnia vincit Amor: et nōs cedāmus Amōrī
Virgil, Eclogue, x. 69
Love conquers all, and we ourselves, let us bow to Love
Many a girls’ school must boast Omnia Vincit Amor or else Amor Omnia
Vincit as a motto − word order does not much matter − although few perhaps
subscribe openly (if indeed they know it) to the rest of the quotation. Amor
Omnia Vincit is the motto of the Ussher family, while Cedamus Amori is the
submissive motto of the Blunden family.
Chaucer tells us about the Prioress who spoke French “after the scole of
Stratford atte Bowe”:
“Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,

154
And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene
On which ther was first write a crowned A,
And after Amor vincit omnia.”
Omnia Vincit Amor is the title of a 1599 engraving by Agostino Carracci.
Omnia The accusative plural neuter of the adjective omnis, “all”, here by
ellipsis meaning “everything”, the object of vincit. Note that Latin uses the
plural noun where English uses the singular.
Vincit The third person singular present of the verb vinco, vincere, “to
conquer”.
Cedāmus The first person plural present subjunctive of the verb cedo,
cedere, “to submit”, used here as an imperative.
Amōrī The dative singular of amor, amoris, “love”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ōrandum est ut sit mens sāna in corpore sānō
Juvenal, Satires, viii. 356
You must pray for a sound mind in a sound body
“This smiling, bespectacled icon pedals towards us . . . , an advertisement for
comradely physical improvement, mens sana in corpore sano.” Julian
Barnes, Something to Declare.
“My predestinated lot in life, alas, has amounted to this: a mens not
particularly sana in a corpore not particularly sano”. Viscount Mumbles, A
Reflection on My Life. (Quoted by Colin Dexter in Daughters of Cain but,
being an invention of Dexter himself, Mumbles is not to be found in Debrett.)
Two cobblers had shops on opposite sides of the village street. One was an
educated man, the other was not. One day there appeared in the window of
the educated cobbler the sign: “Mens sana in corpore sano”. The following
day the other cobbler riposted with the sign: “Mens and womens sana in
corpore sano”.
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano is the motto of the Chelsea College of Physical
Education, Eastbourne, and of the Carlton (Australian rules) Football Club.
Ōrandum The nominative singular neuter of the gerundive of the verb oro,
orare, “to pray”. It is an impersonal passive construction with est meaning
“it is to be prayed for”, here followed by a noun clause with a verb in the
subjunctive, “that there be a sound mind in a sound body”.
Ut A conjunction introducing the final clause sit ... sano.
Sit The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb sum, esse, “to
be”.

155
Sāna The nominative singular feminine of the adjective sanus, “sound,
healthy”, qualifying mens.
Corpore The ablative singular of corpus, corporis, “a body”, governed by
the preposition in.
Sānō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective sanus, “sound, healthy”,
qualifying corpore.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pallida Mors aequō pulsat pede pauperum tabernās rēgumque
turrēs
Horace, Odes, I, iv. 13,14
Pale Death kicks with impartial foot at the cottages of the poor and at the
palaces of kings
The Romans did not knock at doors, they kicked.
Pallida Mors is the name of a track on the album Domus Mundi by the
Austrian symphonic black metal band Hollenthon.
“ ‘Saw your trap Tottenham Court Road way,’ says the slang parson, nodding
to the physician.
‘Have some patients there. People are ill in Tottenham Court Road,’ remarks
the doctor.
‘Pallida mors aequo pede – hey, doctor? . . .’ ” W. M. Thackeray, The
Adventures of Philip.
These lines are followed directly in the Ode by “Vitae summa brevis . . .”
q.v. infra.
Pallida / Mors / pulsat / aequo / pede
Pale / Death / kicks / with impartial / foot
tabernas / pauperum / turres / regum
(at) the huts / of the poor / (and) the towers / of kings
Pallida The nominative singular feminine of the adjective pallidus, “pale”,
qualifying mors.
Aequō The ablative singular masculine of the adjective aequus, “equal,
impartial”, qualifying pede.
Pulsat The third person singular present of the verb pulso, pulsare, “to
strike, knock”.
Pede The ablative singular of pes, pedis, “a foot”. An ablative of
instrument.
Pauperum The genitive plural of the adjective pauper, pauperis, “poor”,
with the meaning by ellipsis of “poor men, the poor”, dependent on tabernas.
Tabernās The accusative plural of taberna, tabernae, “a hut”, one object of
pulsat.

156
Rēgum The genitive plural of rex, regis, “a king”, dependent on turres.
Turrēs The accusative plural of turris, “a tower”, another object of pulsat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Pōne seram, cohibē.” Sed quis custōdiet ipsōs custōdēs? Cauta
est et ab illīs incipit uxor
Juvenal, Satires, vi. 347
“Bolt the door, put guards on her.” But who shall watch over the guards
themselves? She’s cunning, the wife, and will begin with them.
It was at times not only wise but imperative for a Roman husband to place a
guard over a flighty wife, and the admonishment to “lock up your daughters”
is of antique origin. The speaker has no illusions. He may take the advice of
old friends and place guards, but should then also in all prudence place
guards on the guards, and presumably so ad infinitum. Clearly a great saving
in manpower followed the invention of the chastity belt.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes heads Colin Dexter’s story about Chief
Inspector Morse, entitled “Neighbourhood Watch”. Here the problem has
been passed from the anxious husband to the Police Watchdog.
“ ‘Quis custodiet, Arthur? Who tells the head of the family he is at fault?’ ”
Julian Barnes, Arthur and George. (This appears to be an instance of a Latin
tag being impressive, without being prima facie apposite. It needs perhaps
something of “belling the cat” rather than placing guards.)
Qui custodit − “Who guards” − is the motto of no. 399 Signals Unit of the
R.A.F.
(N.B. Some versions of the above lines replace cohibe with prohibe. The
two words both mean “restrain”.)
Pone / seram / cohibe / sed / quis / custodiet / ipsos / custodes
Place / a lock / restrain (her) / but / who / will guard / those same / guards
uxor / est / cauta / et / incipit / ab illis
(my) wife / is / cunning / and / begins / with them
Pōne The second person singular imperative of the verb pono, ponere, “to
put”.
Seram The accusative singular of sera, serae, “a bar, a bolt”, the object of
pone.
Cohibē The second person singular imperative of the verb cohibeo,
cohibere, “to restrain”.
Custodiet The third person singular future of the verb custodio, custodire,
“to guard”.

157
Ipsōs The accusative plural masculine of the intensive pronoun ipse, “self”,
qualifying custodes.
Custōdēs The accusative plural of custos, custodis, “a guardian”.
Cauta The nominative singular feminine of the adjective cautus, “sly”, the
complement of uxor.
Illīs The ablative plural masculine of the demonstrative pronoun ille, “that
one”, governed by the preposition ab.
Incipit The third person singular present of the mixed conjugation verb
incipio, incipere, “to begin”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quem Juppiter vult perdere, dēmentat prius
James Duport
Whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first sends mad
Several versions of this cheerful thought exist, and they tend to intermingle.
Quos deus vult perdere, prius dementat, with the plural quos replacing the
singular quem, is found in Boswell’s Johnson: “Whom God wishes to
destroy, etc”.
D. H. Lawrence quotes this thought in his poem “It is strange to think . . .”
“Will the Proustian lot go next?
And then our English imitation intelligensia?
Is it the Quem vult perdere Deus business?”
“They cut down repairs; . . . and . . . they hid their defeeciences (sic) wi’
paint an’ cheap gildin’. Quem Deus vult perrdere prrius dementat, ye
remember.” R. Kipling, “Bread upon the Waters”. In Kipling's day Chief
Engineers in the merchant fleet could use Latin when the occasion called for
it. O tempora...
Quem The accusative singular masculine of the relative pronoun qui,
“who”, and the object of perdere, and introducing the adjectival clause quem
... perdere, which qualifies a missing pronoun eum, “him”.
Juppiter Note the Romans spelled Jupiter with two p’s. Note also that the
accusative and genitive of Juppiter are respectively Jovem and Jovis.
Vult The third person singular present of the verb volo, velle, “to wish”.
Dēmentat The third person singular present of a Late Latin verb demento,
dementare, “to send mad”.
Prius The nominative neuter of the adjective prior, “the first”, used as an
adverb.

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Quid rīdēs? Mūtātō nōmine dē tē
Fābula narrātur
Horace, Satires, I, i. 69
Why do you laugh? Change the name and the story applies to yourself
Mutato nomine is an “ablative absolute”, and translates as “The name having
been changed” − and the amused listener to the tale could well himself be the
butt of the joke therein.
The tale need not be humorous. Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose
has “ ‘De te fabula narratur,’ I said to myself,” the speaker wondering if
those pages did not already contain the story of future events in store for him.
Quid / rides / nomine / mutato / fabula / narratur / de / te
Why / do you laugh / the name / being changed / the story / is told / about /
you
Quid The accusative neuter singular of the interrogative pronoun quis,
“what?” referring to a missing noun, the object of rides − “What kind of
laughter are you laughing?” Here it has the force of a word such as cur,
“why?”
Rīdēs The second person singular present of rideo, ridere, “to laugh”.
Nōmine The ablative singular of nomen, nominis, “a name”.
Mūtātō The ablative singular neuter of mutatus, the perfect participle of the
verb muto, mutare, “to change”. Here it is used as an adjective qualifying
nomine. “Mutato nomine” is an ablative absolute.
Narrātur The third person singular present passive of the verb narro,
narrare, “to tell”.
Tē The ablative of tu, “thou”, governed by the preposition de.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quidquid agās, prūdenter agās, et respice fīnem
Gesta Romanorum (ca.1473), ch.103
Whatever you do, do with caution, and keep the end in view
Respice finem is the motto of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, of
the family of Dickson of Corstorphine; of Homerton College, Cambridge; of
Newmarket, and of 285 Squadron of the R.A.F.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the heading Respice Finem is given to
Francis Quarles’ epigram, “My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on; Judge not
the play before the play is done: . . . the last act crowns the play.”
Respice finem is the name of a Czech documentary film of 1967 by Jan Spáta
about the loneliness, wisdom and humility of old women.

