Saturday, January 7, 2012


Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 6.5. This epigram is a whole series of paradoxes meant to convey the paradoxical "bitter-sweetness" of love. Some of the pairs are noun-noun pairs, but you can also see some participles: a pleasure that you suffer, for example, and hope that is fearful. You can see some similar paradoxes in Owen's poem about the lover, Amator.

Libertas - carcer, pax - pugna, dolenda - voluptas:
Spes - metuens, mel - fel, feria - ludus, amor.

Imprison’d Liberty, Peace-war, sweet-soure,
Hope-fear, Gall-honey, Love doth laugh and lowre.

Here is the vocabulary:

amor - love
libertas - freedom
carcer - prison
pax - peace
pugna - fight
doleo - feel pain, suffer
voluptas - pleasure
spes - hope
metuo - fear
mel - honey
fel - bile, bitterness
feria - holiday, day of rest
ludus - school, exercise, sport

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