Friday, July 13, 2012

Vir Bonus, Vir Magnus

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Vir Bonus, Vir Magnus
Si bonus es, melior, non maior tempore fies;
   Si magnus, maior tempore, non melior.

If good, Thou mayst be better, but not greater:
If great, more great; not better, nor compleater.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 1.55. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. You need to supply the verbs in the second line based on the parallel structure: si magnus [es], maior tempore [fies], non melior.

If you are good (si bonus es), in time you will become (tempore fies) better, not greater (melior, non maior); if great (si magnus), in time you will become greater (tempore maior) not better (non melior).

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

bonus -a -um: good
fīō fierī factus sum: become
māgnus -a -um great
māior -ius: greater, older; maiōres -um: ancestors
melior -ius: better
nōn: not
sī: if
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
tempus -oris n.: time