Wednesday, May 08, 2013


An Episode in the History of Bumf

[Warning: Indelicate language ahead.]

Étienne Dolet (1508-1546) attacked Gratien du Pont, Sieur de Drusac, author of the misogynistic treatise Controverses des sexes masculin et foemenin, in a series of Latin odes. In one of these odes Dolet wrote:
Si tuum quisquam neget esse prorsus
Vtilem librum, temere loquatur,
Nempe tergendis natibus peraptus
                          Dicitur esse.
That is,
If anyone should say that your book is utterly useless, he would be speaking rashly; indeed, it is said to be very suitable for arse wiping.
Jean de Boyssoné thought Dolet was too kind to Drusac. Boyssoné joined the fray with a scurrilous poem, described by Richard Copley Christie, Étienne Dolet: The Martyr of the Renaissance, rev. ed. (London: Macmillan, 1899), p. 117, as written "in language which will hardly bear translation into a modern language."

That's a challenge I can't resist. Here's my version of Boyssoné's poem, followed by the Latin:
An excellent poet claimed your little book was suitable for arse wiping, but the poet was flattering you when he said that, I think. For no one, Drusac, judges your little book worthy of his arse, a book that is insipid, mangled, uneven, shameless, unpolished, stiff, unchaste, worse than rough spots, and dirtier than the arse itself. Wherefore we advise the person wishing to wipe his bottom to avoid your pages, unless he wants to stand up with a filthier arsehole than he sat down with.

Tergendis natibus tuum libellum
Aptum dixerat optimus poeta,
Blanditus tibi, credo, tunc poeta.
Nam nullus natibus suis, Drusace,
Dignum judicat hunc tuum libellum
Insulsum, lacerum, asperum, protervum,
Incultum, rigidum, parum pudicum,
Et duris salebris ineptiorem
Atque ipsis natibus magis lutosum:
Quare tergere podicem volentem,
Chartas ut fugiat tuas monemus,
Ni vult surgere foediore culo.
Related posts:


<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

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