You have never lived, until you almost died

Hello all,

I recently lost a dear friend in Iraq. His wife has asked me to help with getting two quotes translated into Latin to be inscribed near his grave. He was a student of Latin, unfortunately this stuff looks like Egyptian to me, which brought me to this forum. Any help translating the following two quotes would be most appreciated:

"You have never lived, until you have almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know." (I cannot find the author of this quote)

and the second is by Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, chaplain of the USMC:

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the the flag."

RIP Pete...

Thanks is advance,

JJ
USMC '98-'02
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
A thought for the first:
Nunquam vixit usque paene mortuus est. Vita saborem habet quem tecti nunquam scient. Solum datur quibus pugnant ei.
"One has never lived until one has almost died. Life has a flavor which the protected shall never know. It is only given to those who fight for it."

It's not wonderful, but it's a start.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
A thought on the second: How dare a priest support homicide?
 

Fulgor Laculus

Civis Illustris
It depends on the individual - a priest whose convictions adhere to the "turn the other cheek" philosophy probably wouldn't support warfare, but a warpriest dedicated to combating evil and oppression would.
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
Just realized my last construction doesn't work, "quibus" should be replaced with "illis qui" or "eis qui."
 

Iynx

Consularis
1. Te audio, Bitmap; pax tecum sit. De mortuis autem nil nisi bonum...fortasse altero tempore, vel in loco altero?

2. The O'Brien quotation is difficult, because of the large number of very contemporary terms. But I will make an attempt, which should at least serve as a basis for discussion.

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the the flag."

Miles est, non diurnarius, qui nobis libertatem preli dedit. Miles est, non poeta, qui nobis libertatem orationis dedit. Miles est, non ordinator in universitate, qui nobis libertatem manfestionis dedit. Miles est, qui vexillum salutat, qui sub vexillo servit, cuiusque arca a vexillo tegitur, qui interpellatori vexillum concremandum permittit.

I thought I remembered hearing somewhere that Marines preferred to call themselves "marines" rather than "soldiers". Has this changed?
 

Iynx

Consularis
On the other quote, I will try to work from qmf's beginning.

"One has never lived until one has almost died. Life has a flavor which the protected shall never know. It is only given to those who fight for it."

Nunquam vixit usque paene mortuus est. Vita saborem habet quem tecti nunquam scient. Solum datur quibus pugnant ei.

What would you think, QMF, about an impersonal second-person form for the first sentence, with an apodosis introduced by nisi?

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus sis.

I do very much like your choice of word for "flavor", QMF-- but should it not be saporem, with a p? And I think you are wise to put that scio-form into the future.

But I am less happy with your tecti for "protected". How about tuti?

Further: is it not life, rather than the flavor, that is to be fought for?

That would give us, perhaps

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus sis. Vita aliquem saporem habent, quem tuti numquam scient. Idem solum illis datus, qui pro vita enituntur.
 
Iynx,

Yes, it is true we prefer to be called Marines in lieu of soldiers. This distinction is instilled in us as we associate the term "soldiers" with the Army. However, I believe the padre was merely using this term as a catchall for all servicemen and women. I thank you, and everyone else, for you efforts. If you feel these translations are adequate, I will relay them ahead for inscription, but I will await your reply.

Thanks again.

Regards,
JJ
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
It's not what you asked, but this came to mind:

You Only Live Twice
When You Are Born And When You
Look Death In the Face

(It's a haiku.)

Solum Vivas Bis
Cum natus sis et spectes
Plutonem ore.

But I want to say that the trailing -m in Plutonem gets run in with the following vowel...
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
Iynx dixit:
What would you think, QMF, about an impersonal second-person form for the first sentence, with an apodosis introduced by nisi?

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus sis.
It's more fluid, certainly.
I do very much like your choice of word for "flavor", QMF-- but should it not be saporem, with a p? And I think you are wise to put that scio-form into the future.
I have been affected by Spanish I suppose; for example, sapere in Latin->saber in Spanish. That is correct, however.

