I’ve just started Ernst Robert Curtius’s European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, recommended by elessorn and others in this thread (why juggle half a dozen books when you can juggle a dozen, is my motto), and the first thing that greeted me was the list of ten Guiding Principles, untranslated quotations from Greek, Latin, German, French (Old and Modern), and Spanish. I was thinking it would cost me a certain amount of research to figure them all out, but a moment’s googling showed me that Michael Gilleland of Laudator Temporis Acti had saved me the trouble in this post from 2014:
I could find existing translations of only the first three principles, so I tried to translate the others myself. Thanks very much to friends who patiently answered questions and made suggestions—any remaining errors and infelicities are my own fault. I’ve also added a few notes.
Here’s a sample of his very useful work:
Ne tu aliis faciendam trade, factam si quam rem cupis.
If you want something done, don’t give it to others to be done.
This proverb isn’t in Hans Walther, Proverbia Sententiaeque Latinitatis Medii Aevi (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963-1969), or Renzo Tosi, Dictionnaire des sentences latines et grecques, tr. Rebecca Lenoir (Grenoble: Jérôme Millon, 2010). W.M. Lindsay quotes it as an old proverb (proverbii veteris) in the Latin preface to his edition of Isidore’s Etymologiae (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911), p. vi.
Being fundamentally lazy, I love it when people do my work for me (cf. this post on “Culturally Backward Nationalities”), so I offer my hearty thanks to Michael; the only thing I can think to add is a bit of context for the first three, so I will do that. The first, from Herodotus I.8 (πάλαι δὲ τὰ καλὰ ἀνθρώποισι ἐξεύρηται, ἐκ τῶν μανθάνειν δεῖ), is in the famous story of Candaules and Gyges; the former is so proud of his wife’s beauty he tells the latter to look at her naked, and the horrified response includes the remark that (in the Godley translation quoted in the blog post) “Men have long ago made wise rules from which one ought to learn,” or (in the version used in Paul L. MacKendrick and Herbert M. Howe’s Classics in Translation) “Men of old discovered the proprieties, and it is our duty to learn from them.”
The second is from Scipio’s negotiations with the Carthaginians in Polybius 15:
But Scipio, on hearing from the Roman legates that both the senate and the people had readily accepted the treaty he had made with the Carthaginians and were ready to comply with all his requests, was highly gratified by this, and ordered Baebius to treat the Carthaginian envoys with all courtesy and send them home, acting, as I think, very rightly and wisely. For aware as he was of the high value attached by his own nation to keeping faith to ambassadors, he took into consideration not so much the deserts of the Carthaginians as the duty of the Romans. Therefore restraining his own anger and the bitter resentment he felt owing to the late occurrence, he did his best to preserve ‘the glorious record of our sires,’ as the saying is.
(The bit I have bolded is Curtius’s Principle.)
And the third is from Petronius 118:
“Yes, my young friends,” said Eumolpus, “poetry has led many astray. As soon as a man has shaped his verse in feet and woven into it a more delicate meaning with an ingenious circumlocution, he thinks that forthwith he has scaled Helicon. In this fashion people who are tired out with forensic oratory often take refuge in the calm of poetry as in some happier haven, supposing that a poem is easier to construct than a declamation adorned with quivering epigrams. But nobler souls do not love such coxcombry, and the mind cannot conceive or bring forth its fruit unless it is steeped in the vast flood of literature. One must flee away from all diction that is, so to speak, cheap, and choose words divorced from popular use, putting into practice, “I hate the common herd and hold it afar.”
The last quote, “odi profanum vulgus et arceo,” is the start of Horace Odes 3.1.
Addendum. I was a little nervous about the attribution of the Ortega quote (number 10) to “Obras (1932),” so I did a little googling and discovered it’s from a 1927 review of Ramón Menéndez Pidal’s Orígenes del español: Estado lingüístico de la Península Ibérica hasta el siglo XI (Madrid, 1926); the full parenthesis is:
(Es preciso que los hombres de ciencia vuelvan a caer en la cuenta de que escriben libros. Los mismos alemanes, que causaron originariamente el daño, comienzan a arrepentirse. Un libro de ciencia tiene que ser de ciencia; pero también tiene que ser un libro).
My translation (with the Principle bolded):
(Men of science need to realize once again that they are writing books. The same Germans who caused the damage are beginning to regret it. A book of science must be scientific, but it must also be a book.)