Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fiscus

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4:239. Owen's metaphor this time is prompted by two similar-sounding Latin words: fiscus and viscus. Although birdlime is not something people are necessarily familiar with nowadays, just think flypaper - it's the same idea!

Fiscus
Ut visco capiuntur aves (fiscus quasi viscus
Dicitur), a fisco sic capiuntur opes.


THE TREASURY
Birds are with Bird-lime caught, both young and old:
So Treasuries like Lime-twigs catch our Gold.


The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only two words in this poem that are not on the DCC list:

fiscus - basket, money basket, state treasury
viscum (viscus), viscī - birdlime, mistletoe

ā ab abs: from, by (+abl.)
avis -is f.: bird
capiō capere cēpī captum: seize
dīcō dīcere dīxī dictum: say; causam dicere, plead a case; diem dicere, appoint a day
ops opis f.: assistance, resources
quasi: as if
sīc: in this manner, thus; sīc . . . ut: in the same way as
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)



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