29 December 2009

Uva uvam videndo varia fit.

A problem has been solved. A mystery is no longer a mystery.

You will recall that in Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, Augustus McCrae fashions a sign for the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium. A man who valued education, Gus felt compelled to add a Latin motto to the sign. Even though he had no idea what it meant, he chose, "Uva uvam vivendo varia fit." [Emphasis mine.] He chose that motto only because he thought it looked right.

This has bothered me for years because Larry McMurtry never tells us what this Latin motto means. I have finally figured it out. Gus mispelled videndo, carving vivendo into the sign instead. Therein lies the problem.

Uva uvam videndo varia fit literally means, "A grape changes color in seeing another grape." The sense of it is, "a bad friend makes you a bad person," or "a good friend makes you a good person."

No need to thank me.


Four Dinners said...

I only eat grapes without seeds in em.....so there....;-)

Anonymous said...

Do you peel them first, Dinners?

Robyn said...

I hope you have a blessed and wonderful 2010!!! I am still reading your blog faithfully. I envy you living in warmth and sunshine. Iowa has 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Candy Minx said...

Happy New Year you big ol' grape!

I hope you have a wonderful new year with good health and more positive experiences and adventures and learning!!! You deserve it and always follow your heart!

All the best from us two folks in chicago,