Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#9)


The Thought

Non quia fecisti bene, nunc mea serva quiescas,

sed quia pulvinos fis bene cum facias.


The Meaning

Not because you have done well, now my servant girl you may rest,

but because pillows you become well when you do.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Nōn quĭă / fēcīs/tī bĕnĕ, / nūnc mĕă / sērvă quĭ/ēscās,
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

sēd quĭă / pūlvī/nōs || fīs bĕnĕ / cūm făcĭ/ās.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Non = adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = not.

quia = adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = because.

fecisti = facio (facio, facere, feci, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, perfect, present, active only, indicative, meaning = you (serva) done.

bene= adverb, indeclinable, modifies fecisti, meaning = well.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies quiescas, meaning = now.

mea = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies serva, meaning = my.

serva = serva (serva -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = female servant.

quiescas = quiesco (quiesco, -escere, -evi, -etum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = you (serva) may rest. (This form and use of the subjunctive is known as the jussive subjunctive. It carries the weight of a command.).

sed = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

pulvinos = pulvinus (pulvinus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = pillows

fis = fio (fio, fieri, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = you (serva) become. (Fio is always translated actively but serves as the passive of Facio.).

cum = adverb, indeclinable, modifies facias, meaning = (dependent on mood of the verb, in this case…) when. (Cum introduces a variety of subclauses known as “cum clauses.” This particular clause, in which the verb is in the subjunctive mood is a “circumstantial cum clause”: when you do (rest) you become…)

facias= facio (facio, facere, feci, factum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 2nd person, singular, present, active only, subjuctive, meaning = you (serva) do.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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