But I am less happy with your tecti for "protected". How about tuti?
Again, seems more fluid to me; I just picked a word that I knew meant protected from the dictionary in that case.

Further: is it not life, rather than the flavor, that is to be fought for?
Perhaps. The English seems deliberately unclear.

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus sis. Vita aliquem saporem habent, quem tuti numquam scient. Idem solum illis datus, qui pro vita enituntur.
I am not familiar with your choice of words for "fight"; I'll need to look that up tomorrow. What are your thoughts on a form of peto with a dative construction?
 

Iynx

Consularis
1. Please give us a little time, SemperFidelis-- some interesting ideas are being exchanged, and the end result will likely be a better version for you.

2. Scrabblehack:

a. I like your version much better than Fleming's.

b. But -- if you elide that syllable in the last line, doesn't it leave you one short? And don't you mean in os rather than ore? Suppose we made the last line

in os Plutonis

or

in os Plutonem

?

c. In any case you have certainly written an admirable piece, both in English and in Latin. :applause: But is it a hokku? The syllables are right, or close. But there is more to a hokku than the syllables, is there not? And it seems to me that writing a true hokku on this subject is something like writing a limerick in praise of the Virgin Mary. It just can't be done.

3. QMF:

a. Peto seems a little weak here, but I wouldn't reject it out of hand-- can you make your idea a little more explicit?

b. If there is an intentional ambiguity concerning what it is that is being fought for, is it possible to reproduce the ambiguity in the Latin?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
A few thoughts

Miles est, non ordinator in universitate
I'd use ordinator universitatis so the noun isn't modified by a prepositional phrase

Further: is it not life, rather than the flavor, that is to be fought for?

That would give us, perhaps

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus sis. Vita aliquem saporem habent, quem tuti numquam scient. Idem solum illis datus, qui pro vita enituntur.
Paene usually goes with indicative:
Numquam vixisti nisi paene mortuus es

I'm not sure, but maybe quendam sounds a bit better than aliquem?
Also, there seem to be a few typos in there:
Vita quendam saporem habet...
Idem solum illis datur....


I'm not sure if scire can usually go with an accusative object. Maybe novisse is a better choice here:
quem tuti numquam noverint

I'm also not sure if eniti (which I understand to be something like studere) is really what is meant here. I don't think a litteral translation of the word "to fight" like certare or pugnare is wrong here (and probably the easiest to understand).

so all in all that's:
Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus es. Vita quendam saporem habet, quem tuti noverint numquam. Idem solum illis datur, qui pro vita pugnant.

Or maybe with a variation in the word order to emphasise the numquam and put it parallely (scire works here because it takes an indirect question):
Numquam vixisti nisi paene mortuus es.
Numquam scient tuti quem saporem habeat vita.
Idem solum illis datur qui pro vita pugnant


... although I don't know if it's actually the flavour that's given to you or if it's just life as such. If the latter is intended you could alter the last sentence to
Vita solum illis datur qui pro eadem pugnant

To be really honest though, I would inscribe the phrase in English so everyone can understand it. I don't know if your friend will be honoured the way you want him to be if no one can understand what it says on his grave.
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
Iynx dixit:
a. Peto seems a little weak here, but I wouldn't reject it out of hand-- can you make your idea a little more explicit?

b. If there is an intentional ambiguity concerning what it is that is being fought for, is it possible to reproduce the ambiguity in the Latin?
On reflection, it seems to me that this ambiguity is worth preserving, even if it requires some slight paraphrasing in the translation. For it would seem to me that the second sentence is both:
Those who fight for life shall know a flavor from it which the protected shall never know.
and
Those who fight for life's flavor shall know it; the protected shall never know it.
(It's rough, but that's a paraphrase of what's going through my mind here).

It seems to me that the only way to render this in Latin is to use a construction without a direct or indirect object; that is to say something along the lines of, "those who fight shall know a flavor of life that the protected shall never know." Rendering the "for it" seems to me to inherently pull one towards an antecedent in the Latin (one which is absent from the English), which to me diminishes the strength of the statement somewhat.

