February 28, 2011

Libri sunt magistri qui nos instruunt sine virgis et ferula

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Libri sunt magistri qui nos instruunt sine virgis et ferula. In English: "Books are teachers who instruct us without rods and the whip."

Yesterday's proverb
told us that books are silent teachers. When you learn from a book, it is just you and the book, one on one, very different from the classroom environment. Many people do have fond memories of teachers whom they respected and even adored, but what today's proverb reminds us of is that there can be a dark side to the teacher-student relationship as well, either the literal punishments inflicted with rods and whips, or the metaphorical blow that can be struck by a harsh word or by silent contempt. Teachers face an almost impossible task in the classroom, with so many different students to attend to, and so little time in which to do that. It is no wonder that teachers often fail in this impossible task. I am someone who always found it safer and more reliable to learn from books; I am guessing there are other successful learners out there who might agree with me.

The Latin is an adaptation of a longer quote by the medieval scholar Richard de Bury: Hi sunt magistri qui nos instruunt sine virgis et ferula, sine pane et pecunia. Si accedis, non dormiunt ; si inquiris, non se abscondunt ; non remurmurant si oberres ; cachinnos nesciunt si ignores. "These are teachers who instruct us without rods and the whip, without (the reward of) food or money. If you come to see them, they do not sleep; if you have a question, they do not hide; they do not grumble if you make a mistake; they know not how to mock you if you are ignorant of something."

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Librī sunt magistrī quī nōs instruunt sine virgīs et ferulā.


1 comment:


Oh dear lord, I have missed you and your magic shiny-mind brilliance .... I was a fool to think just because I became quit fluent enough to chat with Pope Francis every evening in Latin, all thanks to you, I though I knew it all ... :) You are a national treasure but quod inde sine dicens. SCOTT UTLEY