Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Chymicum

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.9. It is a paradoxical poem about the fabled philosopher's stone, with an elegant pun in the Latin: dilapidat omnia pro lapide!

In Chymicum
Rem decoxit iners chymicus, dum decoquit aurum,
Et bona dilapidat omnia pro lapide.

The Chymist Gold decocts, till (leaving none)
He loseth all his Gold to find a Stone.

Here is the vocabulary:

in - in, into, against
chymicus - chemist, alchemist
res - thing, property
decoquo - boil, melt, smelt
iners - inactive, useless
dum - while
aurum - gold
et - and
bonus - good
dilapido - squander
omnis - all, every
pro - for, on behalf of
lapis - stone

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