Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spes et Fides

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Spes et Fides
Nulla foret, nisi certa fides foret, unaque semper;
   At si certa foret spes mea, nulla foret.

Faith is no Faith, unless but One, firm fixt:
Nor Hope is Hope, if not with doubts commixt.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 4.172. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. The contrast here is between certa fides and spes which is not certa - or else it would not be spes!

If faith were not certain (nisi fides foret certa) it would be no faith (nulla foret); but if my hope were certain (at si spes mea forest certa) it would be no hope (nulla foret).

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. All the words in this poem are on that list:

at: but, but yet
certus -a -um: sure, fixed; certē, certainly, surely
et: and
fidēs -eī f.: trust, faith
meus -a -um: my
nisi/nī: if not, unless
nūllus -a -um: not any, no one
que (enclitic) - and
semper: always, ever
sī: if
spēs speī f.: hope
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
ūnus -a -um: one