Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Palliatus et Togatus

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 2.199. Although the pallium and toga are often used as shorthand for Greek and Roman, the words here are being used as a distinction between a layman's cloak, pallium, and the academic robe of a scholar, toga. That distinction is them amplified in space: the layman is even closer to the ground than the cloak that he wears, while the scholar sweeps the ground with his toga as his mind soars above the stars.

Palliatus et Togatus
Longius a terra quam nos sunt pallia nostra.
Verro toga terram, mens super astra volat.

My Cloak from th’ Earth, than I my self more far’s.
My Gown sweeps th’ Earth, my Mind transcends the Stars.


palliatus - wearing a cloak
et - and
togatus - wearing a toga, gown
longe - long, far from
a - from
terra - earth, land
quam - than
nos - we
sum - be, exist
pallium - cloak (Greek)
noster - our, ours
verro - sweep
mens - mind
super - above, over
astrum - star
volo - fly