Sunday, March 11, 2012

Respice Finem

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 7.37.

Respice Finem
Omega distinguit misero non alpha beatum;
Ante obitum felix nemo, nec ante miser.

FORSEE THINE END
Mans death, not birth declares his bane, or bliss:
None bless’d before his death, nor wretched is.


The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only two words in this poem that are not on the DCC list, plus the names of two letters in the Greek alphabet:

alpha - first letter of the Greek alphabet
distinguo, -ere, distinxī, distinctum - separate, divide, distinguish
obitus, obitūs m. - going down, downfall, ruin, death
omega - last letter of the Greek alphabet

ante: before, in front of (adv. and prep. + acc.)
beatus -a -um: happy, blessed, prosperous, fortunate
fēlīx -īcis: lucky; adv. fēlīciter
fīnis -is m.: end, boundary
miser misera miserum: wretched, pitiable
nēmo: no one (gen. nullius, dat. nulli, abl. nullo or nulla > nullus -a -um)
neque nec: and not, nor; neque . . . neque, neither . . . nor
nōn: not
respicio -ere -spēxi -spectum: look back, regard, consider



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