Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scientia Immutabilis

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 2:11, with an English rendering by George Wither. Here are Wither's comment on the emblem:

By viewing this fixt-Head, enwreath'd with Bayes,
(And, what the Motto round about it sayes)
Your Apprehension's eye, may partly see
What constant Vertues, in true Knowledge be.
For, if right plac'd it be, it ever will
Continue in the same condition, still:
And, though it make mens manners to be chang'd;
Yet, never is it, from it selfe, estrang'd:
Nor doth, nor can it, cease to be a Friend,
What Fate soever, shall on us attend.
I'm not quite sure what to make of the scene in the background - it looks like a warrior who has beheaded another warrior - but who is it and how does it relate to the topic of the poem? I am not sure - if anyone has suggestions, let me know. Could it be the beheading of Pompey...? I can think of a way to connect the theme of the poem to the scene of any beheading.

Scientia Immutabilis
Turpe est, cum sapiens cunctas mutatur in horas:
Constantes fortes nam decet esse viros.

True Knowledge is a constant Friend
Whose Friendship, never shall have end.

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

immūtābilis, immūtābile; immūtābilis - unchanging, unalterable

cōnstō -stāre -stitī: agree; constat, it is established that (+ infin.)
cum: with (prep. + abl.); when, since, although (conjunction + subj.)
cūnctus -a -um: entire all together
decet decēre decuīt: it becomes, it behooves (+ acc. of person, or infinitive)
fortis -e: brave
hōra -ae f.: hour
in: in, on (+ abl.); into, onto (+ acc)
mūtō -āre: change
nam or namque: for, indeed, really
sapiens -ntis.: wise man
scientia -ae f.: knowledge
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
turpis -e: ugly, unsightly; disgraceful
vir virī m.: man

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