Monday, December 12, 2011

Lyra

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.211. This epigram is one of those paradoxical comparisons: a musical instrument has its different strings and produces harmony; since the human race likewise has its different members, we should likewise be harmonious, but instead of enjoying concordia, we are discors. As you can see from the spelling, Latin chorda and cor (as in concordia) are not from the same root - but it still makes for good word-play!

Lyra
In tam diversis cum sit concordia chordis,
Tam discors hominum non pudet esse genus?


AN HARP
Sith th’ Harps discording Strings concording be,
Is’t not a shame for men to disagree?

Vocabulary:

lyra - lyre
in - in, into
tam - such
diversus - various, diverse
cum - when, since
sum - be, exist
concordia - harmony
chorda - string (of a musical instrument)
discors - discordant, unharmonious
homo - person, man
non - not, no
pudet - it shames, make ashamed
genus - family, kind, race

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