Thursday, November 30, 2023


Words of One Too Old to Lead

Vergil, Aeneid 8.508-509 (Evander speaking; tr. Frederick Ahl):
                                                                          But my old age
Slows me with ice-stiff limbs, worn out by decades, and bedevils
Me as a leader. My strength is too far beyond prime for heroics.

sed mihi tarda gelu saeclisque effeta senectus
invidet imperium seraeque ad fortia vires.
The same, tr. Lee M. Fratantuono and R. Alden Smith:
But as for me, advanced years, slowed by the chill of age and exhausted by many generations,
begrudge me the ruling power, and my strength is too late for brave deeds.


Good Wishes

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), Odes 5.34 (to Nicholas de Verdun), lines 73-84, 91-96 (tr. D.B. Wyndham Lewis):
May God bless your house with fine children a-plenty, born of your beautiful and virtuous wife; may peace reign in your bed, and may the noise of domestic jars be very far from you!

May you be gay, content, and joyous, neither coveting nor envying those things which eat away our souls. May you fly all kind of troubles and take no heed of those misfortunes predicted by Nostradamus!


Have no care of the morrow, but, holding to-day close in your grasp, live out the days happily as they come to you, for how do you know if you shall see another sun returning?

Dieu vueille benir ta maison
De beaux enfans naiz à foison
De ta femme belle et pudique:        75
La Concorde habite en ton lit,
Et bien loin de toy soit le bruit
De toute noise domestique.

Sois gaillard, dispost, et joyeux,
Ny convoiteux ny soucieux        80
Des choses qui nous rongent l'ame;
Fuy toutes sortes de douleurs,
Et ne pren soucy des malheurs
Qui sont predits par Nostradame.


N'ayes soucy du lendemain,
Mais serrant le temps en la main,
Vy joyeusement la journée
Et l'heure en laquelle seras:
Et que sçais-tu si tu verras        95
L'autre lumiere retournée?

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Crime and Punishment

Xenophon, Anabasis 1.9.13 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
At the same time, however, no one could say that he allowed criminals and wrongdoers to mock him. No, he punished them with unstinting severity, and one could often see, by the side of busy roads, people who had lost feet, hands, or eyes. The upshot was that it became possible for any innocent man, whether Greek or barbarian, to travel within Cyrus' domain wherever he liked without fear and carrying whatever he wanted.

οὐ μὲν δὴ οὐδὲ τοῦτʼ ἄν τις εἴποι, ὡς τοὺς κακούργους καὶ ἀδίκους εἴα καταγελᾶν, ἀλλὰ ἀφειδέστατα πάντων ἐτιμωρεῖτο· πολλάκις δʼ ἦν ἰδεῖν παρὰ τὰς στειβομένας ὁδοὺς καὶ ποδῶν καὶ χειρῶν καὶ ὀφθαλμῶν στερομένους ἀνθρώπους· ὥστʼ ἐν τῇ Κύρου ἀρχῇ ἐγένετο καὶ Ἕλληνι καὶ βαρβάρῳ μηδὲν ἀδικοῦντι ἀδεῶς πορεύεσθαι ὅπῃ τις ἤθελεν, ἔχοντι ὅ τι προχωροίη.


High School and College Courses, or Good News and Bad News

Robin McCoy, Preface to Georg Autenrieth, A Homeric Dictionary for Schools and Colleges. Translated by Robert P. Keep. Revised by Isaac Flagg (1958; rpt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961):
While A Homeric Dictionary needs no dedication at this late date, I should like to think that this particular edition of it might be dedicated to the earnest young students of Greek at Thomas Jefferson School, St. Louis, of this year and years past, whose unflagging interest in Homer has been one of the rewarding experiences of my career as a teacher.
It came as a surprise for me to see that Homeric Greek is still offered at Thomas Jefferson School.

Hannah Dailey, "Taylor Swift Is In Her College Era: Harvard, University of Florida Add Courses Dedicated to Pop Star," Billboard (November 28, 2023):
More college courses dedicated to Taylor Swift have been added to the academic canon for 2024, including a class at one of the most famous universities in the world: Harvard.


Harvard and University of Florida are just two of the latest schools to offer Swiftian studies, following in the footsteps of institutions such as University of Texas, Arizona State University, Stanford University and UC Berkeley. The fast-growing trend in Taylor-themed classes stems from New York University’s groundbreaking Swift course taught by Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos, which was launched early last year.
If I were a college student, I would be ashamed for such a course to appear on my college transcript.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


The Latin Language

Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457), Elegantiarum Libri, praefatio, tr. Christopher S. Celenza, The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities: An Intellectual History, 1400-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), p. 23 (brackets in original):
It is the great sacrament, indeed, the great divinity of the Latin language that in a holy and religious fashion has been defended among pilgrims, barbarians, and enemies for so many centuries, to such a point that we Romans should not lament but rather rejoice and indeed, with the whole world hearkening, take pride. We have lost Rome, we have lost our kingdom, we have lost power — but this is not our fault but that of the times. And yet we rule over most of the world through this more illustrious power: Italy is ours, as are France, Spain, Germany, Pannonia [meaning the territory that is today partially in Hungary, Austria, and Serbia], Dalmatia [today covering much of Croatia], Illyria [modern Albania], and many other nations. For wherever the Roman language dominates, it is there that one finds Roman power.
The Latin, from Eugenio Garin, ed., Prosatori latini del Quattrocento (Milan: Ricciardi, 1952), p. 596:
Magnum ergo latini sermonis sacramentum est, magnum profecto numen quod apud peregrinos, apud barbaros, apud hostes, sancte ac religiose per tot saecula custoditur, ut non tam dolendum nobis Romanis quam gaudendum sit atque ipso etiam orbe terrarum exaudiente gloriandum. Amisimus Romam, amisimus regnum atque dominatum; tametsi non nostra sed temporum culpa; verum tamen per hunc splendidiorem dominatum in magna adhuc orbis parte regnamus. Nostra est Italia, nostra Gallia, nostra Hispania, Germania, Pannonia, Dalmatia, lllyricum, multaeque aliae nationes. Ibi namque romanum imperium est ubicumque romana lingua dominatur.


Doto, Proto, et al.

Homer, Iliad 18.39-49 (tr. Peter Green):
Thither came Glaukē and Thaleia, Kymodokē,
Nēsaia, Speiō, and Thoē, and ox-eyed Haliē,
Kymothoē and Aktaia, along with Limnōreia,
Melitē and Iaira, Agauē, Amphithoē,
Dōtō and Prōtō, Dyamenē and Pherousa,
Dexamenē and Amphinomē and Kallianeira,
Dōris and Panopē and far-famed Galateia,
Nēmertēs, Aspeudēs, and Kallianassa.
With these also came Klyménē, Ianeira, and Ianassa,
Maira and Ōreithyia and fair-tressed Amatheia,
and other Nēreïds from elsewhere in the sea's depths.

ἔνθ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔην Γλαύκη τε Θάλειά τε Κυμοδόκη τε
Νησαίη Σπειώ τε Θόη θ᾽ Ἁλίη τε βοῶπις        40
Κυμοθόη τε καὶ Ἀκταίη καὶ Λιμνώρεια
καὶ Μελίτη καὶ Ἴαιρα καὶ Ἀμφιθόη καὶ Ἀγαυὴ
Δωτώ τε Πρωτώ τε Φέρουσά τε Δυναμένη τε
Δεξαμένη τε καὶ Ἀμφινόμη καὶ Καλλιάνειρα
Δωρὶς καὶ Πανόπη καὶ ἀγακλειτὴ Γαλάτεια        45
Νημερτής τε καὶ Ἀψευδὴς καὶ Καλλιάνασσα·
ἔνθα δ᾽ ἔην Κλυμένη Ἰάνειρά τε καὶ Ἰάνασσα
Μαῖρα καὶ Ὠρείθυια ἐϋπλόκαμός τ᾽ Ἀμάθεια
ἄλλαι θ᾽ αἳ κατὰ βένθος ἁλὸς Νηρηΐδες ἦσαν.

39-49 ath. Zenodotus et Aristarchus
This catalogue of the Nereids may well be the easiest passage to read in Homer, with most lines requiring little more than a knowledge of the Greek alphabet and a couple of conjunctions.

See John Butterworth, "Homer and Hesiod," in J.H. Betts et al,, edd., Studies in Honour of T.B.L. Webster, vol. I (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1986), pp. 33-45 (at 39-44, comparing Homer, Iliad 18.35-51, and Hesiod, Theogony 233-264).

Monday, November 27, 2023


Homeric Echoes

C.M. Bowra (1898-1971), Early Greek Elegists (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938), pp. 15-16:
Callinus likes to end a pentameter with a Homeric phrase such as ἀλλά τις ἰθὺς ἴτω or κουριδίης τ' ἀλόχου and all his hexameters end with a word which occurs at the end of a Homeric hexameter. The explanation of these Homeric echoes is similar to what we have seen in the case of Archilochus, but here we see on a larger scale how the elegiac poet used the epic language. The borrowing is not due to the fact that Callinus was a mere imitator and did not know how to make a language of his own. It is rather the case that in his time almost any poet writing elegiac verse learned not to operate with a vocabulary of single, select words which were characteristically his own but with phrases and even with whole lines which belonged to his craft. He composed his verses in his head, and the task of composition was made easier, almost made possible, by the fact that for most situations and thoughts there was a phrase ready-made in the epic. The poet must often, too, have had to improvise as popular poets still do in the less literate parts of Europe, and for improvisation a stock vocabulary of this kind is almost indispensable. So the circumstances in which Callinus composed were different from any modern poet's. Nor was he expected to be remarkably original. He must say the right thing for the occasion, and he must say it in language sufficiently elevated. But he could use the ordinary language of poetry as he and his hearers knew it. Callinus indeed used it with ease and fluency. The epic phrases fall easily into his verse; there is no sense of strain or of obstacles overcome with difficulty.

