Sunday, April 15, 2012

Encaustus Phaethon...

Here is today's distich by Martial, 4.47. This is an elegant little conceit, where Martial is contemplating someone who is about to burn a painting of Phaethon who, of course, is famous for having been burnt to a crisp by Zeus's lightning bolt.

Encaustus Phaethon tabula tibi pictus in hac est;
Quid tibi vis, dipyrum qui Phaethonta facis?

Behold poor Phaeton again sublime!
Ah! Why burn Phaeton a second time?
- Elphinston

Here is the vocabulary:

encaustus - burned, burned in
Phaethon - Phaethon
tabula - tablet, panel, painting
tu - you
pingo - paint, depict
in - in, into
hic - this, this one
quid - what
volo - wish, want, will
dipyrus - twice-burned
qui - who, which, that
facio - make, do