Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vicissitudo

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4.218. Note the accusative plural luctūs here: griefs, plural, along with gaudia, joys, plural. It's a perpetual cycle: after grief, joy, and then after that joy, grief again, and then joy, and so on. That's why I chose the "wheel of fortune" image below to accompany this poem about life's vicissitudes.

Vicissitudo
Gaudia post luctus veniunt, post gaudia luctus.
Semper in ambiguo (speve metuve) sumus.

VICISSITUDE
Mirth, Mourning ends, and Mourning Mirth concludes,
Hope, Fear, w’ are various by Vicissitudes.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are three words which are not on the DCC list:

ambiguus, -a -um - uncertain, doubtful, ambiguous
luctus, luctūs - grief, sorrow
vicissitūdo, vicissitūdinis f. - change, alteration, vicissitude

gaudium -ī n.: delight, joy, pleasure
in: in, on (+ abl.); into, onto (+ acc)
metus -ūs m.: fear, dread
post: after (adv. and prep. +acc.)
semper: always, ever
spēs speī f.: hope
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ve (enclitic): or
veniō venīre vēnī ventum: come


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