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Headword: Μία χελιδών
Adler number: mu,1030
Translated headword: one swallow
Vetting Status: high
This [is] proverbial, that "one swallow does not make a spring".[1] It aims to say that one [good] day cannot bring the wise person to perfection, and one bad day [cannot bring] the wise man into ignorance.
Greek Original:
Μία χελιδών: παροιμιῶδες τοῦτο, ὅτι μία χελιδὼν ἔαρ οὐ ποιεῖ. βούλεται δέ τι εἰπεῖν, μία ἡμέρα οὐ ποιεῖ τὸν σοφὸν εἰς τελείωσιν ἐμβαλεῖν, καὶ δυσημερία μία τὸν σοφὸν εἰς ἀμαθίαν.
For this proverb see already epsilon 11 and the notes there. The present entry, as the fuller version of it in Photius (mu438 Theodoridis), shows, derives from its appearance in Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1098a18ff.: "human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. But we must add 'in a complete life.' For one swallow does not make a summer [sic: Aristotle says spring], nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy" (trans. W.D. Ross). Aristotle is trying to prove here that the (real) good must be something complete and it will exist in a complete life (see Nicomachean Ethics 1101a6, 1177b25). In fact, a virtuous activity needs time to develop itself; happiness (eudaimonia) has to do with the complete life of an adult endowed with certain qualities.
Keywords: daily life; ethics; imagery; philosophy; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 1 August 2000@09:53:20.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented note; added keyword; cosmetics) on 15 July 2002@11:11:01.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 November 2005@10:17:11.
David Whitehead (expanded note) on 22 May 2013@07:43:15.
Catharine Roth (expanded title) on 15 June 2015@00:41:42.


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