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Robert Bland, Proverbs
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1. Laterem lavas
Fr. Laver la tête d'un âne
It is like washing bricks, which the more you scour them, the more muddy they become; meaning bricks made of clay, and not burnt, but dried in the sun; such as were used in the East, and probably are so now, or «Laver la tête d'un âne», by which the French designate such unavailing attempts. The proverb may also be applied to persons, endeavouring by fictitions ornaments to make any thing appear more beautiful and valuable than it is, or by rhetorical flourishes to give a false colour to any action.
Fuente: Erasmo, 348.
2. Laudatur et alget.
Ing. The lucky have their days, and those they choose, the unlucky have but hours, and those they lose
Though he is abundantly commended, still he is suffered to live in indigence. It is an old, and too well founded complaint, that the good man frequently fails in meeting with that encouragement and assistance, to which, by his worth, he seems entitled; nay, that he has often the mortification of seeing persons, of no very nice honour, or who are even manifestly deficient in moral qualities, intercepting those emoluments, which should be the reward of uprightness and justice. But the man who is thus rewarded, was active and industrious, and had merited the preference that was given him, by performing some service that was grateful, useful, or even necessary to the person through whose means he obtained his advancement; while the good man, who was overlooked, might probably want that assiduity, or ingenuity, which are necessary to enable us to be useful to ourselves, or others. The preference that is said to be given to men of bad characters, is not given them on account of their evil qualities, but for having cultivated their talents, and rendered themselves serviceable; neither are the good passed over on account of their virtues, but for not having acquired those qualities which are necessary to make their virtues conspicuous, and which, if possessed, would enable them to demand the assistance they complain is withheld from them. The earth yields its productions, not in proportion to the good or bad characters of the possessors, but to the greater or less degree of knowledge and industry, that have been displayed in its cultivation.

The lucky have their days, and those they choose,
The unlucky have but hours, and those they lose