159
Quidquid / agas / agas / prudenter / et / respice / finem
Whatsoever / you may do / do (it) / prudently / and / look to / the end
Quidquid The accusative singular neuter of the compound pronoun
quisquis, “whatever”, the object of agas (1).
Agās (1) The second person singular present subjunctive of the verb ago,
agere, “to do”.
Agās (2) The second person singular present subjunctive of the verb ago,
agere, “to do”. The subjunctive is used here as an alternative to the second
person singular imperative when making a general recommendation, not
addressed to one particular person. It has an additional purpose here,
replacing the imperative age which is generally used to mean “come!”
Prūdenter The adverb formed from the adjective prudens, “prudent”.
Respice The second person singular imperative of the mixed conjugation
verb respicio, respicere, originally “to look back on” but here clearly
meaning “to look ahead towards”.
Fīnem The accusative singular of finis, “end”, the object of respice.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quī nullum fere scrībendī genus
Nōn tetigit,
Nullum quod tetigit nōn ornāvit
Who left scarcely any style of writing untouched, and did not fail to adorn
anything that he touched
This forms part of the epitaph which Samuel Johnson composed for Oliver
Goldsmith (1728-64), and which can be found in Westminster Abbey. When
somebody suggested it should have been in English, Johnson retorted that he
would never consent to disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey with an
English inscription. “The language of the country of which a learned man
was a native is not the language fit for his epitaph, which should be in ancient
and permanent language. Consider, Sir, how you should feel, were you to
find at Rotterdam an epitaph upon Erasmus in Dutch!”
Qui / non / tetigit / fere / nullum / genus / scribendi
Who / not / did touch / scarcely / no / style / of writing
non / ornavit / nullum / quod / tetigit
(and) not / he adorned / nothing / that / he touched
Quī The nominative singular masculine relative pronoun “who”, referring
back to Oliver Goldsmith, mentioned earlier in the epitaph.
Nullum (1) The accusative singular neuter of the adjective nullus, “none”,
qualifying genus.

160
Genus The accusative singular of the neuter noun genus, generis, “sort,
kind”, the object of tetegit.
Scrībendī The genitive singular of scribendum, the gerund of the verb
scribo, scribere, “to write”, dependent on genus.
Tetigit The third person singular perfect of the verb tango, tangere, “to
touch”.
Nullum (2) The accusative singular neuter of the adjective nullus, used as a
noun meaning “nothing”, the object of ornavit.
Quod The accusative singular neuter of the relative pronoun qui, agreeing
with nullum and introducing the adjectival clause quod tetegit.
Ornāvit The third person singular perfect of the verb orno, ornare, “to
adorn, embellish”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quis dēsīderiō sit pudor aut modus
Tam cārī capitis
Horace, Odes, I, xxiv. 1,2
What restraint or limit should there be in grieving for one so dear?
This poignant thought appears frequently in Latin inscriptions on tombstones
and memorials in churches. Quis desiderio sit pudor is the name of a cantata
composed by Karl Graun (1704-59) on the death of King Frederick William I
of Prussia.
Quis / pudor / aut / modus / sit / desiderio / tam / cari / capitis
What / restraint / or / limit / should there be / in grief / (of) such / a dear /
head?
Quis The nominative singular masculine interrogative pronoun “what?”
qualifying pudor.
Dēsīderiō The ablative singular of desiderium, desiderii, “longing”,
“yearning”, “grief”, conveying the sense of “in grief”.
Sit The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb sum, esse, “to
be”.
Pudor “Shame, modesty”. Here it suggests a “holding back”.
Cārī The genitive singular neuter of the adjective carus, “dear”, qualifying
capitis.
Capitis The genitive singular of the neuter noun caput, “ a head”. It is
governed by desiderio which, along with verbs of “feeling”, is followed by
the genitive. Here caput is used by synecdoche to mean “person”.

161
Quis multā gracilis tē puer in rosā
perfūsus liquidīs urget odōribus,
grātō, Pyrrha, sub antrō?
cui flāvam religās comam,
simplex munditiīs?
Horace, Odes, I, v. 1-5
What slender youth, bedew’d with liquid odours,
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
Pyrrha? For whom bind’st thou
In wreaths thy golden hair,
Plain in thy neatness? [John Milton]
Horace, in one of his best-loved Odes, so addresses his quondam girl-friend,
Pyrrha.
“I should be glad to see you the instrument of introducing into our style that
simplicity which is the best and truest ornament of most things in life, which
the politer age always aimed at in their building and dress, simplex munditiis,
as well as in their productions of wit.” Jonathan Swift, “On Style”.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the heading Simplex Munditiis is given
to Ben Jonson’s poem, “Still to be neat, still to be drest / As you were going
to a feast; . . .” admonishing a girl who was always and unfailingly dressed
up to the nines.
Simplex Munditiis is the motto of Viscount Simonds, and of the families of
Philips and of Symonds of Pilsdon.
Quis / gracilis / puer / perfusus / liquidis / odoribus
What / slim / boy / bathed / in liquid / perfumes
Pyrrha / urget / te / in / multa / rosa
Pyrrha / presses his suit (on) / you / on / heaps / of rose petals
sub / grato / antro
under / a pleasant / grotto
cui / religas / flavam / comam / simplex / munditiis
for whom / do you bind / (your) golden / hair /simple / in (your) elegance
Quis The nominative singular masculine interrogative pronoun “what?”
qualifying puer.
Multā . . . in rosā Rosa is the ablative singular of the noun rosa, rosae “a
rose”, governed by the preposition in and qualified by multa, the ablative
singular feminine of the adjective multus, “much”. “In/on much a rose”
makes poor sense; “on many a rose” is an improvement, but the true meaning
depends on the fact that rosa is here a collective noun, roses en masse. So

162
“in many roses” is a more accurate translation, and “on a bed of roses”
sounds even better.
Tē The accusative singular of tu, “thou”, and the object of urget.
Puer “A boy”, younger than iuvenis, “a youth”, indeed below the age of
seventeen, and so unquestionably too young to be engaged in the risky
pastime of embracing Pyrrha, which is proper work only for a grown man.
Perfūsus The adjective formed from the supine of the verb perfundo,
perfundere, “to pour over”, qualifying puer.
Liquidīs The ablative plural of the adjective liquidus, “liquid”, qualifying
odoribus.
Urget The third person singular present of the verb urgeo, urgere, “to press
upon, urge”.
Odōribus The ablative plural of odor, odoris, “a smell, perfume”. An
ablative of instrument, “with” being understood.
Grātō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective gratus, “pleasing”,
qualifying antro.
Antrō The ablative singular of antrum, antri, “a cave”, governed by the
preposition sub.
Cui The dative singular of the interrogative pronoun quis, “who”.
Religās The second person singular present of the verb religo, religare, “to
bind up the hair”.
Flāvam The accusative singular feminine of the adjective flavus, “golden-
yellow”, qualifying comam.
Comam The accusative singular of coma, comae, “the hair of the head”, the
object of religas.
Munditiīs The ablative plural of munditia, munditiae, “neatness”. The
plural munditiae implies “elegance without ostentation”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quot hominēs, tot sententiae; suus quōique mōs
Terence, Phormio, 454
However many men, so many opinions: his own a law to each
On 8th June 2005 Hansard reports that Sir Menzies Campbell commented in
the House of Commons on the apparent multiplicity of opinions on the
Opposition benches: “I know that it is advised that Latin be used sparingly in
the House, but I cannot help saying, ‘Quot homines, tot sententiae’.”
Quot / homines / tot / sententiae / quoique / suus / mos
As many / men / so many / opinions / to each / his own / rule
Hominēs The nominative plural of homo, hominis, “a man, a person”.
Sententiae The nominative plural of sententia, sententiae, “an opinion”.

163
Quōique A variant spelling of cuique, the dative singular of the distributive
pronoun quisque, “each one severally”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rāra avis in terrīs, nigrōque simillima cycnō
Juvenal, Satires, vi. 165
A rare bird on earth, very like a black swan
Juvenal knew nothing of the black swans of Australia: his was a just simile.
The reference was to a chaste and faithful wife. To be fair, he said later (in
Satire xiii) that a good man is a rare animal too: Vir bonus est animal rarum.
Jeremy Sams, writing in The Independent, said of Lorenzo the Magnificent
that “he was after all, that rara avis, a Jewish Catholic priest with a wife and
children”.
Rara Avis is the name of an Alternative band from Bratislava, and also of a
rain-forest reserve in Costa Rica.
Rara / avis / in / terris / et / simillima / nigro / cycno
A rare / bird / on / earth / and / very similar / to a black / swan
Terrīs The ablative plural of terra, terrae, “the earth”, governed by the
preposition in. Both the singular terra and the plural terrae have been used
by classical writers to mean “the world”.
Nigrō The dative singular masculine of the adjective niger, “black”,
qualifying cycno.
Simillima The nominative singular feminine of the adjective simillimus, the
superlative of similis, qualifying avis. The superlative implies “very like”
rather than “most like”.
Cycnō The dative singular of cycnus, cycni, “a swan”, following simillima.
Similis may be followed either by the dative or by the genitive of the noun it
refers to.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rārō antecēdentem scelestum
deseruit pede Poena claudō
Horace, Odes, III, ii. 31,32
Rarely has retribution failed to overtake the guilty, though with halting foot
and long after the crime
The thought comes from the same stable as the later maxim translated by
Longfellow from von Logau: “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet
they grind exceeding small.”

