Saturday, September 20, 2014


Questions for a Rich Man

Horace, Satires 2.2.103-105 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Why is any worthy man in want, while you are rich? Why are the ancient temples of the gods in ruin? Why, shameless man, do you not measure out something from that great heap for your dear country?

cur eget indignus quisquam, te divite? quare
templa ruunt antiqua deum? cur, improbe, carae
non aliquid patriae tanto emetiris acervo?
The first two definitions of indignus in the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) are:
  1. Not deserving some honour, favour, or sim. specified or implied, unworthy
  2. Not deserving some misfortune, punishment, or or sim. specified or implied, guiltless
The OLD cites this passage from Horace to illustrate the second definition.

On the second question, commentators compare Horace, Odes 3.6.1-4 (tr. Niall Rudd):
Though guiltless, you will continue to pay for the sins of your forefathers, Roman, until you repair the crumbling temples and shrines of the gods, and the statues that are begrimed with black smoke.

Delicta maiorum immeritus lues,
Romane, donec templa refeceris
    aedisque labentis deorum et
      foeda nigro simulacra fumo.


Dull Dogs

Ingram Bywater, letter to George Rolleston (November 21, 1879), in William Walrond Jackson, Ingram Bywater: The Memoir of an Oxford Scholar, 1840-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), p. 88:
Those who care for MSS. per se are usually dull dogs like Cramer—men who through lack of ideas and the interest that quickens drudgery do mechanical work and do even that badly. I have in my time read many Greek and some Latin MSS. (probably more than any man in Oxford except Coxe), and I can tell you that it is not good for the intellect to do much of this kind of work, and that the work is tolerable only when there is a distinct literary end in view. In the course of my studies I may perhaps have the chance of working at MSS. again before I have done with these eyes of mine; but as to the notion of my consenting to read MSS. without this motive, simply as a matter of business, during the whole of hours of day-light, that is an idea which I would not harbour for an instant. If not originally μικρόψυχος, the professional student of MSS. rapidly becomes so.
Cramer is John Antony Cramer (1793-1848), author of Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecarum Oxoniensium and Anecdota Graeca e Codd. Manuscriptis Bibliothecae Regiae Parisiensis; μικρόψυχος means mean-spirited, small-minded.


Dangers of Over-Specialism

William Walrond Jackson, Ingram Bywater: The Memoir of an Oxford Scholar, 1840-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), p. 55:
He was also alive to the dangers of over-specialism, and took rather a mischievous pleasure in pointing out the vagaries of an eminent German critic who, having come across a detached line of so familiar a book as the Georgics of Virgil, had taken it for a fragment of a lost writer, and proceeded to emend it on this hypothesis by the light of his inner consciousness.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Catholic Humanism

Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, as Told by a Friend, chapter II (words of the "friend," Serenus Zeitblom; tr. H.T. Lowe-Porter):
As for my Catholic origin, it did of course mould and influence my inner man. Yet that lifelong impress never resulted in any conflict with my humanistic attitude in general, my love of the "liberal arts" as one used to call them....For my part I feel very truly at home in that golden sphere where one called the Holy Virgin Jovis alma parens.
That is, "nourishing mother of Jupiter." In German:
Was nun meine katholische Herkunft angeht, so hat sie selbstverständlich meinen inneren Menschen gemodelt und beeinflußt, jedoch ohne daß sich aus dieser Lebenstönung je ein Widerspruch zu meiner humanistische Weltanschauung, meiner Liebe zu den ›besten Künsten und Wissenschaften‹, wie man einstmals sägte, ergeben hatte....Meinesteils fühle ich mich recht eigentlich in der goldenen Sphäre beheimatet, in der man die Heilige Jungfrau ›Jovis alma parens‹ nannte.
Related post: Christian Humanism.


Sorrow and Happiness of Book Lovers

Karel Porterman, Emblematic Exhibitions (affixiones) at the Brussels Jesuit College (1630-1685): Study of the Commemorative Manuscripts (Royal Library, Brussels), tr. Anna E.C. Simoni (Brussels: Royal Library; Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), p. 148 (discussing Brussels, Royal Library, MS. 20.331):
In the emblem pair on the happiness and the sorrow of bookworms Rhetor Willem van Langendonck and Poet Klaas de Koninck work even with the same pun. Considering that Liber can mean both book and the bark of a tree, the sadness of the intellectual — the lack of books — is represented by a tree which is having its bark pulled off (91r), fig. 1 The joy — the books — is signalled also by the healthy bark of an oak below which a seated genius is sitting writing (93r). fig. 2
Figures 1-2 (unfortunately not very clear in these scans) are on p. 149:

Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


All-Purpose Review

Euripides, Rhesus 39-40 (tr. David Kovacs):
You have said nothing clearly for all your many words.

