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Robert Bland, Proverbs
Noc Non Nov
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1. Noctua volavit
An owl flew by us, it is a fortunate omen, our project will succeed, or we shall hear good news from our friends. The raven, on the contrary, was considered as a bird of ill omen, and its appearance was supposed to predict evil. "That raven on you left hand oak, Curse on his ill foreboding croak, Bodes me no good." The owl was in a particular manner reverenced by the Athenians, as it was the favoured bird of Minerva, their patroness. When Pericles was haranguing his men on board one of his vessels, who had mutinied, an owl, flying by on the right hand, is said to have settled on the mast of the ship, and the men observing the omen were immediately pacified, and came into his opinion. The phrase, noctua volavit, was also sometimes used to intimate that any advantage obtained was procured by bribery, by giving money on which the figure of an owl was impressed, such coin being common among the Athenians.
2. Non bene imperat, nisi qui paruerit imperio
Men are rarely fit to command, who have not been accustomed to obey. Children brought up too indulgently neither become agreeable companions, nor good masters. Accustomed to find everyone bending to their humours, and to have all their wishes gratified, they are ill qualified to mix with the world, and to encounter the thousand cross accidents, which every one, whatever may be their rank, will be sure to meet with. Every opposition to their will irritates, and every accident appals them. One of the strongest arguments in favour of our public schools is, that boys must there obey, before they are allowed to command. The proverb also intimates, that no one is fit to govern others, who has not obtained a command over his own passions and, affections.
3. Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum
It is not the fortune of every man to be able to go to Corinth. This city, from its commerce, and from the great concourse of strangers accustomed to visit it, became the most wealthy, and in time, the most voluptuous city in the world; it was also celebrated for its numerous and splendid temples, baths, theatres, and other exquisitely rich and beautiful public buildings, and unfortunately not less so for its debaucheries. It was, therefore, only suitable to the circumstances of the rich to visit a place so dissipated and expensive. Corinth gave its name to the fourth order of architecture, which was invented and first employed in the public buildings there, and to a metallic composition, Corinthian brass, which was very beautiful and durable, but of which there are no vestiges remaining. The proverb may be aptly used to deter persons from entering pursuits, or engaging in projects much beyond their faculties or powers to carry into execution.
4. Non est eiusdem et multa, et opportuna dicere
Esp. Quien mucho habla, mucho yerra
Esp. No diga la lengua par do pague la cabeza
Esp. En boca cerrada, no entra mosca
Fr. Fous sont sages, quand ils se taisent
Ing. The tongue talks at the head's cost
Ing. Eating little, and speaking little, can never do harm
Ing. He that speaks doth sow, but he that is silent reaps
It is not easy for anyone to talk a great deal, and altogether to the purpose. "A mucho hablar, mucho errar," talk much, and err much. "No diga la langua par do pague la cabeza," "the tongue talks at the head's cost," and "eating little, and speaking little, can never do harm." "He that speaks doth sow, but he that is silent reaps." "En boca cerrada, no entra moscha," flies do not enter the mouth that is shut, and "Fous sont sages, quand ils se taisent," fools are wise, or may be so reputed, when they are silent.
5. Novacula in Cotem
"He has met with his match;" the person he attacked has proved too strong for him, and "he is come off second best," as the razor, instead of injuring the stone, was itself destroyed. "et fragili quaerens illidere dentem, Offendet solido." Or as the viper, who, attempting to gnaw a file which he had found, wounded his own mouth, but left the file unhurt.
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