Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

The Common Collection of Distichs (Excerpts) -- Dionysius Cato

Guest poem sent in by Vijay D'silva
(Poem #1269) The Common Collection of Distichs (Excerpts)
 Libros lege.
 Read books.

 Liber I   18. Cum fueris felix, quae sunt aduersa caueto:
           Non eodem cursu respondent ultima primis.
             When fortune smiles, beware lest some ill strike;
             End and beginning often are unlike.

 Liber II  18. Insipiens esto, cum tempus postulat ipsum:
           Stultitiam simulare ioco, cum tempore laus est.
             To fit th' occasion laughable appear;
             'T is sometimes wisdom folly's mask to wear.

 Liber III 18. Multa legas facito, tum lectis neglege multa;
           Nam miranda canunt, sed non credenda poetae.
             Read much and much of it forget:
             'T is well T' admire but not believe what poets tell.

 Liber IV  18. Cum sapias animo, noli ridere senectam;
           Nam quoicumque seni puerilis sensus inhaeret.
             Flout not old age while thou dost sense possess;
             Age ever brings to all some childishness.
-- Dionysius Cato
The Cato were proverbial couplets popular in teaching Latin. This is a
translation due to Wayland Johnson Chase. We've been through quite a
few parental advisory committee type poems.  Apart from the line in
the Monostich which appears as a prologue to the Distichs, I found
nothing that I particularly liked. I started out by copying down a few
tolerable couplets from each book (Liber) and discovered that I had
copied the 18th from each so decided to restrict it to that. The
entire set can be found at:
[broken link]

    Jaggi pointed out in poem #761 that the Desiderata is "not overly
preachy" and Jaggi is an honourable man. Not so for me. The translation of
the Cato is preachy preachy and dripping dripping.  Barring the first line,
I did not like it.

What I did like was Chapter 43 of Don Quixote:

"With regard to the mode in which thou shouldst govern thy person and
thy house, Sancho, the first charge I have to give thee is to be
clean, and to cut thy nails, not letting them grow as some do, whose
ignorance makes them fancy that long nails are an ornament to their

"Go not ungirt and loose, Sancho; for disordered attire is a sign of
an unstable mind, unless indeed the slovenliness and slackness is to
he set down to craft, as was the common opinion in the case of Julius

"Eat not garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by
the smell; walk slowly and speak deliberately, but not in such a way
as to make it seem thou art listening to thyself, for all affectation
is bad."

"Take care, Sancho, not to chew on both sides, and not to eruct in
anybody's presence."

"Eruct!" said Sancho; "I don't know what that means."

"To eruct, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "means to belch, and that is one
of the filthiest words in the Spanish language, though a very
expressive one; and therefore nice folk have had recourse to the
Latin, and instead of belch say eruct, and instead of belches say
eructations; and if some do not understand these terms it matters
little, for custom will bring them into use in the course of time, so
that they will be readily understood; this is the way a language is
enriched; custom and the public are all-powerful there."

"In truth, senor," said Sancho, "one of the counsels and cautions I
mean to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I'm constantly
doing it."

"Eruct, Sancho, not belch," said Don Quixote.

   On the 24th of March, I went to watch a production of Hamlet and
returned wanting to send in Polonius' advice to Laertes. The next day
I discovered that it has appeared just two days before and Milligan's
'Hamlet' appeared in my inbox that very day. Synchronicity! While
searching for 'To thine ownself be true' I came across the Don Quixote
excerpt.  Getting it to masquerade as a poem seemed to be a long shot.
The rest if I may say is a guest poem on minstrels.

   And that is one of the most pragmatic pieces of advice that I have
come across. As Mr. Victor J. Menezes so wisely said at the IITB
convocation in 2001
"My first piece of advice is  brush your teeth regularly."

Eruct - what a cool word!


27 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

William Smith said...

Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now. SEO PEST CONTROL AND ETHICS | Casino and poker | But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply?

Obat Herbal said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Post a Comment