Latin for beginners (1911)/Part II/Lesson XXXVII
CONJUGATION OF POSSUM • THE INFINITIVE USED AS IN ENGLISH
212. Learn the principal parts of possum, I am able, I can, and its inflection in the indicative and infinitive. (Cf. § 495.)
- a. Possum, I can, is a compound of potis,
able, and sum, I am.
213. The Infinitive with Subject Accusative. The infinitive (cf. 173) is a verbal noun. Used as a noun, it has the constructions of a noun. As a verb it can govern a case and be modified by an adverb. The uses of the infinitive are much the same in Latin as in English. 1. In English certain verbs of wishing, commanding, forbidding, and the like are used with an object clause consisting of a substantive in the objective case and an infinitive, as, he commanded the men to flee. Such object clauses are called infinitive clauses, and the substantive is said to be the subject of the infinitive.
Similarly in Latin, some verbs of wishing, commanding, forbidding, and the like are used with an object clause consisting of an infinitive with a subject in the accusative case, as, Is virōs fugere iussit, he commanded the men to flee.
214. Rule. Subject of the Infinitive. The subject of the infinitive is in the accusative.
215. The Complementary Infinitive. In English a verb is often followed by an infinitive to complete its meaning, as, the Romans are able to conquer the Gauls. This is called the complementary infinitive, as the predicate is not complete without the added infinitive.
Similarly in Latin, verbs of incomplete predication are completed by the infinitive. Among such verbs are possum, I am able, I can; properō, mātūrō, I hasten; temptō, I attempt; as
Rōmānī Gallōs superāre possunt, the Romans are able to (or can) conquer the Gauls
Bellum gerere mātūrant, they hasten to wage war
a. A predicate adjective completing a complementary infinitive agrees in gender, number, and case with the subject of the main verb.
Malī puerī esse bonī nōn possunt, bad boys are not able to (or cannot) be good.
Observe that bonī agrees with puerī.
216. The Infinitive used as a Noun. In English the infinitive is often used as a pure noun, as the subject of a sentence, or as a predicate nominative. For example, To conquer (= conquering) is pleasing; To see (= seeing) is to believe (= believing). The same use of the infinitive is found in Latin, especially with est, as
- Superāre est grātum, to conquer is pleasing
- Vidēre est crēdere, to see is to believe a. In the construction above, the infinitive often has a subject, which must then be in the accusative case, as
Galbam superāre inimīcōs est grātum multīs,
for Galba to conquer his enemies is pleasing to many
b. An infinitive used as a noun is neuter singular. Thus, in the sentence superāre est grātum, the predicate adjective grātum is in the neuter nominative singular to agree with superāre the subject.
First learn the special vocabulary, p. 291.
- Magister lūdī līberōs cum dīligentiā labōrāre iussit.
- Egēre cibō et vinō est virīs molestum.
- Virī armātī vetuērunt Gallōs castra ibi pōnere.
- Estne lēgātus in castellō an in mūrō? Is est prō portā.
- Ubi nostrī fugere incēpērunt, lēgātus ab vestrīs captus est.
- Gallī castellum ibi oppugnāverant ubi praesidium erat īnfīrmum.
- Aliī pugnāre temptābant, aliī portās petēbant.
- Fēminae prō domiciliīs sedēbant neque resistere validīs Gallīs poterant.
- Bellum est saevum, nec īnfīrmīs nec miserīs favet.
- Sed virī arma postulābant et studēbant Gallōs dē mūrīs agere.
- Id castellum ab Gallīs occupārī Rōmānīs nōn grātum erit.
- Gallī ubi ā Rōmānīs victī sunt, esse līberī cessāvērunt.
- Diū sine aquā vīvere nōn potestis.
- The girl began daily to carry water from the river to the gates.
- The Gauls had pitched their camp in a place suitable for a battle.
- For a long time they tried in vain to seize the redoubt.
- Neither did they cease to hurl weapons against the walls.
- But they were not able to (could not) take the town.
The Faithless Tarpe´ia
Sabīnī ōlim cum Rōmānīs bellum gerēbant et multās victōriās reportāverant. Iam agrōs proximōs mūrīs vāstābant, iam oppidō adpropinquābant. Rōmānī autem in Capitōlium fūgerant et longē perīculō aberant. Mūris validīs et saxīs altīs crēdēbant. Frūstra Sabīnī tēla iaciēbant, frūstrā portās dūrās petēbant; castellum occupāre nōn poterant. Deinde novum cōnsilium cēperunt.
Tarpēia erat puella Rōmāna pulchra et superba. Cotīdiē aquam cōpiīs Rōmānīs in Capitōlium portābat. Eī nōn nocēbant Sabīnī,
TARPEIA PUELLA PERFIDA
quod ea sine armīs erat neque Sabīnī bellum cum fēminīs līberīsque gerēbant. Tarpēia autem maximē amābat ōrnāmenta aurī. Cotīdiē Sabīnōrum ōrnāmenta vidēbat et mox ea dēsīderāre incipiēbat. Eī ūnus ex Sabīnīs dīxit, "Dūc cōpiās Sabīnās intrā portās, Tarpēia, et maxima erunt praemia tua."
- 1. Supply men. nostri, vestrī, and suī are often used as nouns in this way.
- Not children. The Romans used līberī either as an adjective, meaning free, or as a noun, meaning the free, thereby signifying their free-born children. The word was never applied to children of slaves.
- 3. in with the accusative.
- cōnsilium capere, to make a plan. Why is the perfect tense used here and the imperfect in the preceding sentences? Explain the use of tenses in the next paragraph.
- Dative with nocēbant. (Cf. § 154.)
- ex, out of, i.e. from the number of; best translated of.