Saturday, July 14, 2007


Hymn to Philosophy

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.2.5-6 (tr. C.D. Yonge):
o vitae philosophia dux,
[O Philosophy, thou guide of life!]

o virtutis indagatrix expultrixque vitiorum!
[thou discoverer of virtue and expeller of vices!]

quid non modo nos, sed omnino vita hominum sine te esse potuisset?
[what had not only I myself, but the whole life of man, been without you?]

tu urbis peperisti,
[To you it is that we owe the origin of cities;]

tu dissipatos homines in societatem vitae convocasti,
[you it was who called together the dispersed race of men into social life;]

tu eos inter se primo domiciliis, deinde coniugiis, tum litterarum et vocum communione iunxisti,
[you united them together, first, by placing them near one another, then by marriages, and lastly, by the communication of speech and languages.]

tu inventrix legum,
[You have been the inventress of laws;]

tu magistra morum et disciplinae fuisti;
[you have been our instructress in morals and discipline;]

ad te confugimus,
[to you we fly for refuge;]

a te opem petimus,
[from you we implore assistance;]

tibi nos, ut antea magna ex parte, sic nunc penitus totosque tradimus.
[and as I formerly submitted to you in a great degree, so now I surrender up myself entirely to you.]

est autem unus dies bene et ex praeceptis tuis actus peccanti inmortalitati anteponendus.
[For one day spent well, and agreeably to your precepts, is preferable to an eternity of error.]

cuius igitur potius opibus utamur quam tuis, quae et vitae tranquillitatem largita nobis es et terrorem mortis sustulisti?
[Whose assistance, then, can be of more service to me than yours, when you have bestowed on us tranquillity of life, and removed the fear of death?]

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