Thursday, December 15, 2011

Speculum

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.214. Just as Owen's Echo epigram reflect a world without audio recording, this epigram reflects a world without video recording. For Owen, the mirror was able to reproduce images in motion, which human artists could not manage to do. Phidias and Apelles were renowned artists of ancient Greece. Notice how Owen is addressing the mirror directly here; the speculum is tu.

Speculum
Fingere non Phidias, nec Apelles pingere motum
Novit: tu Phidia plus et Apelle facis.


A LOOKING-GLASS
Than Phidias or Apelles wiser, thou
The Bodies motion form’st, they knew not how.

Vocabulary:

speculum - looking-glass, mirror
fingo - shape, fashion, form
non - not, no, nor
Phidias - Phidias
nec - and not, nor
Apelles - Apelles
pingo - paint, depict
motus - movement
nosco - know, know how to
tu - you
plus - more
et - and
facio - do, make

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