Translations of Major Latin Inscriptions in Memorial HallTHE MEMORIAL TRANSEPT
1). QUICUNQUE QUAESIERIT ANIMAM SUAM
SALUAM FACERE PERDET ILLAM
ET QUICUNQUE PERDIDERIT ILLAM UIUIFICABIT EAM
Whoever shall seek to save his (own) life shall lose it and whoever shall lose his life shall make it live.
MORTALEM UITAM MORS IMMORTALIS ADEMIT
Immortal death has taken away (their) mortal life.
2). OPTIMA EST HAEC CONSOLATIO
PARENTIBUS QUOD TANTA REIPUBLICAE PRAESIDIA GENUERUNT
LIBERIS QUOD HABEBUNT DOMESTICA EXEMPLA UIRTUTIS
CONIUGIBUS QUOD IIS UIRIS CAREBUNT
QUOS LAUDARE QUAM LUGERE PRAESTABIT
This is the best comfort to the parents, that they have begotten such (fine) defenses for
the Commonwealth; to the children, that they shall have examples in their home of
courage; to the wives, that they will lack those husbands whom it will be more fitting for them to
praise than to grieve for.
3). DIC HOSPES SPARTAE NOS TE HIC UIDISSE IACENTES
DUM SANCTIS PATRIAE LEGIBUS OBSEQUIMUR
Stranger, tell to Sparta that you have seen us lying here, obedient to the holy laws
of our country.
O FORTUNATA MORS QUAE NATURAE DEBITA
PRO PATRIA EST POTISSIMUM REDDITA
O fortunate death which, due to nature, is most preferably paid for
ones native country.
4). CONSUMMATI IN BREUI EXPLERUNT TEMPORA MULTA
Made perfect in a short time, they fulfilled many years.
VIRTUS OMNIBUS REBUS ANTEIT PROFECTO
LIBERTAS SALUS UITA RES ET PARENTES
ET PATRIA ET PROGNATI TUTANTUR SERUANTUR
Courage certainly surpasses (lit. goes before) all (other) things; (by it) liberty,
safety, life, property and parents, and country and children are preserved.
5). GRATA EORUM UIRTUTEM MEMORIA PROSEQUI
QUI PRO PATRIA UITAM PROFUDERUNT
With grateful memory to honor the courage of those who have poured
forth (their) lives for (their) fatherland.
BREUIS A NATURA NOBIS UITA DATA EST
AT MEMORIA BENE REDDITAE UITAE SEMPITERNA
A short life has been given to us by nature, but the memory of a life well given up (is) eternal.
6). BRUTORUM AETERNITAS SUBOLES
UIRORUM FAMA MERITA ET INSTITUTA
The eternity of brutes (consists in their) offspring; (that) of men (in
their) fame, earned and established.
INMORTALIS EST ENIM MEMORIA ILLORUM
QUONIAM ET APUD DEUM NOTA EST ET APUD HOMINES
The memory of those (men) is immortal because it is known both with God and
HIC IN SILUESTRIBUS
ET INCULTIS LOCIS
ANGLI DOMO PROFUGI
ANNO POST CHRISTUM NATUM CIC IC C XXXUI
POST COLONIAM HUC DEDUCTAM UI
SADIENTIAM RATI ANTE OMNIA COLENDAM
SCHOLAM PUBLICE CONDIDERUNT
CONDITAM CHRISTO ET ECCLESIAE DICAUERUNT
QUAE AUCTA IOHANNIS HARUARD MUNIFICENTIA
A LITTERARUM FAUTORIBUS CUM NOSTRATIBUS TUM EXTERNIS
ALUMNORUM DENIQUE FIDEI COMMISSA
AB EXIGUIS PERDUCTA INITIIS AD MAIORA RERUM INCREMENTA
PRAESIDUM SOCIORUM INSPECTORUM SENATUS ACADEMICI
CONSILIIS ET PRUDENTIA ET CURA
OPTUMAS ARTES UIRTUTES PUBLICAS PRIUATAS
QUI AUTEM DOCTI FUERINT FULGEBUNT QUASI SPLENDOR FIRMAMENTI
ET QUI AD IUSTITIAM ERUDIUNT MULTOS
QUASI STELLAE IN PERPETUAS AETERNITATES
The first runs: Here in wooded and uncultivated places Englishmen, fugitives from home, in the year after the birth of Christ 1636 (and) after the colony was founded here, the sixth, because they thought that wisdom was to be cultivated before all else, founded a school by public enactment and when founded dedicated (it) to Christ and his Church. Which, increased by the munificence of John Harvard, aided again and again by supporters of letters, not only our own but from abroad, finally entrusted to the charge of (its) alumni, and led from slight beginnings to greater increases of resources by the counsels and prudence and care of (its) Presidents, Fellows, Overseers, and Faculty, has always cultivated and still cultivates the best arts and virtues, public and private.
The second runs: Moreover they who have been learned shall shine like the splendor of the firmament, and they who educate many to justice shall shine as stars for perpetual eternities.
A. M. anni MDCCCII
SUA PEC. F. * aedificatum
anno post Chr. nat.
post pop. Amer. liberatum
Charles Sanders, A.B. of the year 1802, with his own money built this Theatre for the college alumni, constructed in the year after the birth of Christ, 1876, and after the freeing of the American people, 100."
Translations Source: Professor Mason Hammond, Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature, Emeritus, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew Inscriptions on and in Harvard Buildings Part 1: Memorial Hall, Harvard Library Bulletin XXVIII no. 3 (July, 1980)pp. 299-346
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