Thursday, July 29, 2004


The Pleasures of Scholarship

Erasmus, Encomium Moriae (Praise of Folly), 49 (tr. John Wilson):
Add to this that other pleasure of theirs, that if any of them happen to find out who was Anchises' mother, or pick out of some worm-eaten manuscript a word not commonly known -- as suppose it bubsequa for a cowherd, bovinator for a wrangler, manticulator for a cutpurse -- or dig up the ruins of some ancient monument with the letters half eaten out; O Jupiter! what towerings! what triumphs! what commendations! as if they had conquered Africa or taken in Babylon.

iam adde et hoc voluptatis genus, quoties istorum aliquis Anchisae matrem, aut voculam vulgo incognitam, in putri quapiam charta deprehenderit, puta bubsequam, bovinatorem aut manticulatorem, aut si quis vetusti saxi fragmentum, mutilis notatum litteris, alicubi effoderit: O Iupiter, quae tum exsultatio, qui triumphi, quae encomia, perinde quasi vel Africam devicerint, vel Babylonas ceperint.

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