Sunday, June 17, 2012


28     -     29     -     30

Qui bene fecerunt, illi sua facta sequentur;
   Qui male fecerunt, facta sequentur eos.

Good men shall follow their good works: But then
Their wicked works shall follow wicked men.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 3.148. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. Note the contrast set up by bene/male, where in the first line the human actors are the subject of sequentur, while they are the object of the verb in the second line, with a nice chiasmus: illi sequentur || sequentur eos. The poem plays with the multiple senses of Latin sequi - follow in the sense of conform to, adhere to (in the case of the do-gooders) and follow in the sense of hound, persecute (in the case of the evil-doers).

Those who have done well (illi qui bene fecerunt) will follow their own deeds (sequentur sua facta); their deeds will follow those (facta sequentur eos) who have done ill (qui male fecerunt).

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

bene: well
faciō facere fēcī factum: do, make
ille illa illud: that
is ea id: he, she, it
malus -a -um: bad, evil; male: (adv.) badly
opus operis n.: work
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sequor sequī secūtus sum: follow
suus -a -um: his own, her own, its own