Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rollenhagen 31: Sapiens Dominabitur Astris

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.31, with an English rendering by George Wither. Although the phrase "Sapiens Dominabitur Astris" is well known, its origins are unclear; you can read a detailed discussion here in The Mediaeval Attitude Toward Astrology by Theodore Otto Wedel (1920).

Sapiens Dominabitur Astris
Astra regunt homines; sapiens dominabitur astris
Et poterit notis cautior esse malis.

Hee, over all the Starres doth raigne,
That unto Wisdome can attaine.

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

cautus -a -um - cautious, careful, wary
dominor, -ārī - master, control, rule over

astrum -ī n.: star; constellation
et: and
homo hominis m.: human being
malus -a -um: bad, evil; male: (adv.) badly
nōtus -a -um: well-known
possum posse potuī: be able
regō regere rēxī rectum: guide, rule
sapiens -ntis.: wise man
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist