Sunday, July 15, 2012

Memento Mori

105     -     106     -     107

Memento Mori
Quod reges audire timent, quod dicere servi,
   Ipsa tibi dicit fama: memento mori.

What Kings to hear, and Servants fear to tell,
Fame sounds i’ th’ Ear, To die remember well.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 4.115. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. In the title he gives to the poem, Owen explains the historical circumstances: Rumor de Morte Henrici 4, Regis Francorum; Ad Regem Francorum, 1606 - A Rumor of the Death of Henry IV, King of France - and he addresses the poems itself to the king! King Henry died a few years later, in 1610, assassinated by a radical Catholic. You can read more about King Henry at Wikipedia.

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

That which (quod) kings fear to hear (reges timent audire), that which servants fear to say (quod servi dicere), rumor itself (fama ipsa) says to you (dicit tibi): remember that you are mortal (memento mori).

audiō -īre -īvī/-iī -itum: hear, listen to
dīcō dīcere dīxī dictum: say; causam dicere, plead a case; diem dicere, appoint a day
fāma -ae f.: rumor, fame
ipse ipsa ipsum: him- her- itself
meminī meminisse: remember, recollect
morior morī mortuus sum: die
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
rēx rēgis m.: king
servus -ī m.: slave
timeō -ēre -uī: to fear, to dread
tū tuī tibi tē: you (sing.)