164
“(Kew) hung down his head. He thought of the past and its levities, and
punishment coming after him pede claudo.” W. M. Thackeray, The
Newcombes.
“Ay, it must be that: the ghost of some old sin, . . . punishment coming, pede
claudo, years after memory has forgotten and self-love condoned the fault.”
R. L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“The tramp of the Bobbeian boots may readily be recognised full half a mile
away; and Bill Sykes has ample time to put his crowbar in his pocket, and
vanish round the corner, ere the Peeler, pede claudo, can manage to come up
to him.” Punch, 1873.
Raro / Poena / deseruit / scelestum
Rarely / retribution / has forgotten / the wicked man
claudo / pede / antecedentem
(though) with halting / foot / long after the crime
Rārō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective rarus, used as an adverb.
Antecēdentem The accusative singular masculine of antecedens, the present
participle of the verb antecedo, antecedere, “to precede”. It qualifies
scelestum, and suggests that the man in question, no matter how apparently
integer vitae now, may have been wicked at some time in the past.
Scelestum The accusative singular masculine of the adjective scelestus,
“wicked”, here used by ellipsis to mean “wicked man”. It is the object of
deseruit.
Deseruit The third person singular perfect of the verb desero, deserere, “to
neglect”.
Pede The ablative singular of pes, pedis, “a foot”. It is an ablative of
instrument.
Poena The Goddess of revenge, the personification of poena, poenae,
“retribution”, the subject of deseruit.
Claudō The ablative singular masculine of the adjective claudus, “limping”,
qualifying pede.

165
Requiem aeternam dōnā eīs, Domine, et lux perpetua lūceat eīs
From the Requiem Mass
Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest, and may light perpetual shine upon them
If this request is put into the singular, it becomes Requiem aeternam dona ei,
Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei – “Grant him/her . . .”, the dative singular
of is being ei in both the masculine and the feminine.
Dona / eis / aeternam / requiem, / Domine
Grant / to them / everlasting / rest / O Lord
et / luceat / perpetua / lux / eis
and / may there shine / perpetual / light / on them
Requiem The accusative singular of requies, requietis, “rest” or “a resting
place”. Requies is treated sometimes as a third declension feminine noun
with accusative requietem, but quite often, as here, as a fifth declension noun
with accusative, requiem. It is the object of dona.
Aeternam The accusative singular feminine of the adjective aeternus,
“eternal”, qualifying requiem.
Dōnā The second person singular imperative of the verb dono, donare, “to
grant”.
Eīs (1) The dative plural of is, ea, id, “he, she, it”, and the indirect object of
dona.
Domine The vocative of Dominus, “Lord”.
Lūceat The third person singular present subjunctive of the verb luceo,
lucere, “to shine forth”. Its subject is lux: it takes a dative as its object.
Eīs (2) The dative plural of is, ea, id, “he, she, it”, and the object of luceat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaōth, plēnī sunt coelī
et terra glōriā tuā. Hosanna in excelsīs
The Mass
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Sabaōth From , the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew tsebaoth
(or tsevaot), “armies”.
Plēnī The nominative plural masculine of the adjective plenus, “full”, here
the complement of both coeli and terra, but agreeing in gender with coeli,
the nearer of the two nouns (but vide infra).
Sunt The third person plural present of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
Coelī Although this word appears in the Latin Mass of the Catholic Church,
it raises questions. The spelling coelum for the classical Latin caelum is said
to be an error perpetrated in the Middle Ages and perpetuated ever since,

166
although the standard dictionaries of Latin now use caelum in preference to
coelum. However caelum/coelum in the singular means “the heavens”, in
which case its plural should not mean very much, but in any case its plural as
a neuter noun should be caela/coela and not coeli. On the evidence of pleni
(vide supra) the Church at some time reclassed coelum as masculine. Some
fields of Latin grammar are fluid.
Glōriā The ablative singular of gloria, gloriae, “glory”, following the
adjective pleni. The meaning of pleni could be “full of” when we would
expect a following genitive, or “filled with” followed as here by an ablative
of association.
Excelsīs The ablative plural of excelsum, excelsi, “a high place”, governed
by the preposition in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sapiās, vīna liquēs, et spatiō brevī
spem longam resecēs. Dum loquīmur, fugerit invida
aetās: carpe diem, quam minimum crēdula posterō.
Horace, Odes, I, xi
Be wise. Strain your wines and cut out all far-reaching hope from this brief
life. While we were speaking, envious time will have fled. Enjoy the day,
trusting as little as possible in the morrow.
It is difficult to walk the streets of any large town nowadays and not come
across the words Carpe Diem emblazoned on a T-shirt, the wearer
presumably hoping to come across a kindred spirit anxious to make the most
of what was to be gathered in before the day was out. Horace’s own hoped-
for kindred spirit was a lady called Leoconoe.
“Carpe Diem Baby” is the title of a song in Metallica’s Re-load Album, and
the lyric concludes: “Come squeeze and suck the day, come carpe diem
baby.”
Many poets since Horace have written poems in the spirit of “Gather ye
rosebuds while ye may” and “Youth’s a stuff will not endure”. In Palgrave’s
Golden Treasury, Carpe Diem is the heading for Shakespeare’s “O Mistress
mine”. Lawrence Hope gave the title Carpe Diem to one of his poems, while
Byron uses the phrase in the last stanza of “Don Juan”:
“But carpe diem, Juan, carpe, carpe!
Tomorrow sees another race as gay
And transient, and devour’d by the same harpy . . .”
Erskine Childers in The Riddle of the Sands adapts the phrase, casting it in
the subjunctive mood for “let us make the most of the day”: “We abandoned
ourselves, three youthful, hungry mariners, to the enjoyment of this

167
impromptu picnic. Such a chance might never occur again − carpamus
diem.”
Evidence that Carpe Diem has caught the public imagination so as to become
almost a mantra lies in the fact that at least two commercial firms have
adopted the phrase for their title. One “Carpe Diem” offers “Celebration
Parchments” for weddings and similar landmark events in one’s lifetime:
another offers “botanic water”, presumably for serving up instead of
champagne at weddings and similar landmark events in one’s lifetime. The
cogent argument that champagne has botanic origins seems churlish in the
face of the enthusiasm the producers have for their own product,
foreshadowed by Hippocrates two and a half thousand years ago in a treatise
extolling the incomparable benefits of herbal brews.
Sapias / liques / vina / et / reseces / longam / spem
Be wise / strain / (your) wines / and./ cut out / long-reaching / hope
brevi / spatio
from (this) brief / life-span
dum / loquimur / invida / aetas / fugerit
while / we speak / envious / time / will have fled
carpe / diem / credula / quam minimum / postero
reap the harvest of / the day / trusting / as little as possible / in the morrow
Sapiās The second person singular present subjunctive of the mixed
conjugation verb sapio, sapere, “to be wise”. It is used as an alternative to
the second person singular imperative sape when making a general
recommendation, not addressed to one particular person. The same is true of
liques and reseces.
Vīna The accusative plural of vinum, vini, “wine”, the object of liques. In
the plural it means “kinds of wine”.
Liquēs The second person singular present subjunctive of the verb liquo,
liquare, “to strain”, used as an imperative.
Brevī The ablative of the adjective brevis, “short”, qualifying spatio.
Spatiō The ablative of spatium, spatii, “space, time”, here meaning “the
course of life”. The ablative is used for the time within which something
happens.
Spem The accusative singular of the fifth declension noun spes, spei,
“hope”, the object of reseces.
Longam The accusative singular feminine of the adjective longus, “long”,
qualifying spem.
Resecēs. The second person singular present subjunctive of the verb reseco,
resecare, “to cut off”, used as an imperative.
Loquīmur The first person plural present of the deponent verb loquor,
loqui, “to speak”. (A phrase containing a verb in the present tense and

168
introduced by dum is a “historic present” phrase if it refers to a period of
time within which something else happened, so that dum loquimur can be
translated as “while we have been talking”.)
Fugerit The third person singular future perfect of the mixed conjugation
verb fugio, fugere, “to flee”.
Aetas Primarily “age” but here used for “part of the lifetime of man”.
Carpe The second person singular imperative of the verb carpo, carpere,
“to pluck” but here used for “enjoy”.
Diem The accusative singular of the fifth declension noun dies, diei, “a
day”, the object of carpe.
Quam minimum (potest understood) “as little (as it can be)”. Minimum is
the nominative singular neuter of minimus, “very small”, the superlative of
parvus, “little, small”,
Crēdula This is the nominative singular feminine of the adjective credulus,
“ready to believe (possibly without good cause)”, feminine because it refers
back to Leuconoe. It has the force of “having confidence” so that credula
quam minimum can be translated as “having as little confidence as possible”.
Posterō The ablative singular masculine of the adjective posterus, “future”,
here perhaps used as a reduction of postero diei, “in the next day”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sed fugit intereā, fugit irreparābile tempus
Virgil, Georgics, iii, 284
But meanwhile Time is fleeing, fleeing beyond recall
From this line of Virgil is almost certainly distilled the popular saying
“Tempus fugit”, “Time flies”.
“Yet, in asking that question [about the future of GMTV], there is also an
inevitable feeling of tempus fugit.” Report in The Guardian.
I was told the following story by an elderly and rather prim lady I met in
Eastbourne many years ago.
Two old folk were sitting on a sea-front bench contemplating the evening
scene. One said, “Well, tempus fugit be creeping on.” The other replied,
“Yes, they be creeping on me too.”
Sed / interea / fugit, / irreparabile / tempus / fugit
But / in the meantime / it flees / irretrievable / time / flees
Fugit The third person singular present of the mixed conjugation verb fugio,
fugere, “to flee”.
Intereā An adverb formed by combining the preposition inter, “between”,
with ea, the ablative singular feminine of the demonstrative pronoun is,
“this”.

