Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nil Penna, Sed Usus

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.36, with an English rendering by George Wither. I really like the use of the ostrich in this emblem, the creature endowed with feathers (and therefore with "quills," or feather pens) - but that doesn't do the bird any good, since it doesn't know how to use them - either to fly, or to write! The fact that the bird does not have the skill of flight makes it a perfect symbol for the person who has not the skill to write.

Nil Penna, Sed Usus
En struthum nil penna iuvat, quod nesciat uti:
Non penna est scribas quae facit, usus erit.

To Have, and not to Vse the same;
Is not our Glory, but our Shame.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are three words which are not on the DCC list:

ēn, interjection - look! behold!
penna f. - feather
struthus - ostrich (also: strūthio)

facio facere fēcī factum: do, make
iuvo -āre iūvī iūtum: help, assist; please, delight
nescio -scīre: not know, be ignorant
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
nōn: not
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what
qui, quae, quod: who, which, what; quis quid: who? what? which?
scrībo -ere scrīpsī scrīptum: write
sed: but
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ūsus -ūs m.: use, experience
ūtor ūtī ūsus sum: use