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[14arg] That Marcus Cato said there was a difference between properare and festinare, and how inappropriately Verrius Flaccus explained the origin of the latter word.

FESTINARE and properare seem to indicate the same thing and to be used of the same thing. But Marcus Cato thinks that there is a difference, and that the difference is this—I quote his own words from the speech which he pronounced On his Own Merits: 1 [p. 183] “It is one thing to hasten (properare), another to hurry (festinare). He who finishes some one thing in good season, hastens (properat); one who begins many things at the same time but does not finish them, hurries (festinat).” Verrius Flaccus, wishing to explain the nature of this difference, says 2Festinat is derived from for (to speak), since those idle folk who can accomplish nothing talk more than they act.” But that seems too forced and absurd, nor can the first letter of the two words be of such weight that because of it such different words as festino and for should appear to be the same. But it seems more fitting and closer to explain festinare as equivalent to fessum esse or “be wearied.” For one who tires himself out by hastily attacking many things at once no longer hastens, but hurries. 3

1 p. 44. 4, Jordan.

2 p. xv, Müller.

3 Both derivations are fanciful. Festino is related to confestim, but its origin is uncertain.

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