Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dum Extendar

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.17, with an English rendering by George Wither. The metaphor is that of metal being shaped on the blacksmith's anvil. Here is the opening stanza of Wither's poem:
Why should the foolish World discourage Men,
In just endurances? or bid them shunne
Good Actions, 'cause they suffer now and then,
For Doing well, as if some Ill were done?
Ere Plates extended are, they must abide
A thousand hamm'rings; And, then that which fill'd
So little roome, it scarce your Hand could hide,
Will serve a goodly Monument to gild.
So, he that hopes to winne an honest Name,
Must many blowes of Fortune undergoe,
And hazard, oft, the blast of Evill-Fame,
Before a Good-Report her Trumpe will blow.
Although Rollenhagen's epigram does not mention God, you can see the hand of God reaching out with the hammer!

Dum Extendar
Dum extendar, duros ictus tot perfero; nomen
ob clarum cur quis ferre recuset idem?

Till God hath wrought us to his Will,
The Hammer we shall suffer still.

Here is the vocabulary:

dum - while, so long as
extendo - stretch out
durus - hard
ictus - blow
tot - so many
perfero - bear, endure
nomen - name
ob - on account of
clarus - clear, bright, brilliant, famous
cur - why
quis - who, anyone
fero - bear, carry
recuso - refuse
idem - the same

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