Thursday, July 12, 2012

Libris Amissis

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Libris Amissis
Qui nil ingenio committit, at omnia libro,
   Amissis retinet nil miser ille libris.

Source: Josephus Perez (1627-1694), Hortulus Carminum. Meter: Elegiac. The dilemma in this poem reminds me of all the arguments people have now, centuries later, about the danger of relying on Google, Wikipedia, etc. for information (of course, I use Google and Wikipedia all the time!).

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

āmittō -mittere -mīsī -missum: let go, send away
at: but, but yet
committō -mittere -mīsī -missum: join, entrust to (+ dat.); perform, do
ille illa illud: that
ingenium -ī n.: disposition, ability, talent
liber librī m.: book
miser misera miserum: wretched, pitiable
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
omnis -e: all, every, as a whole
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
retineō -tinēre -tinuī -tentum: hold back, keep
sine: without (+ abl.)

If You Lose the Books
The person who commits nothing (Qui nil committit) to his own mind (ingenio) but instead commits everything (at omnia) to a book (libro), that miserable wretch (ille miser) retains nothing (retinet nil) if he loses the books (amissis libris).

Qui nil ~ ingeni~o com~mittit, at ~ omnia ~ libro,
   Amis~sis reti~net | nil miser ~ ille li~bris.