Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dum Nutrio Consumor

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.15, with an English rendering by George Wither. This emblem is a great way to think about the metaphor that gives us the idea of "burn-out." Here the poor wood, lignum miserum, knows that it is going to experience literal burn-out, as a result of having done its duty in feeding the fire.

Dum Nutrio Consumor
Consumor miserum, flammas dum nutrio, lignum,
Officium in damno est: nil bene facta iuvant.


I pine, that others may not perish,
And waste my Selfe, their Life to cherish.


Here is the vocabulary:

dum - while
nutrio - nourish, feed
consumo - eat, consume
miser - wretched, unfortunate
flamma - flame
lignum - wood
officium - office, duty, service
in - in, into
damnum - loss, injury, damage
sum - be, exist
nil - nothing
bene - well
facio - do
iuvo - help, assist

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