Sunday, January 29, 2012

Non Uno Sternitur Ictu

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.29, with an English rendering by George Wither. The poem is an expansion on the traditional Latin proverb about felling a tree: Non annosa uno quercus deciditur ictu. Like the saying, the poem emphasizes the idea that just as the oak tree took a very long time to grow, it naturally cannot be felled in a single stroke - although, sadly, it takes very little time to fell one of those beautiful trees compared to the long time it took to grow.

Non Uno Sternitur Ictu
Nitere in adversis, non uno sternitur ictu,
Quae longo e dura tempore crevit humo.

By many Strokes, that Worke is done,
Which cannot be perform'd at One.

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:

sterno -ere, strāvī, strātum - spread, lay out, lay low

adversus -a -um: turned towards, facing, opposed; unfavorable
crēsco -ere crēvī crētum: grow, increase
dūrus -a -um: hard, tough, harsh
ex, ē: out of, from (+ abl.)
humus -ī f.: ground; humī, on the ground
īctus -ūs m.: blow, stroke
in: in, on (+ abl.); into onto (+ acc)
longus -a -um: long, far; longē, far, far off
nītor nītī nīsus/nīxus sum: strive
nōn: not
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
tempus -oris n.: time
ūnus -a -um: one