Sunday, June 17, 2012


117     -     118     -     119

Vis bonus esse? Velis tantum, fiesque volendo;
   Is tibi posse dabit, qui tibi velle dedit.

Wilt thou be good? Will sole, it shall be so:
Who gave thee Will, will on thee Pow’r bestow.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 3.106. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. Note the use of dare here to mean to grant, bestow, allow, taking a complementary infinitive (posse dabit, velle dedit).

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

bonus -a -um: good
dō dare dedī datum: give
fīō fierī factus sum: become
is ea id: he, she, it
possum posse potuī: be able
que (enclitic) - and
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
tantus -a -um: so great, so much; tantum: only
tū tuī tibi tē: you (sing.)
volō velle voluī: wish, be willing
voluntās -ātis f.: wish, desire

The Will
Do you want to be good? (vis esse bonus) Just will it (tantum velis) and you will become good (fiesque) by means of will (volendo); he will give you the power (is dabit tibi posse) who allowed you to will (qui dedit tibi velle).

Vis bonus ~ esse? Ve~lis tan~tum, fi~esque vo~lendo;
   Is tibi ~ posse da~bit, | qui tibi ~ velle de~dit.