169
Irreparābile The nominative singular neuter of the adjective irreparabilis,
“irrecoverable”, qualifying tempus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sed mulier cupīdō quod dīcit amantī,
in ventō et rapidā scrībere oportet aquā.
Catullus, Carmina, lxx
But what a woman says to her ardent lover should be written in wind and
running water
Catullus is getting his girl-friend’s protestations of eternal devotion into
proper perspective.
Sed / quod / mulier / dicit / cupido / amanti
But / what / a woman / says / to an eager / lover
oportet / scribere / in / vento / et / rapida / aqua
it is necessary / to write / in / wind / and / rapid-flowing/ water.
Cupīdō The dative singular masculine of the adjective cupidus, “eager,
fond”, qualifying amanti.
Quod Short for id quod, “that which”, the object of dicit. Quod is the
accusative singular neuter of the relative pronoun qui, “who, which”, and
introduces a noun clause.
Dīcit The third person singular present of the verb dico, dicere, “to say”.
Amantī The dative singular of amans, amantis, “ a lover”, literally “loving”
but used as a noun by ellipsis. Amans is the present participle of the verb
amo, amare, “to love”.
Ventō The ablative singular of ventus, venti, “a wind”, governed by the
preposition in.
Rapidā The ablative singular feminine of the adjective rapidus, “rapid”,
qualifying aqua.
Scrībere The infinitive of the verb scribo, “I write”. It is the object of
oportet.
Oportet An impersonal verb meaning “it behoves”, occurring only in the
third person singular.
Aquā The ablative singular of aqua, aquae, “water”, governed remotely by
the preposition in.

170
Sōlēs occidere et redīre possunt:
Nōbīs cum semel occidit brevis lux
Nox est perpetua ūna dormienda
Catullus, Carmina v
Suns of heaven may set and rise again:
For us, when once our own brief light is out,
Our night is one eternal sleep
This somewhat gloomy thought is of one mind with Carpe diem (q.v. supra),
and is addressed with high optimism to a modest young lady, Lesbia, whom
Catullus was courting. The carmen begins with Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque
amemus − “Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love . . .” (vide infra).
Andrew Marvell had the same trouble with his coy mistress:
“The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.”
Catullus was confident that this line of argument could not fail to bear fruit.
The next line is Da mi basia mille − “Give me a thousand kisses”, and then a
thousand more, practically ad infinitum. For a pretty faithful translation into
English of the whole poem, vide S. T. Coleridge, “My Lesbia, let us love and
live”.
Nox dormienda is the title of a novel by Kelli Stanley, and the phrase occurs
frequently throughout the text of Anthony Burgess’s novel, The Kingdom of
the Wicked.
Soles / possunt / occidere / et / redire
Suns / may / set (die) / and / rise again
cum / semel / brevis / lux / occidit
when / once / the brief / light (life) / dies
una / perpetua / nox / est / dormienda / nobis
one / eternal / night / is / to be slept (through) / by us
Sōlēs The nominative plural of sol, solis, “the sun”.
Occidere The infinitive of the verb occido, “I set, I die”.
Redīre The infinitive of the verb redeo, “I return” (= red + ire).
Possunt The third person plural present of the verb possum, posse, “to be
able”.
Nōbīs The dative of nos, “we”. It is a dative of agent, often found in
association with the gerundive.
Occidit The third person singular present of the verb occido, occidere, “to
set, to die”.
Una The nominative singular feminine of the adjective unus, “one”,
qualifying nox.

171
Dormienda The nominative singular feminine of dormiendus, the gerundive
adjective of the fourth conjugation verb dormio, dormire, “to sleep”, the
complement of nox.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Splendidē mendax et in omne virgo
nōbilis aevum
Horace, Odes III, xi. 35
Splendidly false, or Nobly untruthful (to her vengeful father), a noble girl for
all eternity
The poet was in love with Lyde, a timid girl, and as part of his courting
technique, he placed before her various examples of feminine courage. Here
he is heaping praise on Hypermnestra, one of the fifty daughters of Danaus.
Danaus had instructed each of his daughters to kill her husband on their
wedding night, but Hypermnestra refused, breaking her promise to her father
and warning her husband to fly for his life, having presumably decided that
he was worth saving. The phrase splendide mendax has appealed to writers
ever since, and it is used particularly to applaud the use of feminine wiles,
however deceptive, when these are employed for humanitarian ends.
The charge was levelled not only at women. The frontispiece to an early
edition of Gulliver’s Travels shows Gulliver’s picture with below it the
comment “Splendide mendax”, a hint that Gulliver’s tales were to be taken
cum grano.
Splendide mendax is the locus classicus of an oxymoron.
Splendide / mendax / et / nobilis / virgo / in / omne / aevum
Splendidly / untruthful / and / a noble / girl / in / every / age
Splendidē An adverb derived from the adjective splendidus, “shining,
splendid”. Hypermnestra is a shining example to all women.
Omne The accusative singular neuter of the adjective omnis, “all”,
qualifying aevum.
Aevum The accusative singular of aevum, aevi, “eternity”, governed by the
preposition in. The phrase in aevum means “for ever”: in omne aevum
presumably means “for ever and ever”.

172
Stabat māter dolōrōsa, iuxtā Crucem lacrimōsa
Jacopone da Todi (alias Jacobus de Benedictis)
The sorrowing mother was standing weeping by the Cross
The words of this mediaeval Latin hymn have been set to music by many of
the great composers of the past, notably Palestrina, Schubert, Rossini, and
Dvorak.
Stabat The third person singular imperfect of the verb sto, stare, “to stand”.
Dolōrōsa The nominative singular feminine of the adjective dolorosus,
“grief-stricken”, qualifying mater. This is a Late Latin invention based on
the noun dolor, doloris, “pain, grief”, possibly pro re nata to rhyme with
lacrimosa which is a Classical Latin word.
Crucem The accusative singular of crux, crucis, “a cross”, governed by the
preposition iuxta.
Lacrimōsa The nominative singular feminine of the adjective lacrimosus,
“tearful”, also qualifying mater.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunt lacrimae rērum et mentem mortālia tangunt
Virgil, Aeneid, i. 462
Tears abound in all things and human suffering touches the heart
This was Aeneas’ anguished cry when he saw scenes of the battles of Troy
depicted in carvings on the walls of the temple in Carthage, his grief brought
on particularly by the image of King Priam.
“Mackail, . . . , gave to his Virgil an eightyish air, the lacrimae rerum spilled
over . . . with a morbid distress.” Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise.
In David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Robert Frobisher’s suicide note concludes
with the words Sunt lacrimae rerum, while the whole of the above quotation
furnishes a heading to chapter 34 in Colin Dexter’s The Remorseful Day.
Carl Orff wrote an a capella piece for six male voices called Sunt lacrimae
rerum.
Lacrimae / sunt / rerum / et / mortalia / tangunt / mentem
Tears / are / of things / and / human sufferings / touch / the mind
Sunt The third person plural present of the verb sum, esse, “to be”.
Rērum The genitive plural of the fifth declension noun res, rei, “a thing”,
the complement of lacrimae.
Mentem The accusative singular of mens, mentis, “the mind”, the object of
tangunt.

173
Mortālia The nominative of a neuter plural noun derived from the adjective
mortalis, “relating to mortal man”. It means “mortal things” by ellipsis but
here its meaning is particularised as “human suffering”.
Tangunt The third person plural present of the verb tango, tangere, “to
touch”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tempora mūtantur nōs et mūtāmur in illīs
Times change, and we too change along with them
This phrase first appeared in Proverbalia Dicteria published by A. Gartneus
in 1566, and was mentioned again by Ralph Holinshed in his Chronicles in
1577, but is credited earlier to Lothair I, who was Holy Roman
Emperor ca. A.D. 850.
“Poor James . . . such curly hair he had then . . . nos et mutamur.” Aldous
Huxley, Eyeless in Gaza.
In P.G.Wodehouse’s Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, “Very true, sir. Tempora
mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis,” is Jeeves reply to Bertie Wooster’s
observation that in Queen Victoria’s day a girl would never have dreamed of
mentioning livers in mixed company.
Tempora Mutantur is the nickname of Haydn’s symphony no. 64. One of
W. S. Gilbert’s Bab Ballads was entitled Tempora Mutantur.
“ ‘ . . . Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis.’ ‘I think . . . that the line
should read Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. Otherwise the
hexameter won’t scan, will it?’ ” Colin Dexter, Death is now my Neighbour.
Tempora / mutantur / et / nos / mutamur / in illis
Times / change / and / we / change / along with them
Tempora The nominative plural of the third declension neuter noun tempus,
temporis, “time”.
Mūtantur The third person plural present passive of the verb muto, mutare,
“to change”. The passive is used when the verb is intransitive.
Mūtāmur The first person plural present passive of the verb muto, mutare,
“to change”. The passive is used when the verb is intransitive.
Illīs The ablative plural of the demonstrative pronoun ille, governed by the
preposition in.

