Saturday, January 7, 2012

Non Sceptro, Sed Plectro Ducitur

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.7, with an English rendering by George Wither. This poem derives its charm from the rhyme of sceptrum (symbolizing riches and political power) and plectrum (music and poetry). Notice how the woman is balancing atop a ball, symbolizing her unsteady fickleness, although she is inclining toward the musical fellow!

Non Sceptro, Sed Plectro Ducitur
Non sceptro virgo sed plectro ducitur; aurum
Spernit amor: Venerem musica blanda movet.


A fickle Woman wanton growne,
Preferres a Crowd, before a Crowne.



Here is the vocabulary:

non - not, no
sceptrum - scepter
sed - but
plectrum - plectrum, pick (musical)
duco - lead
virgo - virgin
aurum - gold
sperno - scorn, despise
amor - love
Venus - goddess of love, love
musica - music
blandus - sweet, charming
moveo - move

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