Sunday, November 26, 2023


Examination of Conscience

Ronald Knox (1888-1957), The Trials of a Translator (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1949), p. 25:
Your examination of conscience, when you are doing any translating work, is obviously grouped under three heads: Is it accurate? Is it intelligible? Is it readable?
Id., p. 36:
Any translation is a good one in proportion as you can forget, while reading it, that it is a translation at all.
Id., p. 45:
Legentibus, si semper exactus sit sermo, non erit gratus. I wonder where St. Jerome found that thought-provoking sentiment to end Machabees with? It is not in the Greek.
Knox's translation of the sentence from Machabees:
So it is with reading; if the book be too nicely polished at every point, it grows wearisome.
From Joel Eidsath:
Knox seems to be mistaken here, perhaps confused by the fact that the Latin verse numbering for Maccabees chapter 15 is slightly different from the Greek, with 2Mac 15:40 being 15:39 in the LXX.

Jerome, with his "legentibus si semper exactus sit sermo, non erit gratus", has given the logically equivalent contrapositive of "τὸ τῆς κατασκευῆς τοῦ λόγου τέρπει τὰς ἀκοὰς τῶν ἐντυγχανόντων τῇ συντάξει". It's really a nice bit of translation, and makes for a stylistic improvement on the original.

2 Macc 15:39 LXX:
καθάπερ γὰρ οἶνον κατὰ μόνας πίνειν, ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ ὕδωρ πάλιν πολέμιον· ὃν δὲ τρόπον οἶνος ὕδατι συγκερασθεὶς ἡδὺς καὶ ἐπιτερπῆ τὴν χάριν ἀποτελεῖ, οὕτως καὶ τὸ τῆς κατασκευῆς τοῦ λόγου τέρπει τὰς ἀκοὰς τῶν ἐντυγχανόντων τῇ συντάξει. ἐνταῦθα δὲ ἔσται ἡ τελευτή.
My translation:
For just like it's harmful to drink wine neat, so again it is with water. But the way it is, is that wine mixed with water is sweet and makes for a nice buzz. So too, the art of prepared speech pleases the senses of the listeners through combination. And here shall be the end.
A sentiment worthy of Scheherazade.

Saturday, November 25, 2023


Like Leaves on a Tree

Augustine, Sermons 51.23 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 346; tr. Edmund Hill):
In this respect the human race, as it says somewhere [Ecclesiasticus 14:18], is rather like the leaves of a tree; of an olive tree, though, or bay tree, or any other evergreen, which is never without foliage, but yet doesn't always have the same leaves. As it says in that place, the tree sheds some while it produces others; the ones that are opening succeed the ones that are falling. It's always shedding leaves, its always clothed with leaves. So with the human race: it doesn't feel the loss of those who die every day, because they are being made up for by those who are being born. Thus the whole species of the human race continues in its proper manner, and just as there are always leaves to be seen on a tree of that sort, so the earth is always evidently full of human beings. If however they only died and weren't born, then the earth would be stripped of all people, as some kinds of trees are stripped of all their leaves.

Quia ita est genus humanum, sicut scriptum est, quomodo folia in arbore: sed in arbore olea, vel lauro, vel aliqua huiusmodi, quae nunquam sine coma est; sed tamen non eadem semper habet folia. Nam quomodo scriptum est, alia generat, et alia deicit: quia ea quae suboriuntur, succedunt ruentibus aliis. Semper enim deicit folia, semper foliis vestita est. Sic et genus humanum quotidie morientium detrimenta non sentit, per supplementa nascentium: et sic pro modo suo stat universa species generis humani; et sicut folia in arbore semper videntur, ita plena hominibus terra conspicitur. Si autem morerentur tantum, et non nascerentur; velut arbores quaedam omnibus foliis, ita terra omnibus hominibus nudaretur.


Old Grievances

Euripides, fragment 507 Kannicht, in Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 5, p. 551 (from Melanippe; tr. Christopher Collard and Martin Cropp):
Why do you not let those who have died be dead?
Why do you gather up griefs that are already spilled?

τί τοὺς θανόντας οὐκ ἐᾷς τεθνηκέναι
καὶ τἀκχυθέντα συλλέγεις ἀλγήματα;


Archilochus to Aisimides

Archilochus, fragment 14 West (tr. J.M. Edmonds):
No man, Aesimides, would enjoy very many delights who heeded the censure of the people.

Αἰσιμίδη, δήμου μὲν ἐπίρρησιν μελεδαίνων
    οὐδεὶς ἂν μάλα πόλλ’ ἱμερόεντα πάθοι.
Guy Davenport's translation is unreliable:
A man, Aisimides, who listens
To what people say about him
Isn't ever going to be quiet of mind.
Laura Swift ad loc.:


Griffin Head

Griffin head, attachment from a bronze tripod cauldron (Kameiros, Rhodes, 7th century BC), now in the British Museum, registration number 1870,0315.16:
See Nassos Papalexandrou, Bronze Monsters and the Cultures of Wonder: Griffin Cauldrons in the Preclassical Mediterranean (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2021), p. 26.

Related post: Griffin.

Friday, November 24, 2023



Yesterday was a day of thanksgiving in Seville — the 775th anniversary of the expulsion of the Moors from the city.

A friend attended Mass in the Cathedral and sent me these photographs:


Ancestors as Guides

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), "Remonstrance au peuple de France," lines 89-90 (tr. D.B. Wyndham Lewis):
I am not curious of so many novelties;
I prefer to imitate the ways of my ancestors.

De tant de nouveautez je ne suis curieux:
II me plaist d'imiter le train de mes ayeux.
This could be my motto.

Thursday, November 23, 2023


Tenure Fights

Anthony Grafton, Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance (New York: Hill and Wang, 2008), p. 283:
Alberti, in other words, wrote his great book [On the Art of Building] as one of the numerous scholars who thronged the Vatican and the Castel Sant'Angelo in the late 1440s and early 1450s, studying the classics, bickering, and now and then engaging in fisticuffs, or sending a pair of murderers to deal with a rival (in those days, tenure fights were really deadly). Alberti not only did his research in this particular intellectual milieu, he also addressed himself to particular intellectuals who worked there, speaking to their overriding concerns.



Ronald Knox (1888-1957), Broadcast Minds (London: Sheed & Ward, 1932), p. 10:
The immediate danger I foresee is what I call broadcastmindedness. By that I mean, primarily, the habit of taking over, from self-constituted mentors, a ready-made, standardized philosophy of life, instead of constructing, with however imperfect materials, a philosophy of life for oneself.


Things on a Small Scale

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine (1935; rpt. New York: The Ecco Press, 1979), p. 313:
The wars of the nations must be little wars of little nations brought about by local jeers; the religions must be little religions; the churches without temporal powers; the leisure enjoyments be individual enjoyments. The glorification of Mass must disappear. You will talk of the largest pumpkin in the village as a glory, not of the largest armament factory in the world.


Talking and Listening

Democritus, fragment 86 (tr, Kathleen Freeman):
It is greed to do all the talking and not be willing to listen.

πλεονεξίη τὸ πάντα λέγειν, μηδὲν δὲ ἐθέλειν ἀκούειν.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023



Joachim du Bellay (1522-1560), Regrets 127, lines 1-4 (tr. Richard Helgerson):
Here treason disguises itself with a thousand masks.
Here a thousand crimes multiply in abundance.
Here they do not punish homicide or poison.
And riches are here acquired by usury.

Icy de mille fards la traison se desguise,
Icy mille forfaitz pullulent à foison,
Icy ne se punit l'homicide ou poison,
Et la richesse icy par usure est acquise.


How Much Is Enough?

Horace, Satires 1.1.49-51 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Or, tell me, what odds does it make to the man who lives within Nature's bounds, whether he ploughs a hundred acres or a thousand?

                      vel dic quid referat intra
naturae finis viventi, iugera centum an        50
mille aret?
Almost three years ago, Bill Gates owned 242,000 acres of farmland in the United States, more than any other landowner, according to Eric O'Keefe, "Farmer Bill," LandReport (January 11, 2021). Since then the number has grown. See also Seamus Bruner, Controligarchs (New York: Sentinel, 2023), chapter 5: "The War on Farmers".

Obviously Farmer Bill doesn't care to live within Nature's bounds.


Regimentation of Thought

Ronald Knox (1888-1957), Broadcast Minds (London: Sheed & Ward, 1932), p. 3:
If our modern world is built up largely on the medieval invention of gunpowder, it is also largely built up on the medieval invention of printing. And printing is a kind of spiritual explosive, with the same duality of influence. We are accustomed to think of the Press as an instrument of liberation; that is because its effects are more noticed, where they are more sensational. We think of Junius, or Martin Marprelate. But a moment's reflection will suggest that the introduction of printing has made possible a far more exact regimentation of thought, wherever governments, armies, or ecclesiastical organizations have found the opportunity to express their views by this means.
Id., p. 4:
Whenever we see a statement in print, the odds arc that the colour and the setting of that statement are, somehow, official. The thing would not have been printed if somebody or other had not had the money to pay for printing it; would not have been distributed, if somebody or other had not commanded the means of distribution.


