Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Contemptus Mundi

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 10.13. This is one of the Owen's paradoxical epigrams: to have a happy life, you must learn to let go - because those who cling to life live unhappily. You can read more about contemptus mundi at Wikipedia.

Contemptus Mundi
Felicem vitam vis vivere? Spernito vitam.
Vivit enim misere, cui sua vita placet.

CONTEMPT OF THE WORLDWilt live an happy life? Thy Life contemn:He wretched lives, whose life un’t him’s a Jem.

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

contempus, contemptūs m. - contempt, scorn
sperno -ere, sprēvī, sprētum - scorn, reject, despise

enim: for, indeed
fēlīx -īcis: lucky; adv. fēlīciter
miser misera miserum: wretched, pitiable
mundus -ī m.: world, universe, heavens
placeo -ēre placuī placitum: please
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
suus -a -um: his own, her own, its own
vīta -ae f.: life
vīvo -ere vīxī victum: live
volo velle voluī: wish, be willing

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