Friday, October 28, 2011

Bene qui latuit, bene vixit

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.35. In this epigram, Owen is playing with a sentiment from Ovid's Tristia 3.4: "Crede mihi, bene qui latuit bene vixit, et intra / fortunam debet quisque manere suam." Owen follows up on Ovid's idea with a paradox: by hiding (latendo), the genius of Owen's addressee is revealed to all. Poor Ovid, of course, did not do such a good job of lying low! The identity of Owen's addressee is not known - which I guess is part of lying low. :-)

Ad D.B.
Si "bene qui latuit, bene vixit," tu bene vivis:
Ingeniumque tuum grande latendo patet.

TO D. B.
Thou livest well, if one well hid well lives:
And thy great wit conceal’d more splendour gives.

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:

grandis, grande; grandis - great, large, grand

bene: well
ingenium -ī n.: disposition, ability, talent
lateo -ēre latuī: lie hidden, be hidden
pateo -ēre patuī: lie open, extend, spread
que: and (enclitic)
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
sī: if
tū tuī tibi tē: you (sing.)
tuus -a -um: your
vīvo -ere vīxī victum: live

(Ovid, from the Nuremberg Chronicle)