The immediate effect of printing, which makes it possible for the man in power to communicate his ideas, without fear of adulteration, not to thousands but to millions of the governed, is regimentation of thought.


Catullus Scuttled

Catullus' phrase cacata carta aptly describes both the translation and the review.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


Two Earthly Paradises

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine (1935; rpt. New York: The Ecco Press, 1979), p. 215:
I have spoken with some contempt of scholars and scholarship. Nevertheless during all my life I have been aware—or it might be more true to say that I have had the feeling, since never till this moment have I put it into words—that there are in this world only two earthly paradises. The one is in Provence with what has survived of the civilizations of the Good King [René of Anjou, 1409-1480], of the conte-fablistes, of the Troubadours and of the painters of Avignon of the Popes. The other is the Reading Room of the British Museum.

It is—it has always been—to me delightful, soothing like the thought of a blessed oasis in the insupportable madhouse for apes that is our civilization, to remember that, rage the journalists how they may, there at the other end of the scale sit in an atmosphere of immutable calm, in that vast, silent place, all those half-brothers of the pen intent on the minutiae of the arts, the sciences and of pure thought. I think they must be the next to most happy people in the world, bending above their desks whilst the great clock marks the negligible hours of the Next to Best Great Good Place.
Related posts:


A Rigorous Daily Schedule

Ronald S. Stroud, "Pritchett, William Kendrick," Database of Classical Scholars:
Upon his retirement in 1976 [at age 67], Pritchett embarked on a virtual second career. Free of teaching and administrative duties, he devoted himself almost exclusively to research and publication, maintaining a rigorous daily schedule of five hours of study in the early morning, followed by a hike on the steep trails of nearby Tilden Park, and then five more hours in the late afternoon and evening. He followed this regimen seven days a week, including all holidays, for almost three decades.



Euripides, Orestes 976-981 (tr. Edward P. Coleridge):
Oh, oh! you tribes of short-lived men, full of tears, full of suffering, see how fate runs counter to your hopes! All receive in turn their different troubles in length of time; and the whole of mortal life is uncertain.

ἰὼ ἰώ, πανδάκρυτ᾽ ἐφαμέρων
ἔθνη πολύπονα, λεύσσεθ᾽, ὡς παρ᾽ ἐλπίδας
μοῖρα βαίνει.
ἕτερα δ᾽ ἕτερος ἀμείβεται
πήματ᾽ ἐν χρόνῳ μακρῷ·        980
βροτῶν δ᾽ ὁ πᾶς ἀστάθμητος αἰών.

Monday, November 20, 2023


I Study, Think, Read, and Write

Petrarch, Familiar Letters 15.3, to Zanobi da Strada (February 22, 1353; tr. Aldo S. Bernardo):
Here is how I live: I rise in the middle of the night, go outdoors at sunrise, but both in the fields and at home I study, think, read, and write; I keep sleep from my eyes as long as possible, softness from my body, pleasures from my mind, sluggishness from my actions. Every day I wander over the rocky mountains, through the dewy valleys and caverns; I often walk along both banks of the Sorgue without meeting anyone who disturbs me, without a companion or guide except my cares, which day by day grow less insistent and troublesome. Mindful of the past, I deliberate on things to come and consider them from every angle.


As I said, I am at the source of the Sorgue; and since fortune has so decreed, I seek no other place, nor shall I do so, until she shifts her changeable edicts as is her wont. Meanwhile here I have established my Rome, my Athens, and my spiritual fatherland; here I gather all the friends I now have or did have, not only those who have proved. themselves through intimate contact and who have lived with me, but also those who died many centuries ago, known to me only through their writings, wherein I marvel at their accomplishments and their spirits or at their customs and lives or at their eloquence and genius. I gather them from every land and every age in this narrow valley, conversing with them more willingly than with those who think they are alive because they see traces of their stale breath in the frosty air. I thus wander free and unconcerned, alone with such companions.

Haec vita mea est. Media nocte consurgo; primo mane domo egredior, sed non aliter in campis quam domi studeo, cogito, lego, scribo: somnum quantum fieri potest ab oculis meis arceo, a corpore mollitiem, ab animo voluptates, ab operatione torporem. Totis diebus aridos montes, roscidas valles atque antra circumeo. Utramque Sorgiae ripam saepe remetior, nullo qui obstrepat obvio, nullo comite, nullo duce, nisi curis meis minus in dies acribus ac molestis. Illas ante retroque transmittens praeteritorum memor ventura delibero.


Ad fontem Sorgiae sum, ut dixi, et quando ita visum est fortunae, locum alium non requiro, nec faciam donec illa, quod crebro solet, varium mutet edictum. Interea equidem hic mihi Romam, hic Athenas, hic patriam ipsam mente constituo. Hic omnes quos habeo amicos vel quos habui, nec tantum familiari convictu probatos et qui mecum vixerunt, sed qui multis ante me saeculis obierunt solo mihi cognitos beneficio litterarum, quorum sive res gestas atque animum, sive mores vitamque, sive linguam ingeniumque miror, ex omnibus locis atque omni aevo in hanc exiguam vallem saepe contraho, cupidiusque cum illis versor quam cum iis qui sibi vivere videntur quotiens rancidum nescio quid spirantes gelido in aere sui halitus vident vestigium. Sic liber ac securus vagor et talibus comitibus solus sum.


Handy Latin Phrases

Plautus, Mostellaria 495 (tr. Paul Nixon):
You are an awful dunderhead at times.

interdum inepte stultus es.
Id. 965:
You're more muddle-headed than you look.

praeter speciem stultus es.

Sunday, November 19, 2023


Just Read and Be Ready for Anything

David West, Reading Horace (Edinburgh: University Press, 1967), p. 141:
A poem is a stone thrown into the pool of the mind. We can establish that certain ripples are historically necessary, or historically impossible, but apart from these each pool (if it has any water in it at all) has a different depth, a different fringe of vegetation, a different colour, different lighting (if any) and a different bottom; so after the critics have done with the poem, there will remain innumerable patterns evanescent and elusive, neither necessary nor refutable, the valid personal impact of the poem on the man who reads it. Through the haze of two millennia we have to repress all our contemporary preconceptions, to deploy an exhaustive philological and historical learning and still be able to to feel like human beings.

Clearly the task is impossible. But to those who attempt it, the Epistles of Horace, as we have seen, offer any amount of good sense and good humour, an endearing persona genially and cunningly revealed, a wide range of interesting observation, thought, and emotion, and something very like the kind of delight which great poetry gives. The Odes it would be stupid to attempt to characterise in this fashion. We must just read and be ready for anything.


The Jaws of Greed

Augustine, Sermons 50.6 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 328 = Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, vol. 41, pp. 627-628; tr. Edmund Hill):
Do you regard someone as rich who would need less if he had less? We see people, do we not, who were delighted with small profits when they only had a small amount of money. But once they begin to have plenty of what is genuinely gold and silver, but for all that is false riches, then offer them a small margin of profit, and now they turn it down. You imagine that they are now satisfied, but it is not true. Having more money, you see, does not close the jaws of avarice, but stretches them wider; instead of cooling greed, it makes it hotter. They spurn the cup, because they are thirsting for the river. So should we call them wealthier, then, or needier than ever, people who began by wishing to have something in order not to need it, but who now have more and more, in order not to need less?

Divitem tu putas, qui minus egeret, si minus haberet? Nam videmus quosdam cum haberent parvam pecuniam parvis lucris fuisse laetatos. Sed postea quam eis coepit abundare verum quidem corpus auri et argenti, sed tamen falsae divitiae, cum parva obtuleris, iam recusant. Credis eos iam esse satiatos, sed falsum est. Nam maior pecunia fauces avaritiae non claudit, sed extendit; non irrigat, sed accendit. Poculum respuunt, quia fluvium sitiunt. Utrum ergo ditior an egentior dicendus est, qui cum ideo voluit habere aliquid ne indigeret, ideo plus habet ne minus indigeat?

Saturday, November 18, 2023


Believe in Divine Revelation

Propertius 4.2.20 (Vertumnus speaking; tr. J.S. Phillimore):
Thou must believe none but the god's own tale about himself.

de se narranti tu modo crede deo.


In My Day

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine (1935; rpt. New York: The Ecco Press, 1979), p. 121:
I am not, you understand, a pessimist: I don't want our civilization to pull through. I want a civilization of small men each labouring two small plots—his own ground and his own soul. Nothing else will serve my turn.

All the same, if you have once loved something it is at least sad and puzzling to return and find what was once confident, resolute and on the whole well-meaning become, not so much emaciated or enfeebled but just simply hopelessly puzzled—even as to the possibility of so much as being well-meaning. In my day we had King, Lords, Commons, the Book of Common Prayer, the London County Council, the Metropolitan Police, the Home Secretary—and Christ Jesus who had died to make us and our vast Empire what we were. Now all those first attributes of Londonism are as dim as figures seen through the steam from a kettle-spout.



R.A. Knox (1888-1957), A Spiritual Aeneid (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1918), p. 218:
It is a commonplace frequently agreed upon by symposia of elderly stockbrokers in drearily immaculate clubs that schoolmasters are a type, a machine-made product, destitute of any save false enthusiasms, out of touch with the world around them, slaves of the groove and wholly given over to pedantry.

