Sunday, April 1, 2012

Viribus Iungenda Sapientia

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Viribus Iungenda Sapientia
Viribus est iungenda modis sapientia cunctis;
uti qui nescit robore, saepe cadit.

When great Attempts are undergone
Ioyne Strength and Wisedome, both in one.

Source: Gabriel Rollenhagen (1583-1619), Nucleus, 91, with an English rendering by George Wither. Meter: Elegiac. The most famously wise of the centaurs was Chiron, Achilles' own tutor. 

Wisdom (sapientia) should be joined (est iungenda) with strength (viribus) in all ways (modis cunctis); he who does not know how (qui nescit) to use his strength (uti robore) often falls (saepe cadit).

Here are the lines of the first stanza of Wither's poem inspired by this emblem:
If (Reader) thou desirous be to know
What by the Centaure, seemeth here intended;
What, also, by the Snake, and, by the Bowe,
Which in his hand, he beareth alway bended:
Learne, that this halfe-a man, and halfe-a horse,
Is ancient Hieroglyphicke, teaching thee,
That, Wisedome should be joyn'd with outward force,
If prosperous, we desire our workes to be.
His Vpper-part, the shape of Man, doth beare,
To teach, that, Reason must become our guide.
The hinder-parts, a Horses Members are;
To shew, that we must, also, strength provide:
The Serpent, and the Bowe, doth signifie
The same (or matter to the same effect)
And, by two Types, one Morall to implie,
Is doubled a fore-warning of neglect.
When Knowledge wanteth Power, despis'd we grow,
And, know but how to aggravate our paine:
Great strength, will worke it owne sad overthrow,
Vnlesse, it guided be, with Wisedomes reine.
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:

rōbur (rōboris, n.): oak, tough core, strength 

cadō cadere cecidī cāsum: fall, be killed
cūnctus -a -um: entire all together
iungō iungere iūnxī iūnctum: join
modus -ī m.: measure, manner, kind
nesciō -scīre: not know, be ignorant
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
saepe: often
sapientia -ae f.: wisdom
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ut, uti: as (+ indic.); so that, with the result that (+ subj.)
vīs f.: force; (acc.) vim, (abl.) vī; (pl.) vīrēs, strength