In my post on on Denis Wright (Denis Wright's ten life rules) I mentioned the Latin phrase Carpe Diem. This led to a response from a friend, JC, that I brought up as a postscript and now quote again in full:
A friend advised me that the phrase comes from Horace Odes Bk 1;No. 11 -The Latin reads: dum loquimur fugerit invida aetas/ carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. Now for those like me who have either done no Latin or forgotten whatever they learned, she also supplied an English translation: "While we speak, envious time will have fled. Suck everything out of today, don't waste your belief in the time to come."
There you have it, adult education care of JC. I must tell you about my final failed attempt at Elementary Latin some time.
This led Evan to comment that he did one term of Latin in high school. The one phrase that
he could remember from from the period was "the elephant doesn't catch the mouse".
Now I note that Evan did not provide the Latin, just the English. Mmmm, as another friend might say, but I'm in no position to talk. The Latin that I failed to learn far exceeds the Latin that I have forgotten! Mind you, I do remember if only one set of sentences that I had to translate into Latin while doing Elementary Latin. "The sailors landed on the shore. The sailors followed the girls into the caves. The farmers chased the sailors from the cave." In those more chaste days, we were never asked to translate what might have happened in the middle.
kvd took a different track:
Well, to be sure, I had thought that JC spoke Aramaic - if not Hebrew - but if you say Latin, then who am I, etc.
My Latin was learned over four years whilst drearily trudging around Britain, in company with JC (the other one); as he subjugated, I conjugated. And I continue my interest via Blackadder's lackey, as he digs up various bits of olde England with shovel and 'geo-phys'.
But the end result was good, or at least ok: I scored an A as one of six in the SC, but was left wondering to this day why a word such as posterity (something about the future) can in any way be associated with one's bottom (posterior). Can your personal JC ellucidate?
All of which is to ignore the main point of your post about a fellow whose continuing sang-froid I much admire. Except I think that's actually french, so I guess you'd better consult another JC - Jacques Cousteau.
(There's an awful lot of these JC's floating around - no?)
I had no choice but to study Latin, It was compulsory for the first three years of secondary school. Oh dear, conjugation. Do I still remember what it means? Not sure. By the third year, or 5A as it was called in the nomenclature of the time, I was meant to be able to translate Latin. Unlike kvd who trudged around Britain with that other JC, I was at least in warmer climes. But I fear that my attempts to make sense of Caesar's The Alexandrian Wars were, at best, imperfect. Sad but true and to the frustration of my teachers, Messrs Mattingly, Rupp and Kitley.
Now one of the phrases from the period that had a certain resonance was "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres". All right, I take mercy. It means "All Gaul is divided into three parts" and comes from Caesar's Gallic Wars. In this case I'm being a bit naughty in giving you a link to the original. Busy man, that Caesar.
Why should this have a certain resonance. Well, one of my favourite books from the period was Ronald Searle's Down with Skool!, a book that sometimes had a striking resemblance to an institution with which I was familiar. The book includes a series of cartoons showing an increasingly battered pair - a Roman and a Gaul - trudging past each other in, I think, the Alps.
Years later in second year university. friend Brian persuaded me to enrol in Elementary Latin as an extra. Although I got my marks up to (from memory) the low thirties, this was not one of my academic successes. It remains the only university course that I ever failed. By contrast, it proved a considerable vocational success for Brian, needless to say he passed well, for years later he would go on to become a Roman Catholic priest.
Still, it wasn't all wasted from my viewpoint. There were only two of us in the class. the classes were quite fun, and our tutor (Peter T) proved to be a pretty good cook.
Neil drew my attention to this post, 1957 or MCMLVII. It starts with Caesar's Gallic Wars. Apparently, Latin was Neil's third teaching subject.