Sunday, November 04, 2007

Every Humour Hath His Adjunct Pleasure

"Why are people so various?" asks Patrick Kurp in an essay that ranges from Theophrastus to Joseph Hall to J.V. Cunningham. Cunningham's "great theme," according to Kurp, is "the otherness of others and our responsibility to respect that otherness." Montaigne expatiates on that same theme at the beginning of his essay Of Cato the Younger (1.37, tr. Donald M. Frame):
I do not share that common error of judging another by myself. I easily believe that another man may have qualities different from mine. Because I feel myself tied down to one form, I do not oblige everybody to espouse it, as all others do. I believe in and conceive a thousand contrary ways of life; and in contrast with the common run of men, I more easily admit difference than resemblance between us. I am as ready as you please to acquit another man from sharing my conditions and principles. I consider him simply in himself, without relation to others; I mold him to his own model. I do not fail, just because I am not continent, to acknowledge sincerely the continence of the Feuillants and the Capuchins, and to admire the manner of their life. I can very well insinuate myself by imagination into their place, and I love and honor them all the more because they are different from me. I have a singular desire that we should each be judged in ourselves apart, and that I may not be measured in conformity with the common patterns.
Poets often enumerate the diversity of pursuits and pleasures. A few examples follow.

Pindar, fragment 221 (tr. William H. Race):
...honors and crowns won by horses
with storm-swift hooves delight one man,
living in halls rich with gold cheers others,
and many a man enjoys crossing over the sea-swell
in a swift ship

ἀελλοπόδων μέν τιν᾽ εὐφραίνοισιν ἵππων
τιμαὶ καὶ στέφανοι,
τοὺς δ᾽ ἐν πολυχρύσοις θαλάμοις βιοτά·
τέρπεται δὲ καί τις ἐπ᾽ οἶδμ᾽ ἅλιον
ναῒ θοᾷ διαστείβων
Solon, fragment 1.43-57 (tr. P.J. Rhodes):
Different men aim in different directions. One wanders across the fish-filled sea, seeking to bring home profit in ships, not grudging his life when he is tossed about by the boisterous winds. Another works for hire for a year, tilling the many-treed earth, and the bent plough is his concern. Another learns the arts of Athena and many-skilled Hephaestus, and gains his livelihood with his hands. Another has learned the gifts given by the Muses of Olympus, and knows the measure of lovely wisdom. Another the far-working lord Apollo has made a prophet, a man on whom the gods attend, who sees evil coming to a man from afar (but what is fated can in no way be prevented by any kind of omen or holy rite). Others are doctors, performing the task of the Healer with his many drugs, and there is no end to their work.

σπεύδει δ᾿ ἄλλοθεν ἄλλος· ὁ μὲν κατὰ πόντον ἀλᾶται
    ἐν νηυσὶν χρῄζων οἴκαδε κέρδος ἄγειν
ἰχθυόεντ᾿ ἀνέμοισι φορεύμενος ἀργαλέοισιν,
    φειδωλὴν ψυχῆς οὐδεμίαν θέμενος·
ἄλλος γῆν τέμνων πολυδένδρεον εἰς ἐνιαυτόν
    λατρεύει, τοῖσιν καμπύλ᾿ ἄροτρα μέλει·
ἄλλος ᾿Αθηναίης τε καὶ ῾Ηφαίστου πολυτέχνεω
    ἔργα δαεὶς χειροῖν ξυλλέγεται βίοτον,
ἄλλος ᾿Ολυμπιάδων Μουσέων πάρα δῶρα διδαχθείς,
    ἱμερτῆς σοφίης μέτρον ἐπιστάμενος·
ἄλλον μάντιν ἔθηκεν ἄναξ ἑκάεργος ᾿Απόλλων,
    ἔγνω δ᾿ ἀνδρὶ κακὸν τηλόθεν ἐρχόμενον,
ᾧ ξυνομαρτήσωσι θεοί· τὰ δὲ μόρσιμα πάντως
    οὔτε τις οἰωνὸς ῥύσεται οὔθ᾿ ἱερά·
ἄλλοι Παιῶνος πολυφαρμάκου ἔργον ἔχοντες
    ἰητροί, καὶ τοῖς οὐδὲν ἔπεστι τέλος.
Shakespeare, Sonnet 91:
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their body's force,
Some in their garments though new-fangled ill;
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure,
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' costs,
Of more delight than hawks and horses be;
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.
I owe these references (except to Montaigne) to Nisbet and Hubbard's commentary on Horace, Odes 1.1.