Sunday, May 20, 2012

Malum Minus

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Malum Minus
Si duo proponas mala, quaelibet ut faciamus,
Unum sumamus minus, ut maius caveamus.

Source: Proverbia Rusticorum Versificata (ed. Zacher), 199. Meter: Dactylic Hexameter. Note the weak rhyme in the first line, proponas-faciamus, in addition to the accented rhyme in the second line: sumamus-caveamus.

If you were to offer two evils (si proponas duo mala) so that we might do as we wish (ut faciamus quaelibet), let us choose the lesser one (sumamus unum minus) so that we avoid the greater one (ut caveamus maius).

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

caveō cavēre cāvī cautum: be on guard, beware
duo: two
faciō facere fēcī factum: do, make
libet or libuit or libitum est: it is pleasing (+ dat. of person + infin.)
māior -ius: greater, older; maiōres -um: ancestors
malus -a -um: bad, evil; male: (adv.) badly
minus -oris n.: a smaller number or amount, less; (adv.) minus: to a smaller extent, less
prōpōnō -pōnere -posuī -positum: put forth, propose, present
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sī: if
sūmō sūmere sūmpsī sūmptum: take up
ūnus -a -um: one
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)