Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 6.6. The paradox of this epigram is captured, so to speak, in the final three words: quando capit, capitur. The fish might think that he is taking the bait that dangles in front of him on the hook, but instead he is taken; so too the corrupt judge. Minos was the judge of the dead in Hades; here his name stands in for the "judge," just as Venus often stands for "love."

Qui pro iustitia poscit sibi munera, Minos
Est similis pisci: quando capit, capitur.

A Judge, who to be Just, on Bribes doth look,
Is like a Fish, which while it takes, is took.

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

iustitia f. - justice, righteousness
Mīnos, Mīnōis m. - Minos
piscis -is m.: fish

capiō capere cēpī captum: seize
mūnus mūneris n.: gift, offering
pōscō pōscere popōscī: demand, claim; inquire into
prō: for, on behalf of, in proportion to (+abl.)
quandō: when?; since; si quando: if ever
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
similis -e: like, similar
sui, sibi, sē: him- her- itself
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist

No comments:

Post a Comment

(Comments are Google account only, but feel free to contact me directly at if you do not have a Google account.)