Friday, November 17, 2023


Little Squares in the Earth

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine (1935; rpt. New York: The Ecco Press, 1979), pp. 110-111:
For the Provençal—as for the Italian in a less and, I am told, for the Chinese in a greater measure—Nature is a matter of little squares in the orange, sun-baked earth. … You go out at dawn from your mas that has frescoed walls; between a forgotten shrine that contains a ninth-century Christ and the field from which they are just disinterring the Venus of Arles, who looks upon you with sightless eyes; with a tiny knife before the dawn is up you remove an infinitely tiny but superfluous leaf from a tiny plant; between clods the countenance of everyone of which is as familiar to you as the face of your child and that to-morrow you shall reduce to fine earth, you lead with your hoe threads of water to the base of every plant that is as familiar to you as the clods, your children and the names of your saints, bull-fighters and poets. The sun rises and scorches your limbs whilst you prune your vines; your throat knows the stimulation of the juice of your own grapes that you have pressed, of the oil of the olives you have gathered and crushed, of the herbs you have grown in the mess of pottage of your own beans, of the cheese whose whey was pressed from the milk of your own goats. You lie for your siesta through the torrid heat of the day in the shadows of the cloister of St. Trophime, watching how, in the orange stone of the capitals, Adam delves, Eve spins and the Maries come up from the sea to Arles. You go back to your work past the Greek shadows of the columns of the theatre made by the Phoceans; at the day's ebb in the golden aureoles of the dust you cast your boules between the stone chest that is the tomb of a captain of the tenth legion that had "Valens, Victrix" for its motto, and another stone chest with a curious ribbon pattern that once held the ashes of a paladin who died beside Roland at Roncevaux.



Euripides, Orestes 259 (Electra to Orestes; tr. William Arrowsmith):
You don't see what you think you see.

ὁρᾷς γὰρ οὐδὲν ὧν δοκεῖς σάφ᾽ εἰδέναι.
Arrowsmith omits σάφ᾽, i.e. "You don't see what you think you recognize clearly." Cf. M.L. West's rendering:
You're not seeing any of the things you think you're sure of.
West remarks:
[S]o in Aesch. Cho. 1051 ff. the chorus tells Orestes that what he sees are mere fancies arising from mental disorder.


Sunset, Northeast Kingdom

Hat tip: My brother.



Ezra Pound, Instigations (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), p. 228:
I give thanks to Zeus ὅσις ποτ' ἐσὶν, that being an American, I have escaped the British public school.
If Pound had been educated in a British public school, perhaps he would not have mangled the quotation from Aeschylus, Agamemnon 160, so badly:
Ζεύς, ὅστις ποτ᾽ ἐστίν...
He probably misread the stigma ligature (sigma plus tau) in an old edition.


Thursday, November 16, 2023


The Omniscientists

Ronald Knox (1888-1957), Broadcast Minds (London: Sheed & Ward, 1932), p. 21:
Unless we are of those few who can claim to know everything about something, it only remains that we should pride ourselves on knowing something about everything. We must all have recourse to the little handbooks sooner or later. And the people whom I am criticizing, whose methods I am questioning in this book, are not the people who derive their knowledge of most subjects from second-hand information; they do not differ in that from the rest of us; but people who select from the little handbooks those statements, those points of view which tell in favour of the thesis they want to establish, concealing any statements or points of view which tell in a contrary direction, and then serve up the whole to us as the best conclusions of modern research, disarming all opposition by appealing to the sacred name of science. It is these people I call the omniscientists.


Ill-Fitted for Learning

Democritus, fragment 85 (tr. Kathleen Freeman):
He who contradicts and chatters much is ill-fitted for learning what he ought.

ὁ ἀντιλογεόμενος καὶ πολλὰ λεσχηνευόμενος ἀφυὴς ἐς μάθησιν ὧν χρή.
Robert Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden: Brill, 2010), p. 850 (s.v. λέσχη):
See also Łukasz Niesiołowski-Spanò, "The Philistines as intermediaries between the Aegean and the Near East," in Thomas L. Thompson and Philippe Wajdenbaum, edd., The Bible and Hellenism: Greek Influence on Jewish and Early Christian Literature (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 89-101 (at 96-98), who regards Hebrew liškah as a loanword from Greek.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023



Euripides, Orestes edited with translation and commentary by M.L. West (Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd, 1987), p. 28:
Not many people, if asked to nominate the greatest Greek tragedy, would choose Orestes. For true tragic greatness we expect horrific indignity faced with terrific dignity; we look to the doom-laden atmospherics of Agamemnon, the ruthless mechanism of Oedipus Tyrannus, the harrowing psychology of Medea or Philocletes. We do not admit the "melodramas" as having a serious claim. But there is a sense in which tragōidiā, considered not as a sublime abstraction but as theatre for the people, did not realise its full potential until Euripides perfected the art of balancing one emotion against another, one expectation against another, one sympathy against another, and of running his audience through a gamut of sensations to a final tonic chord of satiety and satisfaction. If there is one play in which this perfection may be said to have been achieved, it is Orestes.


Snobs may dismiss this popularity as evidence of debased taste. Let them. Orestes is not an Agamemnon or an Oedipus, but it is first-rate theatre, a rattling good play that deserves the attention of everyone interested in ancient drama.



A.J. Woodman, "Edward Courtney 1932-2019":
One second-year undergraduate, horrified to be asked to translate in class a passage of Juvenal’s sixth satire containing an obscene term, timidly ventured ‘groin’ as an acceptable rendering. ‘No’, roared Ted, ‘call a spade a spade. It’s penis, Mr —, penis.’
From Jim O'Donnell:
Ludwig Bieler, on the other hand, teaching vulgar Latin, had a student encounter the word mentula and ask him what it meant and replied "membrum virile" in a mutter.


Our Tastes Differ

Colin Macleod (1943-1981), Horace, The Epistles. Translated into English Verse with Brief Comment (Roma: Edizioni dell'Ateneo, 1986), p. 38 (1.14.18-21):
We differ in that different things excite
us both. What you find bleak, unfriendly hearths
are to me and my sort beauty-spots; we loathe
what you think lovely.
Horace's Latin, from D.L. Shackleton Bailey's Teubner edition (4th ed., 2001), p. 275:
non eadem miramur; eo disconvenit inter
meque et te. nam quae deserta et inhospita tesqua
credis, amoena vocat mecum qui sentit et odit         20
quae tu pulchra putas.
Macleod's hearths must be a misprint for heaths. See Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary:
tesca (tesqua), ōrum (the sing. v. in foll.), n.,

I. rough or wild regions, wastes, deserts: tesqua sive tescua κατάκρημνοι καὶ ῥάχεις καὶ ἔρημοι τόποι, Gloss. Philox.: deserta et tesca loca, Att. ap. Varr. L. L. 7, § 11 Müll.; v. Varr. in loc.: loca aspera, saxea tesca tuor, Cic. poët. ap. Fest. pp. 356 and 357 Müll.; so, deserta et inhospita tesca, Hor. Ep. 1, 14, 19: nemorosa, Luc. 6, 41: remota, App. Flor. p. 358, 22; cf. id. ib. p. 348, 22. Such places were sacred to the gods: loca quaedam agrestia, quae alicujus dei sunt, dicuntur tesca, Varr. l.l.—Sing.: templum tescumque finito in sinistrum, an old religious formula, Varr. l.l.; cf. Fest. l.l.
Roland Mayer on line 19:
inhospita: a poetic synonym for inhospitalis, which does not fit hexameters; tesqua 'heath', a very rare word of uncertain origin; there is no evidence for its currency among country-folk.
Thanks to Gonzalo Jerez Sánchez for pointing out a misprint of my own (now fixed).



Topography and Literature

Donald Davie, "The Cantos: Towards a Pedestrian Reading," Paideuma 1.1 (Spring-Summer, 1972) 55-62 (at 59-60):
And indeed I would insist on this: the first requirement for a study of Pound is a set of maps (preferably 1/2" to the mile) of at any rate certain regions of France, Italy and England; the second requirement is a set of Michelin Green Guides for France and Italy, and (if one is American) similar guides to the South of England. In this, the case of Pound is no different from other writers, or it is different only in degree. Yet, oddly, the only authors for whom we are ready to make this provision nowadays are the Irish ones, Joyce and Yeats. Everyone knows that a Street Directory of Dublin is essential to the reading of Joyce. There would be general agreement that maps of County Sligo and County Galway are essential aids to the study of Yeats. And perhaps most people qualified to judge would concede that there comes a time early in any study of Joyce where the student has to beat the Dublin streets on foot. Similarly no one who has attended the Yeats Summer School in Sligo will deny that the seminars and lectures are less profitable than driving to Glencar, or Gort, and walking in those places, or wandering in the demesne of Lissadell and under the shoulder of Ben Bulben. And yet we are shamefaced about this. It smacks of the Dickensian Society making pilgrimages to Rochester and Dover and Yarmouth; or of "poetry-lovers" haunting Grasmere and Coniston Water. Perhaps it does. But I incline to think that our grandfathers and grandmothers were in the right of it, and that no one can claim to understand Wordsworth who has not been to Hawkshead and Ambleside. The reason why we are embarrassed to admit this is that we have lived in an age when the self-sufficiency, the autonomy of poems has been elevated into dogma. Poems can be self-sufficient, leaning on no reality outside themselves other than the history and usage of the words out of which they are made. But in every age there have been poets who were uninterested in thus cutting their poems free of any but a linguistic reality, poets who are "realistic" and "mimetic" in the most straightforward senses of those two complicated words. In our age Pound, far more than Eliot or Yeats, is such a poet. And yet we have seen that the topography of Sligo (to which one should add the topography of at least one part of London, Bedford Park) is illuminating for the reader of Yeats. And who is to say that the topography of the Devon village of East Coker is unimportant to a reading of Eliot's Four Quartets? And yet how few of us have made that pilgrimage!
Id. (at 62):
Place and the spirit of place is the inspiration of more poetry than we nowadays like to admit; and to do that poetry justice the critic needs to turn himself into a tourist.
Related post: The Infinite.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


What You Are Doing Is Not Worth While

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), The Four Men: A Farrago (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1912), p. 5:
Then I said to myself again:

"What you are doing is not worth while, and nothing is worth while on this unhappy earth except the fulfilment of a man's desire. Consider how many years it is since you saw your home, and for how short a time, perhaps, its perfection will remain. Get up and go back to your own place if only for one day; for you have this great chance that you are already upon the soil of your own county, and that Kent is a mile or two behind."

