Friday, January 13, 2012

Liberalitatis Laus

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 7.7. With this paradoxical poem, Owen wants us to put aside our "zero-sum" approach to gift-giving, which would mean that the gift-giver ends up with less than he had, while the recipient benefits. Instead, Owen explains that the gift lasts forever and follows the giver, so that the gift does good both for the giver and for the recipient.

Liberalitatis Laus
Quod datur, aeternum durat sequiturque datorem;
Dantem et captantem, munus utrumque iuvat.

A Gift’s eternal, follows him that gives;
The Giver and Receiver It relieves.

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:

capto, -āre - snatch at, seize, strive for
dator, datōris m. - giver
dūrō, -āre - be hard, last, endure

aeternus -a -um: everlasting, eternal
dō dare dedī datum: give
et: and
iuvō iuvāre iūvī iūtum: help, assist; please, delight
mūnus mūneris n.: gift, offering
que (enclitic) - and
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sequor sequī secūtus sum: follow
uter- utra- utrumque: each of two