174
Tendunt vēla Noti, fugīmus spūmantibus undīs
Qua cursum ventusque gubernātorque vocābat
Virgil, Aeneid, iii, 268
The south winds stretched the sails, we fled over the foaming waves
Wherever the wind and the steersman determined the course
Aeneas and his crew are being pushed around the Mediterranean by winter
storms. They land on the Strophades Islands, but meet with a spiky reception
from the resident Harpies, and set off again, steered as much by the winds as
by the helmsman.
In The Oxford Book of English Verse and also in Palgrave’s Golden
Treasury, the heading Qua cursum ventus is given to A. H. Clough’s poem
“As ships becalmed at eve . . .”, written in regret at the estrangement of
former friends.
Noti / tendunt / vela / fugimus / spumantibus / undis
The south winds / stretch / the sails / we flee / (over) foaming / waves
qua / ventusque / gubernatorque / vocabat / cursum
where / both the wind / and the steersman / called / the course
Tendunt The third person singular present of the verb tendo, tendere, “to
stretch”. This is an instance of the use of the historic present.
Vēla The accusative plural of velum, veli, “a sail”, the object of tendunt.
Noti The nominative plural of Notus, Noti, “the south wind”, the subject of
tendunt.
Fugīmus The first person plural present of the mixed conjugation verb
fugio, fugere, “to flee”. This is another instance of the use of the historic
present.
Spūmantibus The ablative plural of spumans, “foaming”, the present
participle of the verb spumo, spumare, “to foam”, here used as an adjective
qualifying undis.
Undīs The ablative plural of unda, undae, “a wave (of the sea)”. Normally
one would look here for a preposition meaning “over” but in poetry when an
adjective (spumantibus) qualifies the noun, the preposition may be omitted.
Cursum The accusative singular of the fourth declension noun cursus, “a
course”, the object of vocabat.
Ventusque gubernātorque This is an example of the use of the repeated
co-ordinating conjunction ... que ... que, meaning “both ... and ...”.
Vocābat The third person singular imperfect of the verb voco, vocare, “to
call”. Both ventus and gubernator are its subjects, but it agrees only with
only one of these, probably the first, and so is singular.

175
Tenet insānābile multōs
Scrībendī cacoēthes et aegrō in corde senescit
Juvenal, Satires, vii, 50
An incurable itch for writing possesses many, and grows old in (their) sick
hearts
Implicit in Juvenal’s lines is the idea that the itch is an itch to excel rather
than just to jot down commonplaces: and that for the ageing and unsuccessful
writer the lack of recognition, like hope deferred, “maketh the heart sick”.
“Cacoethes” is not Latin but Greek. However the word was adopted into
Latin by the normal process of language borrowing and is used by Juvenal,
who is scathing about it − insanabile cacoethes scribendi − “the incurable
itch for writing”. Samuel Lover expands on this and offers some hope of
relief: “When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure
it but the scratching of a pen.” There is a writers’ group called “Cacoethes-
Scribendi”.
Other cognate phrases are cacoethes loquendi, an itch for talking, and
cacoethes emendi, an itch for going shopping, both being endemic in half the
population, one might almost say from scratch.
Insanabile / cacoethes / scribendi / tenet / multos
An incurable / itch / of writing / holds / many (men)
et / senescit / in / aegro / corde
and / grows old / in (their) / sick / heart
Tenet The third person singular present of the verb teneo, tenere, “to hold”.
Insānābile The nominative singular neuter of the adjective insanabilis,
“incurable”, qualifying cacoethes.
Multōs The accusative plural masculine of the adjective multus, “many”,
used here as a noun standing by ellipsis for “many men”, and the object of
tenet.
Scrībendī The genitive of scribendum, the gerund of the verb scribo,
scribere, “to write”. It is an appositional genitive following cacoethes.
Cacoēthes A neuter noun, the subject both of tenet and of senescit, adopted
from the Greek , “an ill habit”. The element , “bad”,
indicates that it was not a particularly laudable condition.
Aegrō The ablative singular neuter of the adjective aeger, “sick”, qualifying
corde.
Corde The ablative singular of cor, cordis, “a heart”, governed by the
preposition in.
Senescit The third person singular present of the verb senesco, senescere,
“to grow old”. It has the connotation of “weakening”.

176
Thāis habet nigrōs, niveōs Laecānia dentēs.
Quae ratiō est? emptōs haec habet, illa suōs
Martial, Epigrammata, V. xliii
Thais has black teeth, Laecania white.
What’s the explanation? The latter has bought (i.e. false) teeth,
the former her own.
Thais / habet / nigros / dentes / Laecania / niveos
Thais / has / black / teeth / Laecania / white
quae / est / ratio / haec / habet / emptos / illa / suos
what / is / the reason / the latter / possesses / bought (ones) / the former /
her own
Habet The third person singular present of the verb habeo, habere, “to
have”.
Dentēs The accusative plural of dens, dentis, “a tooth”, the object of habet.
Nigrōs The accusative plural masculine of the adjective niger, “black”,
qualifying dentes.
Niveōs The accusative plural masculine of the adjective niveus, “snowy
white”, qualifying dentes.
Quae The nominative singular feminine of the interrogative pronoun qui,
“what?”, the complement of and agreeing with ratio.
Haec The nominative singular feminine of the demonstrative pronoun hic,
“this”. Here it signifies the nearer one mentioned, “the latter”.
Illa The nominative singular feminine of the demonstrative pronoun ille,
“that”. Here it signifies the further one mentioned, “the former”.
Emptōs The accusative plural masculine of emptus, the past participle of the
verb emo, emere, “to buy”, used here as an adjective. Both emptos and suos
refer back to dentes and can be regarded as qualifying this noun.
Suōs The accusative plural masculine of the possessive adjective suus,
“one’s own”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tītyre, tū patulae recubāns sub tegmine fāgī
Silvestrem tenuī Mūsam meditāris avēnā
Virgil, Eclogue, I, 1
Tityrus, thou lying canopied beneath a spreading beech tree
Dost meditate the sylvan Muse on slender oaten pipe
[Fagus (second declension) is masculine in form but, being a tree, is feminine
in gender, which accounts for the feminine genitive patulae.]
Tityrus was clearly one of the leisured classes, and the name “Tityre-tu”
attached itself in the 17th century to a group of aristocratic hooligans who,

177
despite all their meditating, could think of nothing better to do than run riot
and cause trouble in the streets. Tityre-tu was earlier the name given to a
1620’s crypto-Catholic group.
This passage finds an echo in Milton’s Lycidas. “Alas! What boots it with
incessant care to . . . strictly meditate the thankless Muse?”
Longfellow translated the whole poem: “Tityrus, thou in the shade of a
spreading beech-tree reclining, . . .”
“Nosey senior . . . was reposing sub tegmine fagi . . . , in a sort of tea-garden
arbour, overlooking a dung-heap.” R. S. Surtees, Jorrock’s Jaunts and
Jollities.
Sub Tegmine Fagi is the inescapable motto of the family of Beech of
Brandon Hall, Coventry.
Tityre / tu / recubans / sub / tegmine / patulae / fagi
O Tityrus / thou / reclining / under / the shade / of a spreading /
beech tree
meditaris / silvestrem / Musam / tenui / avena
dost meditate / the sylvan / Muse / (with) slender / oaten pipe
Tītyre The vocative of Tityrus.
Recubāns The present participle of the verb recubo, recubare, “to lie on
one’s back”, used here as an adjective qualifying tu.
Tegmine The ablative singular of tegmen, a reduction of tegimen, tegiminis,
“a covering”, governed by the preposition sub.
Patulae The genitive singular feminine of the adjective patulus,
“spreading”, qualifying fagi.
Fāgī The genitive singular of fagus, “a beech tree”. Tree names in Latin are
feminine.
Silvestrem The accusative singular of the adjective silvester, “belonging to
a wood”, qualifying Musam.
Tenuī The ablative singular of the adjective tenuis, “slender”, qualifying
avena.
Mūsam The accusative singular of Musa, Musae, “Muse”, the object of
meditaris.
Meditāris The second person singular present of the deponent verb meditor,
meditari, “to meditate”.
Avēnā The ablative singular of avena, avenae, “the shepherd’s pipe”. The
original meaning of avena was “oats”, but the name was transferred to the
pipe made from an oaten stem. This is an ablative of instrument, used
without a preposition.

178
Vītae summa brevis spem nōs vetat inchoāre longam
Horace, Odes, I, iv. 15
Life’s short span forbids us to entertain far-reaching hopes
This forbidding thought inspired one of Ernest Dowson’s best-known poems,
which was engraved on his tombstone:
“They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
“They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”
The line is preceded in the Ode by the lines beginning Pallida mors . . . (q.v.
supra).
“Inchoare” means “to begin” or “introduce”. Here we are reminded that
hopes for the future, set in train now, may never be realised.
Brevis / summa / vitae / vetat / nos / inchoare / longam / spem
The short / span / of life / forbids / us / to entertain / lengthy / hope
Vītae The genitive singular of vita, “life”, dependent on summa.
Spem The accusative singular of the fifth declension noun spes, spei,
“hope”, the object of inchoare.
Nōs The accusative of the pronoun nos, “we”, the object of vetat.
Vetat The third person singular present of the verb veto, vetare, “to forbid”.
Inchoāre The infinitive of inchoo, “I commence”. Together with nos, it is
an object of vetat.
Longam The accusative singular feminine of the adjective longus, “long”,
qualifying spem.

