Thursday, March 1, 2012

Owen 1.32: De Vita et Morte

403     -     404     -     405

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 1.32. Here Owen is playing with the idea of sweet water and salt water, with the sweet stream of life inexorably flowing into the bitterness of death.

De Vita et Morte
Ad mortem sic vita fluit, velut ad mare flumen,
Vivere nam res est dulcis, amara mori.

Life tends to Death, as Rivers to the Seas:
For Life is sweet, Death bitter, doth displease.

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:

Thus life flows (sic vita fluit) towards death (ad mortem), like a river (velut flumen) to the sea (ad mare) for to be alive (nam vivere) is a sweet thing (res dulcis est), to die (mori) is bitter (amara).

amārus -a -um - bitter, pungent, harsh

ad: to, up to, towards (+acc.)
dē: down from, about, concerning (+ abl.)
dulcis -e: sweet
et: and
flūmen -inis n.: stream, river
fluo -ere fluī fluxum: flow
mare -is f.: sea
morior morī mortuus sum: die
mors mortis f.: death
nam: for, indeed, really
rēs reī f.: thing (rēs pūblica, commonwealth; rēs familiāris, family property, estate; rēs mīlitāris, art of war; rēs novae, revolution)
sīc: in this manner, thus; sīc . . . ut, in the same way as
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
velut: even as, just as
vīta -ae f.: life
vīvo -ere vīxī victum: live

(photo by Sarah Charlesworth)