Is it not likely, that activity and ingenuity often supply the place of kick, or fortune, and that those who complain they are unfortunate, or unlucky, are in reality only stupid, or indolent? And perhaps, this is oftener the case, than we are willing to confess.
Fuente: Decimo Giunio Giovenale.
3. Laureum baculum gesto
I am always armed with a sprig of laurel, was said by persons who had unexpectedly escaped from any threatened danger. The laurel was thought by the ancients to be an antidote against poison, and to afford security against lightning. On account of these supposed properties, Tiberius Caesar is said to have constantly worn a branch of laurel around his neck. Laurel water was prescribed by the ancient physicians, in the cure of those fits to which children are subjected. It was, therefore until within a very few years, always found in the shops of the apothecaries. Later experience has shown, that the distilled water of the laurel leaf, when strongly impregnated, is a powerful and deadly poison. It was with this preparation that Captain Donellan killed Sir Theodosius Baughton. The opinion of the power of the laurel in preserving against lightning, rests on no better foundation than, that of its efficacy in preventing the effects of poison, or in curing epilepsy. A horse-shoe nailed on the threshold of the door, was supposed by the common people in this country, to preserve the house from the effects of witchcraft, and it is still in repute among our sailors, who nail a horse-shoe to the mast, with a view of preserving the vessel from such evil influence.
Fuente: Erasmo, 79.
4. Leonem stimulas
Fuente: Erasmo, 61.
5. Leporis Vitam.
He lives a hare's life. He is full of care and anxiety, like a hare, said to be the most timid of all animals, which is perpetually on the watch, and even in its sleep is said not to shut its eyes, lest it should be surprised and taken by the dogs. The hares, tired of living in a state of constant fear and anxiety, were determined to put an end to their existence, by drowning themselves. With this resolution, they rushed clown to a pool of water. Some frogs, who were near the pool, alarmed at the noise, leaped into the water, to avoid, the danger which they supposed threatened them; this being noticed by some of the most forward of the hares, they stopped, and observing to their brethren, that their condition was not worse than that of the frogs, they desisted from their intention. This is one of the apologues of Æsop, and was meant to cure men, labouring under misfortunes, from thinking that they are more unhappy than the rest of mankind; there being few so miserable, but they may find others equally, or more wretched than themselves.
Fuente: Erasmo, 3278.
6. Linguâ amicus.
Lat. Pollicitis dives, quilibet esse potest
Fr. Il se ruine a promettre, et s'acquitte à ne rien tenir
Fr. Promettre et tenir sont deux
Esp. Del dicho al hecho, ay gran trecho
Fr. Il nous à promis monts et merveilles
Ing. More in a month than he will perform in a year
A friend in words; any one who by his conversation seems desirous of being esteemed a friend, but whose kindness extends no further; who is free in promising, but very backward in performing any friendly office, is the kind of person intended to be censured by this adage. Pollicitis dives, quilibet esse potest, any man may be liberal in promises, they cost nothing. Il se ruine a promettre, et s'acquitte à ne rien tenir, he ruins himself by promising, but saves himself by not performing, for promettre et tenir sont deux, there is a great difference between saying and doing, which is also a Spanish axiom, Del dicho al hecho, ay gran trecho. Il nous a promis monts et merveilles, he promises mountains; more in a month, we say, than he will perform in a year.
Fuente: Erasmo, 2257.
7. Linguâ bellare.
Lat. Qui aspidis venenum in lingua circumferunt
Esp. La lengua del mal amigo, mas corta que el cuchillo
It. La lengua no ha osso, e osso fa rompere
Lat. Mors et vita in manibus linguæ
Lat. Vincula da linguæ vel tibi vincula dabit
Ing. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life, but he that openeth wide his lips, shall have destruction
Ing. The tongue of the wise is health
Esp. En boca cerrada no entra moscha
Ing. An ounce of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar
To war with the tongue, to spend the whole of one's rage in coarse and rude language, in threats which we have neither the power, nor inclination, perhaps, to carry into execution, is the resort of weak and cowardly persons. Much of this wordy war is practised at the bar, particularly by those defending a bad cause. Qui aspidis venenum in lingua circumferunt, the poison of asps is under their lips. Wounds made with the tongue are often more hurtful than those made with the sword. La lengua del mal amigo, mas corta que el cuchillo, the tongue of a false friend is sharper than a knife, cuts deeper. La lengua no ha osso, e osso fa rompere, the tongue breaks bones, though itself has none. Mors et vita in manibus linguæ, it is often the arbiter of life and death. An intemperate tongue is not only injurious to others, but to its possessor, it is therefore said, Vincula da lingure vel tibi vincula dabit, restrain your tongue, or it will bring you into restraint. Hence there is no precept more frequently or more strongly inculcated, than to set a guard over that mischievous member. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life, but he that openeth wide his lips, shall have destruction, and the tongue of the wise is health. En boca cerrada no entra moscha, flies do not enter into the mouth that is shut, or, no mischief can ensue from being silent; and an ounce of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar. William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester, who filled high offices in th state, during the reigns of Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, and the Queens Mary and Elizabeth, being asked by what means he had preserved himself through so many changes, said, «by being a willow, and not an oak».
Fuente: Erasmo, 1947.
8. Lingua non redarguta.
Lat. Qui rationibus convicti, non cedunt tamen
Lat. Nunquam persuadebis, quamvis persuaseris
A tongue not to be silenced. Qui rationibus convicti, non cedunt tamen, who though convicted, overcome by argument, still refuse to yield. Nunquam persuadebis, quamvis persuaseris, although you have convicted me, you shall not convince me. Determined, obstinate incredulity.
Fuente: Erasmo, 3683.
9. Lucri bonus est Odor ex Re qualibet.
Lat. Unde habeas curat nemo; sed oportet habere
The odour of gain is sweet, from whatever source it may he produced. To the miser, whatever is profitable, and to the voluptuous, whatever contributes to their pleasure, is deemed to be good, however impure the source of it may happen to be. Vespasian, who, but for his inordinate love of money, was one of the best of the Roman emperors, made use of this apothegm, in answer to his son, who had reproved him for laying a tax on certain vessels set in the streets, for the reception of urine, for the use of the dyers*. Taking a piece of money from his pocket, which he had received from that impost, and applying it to the nostrils of his son, he demanded, «Ecquid ea pecunia puteret», whether he perceived any ill savour in it? The same, however, might be asked of money obtained by robbery, murder, or any other unjustifiable means, and unfortunately we too easily excuse ourselves.

«O cives, cives, quærenda pecunia primum,
Virtus post nummos».
>(Horace, Epistularum liber I, v. 55)

O citizens, let money be your first care. Unde habeas curat nemo; sed oportet habere, no one will inquire how you get your wealth, but if you would be respected, you must have it.

* That the vessels were placed for the benefit of the dyers, seems proved by the following, taken from a note to p. 175, of the second volume of Rabelais.
Parisiis quando purpura præparatur, tune artifices invitant Germanicos milites, et studiosos, qui libenter bibunt, et eis præbent largiter optimum vinum, ea conditione, ut postea urinam reddant in illam Ianam. Sic enim audivi à studioso Parisiensi. Joan. Manlii Libellus Medicus.
Fuente: Erasmo, 2613.
10. Lucrum malum, æquale dispendio.
Ing. What is ill gotten rarely thrives
Ing. Hasty climbers have sudden falls
It. Una pecora rognosa, ne guasta cento
Ing. One bad sheep spoils the flock
Gain gotten by unfair means is no better than a loss; what is ill gotten rarely thrives. Those who are in too much haste to acquire riches, generally commit some error in the process which defeats their purpose; or, if they obtain what they sought for, they have rarely the discretion to use it properly. Hasty climbers have sudden falls. The wealth that is ill-gotten becomes a canker, and corrodes and destroys what it is put in contact with. Una pecora rognosa, ne guasta cento, one bad sheep spoils the flock. The too eager pursuit of any thing, Feltham says, «hinders the enjoyment; for it makes men take indirect ways, which though they prosper sometimes, are blessed never. Wealth snatched up by unjust and injurious ways, like a rotten sheep, will infect thy healthful flock».
Fuente: Erasmo, 2252.
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