As I said these things to myself I felt as that man felt of whom everybody has read in Homer with an answering heart: that "he longed as he journeyed to see once more the smoke going up from his own land, and after that to die."
Homer, Odyssey 1.57-59 (tr. Peter Green):
                                          Yet Odysseus, in his yearning
to perceive were it only the smoke rising up into the sky
from his homeland, longs now for death.

                                               αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεύς,
ἱέμενος καὶ καπνὸν ἀποθρῴσκοντα νοῆσαι
ἧς γαίης, θανέειν ἱμείρεται.


The Garden of France

D.B. Wyndham Lewis (1891-1969), Ronsard (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), pp. 116-117:
Spring and high summer melting into the mists of vintage-time along the Loire—not even Progress and the internal-combustion engine, Caliban's noblest invention, not even the last corruptions and omens of impending doom of the Third Republic could destroy the bloom of this garden of France, as Panurge rightly called it. The soft blissful skies of Touraine; the "quiet kindness of the Angevin air"; the fragrant noyers grolliers, Rabelais' walnuts, murmuring on a clear June or September night by his smooth-sliding Vienne; the wide Loire flowing royally past the towers of Tours among pale golden sands; those sumptuous and shining Renaissance sonnets in stone and glass, Amboise, Chenonceaux, Chambord, Langeais, Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau, whose names are like sunlight seen through claret, like the names of all that countryside, Vendôme, Marmoutiers, Chinon, Rochecorbon, Vouvray—all these things remain to-day as when Innocent the pastrycook thumped his dough and Rabelais tippled in the Painted Cellar at Chinon, and the shepherds of Lerné were set "to keep the Vines, and hinder the Starlings from eating up the Grapes", and any old woman met hobbling along by the river at Porthuaux might be the same "old Lourpidon Hag" who dispersed such frigid comfort to Picrochole, world-dictator, after his downfall. When Ronsard rode out, cocking his bonnet and humming an air of De Lassus or Janequin, to meet la petite Angevine at St. Cosme-lez-Tours or Bourgueil, that gigantic laughter with which Rabelais had shaken the air of Touraine twenty years before cannot have died away, for it has not quite died away yet. Those sunlit smiling fields and woodlands of the Chinonnais remember the Picrocholian War, and the Doctor's farmhouse of La Devinière still stands a witness on the battlefield, though the Tavern of the Moon has long since vanished from the plains of Valmy, terrain of a conflict hardly less memorable.
"The quiet kindness of the Angevin air" — last line of G.K. Chesterton's translation of Joachim du Bellay's sonnet "Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage."
La Devinière, Birthplace of Rabelais


The Mercenary's Voice

Theognis 887-888 (tr. Douglas E. Gerber):
Don't strain your ear for the herald's loud shout;
it's not for our homeland that we are fighting.

μηδὲ λίην κήρυκος ἀν᾿ οὖς ἔχε μακρὰ βοῶντος·
    οὐ γὰρ πατρῴας γῆς πέρι μαρνάμεθα.
"The mercenary's voice," according to Martin L. West, Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1974), p. 11. Likewise p. 160:
From a sympotic song of a mercenary soldier, in the same devil-may-care tone as Archilochus' ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις.
I.e. Archilochus, fragment 5 West (tr. Anne Pippin Burnett):
Some Thracian tribesman flaunts my shield. I left it
    blameless in a bush — betrayed it there unwillingly —
and yet I saved myself, so what's that shield to me?
    To hell with it, I'll buy another every bit as good.

ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἣν παρὰ θάμνῳ,
    ἔντος ἀμώμητον, κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
αὐτὸν δ᾽ ἐξεσάωσα. τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκεινη;
    ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.
Another translation of Archilochus, by William Marris:
A perfect shield bedecks some Thracian now;
    I had no choice: I left it in a wood.
Ah, well, I saved my skin, so let it go!
    A new one's just as good.

Monday, November 13, 2023


Two Evils

Euripides, fragment 257 Kannicht (from Archelaos; tr. C. Collard, M.J. Cropp, and J. Gibert):
Great rage and stupidity — two evils for those affected by them — have destroyed many mortals.

πολλοὺς δ' ὁ θυμὸς ὁ μέγας ὤλεσεν βροτῶν
ἥ τ' ἀξυνεσία, δύο κακὼ τοῖς χρωμένοις.
See Annette Harder, Euripides' Kresphontes and Archelaos. Introduction, Text and Commentary (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1985), pp. 260-262.


The Sacrifice of All We Found Pleasant and All We Held Sacred

Ronald Knox (1888-1957), Broadcast Minds (London: Sheed & Ward, 1932), p. 95:
Actually, of course, it matters very little to the prophets of the modern age whether we others are happy or not. For we have embarked on a hundred-year plan, and we are being invited to make the sacrifice of all we found pleasant and all we held sacred in the hope that, possibly, our great-nephews will be thankful to us. But you must fool some of the people some of the time; and so we are to be persuaded that it is possible to be happy even under modern conditions.



E.R. Curtius (1886-1956), Essays on European Literature, tr. Michael Kowal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 5:
For previous ages the exempla maiorum were a confirma­tion; for us they are a confrontation, and tradition is reversed into a corrective. We are so far removed from tradition that it appears new to us.



Mary T. Boatwright, Peoples of the Roman World (2012; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), p. 114:
In Vergil's Aeneid, composed a few years later, Vergil specifies Augustus Caesar, Agrippa, Antony, and the "appalling Egyptian wife" (Aeneid 8.688). He also describes the Battle of Actium (8.671-713) as one pitting traditional Roman gods — Neptune, Venus, Minerva, and others — against Egypt's "monster gods," headed by the "baying Anubis" (omnigenumque deum mostra et latrator Anubis, 8.698). As Actian Apollo threatens from above, all of the "East" flees, terrified: Egypt, India, Arabia, and the inhabitants of southernmost Arabia. In any case, after Octavian's arrival in Alexandria in 30 BCE, only minor skirmishes preceded the suicides of Antony and Cleopatra. With the murder of Ptolemy XV Caesarion, the son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, Egypt was left without a ruler and open to Roman takeover.
For mostra read monstra.

Id., p. 115 (caption of fig. 40):
"With Egypt Captured," or Aegupyo Capta, coin. Denarius of Octavian (still called Caesar), struck in 28 BCE. On the reverse is a crocodile facing right, with the Latin legend reading (above) AEGVPTO and (below) CAPTA ("On the Conquest of Egypt," or "With Egypt Captured").The crocodile represents Egypt, which had now been "captured" after the Battle of Actium in 31 and the deaths of Antony, Cleopatra, and Caesarion in 30. British Museum, Coins and Medals: CM.1487-1963. © Trustees of the British Museum.
For Aegupyo read Aegupto.

My copy seems to be a print-on-demand book, because on the last page it says:

Made in the USA
Columbia, SC
31 January 2023

Does this make it any easier to correct misprints? I don't know the answer.


Sunday, November 12, 2023


A Dream

Augustine, Sermons 39.5 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 243 = Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, vol. 41, p. 491; tr. Edmund Hill):
It's as if you were living here in a dream. If you are living here in a dream, you are going to wake up when you die, and the way you're going, you'll find you've got nothing in your hands. It's like a beggar sleeping, and in a dream he comes into a legacy, and no one could be happier than he before he gets up. He sees himself in his dream handling marvelous clothes, gold and silver plates, strolling into lovely, spacious parks, waited on by a bevy of servants. He wakes up, and he bursts into tears.

Quasi in somnis hic vivis. Si quasi in somnis hic vivis, evigilaturus es quando morieris, et sic nihil habes invenire in manibus tuis. Quomodo si mendicus dormiat et in somnis illi veniat hereditas, nihil illo felicius ante quam surgat. Videt se in somnis tractare manibus vestes egregias, pretiosa vasa aurea et argentea, intrare in amoenissima et amplissima praedia, obsequi sibi magnas familias. Evigilat, et plorat.
Hill omits "pretiosa" in his translation. On "habes invenire" = "invenies" see C.H. Grandgent, An Introduction to Vulgar Latin (Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., Publishers, 1907), p. 57, § 128.



Diogenes Laertius 6.2.68 (Diogenes; tr. R.D. Hicks):
Education, according to him, is a controlling grace to the young, consolation to the old, wealth to the poor, and ornament to the rich.

ττὴν παιδείαν εἶπε τοῖς μὲν νέοις σωφροσύνην, τοῖς δὲ πρεσβυτέροις παραμυθίαν, τοῖς δὲ πένησι πλοῦτον, τοῖς δὲ πλουσίοις κόσμον εἶναι.
Related post: Consolations of Literature.


