In Circulō Vītae ("Circle of Life" from Disney's Lion King)

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
As usual, my goal was to stay as faithful as possible under the constraints of also maintaining the rhythm and rhyme scheme. I welcome any questions, comments, suggestions, or corrections, as this is not necessarily the final draft.


Ā diē quō hīc sub sōle nascimur,
Ā cuiusque prīmō gradū,
Videnda sunt
Nimia umquam vīsū.
Facienda sunt
Nimia umquam factū.

Tam nimia sunt invenienda,
Ut numquam omnia inveniantur.
Tamen sōle altō,
Lābentī in caelō,
Cum grandēs tum parvī dūcuntur!

In circulō vītae
Movēmur omnēs
Ā dolōr' ad spem
Per amōrem,
Dum ad locum quī
Nōs decet veniāmus,
In circulō,
Circulō vītae.
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
Welcome back, Gregorius...you've been away for a while, no?
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Yeah, it's been a while, but on the plus side, I learned Old English in the interim! Any thoughts on the song?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
This part doesn't make much sense:

Videnda sunt
Nimia umquam vīsū.
Facienda sunt
Nimia umquam factū.

I could never have guessed what was meant without looking at the English.

In this part:

Tam nimia sunt invenienda,
Ut numquam omnia inveniantur.

Multa (= many things) would make more sense than nimia (= excessive things).

Here:

Tamen sōle altō,
Lābentī in caelō,
Cum grandēs tum parvī dūcuntur!

It seems to me labenti should be ablative in agreement with sole, labente.

That's for the more salient grammar and vocabulary issues but there are metrical problems too as in several places, the Latin accentuation doesn't match that of the English lyrics. For instance, the English has "it's the CIR-cle of LIFE": to sing in circulo vitae to the same tune you'd need to stress it as in cir-CU-lo vi-TAE, which is wrong (it would normally be in CIR-cu-lo VI-tae).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
For the first stanza, you could have something along these lines. It doesn't rhyme, but at least it's grammatical and it scans.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking step into the sun
There's more to see
Than can ever be seen
More to do
Than can ever be done

Ex quo primum videmus hanc lucem
Et coniventes gradimur
Sunt plura quam
Qu(ae) univers(a) agere
Plura quam
Qu(ae) umquam cernere sit
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
This part doesn't make much sense:

Videnda sunt
Nimia umquam vīsū.
Facienda sunt
Nimia umquam factū.

I could never have guessed what was meant without looking at the English.
Noted. I was going for, "The things which must be seen are excessive to ever see. The things which must be done are excessive to ever do," using ablative supines. It's based on this sample sentence from the Everything Learning Latin Book.

Marcus est pulcher vīsū. ("Marcus is handsome to see," or literally, "Marcus is handsome with respect to seeing.")

Wheelock's Latin also gives the examples mīrābile dictū ("amazing to say") and facile factū ("easy to do").

Still, the latter source describes this construction as available for "certain adjectives," so it may not be a general thing. I'll massage this part and see if I can find a better phrasing.

In this part:

Tam nimia sunt invenienda,
Ut numquam omnia inveniantur.

Multa (= many things) would make more sense than nimia (= excessive things).
In retrospect, I'm inclined to agree.

Here:

Tamen sōle altō,
Lābentī in caelō,
Cum grandēs tum parvī dūcuntur!

It seems to me labenti should be ablative in agreement with sole, labente.
It is ablative, but as I recall, third-declension adjectives usually take as the ablative singular suffix. Am I mistaken?

That's for the more salient grammar and vocabulary issues but there are metrical problems too as in several places, the Latin accentuation doesn't match that of the English lyrics. For instance, the English has "it's the CIR-cle of LIFE": to sing in circulo vitae to the same tune you'd need to stress it as in cir-CU-lo vi-TAE, which is wrong (it would normally be in CIR-cu-lo VI-tae).
I must confess that I don't generally concern myself with such things unless the target language is one in which stress by itself can make a difference in meaning (e.g. modern Spanish). I'll align things where I can, but I don't consider it a deal-breaker if I can't. Syllable count per line, rhyme scheme, and minimal liberties in meaning are my three main priorities.
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Ex quo primum videmus hanc lucem
Et coniventes gradimur
Sunt plura quam
Qu(ae) univers(a) agere
Plura quam
Qu(ae) umquam cernere sit
I don't think I'm familiar with this particular usage of the infinitive demonstrated in the last three lines here. Would you care to enlighten me? Also, can diphthongs really be elided? I thought you could only do that with short vowels.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Noted. I was going for, "The things which must be seen are excessive to ever see. The things which must be done are excessive to ever do," using ablative supines. It's based on this sample sentence from the Everything Learning Latin Book.

Marcus est pulcher vīsū. ("Marcus is handsome to see," or literally, "Marcus is handsome with respect to seeing.")

Wheelock's Latin also gives the examples mīrābile dictū ("amazing to say") and facile factū ("easy to do").

Still, the latter source describes this construction as available for "certain adjectives," so it may not be a general thing. I'll massage this part and see if I can find a better phrasing.
I don't think that construction is ever used to express the idea of "too... to". I mean, if you can find me an example like plura umquam factu with the meaning "too many things to ever be done", then OK, but it would surprise me if you could.
It is ablative, but as I recall, third-declension adjectives usually take as the ablative singular suffix. Am I mistaken?
Adjectives, yes. Not present participles.
I don't think I'm familiar with this particular usage of the infinitive demonstrated in the last three lines here. Would you care to enlighten me?
Esse + infinitive can mean "to be possible" or the like. That's how I'm using it here.

