Wednesday, February 8, 2012

N. O.

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 7.21. In this charming conceit, Owen takes the alphabetical order of the letters "N" and "O" to indicate that nothing comes before everything, an argument for God's creation ex nihilo. For more on the creation ex nihilo, see this Wikipedia article.

N. O.
N praeit, O sequitur, nihil est antiquius omni.
Scilicet, ex nihilo condidit omne Deus.

N. O.
N leads, O follows: Nothing’s more Old than All:
For God of Nothing made what th’ Orb we call.

Here is the vocabulary:

praeeo - come before
sequor - follow
nihil - nothing
sum - be, exist
antiquus - old, ancient, aged
omnis - all, every, each
scilicet - you know, of course
ex - from, out of
nihilum - nothing
condo - found, establish
deus - god

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