Monday, October 24, 2011

Ad Adamum

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 3:46. It recounts how Eve deceived Adam with the apple and it plays on the anagrams of EVA (Eve), VAE (woe!), and AVE (hello!). There's no way to get that wonderful play on words into the English, although Harvey tries to make up for that with some nice parallels and alliteration. There is also a play on words in the Latin between malum, the fruit, and the word malum, meaning "evil."

Ad Adamum
Eva, parens mortis, malo te falsa fefellit,
Cumque tuum struet vae, tibi dixit ave.

False Eve, Death’s Parent, thee deceiv’d by Fruit;
And foully ruin’d with a fair salute.

Here is the vocabulary:

ad - to, towards
Adamus - Adam
Eva - Eva
parens - parent (mother or father)
mors - death
malum - apple
tu - you
falsus - false
fallo - trick deceit
cum - when
que - and (enclitic)
struo - build, construct
vae - woe!
dico - say, speak
ave - hail! hello!


  1. The future tense "struet" seems a bit odd. The 1658 edition has "strueret", but either way the sense eludes me.

  2. I would say:

    And, even though she will arrange your "woe," she said to you, "Hello!"

  3. Hi Laura,
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    Thank you!


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