Sunt plura quam
Qu(ae) univers(a) agere
Plura quam
Qu(ae) umquam cernere sit

There are more things than is possible (= sit) to do all (= universa agere), more things than is possible ever to see (umquam cernere), i.e. there are too many things to ever do or see them all.
Also, can diphthongs really be elided? I thought you could only do that with short vowels.
Yes, diphthongs can be elided.

In classical poetry, their elision, just like the elision of vowels (whether long or short) is even pretty much compulsory when they're followed by a vowel or other diphthong. I think, however, that poets tended to reduce the number of instances where a diphthong or long vowel would have been in a position to be elided — but it does happen. Here's an example from Vergil:

(saxa uocant Itali mediis quae in fluctibus Aras,
dorsum immane mari summo)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Sunt plura quam
Qu(ae) univers(a) agere
Plura quam
Qu(ae) umquam cernere sit
I must say the string of qu sounds in quam qu(ae) umquam may be kind of awkward to the ear, but that was the best I could come up with.
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Adjectives, yes. Not present participles.
Αccording to page 185 of Wheelock's Latin (7th Edtition), present participles in the ablative singular can end in either suffix ( or -e), and although I can't locate where exactly I read it, I seem to recall that the -e form is only used when the participle is being utilized as a substantive and/or the writer wishes to indicate that the attribute ascribed by the participle is inherent rather than a situational. Of course, one could argue that the inherency criterion may be met in this case, but I don't think either suffix is really wrong.

Esse + infinitive can mean "to be possible" or the like. That's how I'm using it here.
Thanks! That may be quite helpful for this song! What do you think of this version?

Ā diē quō hīc sub sōle nascimur,
Ā cuiusque prīmō gradū,
Videnda sunt
Plūria quam quae vidēre'st.
Agenda sunt
Plūria quam qu'agere'st
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Αccording to page 185 of Wheelock's Latin (7th Edtition), present participles in the ablative singular can end in either suffix ( or -e), and although I can't locate where exactly I read it, I seem to recall that the -e form is only used when the participle is being utilized as a substantive and/or the writer wishes to indicate that the attribute ascribed by the participle is inherent rather than a situational. Of course, one could argue that the inherency criterion may be met in this case, but I don't think either suffix is really wrong.
You've got it more or less backwards, it seems. The ablative singular ending for a present participle used as a regular participle (i.e. with full verbal force, denoting a current action, as is the case here) is -e. A word that is originally a present participle can take -i in the ablative singular if it's being used as an adjective (i.e. denoting some more-or-less permanent attribute, which isn't the case here).
Thanks! That may be quite helpful for this song! What do you think of this version?

Ā diē quō hīc sub sōle nascimur,
Ā cuiusque prīmō gradū,
Videnda sunt
Plūria quam quae vidēre'st.
Agenda sunt
Plūria quam qu'agere'st
Regarding grammar:

- Pluria is a rare form. The usual one is plura. I guess it's fine to use a rare form if you want to, but I just wanted to make sure you knew.

- The comparative + quam qui construction (which is a usual way to render the "too... to" idea in Latin) requires the subjunctive in the relative clause.

Regarding meter:

Most of it doesn't scan but if you don't pay attention to that, well.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
By the way, something to know about rhyme is that a true rhyme must start in a stressed syllable. For example, videre and valere rhyme because they both have the same sounds starting from the stressed syllable, namely the second one: the rhyme is -ere. Videre and agere, on the other hand, don't rhyme, since they aren't the same from their respective stressed syllables. For another example, manus and anus (the one that means "old woman", not the other one) rhyme, but manus and bellus don't. Or, in English, "weeping" and "sleeping" rhyme, but "weeping" and "running" don't.

Now, if you sing your Latin version to the tune of the English, displacing the normal Latin stresses, I guess your videre and agere will de facto be made to rhyme, but that will be thanks to a mispronunciation.
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Well, the two lines in question don't need to rhyme at all, since "seen" doesn't rhyme with "done" in the original English.

Anyway, here's another attempt.

Ā diē quō hīc sub sōle nascimur,
Ā cuiusque prīmō gradū,
Tam multa sunt
Faciend' in hōc mundō
Ut numquam
Possint omnia facī.

Tam multa sunt invenienda,
Ut numquam omnia inveniantur.
Tamen sōle altō,
Sīc lābent' in caelō,
Cum grandēs tum parvī dūcuntur!

I decided to try overwriting the "more to be seen than can ever be seen" part entirely in favor of focusing on the "more to do than can ever be done" part, since the following part about "more to find than can ever be found" covers much of the same ground as the "seen" bit. After all, finding or discovering something often entails seeing it, at least in some sense.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Present, imperfect and future simple passive forms of facio are extremely rare and their meaning is usually expressed by forms of fio, so that would usually be fieri. Some of those passive forms of facio still have a few attestations, though (I've seen stuff like faciantur); I don't know if the form faci itself is attested, but since other forms are maybe it's OK to use it if you really can't squeeze an extra syllable into that line.
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Well, if I parse the first 'i' in fierī as a semi-vowel (hence a bisyllabic fje-rī rather than a trisyllabic fi-e-rī), as I quite often do, I actually can fit it in. Nevertheless, I think it might be slightly better to just use agere instead. So to update the first verse...

Ā diē quō hīc sub sōle nascimur,
Ā cuiusque prīmō gradū,
Tam multa iam sunt
Agend' in hōc mundō
Ut numquam
Omnia possint agī.
 
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