Textkit Logo

velle tuum nolo

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.

Moderator: thesaurus

velle tuum nolo

Postby rd3482 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:16 pm


I was browsing through some Martial sayings, and got stuck on this one:
"Insequeris, fugio;fugis, insequor; haec mihi mens est:
velle tuum nolo, Dyndime, nolle, volo."

I have translated the first half as "you pursue, I flee; you feel, I pursue; here is my way of thinking:"

The second half's syntax, though I know what it is supposed to mean since I saw some other translations, I cannot decipher at all. I originally translated it as: "To wish that which is yours, I do not want, Dyndimus, instead to not want it, I wish."

I know that this is wrong but can't figure it out... Any thoughts?

Thank you!

Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:13 pm

Re: velle tuum nolo

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:07 pm

"Whatever you want, I don't want, Dindymus; I want whatever you don't want."

The infinitives are used as if they were neuter nouns: velle=something wanted; velle tuum= something you want; nolle=something not wanted, with tuum understood. This yields a pithy and epigrammatic pentameter.

The verbs are chiastically arranged, i.e., ABBA: insequeris fugio fugis insequor; velle nolo nolle volo.

This is supposed to be witty.
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: velle tuum nolo

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:22 pm

Maybe the syntactic oddity of the Latin could be captured in English this way:

Your "I want" I don't want, Dindymus; I want your "I don't want."

This is one of those jokes that makes you say "I guess you had to be there."
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jandar, rothbard and 110 guests