Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cetera Mortis Erunt; Vivitur Ingenio

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Cetera Mortis Erunt; Vivitur Ingenio

Disce bonas artes, et opes contemne caducas.
   Vivitur ingenio; cetera mortis erunt.

By Knowledge onely, Life wee gaine,
All other things to Death pertaine.

Source: Gabriel Rollenhagen (1583-1619), Nucleus, 1, with an English rendering by George Wither (here is Wither's poem). This distich sets up an opposition between life and death - to the world of life belong talent, learning, and the good arts (you can see the wise practitioner of the good arts on the left side of the emblem), while everything else, including the wealth of the world, belongs to the crumbling realm of death, shown on the right. Meter: Elegiac.

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

Learn good skills (disce bonas artes), and scorn temporary riches (et contemne opes caducas). One lives by one's wits (vivitur ingenio); the rest belongs to death (cetera erunt mortis).

cadūcus, -a, -um: unsteady, tottering, ready to fall

ars artis f.: skill
bonus -a -um: good
cēterus -a -um: the others, the rest; adv. cēterum: for the rest, in addition, however, that may be
contemnō -temnere -tempsī -temptum: despise, scorn, disdain
discō -ere didicī: learn
et: and
ingenium -ī n.: disposition, ability, talent
mors mortis f.: death
ops opis f.: assistance, resources
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
vīvō vīvere vīxī victum: live

Finally, here's a close up of Death and his table heaped with riches:

I decided to use that close-up to make the poster: