Sunday, June 21, 2015


Thin Soup

Eccius Dedolatus: A Reformation Satire, tr. Thomas W. Best (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1971), p. 49 (Eck's student Johannes Rubeus, the witch Canidia, and a surgeon are riding through the air on the back of a goat from Leipzig to Ingolstadt):
SURGEON: Ill-starred me. I'm about to pass out from the stench of some horrendous latrine! I'm afraid I'll have to let go the tail, the way this damnable, stinking beast keeps breaking wind from all that weight!

RUBEUS: You're wrong. I eased my bowels.

SURGEON: What are you saying, scoundrel? You defecated?

RUBEUS : Just like Hochstraten with indulgency-diarrhea.56

SURGEON: Out of fear, you rogue?

RUBEUS: Not at all. Yesterday I swilled more fresh-brewed beer than I'm accustomed to. You needn't be alarmed. It's all thin soup.

CANIDIA: Whether you eat soup or drink it is up to you. And whether it's thin or not I don't know. But one thing's for sure: even though I'm sitting at the front and not the back, I smell an unbearable reek.

56 In Stokes, Letters of Obscure Men, p. 382, we read: "I know some overweening fellows — scoundrels that they are — who have played away all the indulgences that Jakob van Hoogstraten gave them when he had ended the business of Reuchlin at Mainz." See also ibid., p. 504: "Once, during the solemn Act which the Magister-nosters celebrated [in Mainz] against the Augenspiegel, Magister Jakob van Hoogstraten by virtue of his office granted indulgences to all those who were present at the rite."
The Latin (and Greek), from Eckius Dedolatus. Herausgegeben von Siegfried Szamatólski (Berlin: Speyer & Peters, 1891), pp. 19-20:
Chirurgus. Ἐγὼ δὲ κακοδαίμων ob extremae latrinae fetorem tantum non λειποθυμέω et admodum vereor, ne caudam manibus dimittere cogar: ita exsecranda et tanto pressa pondere olida haec bestia assidue pedere non cessat.

Rubeus. Falleris, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐγκέχοδα.

Chirurgus. Quid ais, sceleste, tune cacasti?

Rubeus. Et concacavi quoque non secus atque Hochstratus indulgentias permerdans.

Chirurgus. Ob timorem, scelerate?

Rubeus. Minime, sed quia heri praeter solitum noviter decoctam cervesiam aviter ingurgitaveram; verum haud ea re movearis, non enim faeces sunt, sed ius est.

Canidia. Sive ius edas sive bibas, tuo tibi iure licebit; an tamen iuri faeces permixtae sint ignoro, hoc tamen scio, quod, licet a fronte et non a tergo resideam, intolerabilem tamen sentiam putorem.
On the surgeon's question "Out of fear, you rogue?" see Pseudo-Aristotle, Problems 27.3 (tr. W.S. Hett):
Why is it that in a state of anger, when the heat collects within, men become heated and bold, but in a state of fear they are in the opposite condition? Or is not the same part affected? In the case of the angry it is the heart that is affected, which is the reason why they are courageous, flushed and full of breath, as the direction of the heat is upwards. But in the case of the frightened the blood and the heat escape downwards, whence comes the loosening of the bowels.
Jeffrey Henderson, The Maculate Muse, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 189, #402, lists over a dozen passages from Aristophanes where fear has this physical effect.


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