The best portion of a man's life...

Jamesnotl

New Member
Hi - i wonder if the community here might help me translate a William Wordsworth quote into Latin - I am looking to get it tattooed and want to make sure the Latin is correct. I have tried to translate it myself but it's been 20+ years since i studied Latin.

The best portion of a man's life: the little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love

I came up with the following but i have no doubt that it has errors in it, not the least of which will be basic word order:

pars optimus hominis vitae parvae acti sine nomines obliti humanorum et amorum

I'm not sure on oblitus as unremembered...to me it denotes more destroyed or an active forgetting...i quite like the idea of humanas as kindness but am not sure if 'human' derives from this and in the current climate, i'm not sure human is always consistent with kindness, so perhaps an alternative might be better?

I'd be very grateful for thoughts and corrections (aka overhaul).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hi,

There are indeed numerous issues in your translation.

I might suggest the following:

Optima vitae humanae pars: illi parvi, qui nomine carent et memoriae infigi non solent, actus e benevolentia atque amore profecti.

Note that I've taken "a man's life" as a human being's life, human life, rather than the life of a male person specifically. Let me know if I was wrong because the translation would need changing then.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I'm trying to think of the best way translate "unremembered".

De memoria excidere solent was what I had a first, but that's more like being forgotten and you can argue there's a subtle nuance between "forgotten" and "unremembered". What I've got now, memoriae infigi non solent, means that they never get "imprinted" on the memory in the first place. Memoria retineri non solent ("are not retained in memory") also occurred to me.
 

Jamesnotl

New Member
Thank you Pacifica - my preference would be for a 'man' rather than 'human being'. In terms of the unremembered, i took it to mean not remembered by others, rather than not being imprinted on the doer himself, if that makes a difference. It may be that forgotten is better if there is a specific word rather than several words to get to the meaning...what do you think? To me it's a combination of 'unremarked upon' but if you say 'unremarkable' or 'without note' then that's different again.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
my preference would be for a 'man' rather than 'human being'.
Just to make sure I understand you correctly: you want it to refer to a specifically male human being?
It may be that forgotten is better if there is a specific word rather than several words to get to the meaning...what do you think?
"Forgotten" would take several words as well.
 

Jamesnotl

New Member
Yes, a male specifically.

If forgotten also takes several words, then i think your proposed solution works best....i infer it to be able to mean that it didn't imprint on the person doing the acts, or those around him so it is as broad as 'unremembered' - thank you.

Can i ask also, just so i understand correctly - what i think you've done is to include 'little, unremembered things' (illi) and then refer to acts of kindness of love after...or is it simply that illi agrees with actus but doesn't represent a separate word...? I hope i'm making sense.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yes, a male specifically.
OK, in that case you should say: optima vitae viri pars...
Can i ask also, just so i understand correctly - what i think you've done is to include 'little, unremembered things' (illi) and then refer to acts of kindness of love after...or is it simply that illi agrees with actus but doesn't represent a separate word...? I hope i'm making sense.
Illi (= those/the) and actus (= acts) agree together.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Actually I think it can be further improved like this:

Optima vitae viri pars: illi parvi, qui nomine carent nec memoriae imprimi solent, actus e benevolentia atque amore profecti.
 
Top