Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ad Amicum Divitem

217     -     218     -     219

Ad Amicum Divitem
Si quantum valeat res quaeque carendo sciatur,
Quid valeant nummi divitiaeque scio.

If by the want of things their worth is known,
I know the worth of Wealth, for none’s mine own.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 4.84. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. Notice that the verb scire introduces an indirect question in each line of the epigram; the question in the first line is "quantum valet res quaeque?" and the question in the second line is "quid valent nummi et divitiae?" The conditional statement, meanwhile, is all about lacking: if this question can be answered by lacking, "si carendo sciatur," well, that means Owen knows full well what the value of coins and riches must be... why? Because he lacks them! Owen thus declares himself to be a poor man, and by writing this poem to a rich friend, he wittily calls attention to that disparity.

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

nummus (nummī, m.): coin, cash, money

ad: to, up to, towards (+acc.)
amīcus -a -um: friendly; (as subst.) friend
dīves, dīvitis: rich (poet. dīs, dītis)
dīvitiae -ārum f. pl.: riches, wealth
quantus -a -um: (interr.) how great? (rel.) of what size, amount, etc.
que (enclitic) - and
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
rēs reī f.: thing (rēs pūblica, commonwealth; rēs familiāris, family property, estate; rēs mīlitāris, art of war; rēs novae, revolution)
sciō -īre -īvī/-iī -ītum: know
sī: if
valeō valēre valuī: be strong, excel, be valid, prevail; valē: farewell!