Ut Desint Vires, Tamen Est Laudanda Voluntas

March 28, 2010

My one and thus far only contribution to Wikipedia was to add this bit of Latin. It must have been 7 or 8 years ago, and others quickly updated it with a much better translation, and added where exactly in Ovid the sentence was to be found.

“The power may be lacking, but the will should be praised all the same.”

It has been a favourite phrase of mine, ever since I first came across it when reading Latin was still a part of my life. Of course, one may object that there is nothing to praise if the power has failed, if the attempt has been unsuccesful. And indeed if the problem is simple, there is not much point to heap praise onto the incompetent. But when it is complex, when the answers are not readily available, when different opinions all seem to contain grains of truth, then isn’t it better to praise the attempts at explanation even though they inevitably fall short of giving a full picture? And without a doubt through this blog I will not make sense of it all, but I try and laudate voluntam.



  1. Roughly translated into German:” Gut gemeint ist noch nicht gut gemacht”, roughly translates back into English: “Well thought, not yet well done”.

  2. I found this sentence in a novel by Frank Schatzing, The Devil in the Cathedral (2006-7).
    My English could obviously be not good enough, for i’m Italian, but I would try and add my personal translation:
    “Though man be prone to fail(ure), nonetheless good will is to be rewarded”
    “come sono manchevoli gli uomini! e tuttavia è da lodare la buona volontà”

    ciao ciao!
    Enrico Capriglione from Velletri, Rome, Italy

  3. The accusativus of voluntas is voluntatem

  4. Der Koerper ist schwach, der Geist ist willig.

  5. My kids just left after an exhausting Thanksgiving celebration. They made efforts to help with the cleanup. It was a gesture and I appreciated it. And said so.
    (translated from the sublime into the mundane)

  6. Forgot: Ultra vires nemo obligatur

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