Proverb Exchanges

The Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf: A Dual-Language Edition from Latin and Middle English Printed Editions. Edited by Nancy Mason Bradbury and Scott Bradbury (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2012), pp. 95-102 = Appendix of "Proverb exchanges present in the 'long' versions of The Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf in the manuscripts but not included in the Latin and vernacular prints" (excerpts, with footnotes omitted; the bracketed translations are in the original):
B 15a S: Subtrahe pedem tuum a muliere litigiosa!
[Withdraw thy foot from a quarrelsome woman!]
B 15b M: Subtrahe nasum tuum a culo jussoso!
[Withdraw thy nose from a farting ass!]

B 26a S: Inter bonos et malos repletur domus.
[Between good men and bad the house is filled.]
B 26b M: Inter podiscos et merdam repletur latrina.
[Between arse-wipes and shit the privy is filled.]

B 38a S: Quatuor evangeliste sustinent mundum.
[The four evangelists uphold the world.]
B 38b M: Quatuor subposte sustinent latrinam, ne cadat qui sedet super eam.
[Four posts uphold the privy, lest he fall in that sits over it.]

B 40a S: Optime convenit in clipeo candido nigra bucula.
[A black boss fits perfectly on a white shield.]
B 40b M: Optime considet inter albas nates niger culus.
[A black arsehole sits perfectly between white cheeks.]

B 46a S: Eice derisorem et exibit cum eo jurgium cessabuntque cause et contumelie.
[Cast out the scoffer, and contention shall go out with him, and quarrels and reproaches shall cease.]
B 46b M: Eice inflacionem de ventre et exibit cum ea merda cessabuntque torciones et jusse.
[Drive out wind from the belly, and shit shall go out with it, and cramps and farting shall cease.]

B 60a S: Venter meus dolet et fluctuat.
[My belly is in pain and churning.]
B 60b M: Vade ad latrinam, bene preme ventrem; culus evomat de quo fluctuat venter.
[Go to the privy, press hard on your belly; your arse will get rid of what’s making your belly churn.]

B 89a S: Da sapienti occasionem, et addetur ei sapiencia.
[Give a wise man an opportunity, and wisdom shall be added to him.]
B 89b M: Infarcire ventrem et addetur tibi merda.
[Stuff your belly, and shit shall be added to you.]

B 90a S: Qui amat sapienciam, additur illi.
[He that loves wisdom, more is added to him.]
B 90b M: Laxa culum pedere, et ipse concuciet se.
[Let the arsehole fart, and it will shake itself.]

B 91a S: Bonum convivium malumque convivium suppis decoratum.
[A good meal and a bad meal are enhanced by soups.]
B 91b M: Suppe faciunt teneras buccas et culum viscosum.
[Soups make the mouth tender and the arsehole sticky.]

B 138a S: Benefac justo et invenies retribucionem magnam; et si non ab ipso, certe a Domino.
[Do good to the just, and you shall find great recompense; and if not of him, assuredly of the Lord.]
B 138b M: Benefac ventri et invenies eructuacionem magnam, et si non ab ore, certe a culo.
[Do good to the belly, and you shall find great belching, and if not of the mouth, assuredly of the arsehole.]
I have trouble seeing any connection at all between 90a and 90b. I might even go so far as to posit a lacuna in the archetype. By the way, I would translate 90a as "He that loves wisdom, it [i.e. wisdom] is added unto him."

On 26b see Jan M. Ziolkowski, ed. and tr., Solomon and Marcolf (Cambridge: Department of the Classics, Harvard University, 2008 = Harvard Studies in Medieval Latin, 1), pp. 134-135:
podiscos (ass-wipes): Benary prints podi(s)cos, with the unconventional use of the parentheses and without indicating very clearly which manuscripts offer which readings at this point. He advocates understanding the opening words to mean “between fundaments and shit” or, to be less polite, “between assholes and shit” (emphasis added). He speculates that the Latin podiscum, presented in a single codex, is an otherwise unattested noun that arose from the Classical Latin podex, -icis, “the anal orifice” either by conversion from the third to the second declension (podicus < podex) or by the supplying of a different second-declension ending as a result of metathesis (podiscus < podex). In either case the meaning would be clear. Yet a serious objection to this proposed etymology is that podex had no apparent resonance in Vulgar Latin and did not survive in any Romance language: see Adams, Latin Sexual Vocabulary, 112.

An alternative is that the word podiscus or pudiscus refers to whatever substances those at the latrine had at hand for cleaning themselves—the medieval equivalent of toilet paper. Taking the noun in this sense would clarify why the word is glossed sometimes as proprie arswisse (“properly ‘ass-wipes’”) and translated as mit arßwischen (“with ass-wipes”). On Arschwisch (“ass-wipe”), see Diefenbach 443. Supporting this interpretation is the evidence of the High and Low German prose, which translate as mit dreck und mit arßwischen (“with filth and with ass-wipes”). The word is nearly synonymous with the Latin cacatergito (“shit-wipe”). Such an interpretation is supported by proverbs, such as Walther 3:595, no. 19916 (and compare 3:598, no. 19932): Omnes pudiscum, sapientes, ferte vobiscum, / Ne confusa manus fiat, cum tergitur anus (“All who are wise, bring an ass-wipe with you, for fear that the hand become ruined [mixed up] when the asshole is being wiped”).
Benary = Walter Benary, ed., Salomon et Marcolfus: Kritischer Text mit Einleitung, Anmerkungen, Übersicht über die Sprüche, Namen- und Wörterverzeichnis (Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1914 = Sammlung mittellateinischer Texte, 8).

Diefenbach = Laurentius Diefenbach, Glossarium latino-germanicum mediae et infimae aetatis e codicibus manuscriptis et libris impressis (Frankfurt am Main: J. Baer, 1857).

Walther = Hans Walther, Proverbia sententiaeque latinitatis medii aevi (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963-1969), continued by Paul Gerhard Schmidt (1982-1986).

Related post: Dozens.


Saturday, November 11, 2023


Except Ye Become as Little Children

J. Linderski, "Agnes Kirsopp Michels and the Religio," Classical Journal 92.4 (April-May, 1997) 323-345 (at 326, n. 11):
[A] true scholar is engaged in discovering things quite like a child.
Id. (at 328, on Michels' "The Archaeological Evidence for the 'Tuscan Temple'," Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 12 [1935] 89-149):
This youthful work shows all the hallmarks of a mature scholar: painstaking attention to detail, dogged hunt for facts, distrust of fancy theories, and independence of mind.
Id. (at 339):
In the face of an ideology, religious or secular, past or present, it is difficult to be so detached as scientists are with respect to their retorts. The rationalists may have trouble in taking any religion seriously, and a fortiori the cool and distant religion of the Romans, and the scholars who are imbued with religious fervor may not bring themselves to treat seriously any religion that does not resemble their own creed.



Leo Spitzer (1887-1960), "The Formation of the American Humanist," Proceedings of the Modern Language Association 66.1 (February, 1951) 39-48 (at 45):
I believe indeed that the requirement of publications on the part of every college teacher—imagine as a parallel that all members of American orchestras were required to be composers!—does great harm to true scholarship, to the prestige of American scholarship abroad and, especially, to the teacher themselves in whom the false conception is fostered that teaching in itself is not a noble enough profession and on whom is foisted the ambition of reaching for scholarly laurels, without being given the possibility of living qua scholars. The formation of a cultured citizenry is a purpose noble enough and demanding enough in itself not to need justification by activity dictated by quite different ideals. The artificial enforcement of such inflationary, hybrid productivity in small articles or miscellanea was, of course, encouraged by the positivistic belief, imported from the Germany of the 1870's, according to which any small stone of truth was thought to contribute to the vast building that would be erected in some utopian future—but this trend in itself has in practice not led to any vast construction, it has only disorganized and fragmentarized the humanities and reduced them to what the Germans themselves now call Anmerkungswissenschaft, footnote-scholarship.
Id. (at 46):
Every inconsequential or mediocre article accepted by our journals creates a further precedent for the acceptance of still more inconsequential or mediocre articles. Far be it from me to suggest that anyone who has valuable thoughts to contribute to scholarship should be debarred from publication only because of lack of fame—but how can the question of value be justly decided by editors daily snowed under by new avalanches of indiscriminate material? By the time they receive a bold, thought-provoking article which could even revolutionize the field, they have already accepted so many anodine [sic, read anodyne] articles that lull the reader's mind, that they must decline the former because of "lack of space" or whatever rationalization they may fall back on in order to tranquillize their remorseful conscience which whispers to them: "Are you truly promoting scholarship?"
Related posts:

Friday, November 10, 2023


You're Crazy

Homer, Iliad 15.128 (Athena to Ares; tr. A.T. Murray):
Thou madman, distraught of wit, thou art beside thyself!

μαινόμενε, φρένας ἠλὲ, διέφθορας.
Richard Janko ad loc.:


The Good and the Bad

Augustine, Sermons 38.2 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 236; tr. Edmund Hill):
The good and bad things which are mixed together in the brew of this age do not fall to the lot only of the good or only of the bad. Anything you may call good in this world, well the good person has it and the bad one has it. For example, both good and bad enjoy bodily health. You will find riches in the possession of both good people and bad. We observe progeny and children to be a gift common to the good and the bad alike. Or take a long life; some good people live a long time, some bad people live a long time. And anything else you want to count among the good things of this age, you will find it indiscriminately among the good and the bad.

