One of the more memorable scenes in the Lord of the Ring's movies is the moment when Gollum's two personalities argue with each other, and finally one of his selves orders the other, "Go away and never come back!" So, let's say we are rendering this in Latin. At first I thought it would be this:

Discede et numquam redi!

  1. However, after thinking about it, even though we say "never come back" in the present tense in English, the returning action would actually be in the future, so should the imperative be the future imperative?

Discede et numquam redito!

In other words, in Latin should it be "Go away and never will you come back!"

  1. Also, I wonder if discede is the right idiom. Would it be stronger and more appropriate to write:

Abi et numquam redito!

or even

E ut ab et numquam redito!

  • 1
    Can you explain 'E ut ab' in the last version? You appear to be using 2 prepositions, but without supplying nouns to serve as their objects.
    – cnread
    Oct 21 '20 at 19:45
  • @cnread I think it is an idiom that roughly means "away from". So, "e ut ab" would be "go away!" Oct 21 '20 at 19:48
  • 3
    Can you cite a source? I've never seen that as an idiom, and a corpus search on PHI didn't yield any results. Is it Medieval or otherwise non-Classical?
    – cnread
    Oct 21 '20 at 21:18

You've done a great job, just avoid the future imperative.

  1. In general, never use the "future imperative." Unless you are in a courtroom. The term "future imperative" is not accurate. It should have been named the "formal imperative," since it has nothing to do with future time. (If someone wants to open this can of worms, please create a new question.)

  2. discede and abi are both great to use here. They are very common and the Lewis&Short lexicon says they are both used

frequently in all periods and sorts of composition

Specifically, discedere can apply to people

To depart from any place or person, to go away from, to leave

While abeo has a specific usage appropriate to Gollum's situation. But, This sense is only used in poetry (Terence, Plautus)

The imper. "abi" is often a simple exclamation or address, either with a friendly or reproachful signif.

In conclusion, keep discede / abi et numquam redi. Gollum is not a fancy hobbit, not even as Smeagol. His word choice should reflect his character. No courtroom expressions, and no need for local idioms or purpose clauses with ut. He's just saying GTFO!

Note - I translated a couple of Gollum/Bilbo's riddles from the Hobbit into (simplish) Latin and posted them in my bio/about me page.

  • 1
    "This sense is only used in poetry (Terence, Plautus)" -- these two gentlemen weren't poets but playwrights, and between them are our best source of colloquial everyday Latin. It's also not true, cf. "Abi hinc cum tribunatibus ac rogationibus tuis" (Livius, Ab urbe condita 6,40). Oct 22 '20 at 19:19
  • I agree that they have a lot of colloq. Latin. But I'm not saying that "abi hinc" is only in Terence/Plautus, I'm saying that only they use it in the sense of "friendly or reproachful signif." (perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=abi&la=la) (Also, plays = poetry. Latin comedy is written in iambic senarius & iambic trimeter mostly). Oct 23 '20 at 12:44
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    @eyesplice17 I think that entry is referring to a pretty specific usage of abi similar to English "get out of here!" The literal usage ("go away") is common to all authors and can certainly be friendly/reproachful as the context dictates, cf. latin.packhum.org/search?q=%23abi%23&first=111
    – brianpck
    Oct 23 '20 at 18:06

Abi is good and regularly used in this context, often with hinc added, e.g.,

  • Abi hinc - Go away
  • Abi hinc ab oculis (or: ... e conspectu meo) - Get out of my sight
  • Abi hinc in malam rem - literally: Go away to misfortune, probably better translated as "jump in a lake" etc.

Then there is the useful interjection apage, translated by Lewis & Short as: away with thee! away! begone! avaunt! --- and often used in the form apage te (a me). Amove te is another option.

With that in mind, I think your suggestion: Abi et numquam redito is pretty good already, and may be seasoned to taste by adding a little hinc, apage, etc.

(Like cnread in the comments, I cannot make heads and tails of e ut ab.)

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