Tuesday, November 22, 2011

De Somno

103     -     104     -     105

De Somno
Si somnus nihil est nisi mors, nil mors nisi somnus,
   Quo plus in vita dormio, vivo minus.

If Sleep be but as death, Death but as Sleep,
The more I Sleep, the less of Life I keep.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 3.140. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. This epigram depends on an elaborate little equation which Owen sets up in the first line: death is sleep and sleep is death. So, the more you spend your life sleeping (dying), the less you live. Conclusion: wake up, and live!

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. All the words are on the DCC list:

If sleep (si somnus) is nothing except death (est nihil nisi mors), and death (mors) nothing but sleep (nil nisi somnus), the more I sleep in life (quo plus dormio in vita), the less I live (minus vivo).

dē: down from, about, concerning (+ abl.)
dormio -īre: sleep
in: in, on (+ abl.); into onto (+ acc)
minus -oris n.: a smaller number or amount, less; (adv.) minus, to a smaller extent, less
mors mortis f.: death
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
nisi/nī: if not, unless
plūs plūris n.: a greater amount or number, more
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
sī: if
somnus -ī m.: sleep, slumber; (pl.) dreams
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
vīta -ae f.: life
vīvo -ere vīxī victum: live