Friday, March 16, 2012

Homo Histrio

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4.39.

Homo Histrio
Spes argumentum vitae (nam fabula vita est),
Mundus scena, fides prologus, actus amor.

Hope is Lifes Argument (for Life’s a Fable):
World, Scene: Faith, Prologue: Acts are Love unstable.

Here is the vocabulary:

homo - person, man
histrio - actor
spes - hope
argumentum - evidence, reason, subject
vita - life
nam - for, the fact is
fabula - play, story
sum - be, exist
mundus - world
scena - stage, theater
fides - faith
prologus - prologue
actus - act
amor - love


  1. Man is but a Player in A Production he dares not believe is Life
    Life cannot exist as we know it without Hope (for Life is but a story we tell ourselves); The World's a stage; Faith is prologue; acts justified as love.

  2. Thank you! It would be fascinating to know just how "modern" Owen was in his understanding of hope - I'm guessing the hope he worries about is hope of salvation; what happens to those characters after the play is over, eh? they vanish from the stage - are they saved, or damned? But for us, as secular moderns, the realness of reality and faith in ourselves is a more tantalizing question than that of salvation! :-)


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