Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Virtutis Laus

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4.213. This poem is addressed to Thomas Puckering, whom Owen describes as "summae spei adulescens." Sir Thomas Puckering (1592-1636) was the son of Sir John Puckering; Owen addressed several poems to him. The paradox of this poem is the way that the sun's steadiness consists in motion; likewise, the steady force of virtue consists in activity. Of course, we know that it is the earth moving around the sun - but it sure does look like the sun is moving across our sky! So, if you want to be as steadily powerful as the sun, get moving!

Virtutis Laus
Solis ut, in solo motu, constantia constat,
Constans virtutis vis in agendo sita.

As the Suns constancy consists in Motion,
So Vertue’s force in Action hath best Notion.

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

constantia, f. - steadiness, constancy, agreement
mōtus, mōtūs m. - moving, motion, movement
situs -a -um - positioned, situated

agō agere ēgī āctum: drive, do, act
cōnstō -stāre -stitī: agree; constat, it is established that (+ infin.)
in: in, on (+ abl.); into, onto (+ acc)
laus laudis f.: praise, glory
sōl sōlis m.: sun
sōlus -a -um: only, alone; sōlum (adv.), only, merely
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)
virtūs -ūtis f.: valor, manliness, virtue
vīs f.: force; (acc.) vim, (abl.) vī; (pl.) vīrēs, strength

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