Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Secretum Amoris

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4.200. Love is a topic rife with paradoxes, of course, and here Owen plays at the paradox of desire and desirability: the unlovable person (inamabilis) is the one who is loved, while the one who loves (amans) is not loved.

Secretum AmorisRarus amatur amans: ut amere, inamabilis esto
Omnibus. A nulla vis ut ameris? Ama.

A Lover’s seldom lov’d: Be loveless. If
Thou wilt not be belov’d, love then in chief.

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:

inamābilis, inamābile; inamābilis - not worthy of love, hateful
sēcrētus -a -um - hidden away, private, secret

ā ab abs: from, by (+abl.)
amō -āre: to love; amans -ntis m./f.: lover
amor -ōris m.: love
nūllus -a -um: not any, no one
omnis -e: all, every, as a whole
rarus -a -um: wide apart, loose, thin; rare, seldom
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)
volō velle voluī: wish, be willing