Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mensis Intercalaris, 1612

Here is today's distich by John Owen, with an English translation by Thomas Harvey, 7.42. And yes, the year 1612 was a leap year. Note that Owen is not saying here that there was an intercalary month in 1612; instead, he is explaining why it is that February, alone of all the months, is the one that has an intercalary day added every four years.

Mensis Intercalaris, 1612
Cur quarto solus crescit Februarius anno?
Hic minimus lunae mensis ab orbe fluit.

Why February sole each fourth year grows?
’Cause ’tis the least month from the Moon that flows.

Here is the vocabulary:

mensis - month
intercalaris - intercalary
cur - why
quartus - fourth
solus - only, alone
cresco - grow
Februarius - February
annus - year
hic - this, this one
minimus - least, smallest
luna - moon
ab - from
orbis - circle, sphere, world
fluo - flow