Again, all kinds of harsh and grievous conditions are suffered by both good and bad: hunger, disease, sorrows, losses, oppression, bereavements. All this is common matter for tears for everybody. So it's easy to see that both the goods of the world are enjoyed by good and bad people alike, and that the ills of the world are borne by good and bad alike.

Bona et mala quae versantur et miscentur in saeculo, nec boni soli habent, nec soli mali. Quicquid boni in hoc mundo dixeris, habet bonus, habet et malus. Veluti salutem ipsam corporis et boni habent et mali. Divitias et apud bonos et apud malos invenies. Successum filiorum, et bonorum et malorum donum videmus esse commune. Vitam longam diu vivunt boni quidam diu vivunt mali quidam. Et quaecumque alia numerare volueris in hoc saeculo bona, permixte invenis apud bonos et malos.

Rursum quaecumque aspera, quaecumque tristia, et boni patiuntur et mali: famem, morbum, dolores, damna, oppressiones, orbitates. Communis haec est omnium materies lacrimarum. Facile est ergo hoc videre, et bona saeculi apud bonos et malos esse, et mala saeculi bonos malosque perferre.


School Reading

Anthony Kenny, A Path from Rome (1985; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 39-41 (on Upholland College, aka St. Joseph's College, a junior seminary in the diocese of Liverpool, where the top three classes were called Syntax, Poetry, and Rhetoric):
Equally important, from Syntax onwards I began to enjoy literature, and especially classical literature. I had now acquired enough Latin and Greek to be able to read the works of classical authors as books, without losing track of the story in the constant reference to Smith's dictionary or Liddell and Scott. The first classics I enjoyed were the third book of Xenophon's Hellenica and the fifth book of the Aeneid. I followed the Greek campaigns with fascination, marking the positions of armies and navies with flags as I had earlier marked the position of Russian and German armies in the Second World War; I placed bets on the candidates in the games described by Vergil. The long evening periods in the study hall under the new blue neon lights became something to look forward to rather than to dread. My Syntax diary is full of reviews of the classical works we were reading, as well as of the English books I chose myself: I was bored by the end of Aeschylus' Persae, and found I needed to use the crib ('cog' was our word) too much; but I preferred it to Euripides' Hecuba. More interesting than either was Plato's Apology, or the Latin book we were reading concurrently, the first book of Horace's Odes.

There were eleven of us remaining in Syntax at the end of the year. The academically more gifted were put into Group I and prepared to take the Latin and Greek and Ancient History options; they were no longer taught in classes (except for subsidiary subjects) but were left almost entirely to work alone, apart from weekly composition tutorials in Greek and Latin prose. Each student was encouraged to draw up his own reading list in Greek and Latin literature. and once it had been approved by the tutor, he was on his honour not to make undue use of the crib. All he had to do was to make notes on his reading and in due course discuss it in a tutorial. During most of the day. the Group I students had the vast study hall to themselves, reading unsupervised. It was a most enlightened and humane method of instruction.


The writing of Greek prose had always been a drudgery for me, and in Latin prose too I never achieved elegance. But the liberty to range over the whole of classical literature which Group I conferred was an unmixed delight. During the years of Poetry and Rhetoric I read in Greek all of Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and in Latin all of Vergil, Horace, Tacitus, and a fair amount of Cicero and Livy. I did not realize at the time that the Upholland system enabled one to get through almost as much reading as a university course; and I have never since been as well-read, in the sense of retaining so much literature in my head at the same time.

Homer (the Odyssey, not the Iliad) was my favourite Greek reading; of the prose writers I liked Plato best, and was particularly fascinated by the Phaedo. Thucydides I found hard going, and Pindar impossibly difficult: Sophocles was my favourite tragedian, and I was glad that the Oedipus Rex was one of our set books. Among the Latins I enjoyed the patriotic parts of Vergil and Horace. Livy was slow to plough through, the narrative always interrupted with tedious speeches; Cicero was a pompous windbag, except when writing letters, and my favourite prose author was Tacitus. I would memorize and recite some of his setpieces, especially the exordium to the Histories which concludes that the moral of history is that the gods care nothing for our peace but only for our punishment . . . non esse curae deis securitatern nostram, esse ultionem.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023



D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse (New York: The Viking Press, 1967), pp. 5-6:
Owing to the flood of shallow books which really are exhausted in one reading, the modern mind tends to think every book is the same, finished in one reading. But it is not so. And gradually the modern mind will realise it again. The real joy of a book lies in reading it over and over again, and always finding it different, coming upon another meaning, another level of meaning. It is, as usual, a question of values: we are so overwhelmed with quantities of books, that we hardly realise any more that a book can be valuable, valuable like a jewel, or a lovely picture, into which you can look deeper and deeper and get a more profound experience every time. It is far, far better to read one book six times, at intervals, than to read six several books. Because if a certain book can call you to read it six times, it will be a deeper and deeper experience each time, and will enrich the whole soul, emotional and mental. Whereas six books read once only are merely an accumulation of superficial interest, the burdensome accumulation of modern days, quantity without real value.
Related posts:


The Laws

Stobaeus, Anthology 4.4.25 (vol. 4, pt. 1, p. 191 Wachsmuth & Hense; my translation):
Zaleucus, the lawgiver of the Locrians, said that the laws are like spider-webs. For if a fly or gnat comes into contact with them, it is held fast, but if a wasp or bee does, it breaks through and flies off. In the same way, if a poor man comes into contact with the laws, he is kept in custody, but if a rich man or able speaker does, he breaks through and escapes.

Ζάλευκος ὁ τῶν Λοκρῶν νομοθέτης τοὺς νόμους ἔφησε τοῖς ἀραχνίοις ὁμοίους εἶναι· ὥσπερ γὰρ εἰς ἐκεῖνα ἐὰν μὲν ἐμπέσῃ μυῖα ἢ κώνωψ, κατέχεται· ἐὰν δὲ σφὴξ ἢ μέλιττα, διαρρήξασα ἀφίπταται· οὕτω καὶ εἰς τοὺς νόμους ἐὰν μὲν ἐμπέσῃ πένης, συνέχεται· ἐὰν δὲ πλούσιος ἢ δυνατὸς λέγειν, διαρρήξας ἀποτρέχει.
Cf. Jan Fredrik Kindstrand, Anacharsis: The Legend and the Apophthegmata (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1981), pp. 118-119 and 149-150 (A41 = Plutarch, Life of Solon 5.4 and Valerius Maximus 7.2 ext. 14).


Weakness, Not Power

Augustine, Sermons 37.25 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 232; tr. Edmund Hill):
Amass here and now whatever riches you like of this earth, subject to thieves and to moths. What are you boasting about? It's because you're weak that you need so many things. You need to wear a lot of clothes, because you can't put up with the cold; you make use of animals, because you can't walk on your feet. All these things are the crutches of weakness, not the badges of power.

Compara nunc quaslibet divitias terrae huius, obnoxias furibus, tineis. Quid te iactas? Quia infirmus es, ideo tibi sunt multa necessaria. Opus est multum vestiaris, quia frigus pati non potes; iumentis utaris, quia pedibus ambulare non potes. Ista fulcimenta sunt infirmitatis, non ornamenta potestatis.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023


Speaking Latin

Anthony Kenny, A Path from Rome (1985; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 46:
The Latin spoken by most examinees was halting and incorrect; that of the lecturers and examiners was fluent but far from classical. The accent of an Englishman, an American, a Spaniard, a Frenchman and a German differed so much from each other that it took some time to realize that the lecturers were not all speaking different languages. Lecturers did not scruple to translate the idioms of their own tongue literally into Latin, leaving foreigners to make what they could of them. Thus a Frenchman would speak of a far-fetched interpretation of a Scripture text as being 'ad usum delphini', while an American would drawl 'haec theoria non tenet aquam'.


Though Latin was the official language of communication at the Gregorian, it was hardly ever used for spontaneous conversation between students of different nationalities. The ten-minute breaks between the lectures gave, instead, a great opportunity for would-be linguists ('spekkers') to practise foreign languages. But most remained resolutely Anglophone.


Lovely as a Tree

Homer, Odyssey 6.160-168 (Odysseus to Nausicaa; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
I have never with these eyes seen anything like you,
neither man nor woman. Wonder takes me as I look on you.
Yet in Delos once I saw such a thing, by Apollo's altar.
I saw the stalk of a young palm shooting up. I had gone there
once, and with a following of a great many people,
on that journey which was to mean hard suffering for me.
And as, when I looked upon that tree, my heart admired it
long, since such a tree had never yet sprung from the earth, so
now, lady, I admire you and wonder...

οὐ γάρ πω τοιοῦτον ἴδον βροτὸν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν,        160
οὔτ᾽ ἄνδρ᾽ οὔτε γυναῖκα: σέβας μ᾽ ἔχει εἰσορόωντα.
Δήλῳ δή ποτε τοῖον Ἀπόλλωνος παρὰ βωμῷ
φοίνικος νέον ἔρνος ἀνερχόμενον ἐνόησα
ἦλθον γὰρ καὶ κεῖσε, πολὺς δέ μοι ἕσπετο λαός,
τὴν ὁδὸν ᾗ δὴ μέλλεν ἐμοὶ κακὰ κήδε᾽ ἔσεσθαι.        165
ὣς δ᾽ αὔτως καὶ κεῖνο ἰδὼν ἐτεθήπεα θυμῷ
δήν, ἐπεὶ οὔ πω τοῖον ἀνήλυθεν ἐκ δόρυ γαίης,
ὡς σέ, γύναι, ἄγαμαί τε τέθηπά τε...
Related posts:


Don't Make My Mistake

From a conversation reported in The Notebooks of Henry James, edd. F.O. Matthiessen and Kenneth B. Murdock (1947; rpt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 374 ("Project for The Ambassadors"):
Oh, you're young, you're blessedly young—be glad of it; be glad of it and live. Live all you can: it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do—but live. This place and these impressions, as well as many of those, for so many days, of So-and-So's and So-and-So's life, that I've been receiving and that have had their abundant message, make it all come over me. I see it now. I haven't done so enough before—and now I'm old; I'm, at any rate, too old for what I see. Oh, I do see, at least—I see a lot. It's too late. It has gone past me. I've lost it. It couldn't, no doubt, have been different for me—for one's life takes a form and holds one: one lives as one can. But the point is that you have time. That's the great thing. You're, as I say, damn you, so luckily, so happily, so hatefully young. Don't be stupid. Of course I don't dream you are, or I shouldn't be saying these awful things to you. Don't, at any rate, make my mistake. Live!


