Henry Vaughan (1621-1695), Man in Darkness, or, A Discourse of Death
, in The Works of Henry Vaughan
, ed. Leonard Cyril Martin, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1914), pp. 168-190 (at 172-173):
What is become now of these great Merchants of the earth, and where is the fruit of all their labours under the Sun? Why, truly they are taken out of the way as all others, and they are cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. Their dwelling is in the dust, and as for their place here, it lies wast, & is not known: Nettles and Brambles come up in it, and the Owl and the Raven dwell in it. But if you will visit them at their long homes, and knock at those desolate doors, you shall find some remains of them: a heap of loathsomness and corruption. O miserable and sad mutations! (Petrarch. de otio Rel.) Where is now their pompous & shining train? Where are their triumphs, fire-works, and feasts, with all the ridiculous tumults of a popular, prodigious pride? Where is their purple and fine linen, their chains of massie gold, and sparkling ornaments of pearls? Where are their Cooks and Carvers, their *fowlers and fishers? Where are their curious Utensils, their Cups of Agate, Chrystal and China-earth? Where are their sumptuous Chambers, where they inclosed themselvs in Cedar, Ivory, and Ebony? Where is their Musick, their soft and delicate dressings, pleasing motions, and excellency of looks? Where are their rich perfumes, costly Conserves, with their precious and various store of forreign and domestick wines? Where are their sons and their daughters fair as the flowers, strait as the Palm-trees, and polish'd as the corners of the Temple? O pittiful and astonishing transformations! all is gone, all is dust, deformity, and desolation. Their bones are scatter'd in the pit, and instead of well-set hair, there is baldnesse, and loathsomnesse instead of beauty.
* Ingeniosa gula est: Siculo scarus æquore mersus
Ad mensam vivus perducitur, inde lucrinis
Eruta littoribus vendunt conchylia cænas
Ut renovent per damna famem. Jam Phasidos unda,
Orbata est avibus; mutoque in littore tantum
Solæ desertis aspirant frondibus auræ.
The Latin is from Petronius, Satyricon
119, lines 33-38, translated thus by Michael Heseltine:
Gluttony is a fine art. The wrasse is brought alive to table in sea-water from Sicily, and the oysters torn from the banks of the Lucrine lake make a dinner famous, in order to renew men's hunger by their extravagance. All the birds are now gone from the waters of Phasis; the shore is quiet; only the empty air breathes on the lonely boughs.
The following is the passage from Petrarch's De Otio Religioso
, Book II, that Vaughan is paraphrasing:
Et sileo non tantum regio fastigio minores, sed plurimos quoque regum, ne sim longior. Querite vero de istis ubi habitant. Ostendentur vobis exigua sepulcra exornata ingeniis artificum, forte etiam gemmis auroque micantia, ut est ambitiosa non modo vita hominum, sed mors. Vivent in pario lapide imagines defunctorum secundum illud principis poete: Vivos ducent de marmore vultus [Verg. Aen. 6.848]; sed ipsi, queso, ubi sunt? Epygrammata quoque magnifica et tituli altisoni sed inanes, quos qui legis obstupeas; sed subsiste, obsecro, dum limen extreme domus panditur nova subeunt spectacula, novus stupor: heu quam vel cinis exiguus vel ingens copia seu verminum seu serpentium! O inopinata mutatio, o multum discolor rerum frons! Ubi nunc satellites armati, ubi puellarum greges, ubi Ganimedes regium ad poculum deputatus, ubi coquine artifices et callidi sectores altilium, ubi purpurea parietum vestis et ostrum substratum pedibus et insertum ebur trabibus et cornipedes aurea frena mandentes, ubi suppellex curiosior et vasa corinthia et damascenorum labor artificum et animalia in vasis aureis extantia, ubi triclinium atque abaci et cupresso atque hebeno crustate domus, ubi spectacula et cantus et epule terre pelagique visceribus erute et vina alio procul a sole venientia, ubi tot lenocinia voluptatum luteique corpusculi tantus ornatus et vertex dyademate radians et balteo rutilante succinctus ventriculus et stellantes digituli spoliis indici litoris et sculptorum ingeniis; ad postremum, ubi coniunx imperiosa, ubi filii sicut novelle plantationes et filie circumornate ut similitudo templi, que blando nuper attrectatu et dulcibus osculis non duraturi patris colla mulcebant? O flebilis et infelix transmutatio! Omnia in vermes inque serpentes, omnia tandem in nichilum abiere.
Petrarch translated by Susan S. Schearer:
So that I may not speak too much longer, I shall pass over the majority of rulers and important kings. If you ask where these princes reside now, you will be shown tiny tombs decorated by the talent of minor artists. In death their sparkling tombs, adorned with jewels and gold, reflect their ambition in life. Representations of the dead live in Parian marble in accordance with that saying of that foremost poet: "They will produce living countenances from marble." But I ask you: where are they themselves? Their titles and inscriptions are magnificent and their inscriptions are lofty-sounding, but empty. You stand astounded when you read them. But wait, I beg you, until the doorstep of that last resting place is opened, and new miracles and a new wonder appear. Alas! How small the amount of ash or how huge the amount of vermin and serpents there will be! What an unexpected transformation! How different is the face of reality! Where now are those armed companions? Where now are those groups of girls? Where now is Ganymede, who was summoned to be the cupbearer of the gods? Where now are the master chefs and the skilled carvers of fattened birds? Where now are the regal tapestries on the walls, the red carpet lying under foot, the ivory inlaid in wood, and the horny-hoofed horses champing at their golden reins? Where now is that ornate furniture, the Corinthian vases, the work of the artists of Damascus, and the animals etched on golden vases? Where now are the homes inlaid with cypress and ebony, the dining rooms, and the painted panels? Where now are the spectacles, songs, and banquets ferreted from the bowels of the earth and sea? where are the wines which come from distant lands? Where are all the many enticements for lusts, the fine garments to cover the dirt on one's own body, a head radiating with a crown, a stomach girded with a glowing sword belt, and index fingers dazzling with the spoils of the Indian shore and the talent of craftsmen? To finish this, where is the domineering wife? Where are the sons "like new plantations and the daughters decorated like unto a temple," who recently with enticing touches and sweet kisses soothed the neck of their dying father? What a sad and unhappy change! Everything has turned into worms and serpents. Everything eventually turns into nothingness.
I would translate "ubi Ganimedes regium ad poculum deputatus" as "Where is the Ganymede appointed as royal cupbearer," as I don't think Petrarch is concerned with the whereabouts of the mythological Ganymede, cupbearer of the gods, in this passage.