So I just started reading through William Lilly's 1647 work Christian Astrology and I came across a paragraph in Latin on p. ix of the Dedicatory Epistle that I can't seem to easily translate via Google Translate. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Faveas (precor) primitiis crescentis indolis, quae si sub tuo sole adoleverit, et justam tandem maturitatem consequuta fuerit, non indignos fructus retributarum confido.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! Just a heads up: I wouldn't trust what Google Translate gives for Latin 100%. Google Translate can struggle with Latin a lot more than other languages.
    – Adam
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 1:39
  • Great to see someone else looking at astrological manuscripts, Nikki! Google Translate is hopeless for Latin; it's very clever in the way it works, because it searches billions of pages to find matches. Thus if you put in the first line of Caesar's Bello Gallico, you will get a perfect translation, because it's on so many web pages. If you put the much simpler "puerum puella percussit" ("the girl hits the boy", in a slightly unusual but valid word order), or "puella puerum percussit", it gets totally lost ("the girl child struck"). Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


I only can make sense of it under the assumption that retributarum is a misprint for retributuram.

Then it means:

Look (I pray) kindly upon the beginnings of a growing talent, which, if it grows up under your sun and finally attains the proper maturity, I am confident shall bear no unworthy fruits.

Note: The author uses, as he must, the so-called future perfect tense in Latin. I thought that would sound unnatural if translated literally ("will have grown up").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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