Monday, April 30, 2012

Quod potes id tempta...

Here is today's distich by Cato (so-called), 4.33, with English translations by Duff and Chase.

Quod potes id tempta; nam litus carpere remis
Utilius multo est quam velum tendere in altum.

Begin what thou to finish canst not fail;
Safer near shore than on the deep to sail.

Try only what you can: 'tis wiser far
To row inshore than sail beyond the bar.

Here is the vocabulary:

qui - who, which, that
possum - can, be able
is - he/she/it
tempto - test, try
nam - for, the fact is
litus - shore, beach
carpo - pluck, graze, erode
remus - oar
utilis - useful
multus - much, many
sum - be, exist
quam - than
velum - sail
tendo - stretch, extend
in - in, into
altus - high, tall, lofty