179
Vīvāmus, mea Lesbia, atque amēmus,
rūmōrēsque senum sevēriōrum omnēs ūnīus aestimēmus assis!
Catullus, Carmina, v
Let us live, Lesbia, and let us love, and as for the opinions of strict old men,
let us value them to be worth but one penny
“The past is abolished. Vivamus, mea Lesbia. If I weren’t so horribly
depressed, I’d embrace you.” Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay.
Carl Orff in Catulli Carmina set several of Catullus’ poems to music,
including this one and Odi et Amo (q.v. supra).
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a vibrant translation of Catullus’ poem, “My
Lesbia, let us live and love . . .”
Vivamus / mea / Lesbia / atque / amemus /
Let us live / my / Lesbia, / and / let us love
aestimemus / omnes / rumores / severiorum / senum / unius / assis
let us value / all / the judgements / of strict / old men / at one / penny
Vīvāmus, amēmus, aestimēmus These are the first person plural present
subjunctives of the verbs vivo, vivere; amo, amare; and aestimo, aestimare
respectively, and have the effect of imperatives.
Vīvāmus This is “let us live” with the sense of “living it up” rather than just
staying alive.
Mea Lesbia Both words are in the vocative case, indistinguishable from the
nominative.
Rūmōrēs The accusative plural of rumor, rumoris, “opinion, judgement”,
the object of aestimemus.
Senum The genitive plural of senex, senis, “an old man (over sixty)”,
dependent on rumores.
Sevēriōrum The genitive plural of severior, the comparative of the
adjective severus, “serious, stern”, qualifying senum. The comparative adds
a hint of the old men being more strict than is necessary.
Ūnīus The genitive of unus, “one”, qualifying assis.
Assis The genitive singular of as, a coin of minimum value, closer to a
farthing than to a penny. This is a genitive of value, following aestimemus.

180
Vīxī puellīs nūper idōneus
Et mīlitāvī nōn sine glōriā
Horace, Odes, III, xxvi. 1
In days gone by I lived equipped for ladies’ love −
And fought not without glory
Horace is resigning himself to the sad fact that with advancing years his
capacity for close encounters of the amorous kind is diminishing.
In Patrick O’Brian’s The Surgeon’s Mate, Sir Joseph Blaine admits that he
had become most painfully aware of “a certain want of vigour . . . as though I
too should sing vixi puellis nuper idoneus . . .”
In The Oxford Book of English Verse, the heading “Vixi puellis nuper
idoneus” is given to Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem, “They flee from me that
sometime did me seek”.
“I say to myself Vixi puellis nuper idoneus, and I repeat this over and over for
five minutes for the beauty of the word idoneus.” George Orwell, “New
Words”.
Henry Reed prefaces his “Lessons of the War” poems with a variant on these
lines: “Vixi duellis nuper idoneus Et militavi non sine gloria”, fit for war,
rather than for women. (Duellum is an old form of bellum, “war”.) His poem
“Unarmed Combat” echoes the altered lines:
“It may be said that . . .,
. . . battle-fit we lived, and though defeated,
Not without glory fought.”
Nuper / vixi / idoneus / puellis / et / militavi / non / sine / gloria
Formerly / I lived / fit / for girls / and / I fought / not / without / glory
Vīxī The first person singular perfect of the verb vivo, vivere, “to live”.
Puellīs The dative plural of puella, puellae, “a girl”, following idoneus.
Mīlitāvī The first person singular perfect of the verb milito, militare, “to
fight”, but here implying “to serve under the banners of love.”
Glōriā The ablative singular of gloria, gloriae, “glory”, governed by the
preposition sine.

181
Appendix I
Search here
Several familiar phrases are hidden in longer passages in the latter part of the
book, and are listed below. Thus, to find “amari aliquid”, look under “Medio
de fonte...” etc.
Amāri aliquid Mediō dē fonte
Arcadēs ambo Ambo florentēs
Avē atque valē Accipe frāternō
Cacoēthes scrībendi Tenet insānābile
Carpe diem Sapiās, vina liquēs
Coram populō Nē puerōs
Decus et tūtāmen Dōnat habēre
Dulce decus Maecēnas atavīs
Dulce est desipere in locō Misce stultitiam
Favete linguīs Ōdi profānum
Flēbilis occidit, Multīs ille bonīs
Mens sāna in corpore sānō Ōrandum est ut sit
Mūtātō nōmine Quid rīdēs
Pede claudō Rārō antecēdentem
Pereunt et imputantur Bonōsque sōlēs
Placens uxor Linquenda tellus
Pulveris exiguī iactū Hī motūs animōrum
Quis custōdiet ipsōs custōdēs Pōnē seram
Rērum cognoscere causās Fēlix qui potuit
Respice fīnem Quidquid agās
Sapere aude Dimidium factī
Sīc ītur ad astra Macte novā
Simplex munditiīs Quis multā gracilis
Sōlitūdinem faciunt Ubi sōlitūdinem faciunt
Timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentēs Equō nōn credīte
Virginibus puerīsque Ōdi profānum
Vītai lāmpada Augescunt aliae

182
Appendix II
From The Bankolidaid, Lib.1
By F. Sidgwick

Charmer virumque I sing, Jack plumigeramque Arabellam.


Costermonger erat Jack Jones, asinumque agitabat;
In Covent Garden holus, sprouts vendidit asparagumque.
Vendidit in Circo to the toffs Arabella the donah,
Qua Piccadilly propinquat to Shaftesbury Avenue, flores.

Jam Whitmonday adest; ex Newington Causeway the costers


Erumpunt multi celebrare their annual beano;
Quisque suum billycock habuere et donah ferentes,
Impositique rotis, popularia carmina singing,
Happy with ale omnes - exceptis excipiendis.
Gloomily drives Jack Jones, inconsolabilis heros;
No companion habet, solus sine virgine coster.
Per Boro’, per Fleet Street, per Strand, sic itur ad ‘Empire’;
Illinc Coventry Street peragunt in a merry procession,
Qua Piccadilly propinquat to Shaftesbury Avenue, tandem
Gloomily Jack vehitur. Sed amet qui never amavit!
En! subito fugiunt dark thoughts; Arabella videtur.
Quum subit ullius pulcherrima bloomin’ imago,
Corde juvat Jack Jones; exclamat loudly ‘What oh, there!’
Maiden ait ‘Deus, ecce deus!’ floresque relinquit.
Post asinum sedet illa; petunt Welsh Harp prope Hendon.

O fons Brent Reservoir! recubans sub tegmine brolli,


Brachia complexus (yum, yum!) Jack kissed Arabella;
‘Garn’ ait illa rubens, et ‘Garn’ reboatur ab Echo;
Propositique tenax Jack ‘Swelp me lummy, I loves yer.’
Hinc illae lacrimae: ‘Jest one!’ et ‘Saucy, give over.’
Tempora jam mutantur, et hats; caligine cinctus
Oscula Jones iterat. mokoque immitit habenas.
Concertina manu sixteen discrimina vocum
Obliquitur; cantant (ne saevi, magne policeman)
Noctem in Old Kent Road. Sic transit gloria Monday.

This macaronic poem is full of references to the classic authors, which the
reader is invited to indentify from the main body of this work.

183
Appendix III
Motor Bus – A. D. Godley

What is this that roareth thus?


Can it be a Motor Bus?
Yes, the smell and hideous hum
Indicat Motorem Bum.
Implet in the Corn and High
Terror me Motoris Bi:
Bo Motori clamitabo
Ne Motore caedar a Bo –
Dative be or ablative
So thou only let us live:
Whither shall thy victims flee?
Spare us, spare us, Motor Be!
Thus I sang; and still anigh
Came in hordes Motores Bi,
Et complebat omne forum
Copia Motorum Borum.
How shall wretches live like us
Cincti Bis Motoribus?
Domine, defende nos
Contra hos Motores Bos!

A.D.Godley presents us here with a more or less complete declining in Latin


of Motor Bus. Gathered together and put in some kind of order, the elements
appear as:
Singular Plural
Nominative Motor Bus Motores Bi Subject of sentence
Vocative Motor Be (Motores Bi) “O motor bus(es)!”
Accusative Motorem Bum Motores Bos Object of sentence
Genitive (Motoris Bi) Motorum Borum “Of” motor bus(es)
Dative Motori Bo Motoribus Bis “To” or “for” MB
Ablative Motore Bo Motoribus Bis “By, with or from” MB

The accusative is also used after a preposition like “contra”. The last four
lines anglice read: “How shall wretches live like us surrounded by motor
buses? O Lord, defend us against these motor buses”.