Golden Sayings

Lucretius 3.9-13 (you = Epicurus; tr. Martin Ferguson Smith):
You are our father and the discoverer of truth: you supply us with fatherly precepts; and from your pages, illustrious master, like the bees which in flowerful vales sip each bloom, we feed on each golden saying—golden and ever most worthy of eternal life.

tu pater es, rerum inventor, tu patria nobis
suppeditas praecepta, tuisque ex, inclute, chartis,        10
floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant,
omnia nos itidem depascimur aurea dicta,
aurea, perpetua semper dignissima vita.

11 libant Marullus: limant codd.
On line 11 see Marcus Deufert, Kritischer Kommentar zu Lukrezens De rerum natura (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), pp. 136-137.

Monday, November 06, 2023


Are You One?

Ronald A. Knox (1888-1957), Occasional Sermons (New York: Sheed & Ward Inc., 1960), pp. 370-371:
Are you one of the scandal-mongers, the back-biters? There are few faults that are so often overlooked by the consciences of those who are guilty of them as this, perhaps the most odious. Check yourself the next time it occurs to you to say something disagreeable, and don't say it; ask yourself afterwards what possible good you could have done by saying it. Are you one of the quarrelers, working off your ill temper, which you probably can't help, by taking it out of your neighbours, which you probably can help?


Let Others Go Their Cranky Ways

Elizabeth David (1913-1992), French Provincial Cooking (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), p. 191:
As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect omelette: your own. Reasonably enough; a successful dish is often achieved by quite different methods from those advocated in the cookery books or by the professional chefs, but over this question of omelette making professional and amateur cooks alike are particularly unyielding. Argument has never been known to convert anybody to a different method, so if you have your own, stick to it and let others go their cranky ways, mistaken, stubborn and ignorant to the end.


Repositories of Wisdom

Euripides, Bacchae 196 (Teiresias to Cadmus; tr. Edward P. Coleridge):
Yea, for we alone are wise, the rest are mad.

μόνοι γὰρ εὖ φρονοῦμεν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι κακῶς.


The Renunciation of the World and the Flesh

Anthony Kenny, A Path from Rome (1985; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 96:
We prepared for the Major Orders by a week of retreat in a religious house away from the College. My subdiaconate retreat was in the monastery of the Passionist Fathers on the Caelian Hill, overlooking the Colosseum and the city. I would look at the lights at night and muse on the renunciation of the world and the flesh. A Spanish seminarian, also preparing for the subdiaconate, said to me: ' I have seen some of your English girls, and I don't think you have much to sacrifice. But a Spanish priest, now, he has to give up real women.'

Sunday, November 05, 2023



Thucydides 6.41.2 (tr. Jeremy Mynott):
It is unwise for speakers to exchange personal insults with each other or for their audience to tolerate this.

διαβολὰς μὲν οὐ σῶφρον οὔτε λέγειν τινὰς ἐς ἀλλήλους οὔτε τοὺς ἀκούοντας ἀποδέχεσθαι...


All Were Astounded

From an Old French fatrasie, number 28, lines 3-9, in Lambert C. Porter, La fatrasie et le fatras: essai sur la poésie irrationnelle en France au Moyen Age (Genève: Librairie E. Droz, 1960), p. 128 (tr. Kathryn Gravdal):
From the foot of a mite
a fart hung himself,
the better to hide
behind a goblin;
whereupon all were astounded,
for there, to carry off his soul,
came the head of a pumpkin...

D'un pet de suiron,
Uns pez ce fist pendre
Pour l'i miex deffendre
Derier un luiton;
La s'en esmervilla on,
Que tantost vint l'ame prendre
La teste d'un porion...


Saturday, November 04, 2023


Decided and Outspoken Views

Anthony Kenny, A Path from Rome (1985; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 95 (on William Theodore Heard):
He had decided and outspoken views on a variety of topics from dental surgery to the history of cheese.


A Refuge from Care and Depression

Panyassis, fragment 12 Kinkel = 16 Bernabé (tr. Martin L. West):
Come on, friend, drink! This too is a virtue,
to drink the most wine at the banquet
in expert fashion, and to encourage your fellow.
It’s just as good to be sharp in the feast as in battle,
busy amid the grievous slaughter, where few men        5
are brave and withstand the furious fight.
I should count his glory equal, who
enjoys being at the feast, and encourages other folk to as well.
A man doesn’t seem to me to be really alive,
or to live the life of a hardy mortal, if he sits out the party        10
restraining his appetite for the wine: he’s an idiot.
Wine is as much of a blessing as fire for us on earth:
a good shield against harm, accompaniment to every song,
for it has in it a delightful element of the festive, of luxury,
of dancing, of entrancing love,       15
and refuge from care and depression.
So you must take the toasts at the feast and drink merrily,
and not sit costive like a vulture
after you have fed your face, oblivious of good cheer.

ξεῖν᾿, ἄγε δὴ καὶ πῖν᾿· ἀρετή νύ τίς ἐστι καὶ αὕτη,
ὅς κ᾿ ἀνδρῶν πολὺ πλεῖστον ἐν εἰλαπίνῃ μέθυ πίνῃ
εὖ καὶ ἐπισταμένως, ἅμα τ᾿ ἄλλον φῶτα κελεύῃ.
ἶσον δ᾿ ὅς τ᾿ ἐν δαιτὶ καὶ ἐν πολέμῳ θοὸς ἀνήρ,
ὑσμίνας διέπων ταλαπενθέας, ἔνθά τε παῦροι        5
θαρσαλέοι τελέθουσι μένουσί τε θοῦρον ἄρηα.
τοῦ κεν ἐγὼ θείμην ἶσον κλέος, ὅς τ᾿ ἐνὶ δαιτί
τέρπηται παρεὼν ἅμα τ᾿ ἄλλον λαὸν ἀνώγῃ.
οὐ γάρ μοι ζώειν γε δοκεῖ βροτὸς οὐδὲ βιῶναι
ἀνθρώποιο βίον ταλασίφρονος, ὃς τις ἀπ ̓ οἴνου        10
θυμὸν ἐρητύσας μείνῃ ποτὸν, ἄλλ' ἐνεόφρων.
οἶνος γὰρ πυρὶ ἴσον ἐπιχθονίοισιν ὄνειαρ,
ἐσθλὸν ἀλεξίκακον, πάσης συνοπηδὸν ἀοιδῆς.
ἐν μὲν γὰρ θαλίης ἐρατὸν μέρος ἀγλαΐης τε,
ἐν δὲ χοροιτυπίης, ἐν δ ̓ ἱμερτῆς φιλότητος,        15
ἐν δέ τε μενθήρης καὶ δυσφροσύνης ἀλεωρή.
τώ σε χρὴ παρὰ δαιτὶ δεδεγμένον εὔφρονι θυμῷ
πίνειν, μηδὲ βορῆς κεκορημένον ήΰτε γύπα
ἦσθαι πλημύροντα, λελασμένον εὐφροσυνάων.
See Tilman Krischer, "Panyassis und die Elegische Dichtung: Typologische Bemerkungen zu F 12," Hermes 102.2 (1974) 157-164.


The Only Explanation

Ronald A. Knox (1888-1957), Let Dons Delight: Being Variations on a Theme in an Oxford Common-Room (London: Sheed & Ward, 1939), p. 214:
It is so stupid of modern civilization to have given up believing in the devil, when he is the only explanation of it.


All Have Sinned

Xenophon, Hellenica 6.3.10 (tr. Carleton L. Brownson):
For I see that no one in the world remains always free from error.

ὁρῶ γὰρ τῶν ἀνθρώπων οὐδένα ἀναμάρτητον διατελοῦντα.


Hidden Riches

D.B. Wyndham Lewis (1891-1969), Ronsard (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), p. 82:
It is already clear, I trust, that Ronsard was thirsting wildly for Greek. The Latin poets he had long since drained dry. There were, he knew, headier draughts still in the newly-recovered wine-skins of Hellas. It was his good fortune to sit now at the feet of the most consummate Grecian in France, a master-philologist to whom the most crabbed text presented no difficulties, a true lover of the thought enshrined in the words, an expositor with the sacred fire, intoxicating his pupils with Hellenism. A little time after Ronsard's arrival Dorat read to him, tout de go, reeling it off in French from the Greek, the Prometheus of Aeschylus. To Claude Binet, his secretary and first biographer, Ronsard later recalled that when Dorat laid the book smilingly down a cry burst from his young listener. "Et quoy, mon maistre, m'avez-vous caché si long temps ces richesses?" "Master! Why have you hidden these riches from me so long?"

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