Sunday, February 12, 2012


A Merchant's Prayer to Mercury

Ovid, Fasti 5.681-690 (tr. James George Frazer):
"Wash away the perjuries of past time," says he, "wash away my glozing words of the past day. Whether I have called thee to witness, or have falsely invoked the great divinity of Jupiter, in the expectation that he would not hear, or whether I have knowingly taken in vain the name of any other god or goddess, let the swift south winds carry away the wicked words, and may to-morrow open the door for me to fresh perjuries, and may the gods above not care if I shall utter any! Only grant me profits, grant me joy of profit made, and see to it that I enjoy cheating the buyer!"

"ablue praeteriti periuria temporis," inquit
  "ablue praeteritae perfida verba die.
sive ego te feci testem, falsove citavi
  non audituri numina vana Iovis,
sive deum prudens alium divamve fefelli,
  abstulerint celeres improba dicta Noti,
et pateant veniente die periuria nobis,
  nec curent superi siqua locutus ero.
da modo lucra mihi, da facto gaudia lucro,
  et fac ut emptori verba dedisse iuvet."
Clive Hamilton, The Freedom Paradox (Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2009), p. 56 (more here):
Deception is essential to modern marketing.
The English words market, merchant, and Mercury are all etymologically related.

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