Friday, July 20, 2012

Vitam Regit Fortuna, Non Sapientia

142     -     143     -     144

Vitam Regit Fortuna, Non Sapientia
Caeca dea est rerum rectrix; Fortuna vocatur:
Non minus at caeci, quos dea caeca regit.

A blind goddess rules the world, called Fortune.
But they are no less blind whom the blind goddess rules.

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 12.20. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. For the traditional depiction of the goddess Fortuna blindfolded, see the image below.

A blind goddess (caeca dea) is the directrix of things (est rerum rectrix); she is called Fortuna (Fortuna vocatur): but (at) those whom the blind goddess rules (quos dea caeca regit) are no less blind (non minus caeci) .

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:

rectrix (rectrīcis, f.): governess, leader, guide

at: but, but yet
caecus -a -um: blind, unseeing; dark, obscure
deus -ī m.; dea -ae f. god; goddess
fortūna -ae f.: fortune
minus -oris n.: a smaller number or amount, less; (adv.) minus: to a smaller extent, less
nōn: not
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
regō regere rēxī rectum: guide, rule
rēs reī f.: thing (rēs pūblica, commonwealth; rēs familiāris, family property, estate; rēs mīlitāris, art of war; rēs novae, revolution)
sapientia -ae f.: wisdom
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
vīta -ae f.: life
vocō -āre: call