Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sexte, nihil debes...

Here is today's distich by Martial, 2.3. This is another one of Martial's little paradoxes: Sextus does not owe anything, not because he has no debts, but simply because he cannot pay them. Only someone who can pay (solvere potest) can be in debt. Ah, if only!

Sexte, nihil debes, nil debes, Sexte, fatemur:
debet enim, si quis solvere, Sexte, potest.

Sextus owes nought, nor fears his quarter-day;
'Tis true; he owes most truly that can pay.
- Fletcher

Here is the vocabulary:

Sextus - Sextus
nihil - nothing
debeo - owe, ought
nil - nothiner
fateor - confess, admit
enim - for, as a matter of fact
si - if
aliquis - somebody, anybody
solvo - untie, free, pay off
possum - can, be able