Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Iudicium Populi

61     -     62     -     63

Iudicium Populi
Iudicium populi numquam contempseris unus,
Ne nulli placeas, dum vis contemnere multos.

Disdain not, arrogant, what most advise;
Thou none canst please while thou dost all despise.

Ne'er stand alone to flout the general view:
If you flout many, none may care for you.

Source: The Distichs of Cato (4th century), 2.29. Meter: Dactylic Hexameter. Note the use of the perfect subjunctive as negative command: numquam contempseris, "don't ever condemn." Note also that unus agrees with the subject of the verb: [tu] unus, "you, being just one person."

You, being one person, (unus) should never scorn (numquam contempseris) the judgment of the people (iudicium populi) lest you please no one (ne placeas nulli) while you wish (dum vis) to scorn many (contemnere multos).

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. All the words in this poem are on that list!

contemno -ere -tempsī -temptum: despise, scorn, disdain
dum: while (+ indic.); until (+ subj.); provided that (+ subj.)
iūdicium -ī n.: judgement, decision, trial
multus -a -um: much, many; multō, by far
nē: lest, that not
nūllus -a -um: not any, no one
numquam: never
placeo -ēre placuī placitum: please
populus -ī m.: people
ūnus -a -um: one
volo velle voluī: wish, be willing