Saturday, December 10, 2011


Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.207. The poems consists of one paradoxical word pair after another: the army is a gens which is ingens (total paradox via a play on words on Latin, impossible to do in English) which is, moreover, fidei malafida, unfaithful to faith, both immanis and amans - amans of caedis, in fact (yikes), and thus stained by human blood, playing on humano and manus.

Gens ingens fidei malefida, immanis, amansque
Caedis, et humano sanguine tincta manus.

Huge Hulk, Faith faithless, inhumane, too greedy
Of bloodshed, to shed humane blood too speedy.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only three words in this poem that are not on the DCC list:

immānis, immāne; immānis - monstrous, huge, vast
malefīdus -a -um - unfaithful, faithless
tingō -ere, tinxī, tinctum - wet, moisten, bathe

amō -āre: to love; amans -ntis m./f.: lover
caedes -is f.: killing, slaughter
et: and
exercitus -ūs m.: army
fidēs -eī f.: trust, faith
gēns gentis f.: family, clan
hūmānus -a -um: human
ingēns ingentis: huge, enormous
manus -ūs m.: hand; band of men
que (enclitic) - and
sanguis -inis m.: blood