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Horace Question

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Horace Question

Postby benissimus » Thu Jan 01, 2004 9:57 pm

Si vis me flere, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi.

How would this best be translated? It is an exercise from Wheelock but it is also an unaltered line from Horace. I translated it as...

"If you wish for me to weep, first you should grieve for yourself."

...but now I am wondering if the first part would make more sense if it meant "If you wish to weep for me..." and how I should best translate the second half.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Moerus » Thu Jan 01, 2004 10:43 pm

It's indeed a verse of Horace, Art poetica, v. 102.

The Loeb translates it like this:

If you would have me weep, you must first feel grief yourself.

Grammaticlty 'me' can be the subject or the object of 'flere'. But if you see at the context, you will agree that we need a subject here.

I would translate the dative with dolendum est as a dativus auctoris automaticly. But indeed it can be translated like you did also. And here we also have to see in the context and then it appears to be a dativus auctoris.

But if you see the sentence without a context your translation is also correct.
For these subtilities we need a context.

Greetz,
Moerus.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Jan 01, 2004 10:44 pm

Well, it's a lovely little line of Latin and one that thrives best in that tongue and is cruelly torn apart by any English rendition, but needs must.

Your initial translation is very good. The protasis is indeed, "If you wish (for) me to weep".

Your rendition of the apodosis could do with noticing that ipsi is in agreement with tibi, and both are thus dependent upon the gerundive. Thus there is no "for yourself":

If you wish for me to weep, you yourself must first grieve. (lit. it should first of all be grieved by you yourself).

I think this particular quote is from QHF's Ars Poetica, a work I would love to get round to translating.
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jan 02, 2004 7:43 pm

Gratias vobis promptis pro responsis!

I suppose I can leave it as it is then. It is a bit mean of old man Wheelock to throw that in when that gerundive construction has not really been mentioned, but I have to admit that I enjoyed figuring out what I was confused about more than what I understood while going through it. Nonetheless, it could be confusing to independent learners, so I must say that he was rather mean to put that there!
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