Friday, September 17, 2004

Privy to Livy ... Proviso-a-Go-Go?

Russell T.'s sight reading session is one of the few true joys of my week, outside of the Roche or course. He walked us through part of book one like a timeless tour guide on a gentle Autumn morn.

Let the world know that there's little in this world more soothing than Russell T.'s casual delivery. And the man knows good beer.

But there are many things in this world which stand in violent contrast both to Russel T. and to Livy.

Some of those things are the Latin letters of the Church fathers, one of which you've read about recently. But light finds a way even in the darkest of places, here in a letter of Augustine (who is infinitely more readable than Paulinus and quickly repairing my opinion of Late Latin).

On the first page of a letter written by Augustine to Jerome I found not one but two Proviso clauses, one positive, one negative, and each construed with a different adverb. So without further ado, the Proviso clause, stolen from A&G:


§528. Dum, modo, dummodo, and tantum ut, introducing a Proviso, take the Subjunctive. The negative with these particles is nē:

* ōderint dum metuant (Off. 1.97) , let them hate, if only they fear.
* valētūdō modo bona sit (Brut. 64) , provided the health be good.
* dummodo inter mē atque tē mūrus intersit (Cat. 1.10) , provided only the wall (of the city) is between us.
* tantum ut sciant (Att. 16.11.1) , provided only they know.
* modo nē sit ex pecudum genere (Off. 1.105) , provided [in pleasure] he be not of the herd of cattle.
* id faciat saepe, dum nē lassus fīat (Cato R. R. 5.4) , let him do this often, provided he does not get tired.
* dummodo ea (sevēritās) nē variētur (Q. Fr. 1.1.20) , provided only it (strictness) be not allowed to swerve.
* tantum nē noceat (Ov. M. 9.21) , only let it do no harm.

NOTE.--The Subjunctive with modo is hortatory or optative; that with dum and dummodo, a development from the use of the Subjunctive with dum in temporal clauses, § 553 (compare the colloquial so long as my health is good, I don't care).

The Hortatory Subjunctive without a particle sometimes expresses a proviso:--

* sint Maecēnātēs, nōn deerunt Marōnēs (Mart.Mart. 8.56.5 ) , so there be Mœcenases, Virgils will not be lacking.

The Subjunctive with ut (negative nē) is sometimes used to denote a proviso, usually with ita in the main clause:--

* probāta condiciō est, sed ita ut ille praesidia dēdūceret (Att. 7.14.1) , the terms were approved, but only on condition that he should withdraw the garrisons.

NOTE.--This is a development of the construction of Characteristic or Result.

For a clause of Characteristic expressing Proviso, see § 535. d.

No comments: