Tuesday, October 04, 2016


A Labor Worthy of Hercules

Collected Works of Erasmus, Vol. 33: Adages II i 1 to II vi 100, translated and annotated by R.A.B. Mynors (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), p. 10 (II i 1 Festina lente = Make haste slowly)
A labour indeed worthy of Hercules, fit for the spirit of a king, to give back to the world something so heavenly, when it was in a state of almost complete collapse; to trace out what lies hid, to dig up what is buried, to call back the dead, to repair what is mutilated, to correct what is corrupted in so many ways, especially by the fault of those common printers who reckon one pitiful gold coin in the way of profit worth more than the whole realm of letters. And another point: however loudly you may sing the praises of those men who by their valour protect or even extend the boundaries of their country, they are active at best in worldly things and constrained within narrow limits. But he who restores a literature in ruins (almost a harder task than to create one) is engaged on a thing sacred and immortal, and works for the benefit not of one province only but of all nations everywhere and of all succeeding ages.
In Latin:
Herculanum mehercule facinus ac regio quodam animo dignum, rem tam diuinam quasi funditus collapsam orbi restituere, latentia peruestigare, eruere retrusa, reuocare extincta, sarcire mutila, emendare tot modis deprauata, praecipue vulgarium istorum excusorum vitio, quibus vnius etiam aureoli lucellum antiquius est quam vel vniuersa res literaria. Adde iis, quod quantumlibet exaggeres eorum laudem, qui respublicas sua virtute vel tuentur, vel etiam augent, in re certe prophana, tum angustis circumscripta spatiis versantur. At qui literas collapsas vindicat, nam id pene difficilius quam genuisse, primum rem sacram molitur et immortalem, tum non vnius alicuius prouinciae, sed omnium vbique gentium, omnium seculorum negocium agit.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?