Yet to me this "those who fight" is the hardest part of all. Pugnare seems excessively violent for this sentiment; it reminds me too much of a fist-fight. Certare seems better, having elements of conflict and also an effort to strive towards a goal. I think you are right with regard to petere, however; it doesn't include the element of conflict that seems to be, at some level, critical to the phrase.

My apologies if I'm not making a whole lot of sense here...not only is my Latin rusty from lack of use but I haven't dealt with an abstract thought like this for a long time either. At any rate, I do think that this thread has encouraged me to pick up a text sometime over the summer to refresh my skills.
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
Iynx,

The English version comes from one of the James Bond reference books --I assumed the author of the reference book lifted it from the novel.

I suppose you're right -- that a Haiku is more than 5-7-5....perhaps Americans have lost the point, but I find a lot of Haikus (is Hokku the preferred spelling?) to be epigrammatic...the third line "Look Death In the Face," is an unexpected twist, much like in a spy story, no?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
QMF dixit:
On reflection, it seems to me that this ambiguity is worth preserving, even if it requires some slight paraphrasing in the translation. For it would seem to me that the second sentence is both:
Those who fight for life shall know a flavor from it which the protected shall never know.
and
Those who fight for life's flavor shall know it; the protected shall never know it.
(It's rough, but that's a paraphrase of what's going through my mind here).
You could preserve some ambiguity by leaving out what is fought for in the last sentence... say
Datur solum pugnantibus/certantibus
(it is only given to those who fight)

To be honest I don't see why the last sentence should refer to flavour rather than life anyway. The first and second sentence evolve around 'living' and 'life' so it would seem that the last sentence would break this flow if it was merely about flavour all of a sudden.

It seems to me that the only way to render this in Latin is to use a construction without a direct or indirect object; that is to say something along the lines of, "those who fight shall know a flavor of life that the protected shall never know." Rendering the "for it" seems to me to inherently pull one towards an antecedent in the Latin (one which is absent from the English), which to me diminishes the strength of the statement somewhat.
I think this is too long. In my opinion it's better to produce some short and meaningful sentences, even if it's at the risk of taking some sense away from the original sentence.

Yet to me this "those who fight" is the hardest part of all. Pugnare seems excessively violent for this sentiment; it reminds me too much of a fist-fight.
I don't think the meaning of this word is as narrow as this. You can also find this word in contexts that don't have to do with mere warfare (e.g. in a letter by Cicero: Illud pugna et enitere, ne quid nobis temporis prorogetur, ut etc... oh, there's eniti again :))
 

Iynx

Consularis
Scrabblehack:

1. Fleming used a verse similar to your English version as an epigraph to "You Only Live Twice" (ca. 1964). Within the novel it is an attempt at an "haiku" by Bond. The epigraph calls it "after Bassho"... quite a long way after, I think. Your version is much better, in my opinion.

2. But I think that the poor quality of the verse is intentional-- part of the novelist's characterization of Bond. Apropos of our present venue I should perhaps quote a bit from the novel. Bond tells his friend Tanaka that he "can't quite get the hang of" a hokku by Basho. Tanaka suggests that Bond try his own hand at Japanese-style verse, and continues:

"After all you must have had some education?"

Bond laughed. "Mostly in Latin and Greek. All about Caesar and Balbus and so on. Absolutely no help in ordering a cup of coffee in Rome or Athens..."

3. The words used in English to describe certain important Japanese verse-forms are often applied somewhat loosely. I am no expert, but as I understand it, haikai means "playful". The verses in the old linked-verse game were called haikai no renga. The three-line, 5-7-5 part of a renga, including the one representing the "serve", or "seed" of the verse, was called a hokku.

The term haiku (I am told) was coined around the time of Issa (1763-1827), as a pormanteau-word from haikai and hokku. Basho, a century and a half earlier, would not have known the term.

So hokku is not a preferred spelling, but an older, and (slightly) different word. Take your pick.
 

