Carpe Diem, sed noli oblivisci noctis

By Damon, in 'Latin to English Translation', Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Damon New Member

    My apologies for the tattoo question as I am sure you get them a lot. I just wanted to make sure of the proper translation and spelling of "Carpe Diem, sed noli oblivisci noctis" before it is a part of me. Translated it should read "Seize the day, but never forget the night".

    I was also given "Carpe Diem, sed nollo oblivisci noctem" but was told it was not grammatically correct. Please advise.

    Thank you,
    Damon
  2. malleolus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Translated it reads "Seize the day, but don't forget the night".
    "Carpe Diem, sed nollo oblivisci noctem" is wrong , because nolo (spelled with one -l- only) means I don't want , whereas you need noli+ present tense infinitive to express the prohibition
  3. Damon New Member

    Malleolus,

    Thank you so very much for your help and excusing my annoying questions!
    I guess I need to move my questions to the English to Latin translations as I now need the correct translation for "Seize the day, but never forget the night".
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    As it's a negative command, shouldn't it be sed numquam noctis oblitus sis?
  5. Acsacal Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ile-de-France
    True that obliviscor is followed by a genitive.
    To express prohibition, my grammar textbook gives two alternatives:
    • ne hoc feceris (strong alternative); and
    • noli hoc facere (polite alternative).
    Then noli oblivisci noctem might be OK. As for the ne + perfect alternative, I do not know if it should be implemented with nunquam or by ne unquam.
    Kosmokrator likes this.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Yes, noli noctis oblivisci is ok for "don't forget the night", but the op wants never forget the night, and as numquam itself has a negative meaning, just as ne, I think it should be followed by the perfect subjunctive so numquam noctis oblitus sis (someone had proposed numquam noctis obliviscere, that's why I made that comment, but it seems that that person deleted the message). Or maybe noli umquam noctis oblivisci...
  7. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo

    I got so frustrated by the myths surrounding prohibitions, I wrote a term paper on it once, which I briefly summarised here.
    For historical reasons, the books are completely wrong about Latin prohibitions. A couple of authors started some legends, and despite being refuted, they never have gone away. The myth you refer to comes from Elmer.

    I don't think that there is any evidence that a negated subjunctive is more forceful, whether in the perfect or present. noli + infinintive is a common prohibition in Classical / later Latin, and conveys no particular emotional overtone.
  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    However, I wonder... I can understand that ne + subj can be interpreted as more direct and noli(te) as more "polite", as, when you think, noli(te) literally means "do not want to..." so it may look a little attenuated, a little like in English "would you please not...". That's the impression it gives me, but now maybe it was used so commonly that people didn't think of its litteral meaning anymore when using it, and so it lost that nuance...
  9. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Actual usage shows that the force of both expressions is variable.
  10. malleolus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Sorry for that , didn't mean to step on your toes but somehow I managed to delete my post although I only wanted to edit it.
    There are several examples of "numquam + Imperative" to be found in poetry and that was why I suggested using that construction because I felt it needed to be short.
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    No need to be sorry. Anyway Cinefactus seems to share your opinion that it can be right.
  12. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    I've never actually seen numquam + imperative. Does anyone have any cites? It would be nice to have for future reference.
    That may be true, but for Cicero there's certainly a difference in register between the two. noli + inf. is used in contexts both formal and informal, whereas ne + perfect subj. is strictly informal.
  13. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    I don't think I said that. Ne + imperative is used in early Latin in short formulaic expressions. In later Latin it is basically only used in poetry.

    Bennett (Bennett, C.E. Syntax of Early Latin, Vol 1, p. 364-5) discusses the use of connecting negatives such as neve neu nive neque with the imperative. He provides an example of numquam with the subjunctive (p.170 Amph 672 numquam creduis), but I don't have any evidence to show it was used with an imperative.

    As an aside, he has a very good discussion on prohibitions with the subjunctive beginning p. 172.

    I won't argue on this point ;) I found it quite difficult to classify Cicero's subjunctive prohibitions. He uses them a lot in his letters, but in his speeches, it is often hard to know whether to call them a prohibition or a final clause.
  14. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    So yes you said it... And now again. It CAN be right (in short formulaic expressions and poetry...).
  15. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Sorry, I thought you were referring to numquam + imperative.

    Ne + imperative occurs, but you only really it in prose in early Latin, in expressions like ne nega, ne me obsecra, ne formida, ne fle, ne time
  16. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Actually I was. I was thinking that if it was good with ne, it was also with numquam, as it's a negative order too...
  17. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    You would think so wouldn't you. If there were any examples though, they would be in Bennett, he is very thorough. He gives examples for other negatives such as nemo, numquam etc with the subjunctive, but there are none apart from the ones I mentioned for the imperative.
  18. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ok... So I guess the only two safe options for our op are: numquam noctis oblitus sis or noli umquam oblivisci noctis.
  19. Acsacal Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ile-de-France
    However, a similar rule exists in Russian.
  20. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Perfect subjunctive prohibitions should be completely unambiguous, though, since final clauses can't have a perfect tense verb. Cicero doesn't use the present tense subjunctive in prohibitions (second person) very often, actually. It's in Plautus and Terence that negative final clauses and present subjunctive prohibitions are frequently difficult to tell apart, not so much in Cicero.

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