3

There is a quote from G.K. Chesterton in The Philosophy of Islands:

“Did you or did you not as a child try to step on every alternate paving-stone ? Was that artificial and a superstition? Did priests come in the dead of night and mark out by secret signs the stones on which you are allowed to tread? ... Has the Church issued a bill “Quisquam non pavemente?”

Another source says that the pharase “Quisquam non pavemente?” can be translated as "Whatsoever is not pavement", but also, "Whatsoever does not nourish the mind." Is this double-meaning a correct or near-correct understanding of the phrase?

2

I don't know (or care to know) enough about the Catholic Church to know if this is an allusion to something, but it is possible there's punning going on. The perfect tense of pasco "to nourish" is pavi, and one of the words for "mind" is mens, mentis. Of course pave mente isn't grammatical, but it's close enough to pavit mentem to merit suspicion of punning.

For "whatsoever", though, I'd expect the neuter form "quicquam" or "quidquam", not "quisquam," which is masculine or feminine.

1
  • 2
    For "whatsoever", though, I'd expect the neuter form "quicquam" or "quidquam" – or quidquid, methinks … – Sebastian Koppehel Jan 29 at 21:27
4

It's pretty clear to me that this is a reference to the language of some papal bull, and that it has nothing to do with "pasco" (or paveo) or "mens."

Usually Church documents are named by their first few words, so I'm guessing Chesterton is doing a comically lazy "translation" of a prohibition such as, "Whosoever does not [quisquam non] step on these paving stones, anathema sit."

I can't find anything with that exact wording, though, but I think it's the best working theory.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.