Prose vs. Verse?

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Prose vs. Verse?

Post by Mofmog » Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:04 am

I read somewhere that sometimes verse uses infinitives grammatically in ways which prose does not.

For example:

Iubeo omnes homines amare

Is correct in verse

but it should be something else in prose?

I read this somewhere and for the life of me I can't find it, so my example might not be correct, but it had something to do with complementary infinitives.

Not the exact source, but it alludes to what I'm getting at: ... supine.htm
"Constructions involving a supine do not normally ever use an actual infinitive,

except occasionally (somewhat more common in poetry)."

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Post by Ulpianus » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:01 am

I'm not sure if this is what you are getting at. The infinitive is sometimes used in poetry (not prose) with a verb of motion to express purpose. Kennedy gives as an example: uenio uisere I come to inspect. This breaks the general rule that an infinitive is not used to express purpose in Latin. Thus in prose one would say uenio ut uisam.

With iubeo and various other verbs of ordering or compulsion etc, the infinitive is perfectly regular in prose and verse. So the example you have given is good for prose or verse.

I don't believe this has anything to do with constructions involving the supine, which are very unusual anyway. EDITED TO ADD: Except that there is a certain kinship in that the supine was sometimes used in prose after a verb of motion to express purpose (just as the infinitive might be in verse): legatos ad Caesarem mittunt rogatum auxilium They send representatives to Caesar to ask for help.

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Post by bellum paxque » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:26 pm

Verbs like iubeo, veto, and prohibeo take an accusative/infinitive construction just as verbs of thinking and perceiving do.

In poetry, the infinitive covers a lot of ground - you'll see it with verbs of exhortation like hortor where we'd expect ut + subjunctive in prose. Also, the infinitive of purpose, as mentioned. I think there may even be a few other odd uses, but most of the time translating them isn't the problem. The point is to be aware that the usage is intentionally archaic (apparently in Old Latin the infinitive was much more useful, it deriving from - I think - the dative of the verbal noun. I'm out on a limb there, though).

Most of that's redundant with Ulpianus's post. Good luck with your reading and continued study!


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