Thursday, February 23, 2012

Discite Iustitiam

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.54, with an English rendering by George Wither. Here are the opening lines of Wither's poem:
A Sword unsheathed, and a strangling-Snare,
Is figur'd here; which, in dumbe-shewes, doe preach,
Of what the Malefactor should beware;
And, they doe threaten too, aswell as Teach.
The justice here is divine justice, since it is God who wields these weapons that he has entrusted in the hands of kings. The sword can be a weapon of war, of course, but the hanging rope is not a weapon of war; its use here is for capital punishment.

Discite Iustitiam
Discite iustitiam: laqueus monet illud et ensis,
Quae Deus in regum dirigit arma manu.

Marke, what Rewards, to Sinne, are due
And, learne, uprightnesse to pursue.

Here is the vocabulary:

disco - learn
iustitia - justice
laqueus - noose, snare, gallows
moneo - warn, advise
ille - that, that one
et - and
ensis - sword
qui - who, which, that
deus - god
in - in
rex - king
dirigo - direct, guide
arma - arms, weapons
manus - hand