Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ne Sis Ventosus

233     -     234     -     235

Ne Sis Ventosus
Quod dare non possis, verbis promittere noli;
Ne sis ventosus, dum vir bonus esse videris.

Promise no more than thou canst sure redeem,
Lest thus thou fail to be what thou wouldst seem.

Utter no promise that you can't redeem,
Lest you inconstant prove, while kind you seem.

Source: The Distichs of Cato (4th century), 1.25. Meter: Dactylic Hexameter. Note that the referent of the relative pronoun quod is only implied: noli verbis promittere [hoc] quod dare non possis.

Don't promise in words (verbis promittere noli) what you cannot give (quod dare non possis), lest you prove to be a windbag (ne sis ventosus) while you might seem (dum videris) to be a good man (vir bonus esse).

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

ventōsus, -a, -um: windy, inconstant, conceited

bonus -a -um: good
do dare dedī datum: give
dum: while (+ indic.); until (+ subj.); provided that (+ subj.)
nē: lest, that not
nōlo nōlle, nōluī: be unwilling
nōn: not
possum posse potuī: be able
prōmitto -mittere -mīsī -missum: send forth, offer
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
verbum -ī n.: word
video -ēre vīdī vīsum: see
vir virī m.: man