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[p. 239]

XI

[11arg] The derivation and meaning of the word mature, and that it is generally used improperly; and also that the genitive of praecox is praecocis and not praecoquis.


MATURE in present usage signifies “hastily” and “quickly,” contrary to the true force of the word; for mature means quite a different thing. Therefore Publius Nigidius, a man eminent in the pursuit of all the liberal arts, says: 1Mature means neither 'too soon' nor 'too late,' but something between the two and intermediate.”

Publius Nigidius has spoken well and properly. For of grain and fruits those are called matura, or “mature,” which are neither unripe and hard, nor falling and decayed, but full-grown and ripened in their proper time. But since that which was not done negligently was said to be done mature, the force of the word has been greatly extended, and an act is now said to be done mature which is done with some haste, and not one which is done without negligence; whereas such things as are immoderately hastened are more properly called inmatura, or “untimely.”

That limitation of the word, and of the action itself, which was made by Nigidius was very elegantly expressed by the deified Augustus with two Greek words; for we are told that he used to say in conversation, and write in his letters, σπεῦδε βραδέως, that is, “make haste slowly,” 2 by which he recommended that to accomplish a result we should use at once the promptness of energy and the delay of carefulness, and it is from these two opposite qualities that maturitas springs. Virgil also, to one

1 Fr. 48, Swoboda.

2 See Suetonius, Aug. xxv. 4. Hence the common festina lente and German Eile mit Weile.

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