Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by cloudsbegone, Jun 12, 2007.
I would like help understanding this phrase please,
thank you very much
Welcome to the forum. What you need help for sounds something like Latin. Is that phrase from Harry Potter?
It's Latin, the translation into Italian is
"L'amore può essere accettato secondo il proprio volere, ma non ce se ne può disfare!",
while in English it could be something like
"We choose to love, we do not choose to cease loving".
Grazie Necsus. Una bella frase.
Prego, è sempre un piacere.
No, from Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer of maxims.
Literally, "love is chosen, it is not placed, in judgment of the spirit."
It means, I would think, that love is a choice, not a necessity.
That's a different meaning than what Necsus has previously stated. I wonder which is which...
There is no doubt in my mind that Necsus has correctly understood this proverb. The verbs sumere and ponere are in contrast and as such must mean to take up and to put aside respectively. The ablative arbitrio without a preposition cannot, except in tortured poetry, mean in, and must mean by. Arbitrium animi is standard for free will. We choose to start loving but not to stop. No one will dispute the second half of this proverb; the first half might raise some eyebrows.
The phrase would work like this then:
"Love is chosen by the judgment of the spirit [free will]; it is not set aside by free will."
That is not the most common usage of ponere, however. It is closer to the meaning of deponere.
I tend to agree with Judkinsc, with the exception of the of the subtlety of the verb "ponitur".I would translate this sentence thusly:"Love is freely assumed (i.e. taken up), not imposed".
That is a lovely interpretation but again different from the one by Necsus. Are they both acceptable?
No. There is a clear, outright disagreement here about what this sentence means and it can't really mean both. I am still standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Necsus, but if there are any other competent Latinists out there it would be nice to have a few more opinions expressed.
I have found the verse continues thus;
Does this cast some light to determine which interpretation is more cogent?
I"m afraid it doesn't help as Publilius Syrus wrote a series of proverbs each of which is quite unrelated to its neighbours. However if you care to follow this link you will see that the site in question offers the following translation:
This is identical to what Necsus said and very close to my suggestion:
You wrote:"We choose to start loving but not to stop. No one will dispute the second half of this proverb; the first half might raise some eyebrows."
Yes, indeed it might; mine for instance.
Not much of a proverb, I'd say. The author plainly had only a limited experience of his subject-matter.
Yes, I agree, with both the translation and the thought.
Although deponere is often used, ponere, too, can mean "to lay aside, take off," arms, clothing, etc. E.g. veste ponita = "with clothing taken off" in Cicero (Tusc. 47.113). Context: The young men took off their clothes and then oiled their bodies.
Ponitur's pairing with sumitur supports this reading, as Mezzofanti points out.
One can obviously choose a different meaning for the verb 'ponere', but it definitely means (also figuratively) 'to stop; to cease' as well.
Here are some examples I've found:
sumere aut ponere secures (Horace), take the power or leave it;
pone, meum est (Horace), put it down, it is mine;
ponere dolorem (Cicerone), to cease grieving.
You wrote: "veste ponita = "with clothing taken off" in Cicero (Tusc. 47.113)."
Surely your text has a typographical error? I suggest the emendation "veste posita" - probably already suggested somewhere in the 'apparatus criticus' at the bottom of the page of text.
You are correct. Ponita was a scribal error, the scribe being me. Post #17 should read veste posita. Thanks.
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