Iynx

Consularis
Bitmap:

1. The habent is indeed a typo for habet, thank you.

2. The datus may be wrong, but it's not a typo, just a different tense: I intended Idem solum illis datus (est)... to mean "It is (has been) given only to those..."

3. I have no strong feeling on quendam vs. aliquem. If you think the former sounds better, that's fine with me.

4. I did not know that paene was associated with the indicative. In the idiom paene dicam ("I might almost say") surely the verb is subjunctive? But as we have an open condition after nisi, perhaps your indicative is better in any case.

5 Scio can certainly take an accusative object, especially of a pronoun, the idea being that some thing is known with certainty to be a fact. Having said that, I agree that your noscere is, sine dubio, the better word here.

6. I agree that it is wise to avoid adjectival prepositional phrases, but I don't like ordinator universitatis-- one may be in the world without being of the world. I will try (below) to dodge the issue with a relative clause.

4. I'm suprised that no one has objected to my ordinator for "organizer"-- or to any of the other novel usages of which I have been guilty here.

All:

1. Bitmap may be right that it would be better to inscribe this in English-- but let's try to agree on Latin versions, if only as an exercise.

2. Let me try to combine some of the ideas offered so far on the shorter item.

"You have never lived, until you have almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know."

How about:

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus est. Quendam saporem dat vita illis, qui eadem pugnant, quem tuti numquam noscat.


3. And for the longer:

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the the flag."

Miles est, non diurnarius, qui nobis libertatem preli dedit. Miles est, non poeta, qui nobis libertatem orationis dedit. Miles est, non scholasticus qui in universitate ordinat, qui nobis libertatem manfestionis dedit. Miles est, qui vexillum salutat, qui sub vexillo servit, cuiusque arca a vexillo tegitur, qui interpellatori vexillum concremandum permittit.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Iynx dixit:
2. The datus may be wrong, but it's not a typo, just a different tense: I intended Idem solum illis datus (est)... to mean "It is (has been) given only to those..."
That's true, I just don't see the need to alter the tense if the tenses in the original sentence are in the present tense

4. I did not know that paene was associated with the indicative. In the idiom paene dicam ("I might almost say") surely the verb is subjunctive? But as we have an open condition after nisi, perhaps your indicative is better in any case.
Well, I was taught to use paene with the indicative. The sample sentence I know is paene dixisti (I would almost have said ...)

4. I'm suprised that no one has objected to my ordinator for "organizer"-- or to any of the other novel usages of which I have been guilty here.
I didn't check all of the words you chose, but I found the few I checked to be agreeable. As I've already said, I don't think this phrase should be translated into Latin.


"You have never lived, until you have almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know."

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus est. Quendam saporem dat vita illis, qui eadem pugnant, quem tuti numquam noscat.
- es rather than est
- noscere = to get to know something; novisse = to know something. that's why I'd choose noverint here instead of noscat (... why not noscet if the future tense is intended anyway?)

cuiusque arca a vexillo tegitur
Not sure if a + ablative is the best choice here if the coffin is merely draped by an object. I think you should leave out the a here.
 

Iynx

Consularis
1. Est for es-- how did that creep in? Thank you Bitmap.

2. I remain unconvinced about paene and the indicative in general, but I am happy with the indicative in this instance.

3. Noverint it is then.

4. On the a vexillo, I think it could go either way. It seems to me that "the flag" here is regarded as something more than an object-- though perhaps I went too far (especially in classical terms) with the preposition, suggesting a personification of the flag. Out with it, then!

5. That leaves us with:

Vixisti numquam nisi paene mortuus es. Quendam saporem dat vita illis, qui eadem pugnant, quem tuti numquam noverint.

Miles est, non diurnarius, qui nobis libertatem preli dedit. Miles est, non poeta, qui nobis libertatem orationis dedit. Miles est, non scholasticus qui in universitate ordinat, qui nobis libertatem manfestionis dedit. Miles est, qui vexillum salutat, qui sub vexillo servit, cuiusque arca vexillo tegitur, qui interpellatori vexillum concremandum permittit.
 
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