Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lex Regit et Arma Tuentur

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.3, with an English rendering by George Wither. Here is how Wither describes the sacred commands of that law in the poem accompanying the emblem:
For, loe, before the Tables of the Lawe,
A naked Sword is borne, whose use may bee
As well to keepe in Safety, as in Awe.
Whence, Princes (if they please) this note may take,
(And it shall make them happily to raigne)
That, many good and wholsome Lawes to make
Without an Executioner, is vaine.
If you look at the emblem you will see that the tablets of the law bear an inscription of their own: Deus Proximus, as the hand of God itself wields the weapons of the sacred law.

Lex Regit et Arma Tuentur

Lex regit, et hostes contra ducis arma tuentur
Hunc populum legis, qui sacra iussa facit.

The Law is given to direct;
The Sword, to punish and protect.

Here is the vocabulary:

lex - law
rego - direct, guide, rule
et - and
arma - weapons, arms
tueor - protect, watch over
hostis - enemy, hostile
contra - against
dux - leader, general
hic - this, this one
populus - people, populace
qui - who, which, that
sacer - holy, sacred
iussum - order, command
facio - make

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