Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ad Lectorem

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 1.2. Like so many distich poems, this one counterposes two opposite possibilities: Owen explains that it would be foolish (stultitia) for you to like everything (omnia) in his book, but it would look like mean-spirited jealousy (invidia) if you were to like nothing at all (nihil).

Ad Lectorem
Qui legis ista, tuam reprehendo, si mea laudas
Omnia, stultitiam; si nihil, invidiam.

Thy Folly’s blam’d, if Thou Commendest all
That here Thou readest; no Thing, if thy Gall.

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:

lector, lectōris m. - reader
reprehendō -ere, reprenhendī, reprehensum - catch, blame, seize
stultitia, f. - foolishness, folly, stupidity

ad: to, up to, towards (+acc.)
invidia -ae f.: envy, jealousy, hatred
iste ista istud: that, that of yours; adv. istīc or istūc: over there; istinc: from over there
laudō -āre: praise
legō legere lēgī lēctum: gather, choose, read
meus -a -um: my
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
omnis -e: all, every, as a whole
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sī: if
tuus -a -um: your