                                πολλὰ γὰρ εἰπὼν
οὐδὲν τρανῶς ἀπέδειξας.
This quotation is suitable for commenting on many a book, sermon, political speech, newspaper editorial, scholarly article, etc.


Reasons for Buying Books

Herbert Warren, quoted in William Walrond Jackson, Ingram Bywater: The Memoir of an Oxford Scholar, 1840-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), p. 161:
One conversation of his I shall never forget. After the death of Dr. W.H. Thompson, Regius Professor of Greek and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, I bought a fine copy, which had belonged to him, of the edition by Stephanus of Plato, in good condition and handsomely bound. I showed it with some pleasure to Bywater. "Yes," he said, "it is a fine book, and you were right to buy it. There are various reasons for buying books. Some people buy books for the contents, and that is a very vulgar reason; and some people buy books for the binding, and that is a little better and not so vulgar; and others buy books for the printing, and that is really a very good reason; but the real reason for which to buy a book is the margin! Always look at the margin."


There Are Not Too Many of Them

Vaughan Cornish, quoted in William Walrond Jackson, Ingram Bywater: The Memoir of an Oxford Scholar, 1840-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), p. 188:
He did not regard total abstinence as meritorious; indeed he reproved his niece for declining champagne, saying, 'I think you make a mistake, my dear; it is one of the good things of life, and there are not too many of them'.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Going for a Country Walk

Kenneth Clark (1903-1983), Civilisation (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 283:
In the eighteenth century a solitary walker was viewed with almost as much suspicion as he is in Los Angeles today. But the Wordsworths walked continually — De Quincey calculated that by middle age the poet had walked 180,000 miles. Even the unathletic Coleridge walked. They thought nothing of walking sixteen miles after dinner to post a letter. And so, for over a hundred years, going for a country walk was the spiritual as well as the physical exercise of all intellectuals, poets, and philosophers. I am told that in universities the afternoon walk is no longer part of intellectual life. But for a quantity of people walking is still one of the chief escapes from the pressures of the material world, and the countryside where Wordsworth walked, in solitude, is now almost as crowded with pilgrims as Lourdes or Benares.
Related posts:


How to Recognize the Gods

Heliodorus, Aethiopica 3.13 (Calasiris speaking; tr. Moses Hadas):
When gods and divinities visit us and depart from us, Cnemon, they seldom take the form of other creatures but frequently that of humans; this similitude has greater effect on our imaginations. Even if they are not noticed by the profane, they cannot be concealed from the sage. They can be recognized by their eyes, for their gaze is fixed and they never shut their lids, and even better by their gait, for they do not move by alternate steps but by an aerial gliding motion, cutting the air rather than walking through it. That is why the Egyptians join the feet of the gods in their statues and unite them into a single whole. Homer, being an Egyptian and instructed in their sacred lore, knew this and represented it symbolically in his verses, leaving it to those capable of doing so to understand it. Of Athena he says 'Fierce glared her eyes,' of Poseidon, 'Gliding in his gait,' not, as some wrongly hold, 'I easily knew him.'

