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In vitam humanam.

On human life

XCVI.

Plus solito humanae nunc defle incommoda vitae,
Heraclite, scatet pluribus illa malis.
Tu rursus, si quando alis extolle cachinnum
Democrite, illa magis ludicra facta fuit.
Interea haec cernens meditor, qua denique tecum
Fine fleam, aut tecum quomodo splene iocer.[1]

Weep now, Heraclitus, even more than you did, for the ills of human life. It teems with far more woes. And you, Democritus, if ever you laughed before, raise your cackle now. Life has become more of a joke. Meanwhile, seeing all this, I consider just how far I can weep with you, how laugh bitterly with you.

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COMMENTARIA.

Heraclitus philosophis fuit Ephesius. li-
bros composuit de industria ade obscuros
ut vix quoquam etiam doctissimo intelligi
potuerint, ideoque tenebricosus cognomina-
tus fuit. Is praesertim domum egrediens sem-
per plorabat, sibi enim omnia mundana non
nisi miseriae videbantur & angustiae. Alter
erat Democritus ex Tracia, in omni philoso-
phiae genere peritissimus qui tandem (teste
Cicerone lib. 5. Tusculanae quaestionum) semetipsum ob-
caecavit ut promptiores & subtiliores delibe-
rationes haberet, ad investiganda naturae se-
creta. Hic omnes hominum actus tanquam
ineptias & ludicra continu ridebat, de quo
etiam Gellius lib. 10. cap. 17. & horum meminit
Cicero lib. 4. de Academicis. Sed nunc He-
raclite luge & defle humanae vitae incommo-
da acris, hoc enim nostro tempore long
pluribus qum unquam ante malis & mise-
riis scatet. Im tu Democrite nunc ex-
tolle risum in cachinnum usque:
Mundus etenim ridiculus
magis, multumque
ineptior fa-
ctus est.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.148. For Heraclitus, cf. [A56a252]. For the contrast between the despairing tears of Heraclitus (who withdrew from human society) and the sardonic laughter of Democritus when faced with the folly of men, see, among many sources, e.g. Juvenal, Satires 10, 28ff.


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