184
Index
A 59,129 agās 158
ab 5,6,78,138 agimus 124
156 agnoscō 57
abēunt 55 agnus 99
abībis 101 agricolās 151
abiit 5,55 ālea 9
abīre 105 aliae 102
absurdum 45,62 aliēnum 129
accipe 98 aliquandō 58,138
accipere 81 aliquid 85,136
Acherontis 120 aliter 16
acta 7 alteram 11
acū 46 altius 117
ad 5,7,9,24,45 amantēs 145
50,52,56,59, amantī 169
70,79,118 amantium 79
134 amārī 136
adest 145 amāvit 107
adiuvat 23 ambō 100
admirāri 141 (A.M.D.G.) 56
adolēscēns 93 amēmus 179
aegri 8 amet 107
aegrō 175 amō 143,148
aegrōtus 22 amor 12,141,145
aequō 155 153
aere 117 amōre 43
aestimēmus 179 amōrēs 145
aetās 166 amōrī 153
aetātibus 100 amōris 79
aeternam 165 ancillae 141
aeternitātis 49 angat 136
aevum 171 anguis 66
affectibus 83 animābus 72
afferet 113 animal 91
afflāvit 57 animam 83
Africā 85 animantum 102

185
animōrum 127 audī 11
animula 101 audīta 149
animum 106 augescunt 102
annī 113 aurās 118
annōrum 117 auspice 142
annōs 153 aut 117,140,160
ante 31 avārī 120
antecēdentem 163 avē 60,80,98
antrō 161 avēnā 176
apologia 58 Avernō 118
apparātūs 70 avis 163
appellant 95
aquā 169
aquila 59 Bandūsiae 150
Aquilo 117 beātum 141
arbōrum 133 beātus 104
Arcadēs 100 bellō 105
Arcadiā 63 bellum 94
arceō 149 bene 76
arcū 131 beneficiīs 124
ardua 70 beneficium 81
argūmentum 9 bis 81,105
arma 10 blandula 101
armīs 111,151 bonā 151
ars 11,59,60 bone 130
artem 59 bonīs 139
articulō 26 bonō 14,42
artis 11 bonōsque 105
assis 179 bonum 109
astra 70,134 bonus 58
atavīs 135 brevem 133,137
atque 98,118,120 brevī 102,166
127,179 brevis 60,170,178
ātra 92 Britt 12
Atreus 140 Brittaniārum 12
ātrī 118 Brūte 21
A.U.C. 5 būbus 104
audē 111

186
cacoēthes 175 cognoscere 120
caeca 12,13 cohibē 156
caelum 106 coitum 91
Caesar 80 coitus 61
caespēs 125 colis 133
caetera 83 comam 161
canis 125 comesque 101
canō 10 commendō 125
cantābit 82 compos 39
cantāre 100 compressa 127
cantō 149 concordia 145
capit 59 conditā (AUC) 6
capitis 160 coniunxit 145
captandum 7 consiliīs 137
cārī 160 consistere 115
carmina 149 contexit 145
carpe 166 continentiam 107
Carthāgo 14 conturbat 76
castitātem 107 coquat 140
causās 120 cōram 82,140
cauta 156 corde 175
cedāmus 153 corpore 154
cēlāre 59 corporis 101
certāmina 127 cras 107
certē 40 crēdite 114
certī 115 crēdō 62
certissima 138 crēdula 166
certum 138 crepidam 89
circensēs 41 crucem 172
circumspice 75 crucis 54
cito 81 cucullus 63
citrāque 115 cui 14,161
cīvis 13 cuique 76
claudō 163 culpā 35
coelī 86,165 cum 35,49,109
coelum 73 147,170
coepit 111 cunctīs 83
cōgitō 13 cupiditas 73

187
cupīdō 83,116,169 dēsīderiō 160
cupressōs 133 dēsipere 137
Cūra 92 despērandum 142
cūrat 84 dēteriōra 97
currite 88 deum 49,62
currunt 106 deus 15,57,72,87
cursōrēs 102 124,165
cursum 174 (D.D.D.) 18
custōdēs 156 dī 93
custōdiet 156 dīcendum 109
cycnō 163 dīcere 143
dīcit 169
diem 166
dā 83,107 diēs 69,109,118
dābis 101 digne 150
Danaōs 114 dīligunt 93
dat 81 dīmidium 111
David 109 dīmittis 146
dē 15,22,84, dīrige 17
109,136,158 dīruere 117
dea 40 dīs 16
dēbētur 66 discordibus 151
decōrum 112 disjecta 17
decus 111,135 dispōnit 87
dēdicāvit 18 disputandum 84
dēdit 18 dissīpantur 57
dēfunctōs 108 Dītis 118
deī 56,78,99 dīvīsa 123
dēlenda 14 dolōrōsa 172
dēliciāsque 125 D.O.M. 14
dēlictō 27 dominandī 83
dēmentat 157 domine 17,146,165
dēmonstrandum 45 dominō 52
dēnique 115 dominum 133
dentēs 176 dominus 18,165
deō 15,65 domus 133,145
descensus 118 dōnā 114,165
deseruit 163 dōnat 111

188
dōnō 18 exiguī 127
dormienda 170 exta 140
dormītat 58 exuitur 116
duce 142 exultēmus 52
dulce 112,135,137
dulcī 150
dum 19,86,166 fābula 158
facere 141
faciam 148
ē 19 facilem 151
edax 50,117 facilis 118
ēdite 135 facit 63
effugere 105 faciunt 95
eget 131 facta 22
ego 63 factī 111
eheu 113 factō 21
eīs 165 faenōre 104
emptōs 176 fāgī 176
equī 88 falsī 94
equitem 92 fatigātus 22
equō 114 fātum 120
erat 45 faustō 130
ergō 13,92 favēte 149
Erōtion 125 favillā 109
errāre 26 fēlix 120
erūpit 55 fēlo 22
esse 20,59,67,147 fēmina 96
esset 147 ferē 159
este 93 ferentēs 114
etiam 116 fiat 73,85,86
ēvādere 118 fierī 148
ēvāsit 55 fīlia 66
ex 15,21,64,85 Fīlii 131
excelsīs 65,165 Fīliō 124
excessit 55 fīnem 52,158
excrucior 148 fīnēs 115
exēgī 117 fit 64,65,71
exercet 104 Flacilla 125

189
flagrante 27 Gallia 123
flagrantior 83 gallus 124
flammae 57 gaudeāmus 86
flāvam 161 generōsus 65
flēbilior 139 genetrīx 125
flēbilis 139 gens 104
flētū 98 gentēs 102
florentēs 100 genus 159
flōribus 136,150 glōria 65,73,124
foedere 145 glōriā 165,180
fons 23,150 glōriae 116
fonte 136 glōriam 56
forsan 121 gracilis 161
forsitan 122 gradum 118
fortasse 148 gradūs 24
fortīs 23 grandia 130
fortiter 122 grāta 41
fortūna 23 grātiā 11,60
fortunātos 151 grātiās 124
fragrat 64 grātō 161
frangō 108 gravidā 131
frāter 98 gravis 125
frāternō 98 gubernātorque 174
Frontō 125 gustibus 84
fuerīs 125
fuga 117
fugācēs 113 habēre 111
fugerit 166 habet 111,176
fugimus 174 haec 121,127,176
fugit 168 hanc 125
fuisset 14 hārum 133
fuit 125 herbā 66
fulmina 108 hī 127
fundit 151 hīc 118
fūnera 64,77 hinc 25
Fusce 131 hōc 28,92,118
143
Homērus 58

190
hominem 9,67 indocilis 27
hominēs 162 indomitaeque 113
homō 87,129,138 inexōrābile 120
hōrās 87 innumerābilis 117
horrescat 125 inque 102
hosanna 165 inquīsītio 30
hospes 101 insānābile 175
hūius 138 instantī 113
hūmāna 140 integer 131
hūmānī 129 integrātiō 79
hūmānum 26 inter 42
humō 151 intereā 168
inventus 39
invida 166
ī 130 invidia 13
iacta 9 invīsās 133
iactū 127 iocōs 101
iaculīs 131 ipsa 47,151
id 114,148 ipsīs 136
idōneus 180 ipsōs 156
igitur 86 īrae 79,109
ignōtum 90 irreparābile 168
illa 109,125,176 istīs 122
illae 25 ītur 134
ille 104,139 iubeō 74
illī 125 iūdicāret 89
illīs 156,173 Iuppiter 153
illīus 138 iūs 33
illūminātio 18 iustissima 151
imber 117 iuvābit 121
īmō 5 iuxtā 172
impotens 117
impūne 68
imputantur 105 jānua 36,118
incertārum 138 Juppiter 157
incertum 138 justitia 73,85,86
inchoāre 178 juvenēs 86
incipit 156

191
labor 33,118 macte 134
laborāre 34 Maecēnas 135
lābuntur 113 magna 88
lacessit 68 magnā 35
lacrimae 25,172 magnī 35
lacrimōsa 172 magnificō 90
Laecānia 176 māla 79
lampada 102 majōrem 56
langueō 43 malōrum 73
larēs 34 mānantia 98
latet 66 mare 106
lātrōne 82 Maria 60
lātūrus 130 māter 172
laudāmus 49 mātre 66
laude 35,49 Maurīs 131
lentē 88 maximā 35,66
lepōrum 136 maximō 15
Lesbia 179 mē 38,68,76,129
lex 84 mea 18,179
lībertātem 81 meā 35
Libitīnam 144 meās 125
licet 105 Mēdēa 140
līneā 69 mediā 89
linguīs 149 mediās 29
linquenda 133 medicātrix 53
liquēs 166 mediō 136
liquidis 161 meditāris 176
loca 101 meī 144
locō 29,137 meliōra 97
longa 60 membra 17
longam 166,178 memento 67
loquīmur 166 meminisse 121
loquitur 47 memor 138
lūceat 165 mendax 171
lux 165,170 mens 154
mentem 172
mentis 39
māchinā 15 meritōrum 130