θεοὶ καὶ δαίμονες, εἶπεν, ὦ Κνήμων, ἐπιφοιτῶντές τε εἰς ἡμᾶς καὶ φοιτῶντες εἰς ἄλλο μὲν ζῶον ἐπ' ἐλάχιστον, εἰς ἀνθρώπους δὲ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἑαυτοὺς εἰδοποιοῦσι, τῷ ὁμοίῳ πλέον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν φαντασίαν ὑπαγόμενοι. τοὺς μὲν δὴ βεβήλους κἂν διαλάθοιεν, τὴν δὲ σοφοῦ γνῶσιν οὐκ ἂν διαφύγοιεν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τε ὀφθαλμοῖς ἂν γνωσθεῖεν ἀτενὲς δι' ὅλου βλέποντες καὶ τὸ βλέφαρον οὔ ποτε ἐπιμύοντες, καὶ τῷ βαδίσματι πλέον, οὐ κατὰ διάστασιν τοῖν ποδοῖν οὐδὲ μετάθεσιν ἀνυομένῳ, ἀλλὰ κατά τινα ῥύμην ἀέριον καὶ ὁρμὴν ἀπαραπόδιστον τεμνόντων μᾶλλον τὸ περιέχον ἢ διαπορευομένων. διὸ δὴ καὶ τὰ ἀγάλματα τῶν θεῶν Αἰγύπτιοι τὼ πόδε ζευγνύντες καὶ ὥσπερ ἐνοῦντες ἱστᾶσιν. ἃ δὴ καὶ Ὅμηρος εἰδώς, ἅτε Αἰγύπτιος καὶ τἠν ἱερὰν παίδευσιν ἐκδιδαχθείς, συμβολικῶς τοῖς ἔπεσιν ἐναπέθετο, τοῖς δυναμένοις συνιέναι γνωρίζειν καταλιπών, ἐπὶ μὲν τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς "δεινὼ δἐ οἱ ὄσσε φάανθεν" εἰπών, ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος τὸ "ἴχνια γὰρ μετόπισθε ποδῶν ἠδὲ κνημάων ῥεἴ' ἔγνων ἀπιόντος," οἶον ῥέοντος ἐν τῇ πορείᾳ. τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ "ῥεῖ' ἀπιόντος," καὶ οὐχ ὥς τινες ἠπάτηνται, "ῥᾳδίως ἔγνων" ὑπολαμβάνοντες.
Related posts:

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Marcantonio Flaminio's Hymn to Pan

Marcantonio Flaminio (1498-1550) hasn't yet appeared in I Tatti Renaissance Library. Some of his poems are translated (completely or partly) by Carol Maddison in her book Marcantonio Flaminio: Poet, Humanist and Reformer (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965). One of the poems partly translated, partly summarized, is a hymn to Pan (pp. 59-65). Maddison has translated lines 6-20, 31-55, 61-65, 76-90, and 111-125 of this hymn. I have translated the remaining lines (1-5, 21-30, 56-60, 66-75, and 91-110) below and combined them with Maddison's translation.
Enough already have I sung of the savage
Battles of kings: come now,
Pierian mother, what god
Will I fittingly sing about,
As I sweetly strum the Aeolian lyre?        5

You, guardian of the woolly
Flock and of the burgeoning woods,
Who love the black back
Of Maenalus and the topmost temples
Of chill Lycaeus?        10

Nymphs, sing of the half-animal son
Of Jove, sing of goat-footed
Pan, the leader of the nimble
Choral dances with the Dryads
In the lofty woods.        15

Hear how the god shatters the loved silence
With his song that wanders in the night.
See, 'Io', he comes,
Shaking the crown of pines
On his wild head.        20

Hasten hither, undefiled
Maidens and pure youths,
But you whose minds are disturbed by
Vicious crimes, stay far
Away from here, you impious ones.        25

May complaints also stay away,
And sorrow mixed with tears:
Here the day should be spent in
Joyful dances, here light song should be
Poured forth with ringing voice.        30

O Pan, father of the Naiads,
With a pack of dogs at your side
You drive the wild lynxes
Through the pathless mountains
And the secret valleys.        35

The father of gods and men
Made you the lord of the woods
From the place where the rosy day rises
To where it sets, drowned in the sea's
Red waves.        40

You give the herds the flowing fountains
They need and the grass they delight in,
You are called the mighty protector
Of sheep, you load their soft fleeces
With glistening wool.        45

The lambs that you once have looked upon,
Holy one, with your pious gaze,
Will not be carried off from the stable
By the enemy wolf nor harmed
By outbreaks of disease.        50

Blessed are the leaves of the groves
Which have heard you singing your songs
On your sweet flute when dewy
Evening brought forth
The sliding stars.        55

Then the all-seeing stars of
Undefiled night shine more clearly;
Then Zephyrus' breezes are silent;
Then the earth decorates the fertile
Meadows with yellow flowers. 60

Not so sweetly sings the swan,
Dying in the water meadow,
Or the nightingale, when spring
Is in flower, lamenting in the deep
Shadows of the wood.        65

Then the wood nymphs, the goddesses,
In the place where rocky shade lies
Along clear fountains,
Dance in rhythm, and with light
Foot strike the ground three times.        70

But you, Pan, lead the dance,
You repeat the songs: everything
Resounds with joyful clapping,
And Echo, dweller in the groves,
Makes a noise in the deep valleys.        75

Soon the wearied bands of Dryads
Sit by the grassy bank
Of the river, where the swaying
Marjoram breathes abroad
Its sweet perfume.        80

And, while they gather apples red
And sweet, or wash their golden
Hair in the cool stream,
They sing at the same time, in
Their clear voices,        85

