Monday, June 13, 2016

9. Adversa Caveto

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Adversa Caveto
Cum fueris felix, quae sunt adversa caveto:
Non eodem cursu respondent ultima primis.

When fortune smiles, beware lest some ill strike;
End and beginning often are unlike.

In happy hours beware the hapless lot:
What the start promises, the end is not.

Source: The Distichs of Cato (4th century), 1.18. Meter: Dactylic hexameter. Note the implied referent of the relative pronoun: caveto [haec] quae sunt adversa.

When you are happy (cum fueris felix), beware (caveto) of things that have turned against you (quae sunt adversa): the final situation (ultima) does not match the start (non respondent primis) in the same way (eodem cursu).

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

adversus -a -um: facing, opposed; unfavorable; adversus (-um): (adv. and prep.) facing, opposite, against, opposed (to)
caveō cavēre cāvī cautum: be on guard, beware
cum: with (prep. + abl.); when, since, although (conjunction + subj.)
cursus -ūs m.: course, advance
fēlīx -īcis: lucky; adv. fēlīciter
īdem eadem idem: the same
nōn: not
prīmus -a -um: first; adv. prīmum: at first, firstly
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
respondeō -spondēre -spondī -spōnsum: answer
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ūltimus -a -um: farthest, final, last, ultimate