192
merō 150 multā 161
metūs 120 multaque 144
meum 135 multīs 139
mihi 83,107,153 multōs 175
mīlitāvī 180 multum 37,98
minimīs 84 mundī 73,99
minimum 166 munditiīs 161
minus 147 mundus 85
minuuntur 102 mūs 90
misce 137 Mūsam 176
miscēbitur 122 Mūsārum 149
miserēre 99 muscās 59
missa 68 mūtābile 96
modo 107 mūtāmur 173
modō 122 mūtant 106
modus 115,160 mūtantur 102,173
mollia 125 mūtātō 158
monāchum 63
montēs 90
monumentum 75,117 narrātur 158
moram 113 nascētur 90
mōrēs 55,69 nascitur 65,71
morī 112 natā 43
moriar 144 nātūrā 15
moritur 93 nātūrae 53
moritūri 80 nē 37,89,125
mors 36,75,138 140,141
155 nec 101,113,125
mortālia 172 131,138,147
mortālium 104 nefārius 140
morte 89 negōtiīs 104
mortem 30 nēmō 68
mortī 113 neque 131,133
mortis 26,76 nequit 115
mortuīs 109 nescio 148
mōs 162 nescit 68
mōtūs 127 nigrās 125
mulier 169 nigrōque 163

193
nigrōs 176
nihil 64,77 Ō 40,69,93,135
nihilō 64 150,151,153
nīl 109,129,141 occāsū 138
142 occidere 170
nimium 151 occidit 139,170
nisi 87,109 ōdī 70,148,149
niveōs 176 odōribus 161
nōbilis 171 olet 76
nōbīs 40,99,105 ōlim 121
170 omn 12
noctēs 118 omne 90,91,171
noctis 33,88 omnēs 120,179
nōlī 38,107 omnī 104
nōmen 122 omnia 33,95,153
nōmine 131,158 omnibus 124
nōminis 35 omnipotens 124
nōrint 151 omnis 123,144
nōs 17,153,173 omnium 12
178 oportet 169
nostrum 122 optābilis 61
Noti 174 optimō 15
novā 134 opus 118
novī 85 ōrā 40
novissima 117 ōrandum 154
nox 170 ōraque 125
nūdula 101 ōrāre 34
nulla 69,145 orbī 51
nullī 139 orīgo 23
nullum 159 ornāvit 159
nullus 138,145 ortū 138
numerō 87 oscula 125
Numīcī 141 ossa 125
nunc 101,146 ōtiōsum 147
nunquam 107,147 ōtiōsus 147
nūper 180 ōvō 79

194
perdere 157
pāce 46,146 pereat 85
pācem 94,95 perennius 117
palam 140 pereunt 105
pallida 155 perfūsus 161
pallidula 101 perpetua 165,170
pānem 41 perpetuum 98
parā 94 Persicōs 70
parātī 100 persōna 41
parentis 29 persōnā 30
parēs 42,100 pharētrā 131
Parnassum 24 pietas 113
pars 144 placēns 133
partem 11 plēna 60
partēs 123 plēnī 165
parturiunt 90 plēnus 61
parvō 37 plōrō 108
parvula 125 plūrēs 5
pater 125 plūribus 19
paterna 104 plūrimum 124
patet 118 plūs 37
patī 27 Poena 163
patitur 53 poēta 71
patrī 124 poētae 17
patriā 112 pōne 156
patris 131 populī 78
patulae 176 populō 140
pauperiem 27 posse 59
pauperum 155 possit 117,141
peccāre 105 possum 143
peccāta 99 possunt 170
peccāti 75 post 21,30,64,77
pectore 5 91,92
pede 130,155,163 posterō 166
pedibus 120 Postume 113
Peleō 145 potest 124
penātēs 34 potuit 120
per 70 praemia 130

195
praesidium 135 pūrus 131
praeter 133 putō 129
praetereā 77 pyramidum 117
praeteritōs 153 Pyrrha 161
praevalēbit 88
prīmae 33
prīmus 42 qua 174
prisca 104 quā 48
prius 149,157 quae 101,141,176
pro 40,42,43,44 quālis 145
58,90,112 quam 20,139,147
124 166
probōque 97 quandō 138
procul 93,104,138 quārē 143,148
151 quās 133
prōdigiōsa 125 quasi 102
profānī 93 (Q.E.D.) 45
profānum 149 quem 50,93,157
prope 141 quī 53,81,99,
propitiētur 72 104,105,106,
prōpōnit 87 107,111,120,
propriā 30 124,159
propter 92 quia 43,62
prūdenter 158 quibus 151
publicō 42 quid 44,158
pudor 160 quidquid 114,158
pudōrī 141 quiescent 127
puellam 125 quīque 107
puellīs 180 quis 156,160,161
puer 70,134,161 quō 3,31,44,130
puerīsque 149 quod 45,117,136
puerō 66 159,169
puerōs 140 quōique 162
pulchrā 66 quōrum 72
pulchrior 66 quōs 115
pulsat 155 quot 162
pulveris 127
pūpillāri 31

196
rādix 73 rosā 161
rapidā 169 ruant 86
rāra 163 ruat 73
rārō 163 rūgīs 113
ratiō 51,176 rūmōrēsque 179
rē 43,122 rūra 104
rēbus 115 rus 47
rectum 115
recubāns 176
redīre 170 Sabaōth 165
reductio 45 Sabidi 143
referat 153 sacerdos 149
rēgālīque 117 saecla 102
rēgibus 135 saeclum 109
regnās 124 saeculā 124
rēgum 51 saeculōrum 124
rēgumque 155 sagittīs 131
religās 161 salūtant 80
rem 46 sāna 154
requiem 165 sancti 131
requiēscat 46 sanctō 124
requīris 75,148 sanctus 165
rērum 14,50,120, sānō 154
138,172 sapere 111
rēs 29,47,141 sapiās 166
resecēs 166 sapientī 77
respice 158 sapientibus 116
respondere 100 sat 77
reverentia 66 scelerisque 131
reverti 68 scelestum 163
revocāre 118 scrībendī 159,175
rex 12 scrībere 169
rīdēs 158 sē 22,147
rīdiculus 90 sed 87,107,144,
rigida 101 148,156,168,
rigidus 125 169
(R.I.P.) 47 sedet 92
Rōmānus 13 semel 170

197
semper 85,96 specie 49
senectae 113 spem 166,178
senescit 175 sperō 19
sententiae 162 spīrituī 124
sentiō 148 spīritūs 131
sentit 105 spīrō 19
senum 179 splendidē 171
sequētur 133 splendidior 150
sequor 97 spūmantibus 174
seram 156 stabat 172
serēnās 87 statū 31
seriēs 117 sterquilīnio 124
servāre 141 stīpendium 75
servum 146 strepitumque 120
sevēriōrum 179 studia 55
sī 75,94,151 stultitiam 137
153 suā 58,151
Sibyllā 109 suāviter 122
sīc 73,74,134 sub 49,161,176
signō 28 subjēcit 120
silvestrem 176 suggestio 94
simillima 163 suīs 104
simplex 161 sum 13,13,129
sine 48,69,150 summa 178
180 summā 49
sit 48,141,154 sumus 86,89
160 sunt 115,165,172
sitū 117 suō 124
solāque 141 suōs 176
sōlēs 105,170 superāsque 118
solēs 101 suppressio 94
sōlitūdinem 95 suprā 89
sōlum 147 surgit 136
sōlus 147 sūtor 89
solūtus 104 suum 76
solvet 109 suus 162
somnia 8
spatiō 102,166

198
tabernās 155 tollis 99
tālēs 145 tot 162
tālī 145 trādunt 102
tam 160 trans 106
tamen 138 transit 73
tangere 38 trēs 123
tangunt 172 triste 91
tanta 127 trucīdet 140
tantum 143 tū 21,176
Tartareī 125 tua 130,165
tē 49,67,80,130 tuīs 124
133,143,158 turrēs 155
161 tūtāmen 111
tegat 125 tuum 146
tegmine 176
tellus 133,151
tempora 69,173 ubi 95
temporum 117 ulla 133
tempus 50,168 ultima 51,54
tendunt 174 ultrā 37,115
tenet 175 umbra 35
tenuī 176 umbrās 125
terminus 50 umquam 145
terra 125,165 ūna 141,170
terrīs 163 undīs 174
testē 109 ūnīus 179
tetigistī 46 ūnum 19,62
tetigit 159 urbe 6,47
Teucrī 114 urbī 51
Teucrō 142 urget 161
Thāis 176 usque 52,79
Thetidī 145 ut 101,104,154
tibi 124,125,139 uxor 133,156
141
timeō 114
timor 76 vacuus 82
Tītyre 176 vagula 101
tolle 83 valē 98

199
valēre 144 virginibus 149
vānae 8 virgo 171
vānitas 95 virō 111
vānitātum 95 virtus 64,77,130
varium 96 virtūtē 134
vēla 174 virumque 10
vendere 81 vīs 53,94
venēnātīs 131 vīsūm 16
vēnī 52 vīta 60,144
venia 48 vītā 58,89
venite 52 vītābit 144
ventō 169 vītae 36,131,178
ventusque 174 vītai 102
verba 7,22 vitrō 150
verbō 48 vīvāmus 179
verbum 77 vīvere 144
Vergilī 139 vīvis 124
vērī 94 vīvit 77
vēritas 32,88 vīvōs 108
vestīgia 57 vīxī 180
vetat 178 vocābat 174
veteris 57 vocat 130
viātor 82 vocō 108
vīcī 52 volō 74
victum 151 vox 54,68,77,78
videō 97 vulgus 7,149
vidērī 20 vult 157
vīdī 52
vīna 166
vinces 28
vincit 33,53,153
vīnō 32

200
201