No Comment, Quotation — January 26, 2008, 12:00 am

Juvenal – Remembering Why We Fight

triumph-of-neptune

Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
integer; ambiguæ si quando citabere testis
incertæque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis
falsus et admoto dictet perjuria tauro,
summum crede nefas animam præferre pudori
et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.

Be a good soldier, or upright trustee,
An arbitrator from corruption free;
And if a witness in a doubtful cause,
Where a bribed judge means to elude the laws,
Though Phalaris’ brazen bull were there,
And he would dictate what he’d have you swear,
Be not so profligate, but rather choose
To guard your honour, and your life to lose,
Rather than let your virtue be betray’d;
Virtue, the noblest cause for which you’re made.

–Decimus Junius Juvenalis (Juvenal), Satura viii, 79-84 (ca. 100 CE)(J. Dryden transl. 1692)(the key phrase here, “propter vitam vivendi perdere causas,” might be rendered more accurately, though less poetically, as “do not forsake the reasons for living in the interest of staying alive.”)

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