Saturday, January 28, 2012

Horologium Vitae

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 3.14. Owen dedicates the poem as follows: Ad D. Ioannem West, Amicum Suum. John West studied at Christ’s College Cambridge and became a member of the King’s Privy Chamber (more information). I really like the way the poem plays with the binary rising and setting of the sun in the first line, pairing it with the three-fold model of time: today, tomorrow and yesterday.

Horologium Vitae
Latus ad occasum, umquam rediturus ad ortum,
Vivo hodie, moriar cras, here natus eram.

From East to West without return am I,
Born yesterday, live this day, next day die.

Here is the vocabulary:

horologium - clock, sundial
vita - life
fero - carry, bear, produce, yield
ad - to, towards
occasus - fall, setting, west
umquam - ever, at any time
redeo - come back, return
ortus - rise, rising, east
vivo - live
hodie - today
morior - die
cras - tomorrow
heri - yesterday
nascor - be born, come into being

(Image: Temperance, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti)