Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ad Philopatrum

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 1.48. Owen is responding to the famous words of Horace's Ode 3.2, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. You can read more about Horace's poem and its legacy in this Wikipedia article. The title of the poem is a play on philo- (Greek, love) and -pater (father); compare the English word philopatry. Owen, however, contents that it is sweeter to live, vivere, rather than to die, mori, for one's country.

Ad Philopatrum
Pro patria sit dulce mori licet atque decorum.
Vivere pro patria dulcius esse puto.

Though for Ones Country noble ’tis to die,
Yet nobler ’tis to live for It, think I.

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:

licet conj. - although, granted that
decōrus -a -um - beautiful, graceful, noble

atque, ac: and in addition, and also, and; (after comparatives) than; simul atque, as soon as
dulcis -e: sweet
morior morī mortuus sum: die
patria -ae f.: fatherland, country
prō: for, on behalf of, in proportion to (+abl.)
puto -āre: think, suppose
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
vīvo -ere vīxī victum: live

The following is a detail from a stained-glass Tiffany window by Robert O. Mellown commemorating the University of Alabama students who fought in the Civil War:

The detail comes from the lower-right portion of the window: