Latin Quotes for Flashcards

iamrian

Member
In an effort to work on memorization, in a fun way, I have started a project. I will be working through "Wheelock's Latin" to find interesting and useful quotes.

This idea came to me from a helpful discussion on this forum about getting better at verb conjugation. While some advocated rote memorization, others pointed out that real learning happens best in context. To that end, I am going to write down a good handful of quotes with different verb forms in an effort to "take-in" these different conjugations in a way that, I am sure, is going to be more satisfying than stale tables.

Please send me some of your favorite quotes!

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Devenius Dulenius

New Member
Not sure if you're confining this to Wheelock, but one of my favorite ones is "Excelsior!" ("Ever upward/Onward and upward"). It is an encouragement to courage, perseverance, and hard work--all qualities needed for language learning mastery. Believe it or not, I found this in comic books. Years ago, the founding editor of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, would sign his responses to letters to the editor with "Excelsior". It's probably the first Latin expression I ever learned, and it's stuck with me for over forty years. I like your plan for this study approach. I believe in learning in context too, which is why I ultimately abandoned Wheelock for reading based approaches for my own learning. But, if Wheelock works for you, maxime!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
"Excelsior!" ("Ever upward/Onward and upward"). It is an encouragement to courage, perseverance, and hard work
That sounds like not-quite-Latin to me. Obviously the word is Latin, but it's unlikely to have been used that way by ancient Romans (or even later authors, if you ask me).

@iamrian, I'm not sure I understand correctly what you're trying to do. In your other thread, you talked about learning conjugations. Are you trying to find a short quote to exemplify each and every verb form?
 

iamrian

Member
That sounds like not-quite-Latin to me. Obviously the word is Latin, but it's unlikely to have been used that way by ancient Romans (or even later authors, if you ask me).

@iamrian, I'm not sure I understand correctly what you're trying to do. In your other thread, you talked about learning conjugations. Are you trying to find a short quote to exemplify each and every verb form?
Good question. My current aim is to go through each chapter of "Wheelock" and pull out quotes from the Sententiae Antiquae sections that illustrate a grammatical feature covered in that chapter. This means the quotes will be real quotes from original authors, but will also cover different verb forms; as well as other components of Latin. My original aim was to get advice about memorizing verb forms, but I think this is a better step right now. Once I have the "flesh" of memorable quotes I think learning the "skeleton" of actual verb forms will be easier.
 

Gregorius Textor

Civis Insanus
I think learning in context is very helpful.

As for the quotes on cards, how are you planning to use them? The usual thing is with a question and answer ("flashcards"), but I'm not sure how that would work here. "Augustus?" but likely Augustus has more than one quotation. Maybe "What did Augustus say about hurrying? Or use the English translation as the prompt, and answer in Latin?
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
That sounds like not-quite-Latin to me. Obviously the word is Latin, but it's unlikely to have been used that way by ancient Romans (or even later authors, if you ask me).
It is, however, the motto of New York State.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I knew it was a motto of some sort. Couldn't have told you of what, though.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
or even later authors
The popularity of the motto in the States is closely connected with a Longfellow poem once very well known, now probably mostly forgotten, and you'll see why. But it's left its mark.

THE SHADES of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ’mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
Excelsior!

“Try not the Pass!” the old man said;
“Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!”
And loud that clarion voice replied,
Excelsior!

“Oh stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
Excelsior!

“Beware the pine-tree’s withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!”
This was the peasant’s last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Excelsior!

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Excelsior!
 

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
The popularity of the motto in the States is closely connected with a Longfellow poem once very well known, now probably mostly forgotten, and you'll see why. But it's left its mark.

THE SHADES of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ’mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
Excelsior!

“Try not the Pass!” the old man said;
“Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!”
And loud that clarion voice replied,
Excelsior!

“Oh stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
Excelsior!

“Beware the pine-tree’s withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!”
This was the peasant’s last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Excelsior!

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Excelsior!
I had hoped never again to see that specimen of banality in my days on this world.
 
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