Sunday, April 8, 2012

Aut Mors Aut Vita Decora

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1:98, with an English rendering by George Wither. Here are Wither's comments on the boar:
That ugly Bore (wherewith the man in strife
Here seemes to be) doth meane a Swinish-life,
And, all those beastly Vices, that assay
To root becomming Vertues quite away;
Those Vices, which not onely marre our features,
But, also, ruinate our manly natures.
As a symbol, the boar is indeed swinish, but the real boar is a mighty foe, and a dangerous one!

Aut Mors Aut Vita Decora
Alterutrum optandum est aut mors aut vita decora;
Turpe fuga vitam quaerere: malo mori.

A Life, with good-repute, Ile have
Or, winne an honourable Grave.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. There are only two words in this poem that are not on the DCC list:

alteruter, alterūtra, alterūtrum - both, either, one or the other
decōrus -a -um - beautiful, graceful, noble

aut: or
fuga -ae f.: flight, route
mālō mālle māluī: prefer
morior morī mortuus sum: die
mors mortis f.: death
optō -āre: choose, select
quaerō -rere -sīvī-situm: seek, inquire
turpis -e: ugly, unsightly; disgraceful
vīta -ae f.: life