When the ship is sinking, the rats jump off..

Callaina

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Seems fine to me as well.
 

kmp

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It's just that everyone seems to be trying hard to use an ablative absolute. But that's difficult here because there isn't an obvious intransitive verb "to sink" in Latin (this is something I've learned from this thread so thanks) and there is no passive present participle in Latin. So why not just take the easy route?

By the way, the English idiom is "the rats desert the sinking ship" - I don't know why the original poster wants them to jump off.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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Nobody's mentioned the single most fitting active expression for this process: pessum īre. So something like Dē nāvī pessum itūrā mūrēs prōsiliunt (I don't like dēsiliunt here, sounds too much like 'casually jump down, dismount'). Or use a cum-clause for a more measured presentation.
 

Matthaeus

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There was mention of pessum in post #10.
 

syntaxianus

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Looking for a proverbial casting, I rather like

navis descendit, mures discedunt.

The ship goes down, the rats depart.
 

Matthaeus

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descendere in water just doesn't sound right...
 

Callaina

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Agreed -- it sounds off to me, though I can't even say quite why.
 

Callaina

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Unfortunately, deprimo is also transitive.
 

syntaxianus

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descendere in water just doesn't sound right...
Yes, okay...even if the action of a sinking ship cannot fail to engage in a descensus. So I am left with

navis submergitur, mures effugiunt.

The ship sinks, the rats flee.
 
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