How Maia's brilliant son
Left the glittering stars
And the high halls of heaven
To pasture the snowy sheep
By the wandering streams,        90

Where the Cyllenian rock
Copiously waters the shade-bringing peak
With dark springs
And always supplies pleasing
Grass to the roaming flock.        95

Here the god, reclining on the
Soft bosom of golden-haired Dryope,
Prefers the leaf-bearing grove
To heaven, overcome (alas) by
Love's too violent wound.        100

But Dryope, happy after her
Nine-month-long sickness,
Brought forth from her womb a hoped-for
Burden. Scarcely had the boy breathed
The divine air of heaven        105

When the Dryads took flight, and his frightened
Mother took flight, for up to the waist
The baby was a foul-smelling goat,
And two horns stood out
On his red forehead.        110

Then his father carried him hidden
In a white fleece and came
To the threshold of mighty Jove.
Straightaway the ruler of boundless
Olympus laughed.        115

The gods above laughed, but Venus
Held the boy to her bosom and fed
Her gaze on the lovable monstrosity
And bestowed her treasured kisses
On his swollen brow.        120

Hail, ruler of the Naiads,
Hail, and drive away weeping
Disease and wretched famine
To the most distant homes of the Arabs
And the fierce Turks.        125
The Latin, from Hieronymi Fracastorii, et Marci Antonii Flaminii Carmina (Venice: Remondi, 1759), pp. 120-122 (line numbers added):
Jam satis cecini fera
Regum praelia: nunc age,
Mater Pieri, quem Deum,
Quem dulci Aeoliae fidis
Plectro rite canemus?        5

An te, lanigeri gregis
Silvarumque virentium
Custos, cui nigra Moenali
Terga, cui gelidi placent
Summa templa Lycaei?        10

Nymphae, semiferam Jovis
Prolem dicite, dicite
Pana capripedem, leves
Suetum cum Dryadis choros
Silvis ducere in altis.        15

En ut grata silentia
Cantu noctivago Deus
Rumpit; cernite, io, venit,
En venit capitis feri
Serta pinea quassans.        20

Huc concurrite, virgines
Intactae, & pueri integri:
At quibus scelera impia
Mentem sollicitant, procul
Hinc abeste, profani.        25

Absint & querimoniae,
Et mixtus lacrimis dolor:
Hic laetis choreis dies
Ducenda, hic leve tinnula
Carmen voce sonandum.        30

O Pan Najadum pater,
Qui per devia montium
Valliumque reconditarum
Agrestes agitas, canum
Cinctus agmine, lyncas:        35

Te divum, atque hominum sator
Silvarum dominum dedit
Esse, qua roseus dies
Surgit, quaque cadens rubris
Ponti mergitur undis.        40

Tu fontes liquidos gregi, &
Laeta pabula sufficis:
Tu custos ovium potens
Dictus, mollia candidis
Exples vellera lanis.        45

Quos tu, sancte, pio semel
Agnos lumine videris,
Illos nec stabulis lupus
Infestus rapiet, mala
Nec contagia laedent.        50

Felices nemorum comae,
Quae te, cum vaga roscidus
Vesper sidera protulit,
Dulci carmina fistula
Audivere canentem.        55

Tunc purae melius nitent
Noctis conscia sidera:
Tunc aurae Zephyri tacent:
Tunc laetas croceis humus
Spargit floribus herbas.        60

Non tam dulce sonat cadens
Udo in gramine cycnus, aut
Veris tempore floridi
Ales sub silvae querens
Densis Daulias umbris.        65

Ergo Hamadryades deae,
Limpidis ubi procubat
Umbra saxea fontibus,
Ludunt in numerum, & levi
Campos ter pede pulsant.        70

Tu vero choream regens,
Cantus ingeminas: sonant
Laetis omnia plausibus,
Et cultrix nemorum gemit
Imis vallibus Echo.        75

Mox fessa Dryadum agmina
Propter gramineam sedent
Ripam fluminis, hic ubi
Dulcem mollis amaracus
Late spirat odorem.        80

Et dum suave rubentia
Carpunt mala, vel aureos
Crines frigidulis aquis
Immergunt, liquida simul
Voce carmina dicunt.        85

Ut fulgentia sidera
Et magnas superum domos
Linquens, ad vaga flumina
Paverit niveas oves
Majae clara propago,        90

Qua Cyllenia verticem
Rupes umbriferum nigris
Late fontibus irrigat,
Et gratas pecori vago
Semper sufficit herbas.        95

