Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Discite Iustitiam

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 2.21, with an English rendering by George Wither. Compare the famous line of Vergil's Aeneid, 6.620: Discite iustitiam moniti, et non temnere divos. For some commentary on the symbolism of the image, here is Wither's poem:
That, which wee call the Sea-horse, is a Creature,
Whereby the Priests of Ægypt, wonted were,
To typify an Ill-disposed nature;
And, such, as to their Parents, cruell are:
Because, this Monster (as their Authors write)
When strong he growes, becommeth so ingrate,
That he pursues, with violent despight,
His old and weakly Sire, which him begate.
Contrariwise, the Storke, they figur'd, then,
When they occasion had, to signifie
The good condition, of those honest men,
Who pleasure take, in workes of Piety:
Because, the Storkes, not onely harmed none,
But, holpe their aged Parents in their need;
And, those offensive Serpents, prey'd upon,
Which, in the Fennes of Ægypt, yearely, breed.
The Royall-Crowne, therefore, supporting thus
That pious Fowle, and overtopping, here,
The wicked, and the fierce Hyppotamus,
May serve to comfort, and to keep in feare.
For, it informes, that, if we pious grow,
And love our Princes (who those Parents bee,
To whom all Subjects, filiall duties owe)
The blessings of their Favours, we shall see.
It shewes us, also, that, if we affect
Vnrighteous-wayes, no Wit, or Strength of our,
Nor any Vncouth-place, shall us protect
From being reached, by the Sov'raigne-power.
The way of Iustice, therefore, learne thou still,
For love of Goodnesse, or for feare of Ill.
The sea horse in the emblem really does look horse-y!

Discite Iustitiam
Discite iustitiam moniti et non temnere regem,
Qui longas tendit, per loca cuncta, manus.

Bee Iust; for, neither Sea nor Land
Shall hide thee from the Royall-hand.

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:

iustitia f. - justice, righteousness
temnō, -ere - scorn, despise

cūnctus -a -um: entire all together
discō -ere didicī: learn
et: and
locus -ī m.: place; loca (n. pl.) region
longus -a -um: long, far; longē: far, far off
manus -ūs m.: hand; band of men
moneō monēre monuī monitum: warn, advise
nōn: not
per: through (+acc.)
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
rēx rēgis m.: king
tendō tendere tetendī tentum: stretch, extend, direct (one’s steps or course)

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