Thursday, April 5, 2012

Res age quae prosunt...

Here is today's distich by Cato (so-called), 4.7, with English translations by Duff and Chase.

Res age quae prosunt; rursus vitare memento,
In quibus error inest nec spes est certa laboris.

What certain profit brings, let that be done;
Uncertain risks and unsafe projects shun.

Do what is helpful; but from things recoil
Where hazard leaves dim hope to honest toil.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only two words in this poem that are not on the DCC list:

error, errōris m. - straying, error, mistake
insum, inesse, infuī - be in, belong to, be involved in

ago agere ēgī āctum: drive, do, act
certus -a -um: sure, fixed; certē, certainly, surely
in: in, on (+ abl.); into onto (+ acc)
labor -ōris m.: toil, exertion
meminī meminisse: remember, recollect
neque, nec: and not, nor; neque . . . neque, neither . . . nor
prōsum -desse -fuī: be of use, do good, help (+ dat.)
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
rēs reī f.: thing (rēs pūblica, commonwealth; rēs familiāris, family property, estate; rēs mīlitāris, art of war; rēs novae, revolution)
rūrsus: back, again
spēs, speī f.: hope
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
vīto -āre: avoid, shun