Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ultima Linea

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 4.264. This is another one of those paradoxical epigrams: the first line pairs the happy life with a bitter death, while the second line replies with the pairing of a serious life and an amusing death. This might be appropriate for Ebenezer Scrooge, if you read or watched A Christmas Carol during the holiday season: the death of Scrooge was an object of merry-making for many!

Ultima Linea
Ultimus est vitae mors actus amara iocosae.
Cuius vita fuit seria, mors iocus est.

Sad Death is of a merry Life last Act;
A serious Life doth Joys in Death attract.


ultimus - farthest, latest, last
linea - line
sum - be, exist
vita - life
mors - death
actus - action, deed, performance
amarus - bitter
iocosus - humorous, funny, fun
qui - who, which, that
serius - grave, serious
iocus - joke, jest