Proverb – American/English

Proverb- American/English

“What so ever a man soeth”

Chris grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. However, he learned this proverb while attending Michigan State University. At MSU, there is a big tower in the middle of campus called Beaumont Tower. On this tower, there is a mural of a man in a crop field harvesting crops with a city in the background, and this saying appears on the mural. He always saw the proverb on the mural, but didn’t know what it meant until he pledged at the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon during Fall 2007. On the back of his SigEp pledge books he got during pledging semester (Fall 2007), there was a picture of this tower with this proverb underneath.

He says this tower and proverb is a symbol of SigEp, but only members of SigEp know that it is a symbol for the fraternity. If a passerby walked by the tower, he would not know that SigEp adopted the tower and proverb as a symbol. He said the proverb means effort is reflected in results, or what you put in is what you get out. SigEp mainly uses this proverb during their diligence ceremony for pledges at MSU, one of the most important ceremonies. Chris was told by older members of the house that the proverb is on the mural on Beaumont Tower because it shows the man in the mural can balance hard work and play. This proverb has become significant to Chris because it lets him know that he has to work hard to accomplish his goals in life and he can’t slack off and party all the time. He only uses it in serious conversation and the proverb motivates him every time he sees it when he walks past the tower.

This seems to be a very old proverb, coming from the days when agriculture was still a big part of the U.S. industry. I interpret the verb “soeth” to mean an action that a farmer takes when tending to him crops. The action of sowing his crops is one where he rakes the soil to stimulate quicker and more efficient growth. Literally, the proverb to me means, “the effort a man puts into his crops will directly influence the quality and quantity of the crops that will be produced.”

It is interesting that SigEp adopted this proverb to symbolize what they stand for. Chris said that this proverb is a very big part of their diligence ceremony and it isn’t hard to see why. As the mural indicated, a farmer must be diligent, meaning work with care, patience and efficiency, in order to produce the best crops. This translates into non-agricultural life in that everyone must work diligently in order to get the most out of their experiences.