by: M. Moravius Horatius Piscinus
These maxims, related to farming, come from C. Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis 18.8, 39-44
Ex oraculo scilicet: MALIS BONUS
From the oracles it is learned, "make good out of what is bad." 18.8, 39
Nequam agricolam esse quisquis emeret quod praestare ei fundus posset.
He is a bad agriculturalist who has to buy what his farm might otherwise provide.18.8, 40
Malum patrem familias quisquis interdiu faceret, quod noctu posset, nisi in tempestate caeli.
A man is a poor manager of his estate who does in the daytime what he might have done at night, except indeed when the weather does not provide. 18.8, 40
Peiorem (patrem familias) qui profestis diebus ageret, quod feriatis deberet.
He is still a worse manager of his estate who does on a workday what he might have done on a feast days. 18,8, 40
Note that on a feast day certain work was permitted. Virgil Geor. 1.268 ff. has as permissible the making of hedges, irrigating or draining fields, fencing in fields, catching birds, washing sheep, and burning bramble. Commentaries on the pontifical law said that any farm work that could not be put off without causing some damage to the farm or endanger its produce could be performed on days marked nefasus.
Pessimum (patrem familias) qui sereno die sub tecto potius operaretur quam in agro.
He is the worst manager of all who works under a shelter when the weather is fine and he ought to be laboring in the fields. 18.8, 40
Id agendum, ut diligant vicini.
Cato said, "Always act in a manner to secure the love of your neighbors." 18.8,44
Ne familiae male sit.
Cato said, "Take care that all in your household are in good condition." 18.8, 44
Nihil sero faciendum in agricultura omnes censent, iterumque suo quaeque tempore facienda, et tertio praecepto praetermissa frustra revocari.
Cato said, as everyone on agriculture agrees , that "Nothing must be done too late; everything must be done in its proper season, and thirdly lost opportunities can never be regained." 18.8, 44
Quidquid per asellum fieri potest, vilissime constat.
Cato said, "Whatever can be done by the help of an ass will cost the least money." 18.8, 44