Monday, March 26, 2012

Ianus Bifrons

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 6.43. I like the pairing of genius and memory as allegorical symbols of Janus's two faces!

Ianus Bifrons
Ingenii virtus reminiscendique facultas,
Ista quod a tergo est, illa quod ante, videt.

Thy force of Wit, and strength of Memory
Before, behind, to see thou dost apply.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only three words in this poem that are not on the DCC list, plus one proper name:

 bifrons, bifrontis - having two foreheads, two faces
facultas, facultātis f. - capability, power, skill
Ianus - Janus (Roman god)
reminiscor, -ī - recall to mind, remember, recollect

ā ab abs: from, by (+abl.)
ante: before, in front of (adv. and prep. + acc.)
ille illa illud: that
ingenium -ī n.: disposition, ability, talent
iste ista istud: that, that of yours; adv. istīc or istūc: over there; istinc: from over there
que (enclitic) - and
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
tergum -ī n.: back, rear; a tergō: from the rear
videō vidēre vīdī vīsum: see
virtūs -ūtis f.: valor, manliness, virtue