Hic flavae Dryopes sinu
In molli recubans Deus
Caelo frondiferum nemus
Praefert, heu nimium gravi
Victus vulnere amoris.        100

At felix Dryope, novem
Post fastidia mensium,
Optatum ex utero dedit
Pondus. Vix puer hauserat
Dias aetheris oras,        105

Fugerunt Dryades, parens
Fugit territa, nam inguinum
Tenus hircus olens erat
Infans, binaque flammea
Stabant cornua fronte.        110

Tunc illum genitor ferens
Albis pellibus abditum,
Ad magni solium Jovis
Venit: nec mora, risit im-
mensi rector Olympi:        115

Riserunt superi: at Venus
In sinu puerum tenens,
Visus pascit amabili
Monstro, grataque turgidae
Libat oscula fronti.        120

Salve o Naiadum potens,
Salve, & hinc lacrimabiles
Morbos, et miseram famem in
Extremas Arabum domos,
Et feros age Turcas.        125

Thanks to Karl Maurer for the following observations:
I seem to see two slight errors in the Latin (15, 31), and a few in Maddison's English (none in yours):
15 'cum Dryadis' can hardly be right. Perhaps Flaminio wrote 'Dryasin' (used twice in Propertius). By itself 'Dryadis' could mean 'of Dryas' (Martial 9.61.14) but 'cum' is plainly the preposition, so we need an ablative.
14-15 'suetum ... ducere' means not 'the leader of' but e.g. 'who likes to lead'.
31 'Najadum' is unmetrical; it should be 'Naïadum'...
32 'at your side' wrecks the image; it should be 'all around you' (I myself would rather do it literally and say 'surrounded by your pack of dogs').
78 'hic' ( = hîc) should not be just ignored, for it tells us that the poet himself is there.
79 'mollis' — why 'swaying'?! It means perhaps 'delicate'; I’d translate it predicatively and say e.g. 'where marjoram delicately emits far and wide its sweet scent'.
113 'solium' not 'threshold' but 'throne'.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


The Modern World

Gustave Flaubert, letter to Mlle. Leroyer de Chantepie (March 18, 1857; tr. Francis Steegmuller):
I feel the need of leaving the modern world: my pen has been dipped in it too long, and I am as weary of portraying it as I am disgusted by the sight of it.

J'éprouve le besoin de sortir du monde moderne, où ma plume s'est trop trempée et qui d'ailleurs me fatigue autant à reproduire qu'il me dégoûte à voir.


The Whole Lot

Kenneth Clark (1903-1983), Civilisation (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 320:
Balzac, with his prodigious understanding of human motives, scorns conventional values, defies fashionable opinion, as Beethoven did, and should inspire us to defy all those forces that threaten to impair our humanity: lies, tanks, tear gas, ideologies, opinion polls, mechanisation, planners, computers — the whole lot.



Kenneth Clark (1903-1983), Civilisation (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), pp. 346-347:
At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole, which for convenience we call nature. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.
Related post: Mencken's Creed.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Bread and Wine

Euripides, Bacchae 274-283 (Tiresias speaking to Pentheus; tr. Moses Hadas and John McLean):
Mankind, young man, has two chief blessings: goddess Demeter—the earth, that is; call her whichever name you will—who sustains men with solid food, and this son of Semele, who came later and matched her gift. He invented the liquid draught of the grape and introduced it to mortals. When they get their fill of the flowing grape, it stops their grief. It gives them sleep and forgetfulness of daily sorrows. There is no other medicine for trouble.

                                          δύο γάρ, ὦ νεανία,
τὰ πρῶτ᾽ ἐν ἀνθρώποισι· Δημήτηρ θεά—        275
Γῆ δ᾽ ἐστίν, ὄνομα δ᾽ ὁπότερον βούλῃ κάλει·
αὕτη μὲν ἐν ξηροῖσιν ἐκτρέφει βροτούς·
ὃς δ᾽ ἦλθ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽, ἀντίπαλον ὁ Σεμέλης γόνος
βότρυος ὑγρὸν πῶμ᾽ ηὗρε κἀσηνέγκατο
θνητοῖς, ὃ παύει τοὺς ταλαιπώρους βροτοὺς        280
λύπης, ὅταν πλησθῶσιν ἀμπέλου ῥοῆς,
ὕπνον τε λήθην τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν κακῶν
δίδωσιν, οὐδ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἄλλο φάρμακον πόνων.

278 ἔπειτ᾽, ἀντίπαλον Housman: ἐπὶ τἀντίπαλον LP


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