Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dies Solis

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.189. This poem is about the paradox of the light that was created (Fiat lux!) before the sun; Owen playfully wants to know how that day could be called Sunday, in the absence of the sun. Owen was a contemporary of the famous scholar, Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who determined that the first day of creation was not just any old Sunday, but Sunday, October 23, in the year 4004 B.C.E. You can read more about Ussher at Wikipedia.

Dies Solis
Qua prima emicuit lux, nondum sole creato,
Unde fit, ut solis dicta sit illa dies?

Why’s the day call’d (when Light was first dilated)
Sunday, when yet the Sun was not created?

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

ēmicō, -āre, ēmicuī, ēmicātum - spring out, break forth, appear suddenly

creō -āre: produce, create; elect, choose
dīcō dīcere dīxī dictum: say; causam dicere, plead a case; diem dicere, appoint a day
diēs diēī m./f.: day
fīō fierī factus sum: become
ille illa illud: that
lūx lūcis f.: light of day
nōndum: not yet
prīmus -a -um: first; adv. prīmum: at first, firstly
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sōl sōlis m.: sun
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
unde: from where
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)

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