Monday, October 31, 2011

Ad Medicos et Iurisconsultos

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 1.15. The poem invokes the archetypal physician, Galen, and the archetypal jurist, the Emperor Justinian. Each line invokes a paradoxical success: the physician thrives on our sickness, ulceribus nostris valet, and the lawyer is wise by way of our foolishness, stultitia nostra sapit.

Ad Medicos et Iurisconsultos
Ulceribus, Galene, vales tantummodo nostris:
Stultitia nostra, Iustiniane, sapis.

Galen, thine Health doth from our sickness rise;
Justinian, our Folly makes Thee wise.

Here is the vocabulary:

ad - to, towards
medicus - doctor, physician
et - and
iurisconsultus - lawyer
ulcus - sore, ulcer
Galenus - Galen
valeo - be strong, prevail
tantummodo - only, merely
noster - our, ours
stultitia - foolishness
Iustinianus - Justinian
sapio - taste of, understand, be wise