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SOPHISTAE.

SOPHISTS

En multiformium ferarum cm gregem[1]
Lector, vides: rixantum inaniter simul
Tum vocibus, tum dentibus, tum calcibus.
Elephanta nempe, maximam orbis belluam,
Contra Draconem, venenosissimus.
Stolidum Camelum, & versipillem Pardalin,
Equum ferocem, cornibus Taurum trucem.
Et maxim Ceratinum Tragelaphum.[2]
Necnon Chimeram, quae triformis bestia,
Leonis ore, (quo superbius quid est?)
Salacis Hirci ventre, sed cauda aspidis.
videre te puta, simul nugantium
Turbam Sophistarum ferocem, & barbaram,
Grandissimarum bestiarum sub polo.
Qui de Chimera, Tragelaphoque disputant.
His nempe de nugalibus, quae sunt nihil.
Vel inutilia communis ad vitae statum.
Tamen supercilio gravi, & clamoribus
Magnis. frequenter & pugnae furoribus.

Look reader at this scene: animals of all shapes in a herd, all fighting vainly with voice and tooth and hoof. For the elephant, the biggest of all the world’s animals, takes on the snake, the most poisonous. The stupid camel, and the leopard, he of the reversible skin fight; and the wild horse, and the bull violent with his horns, and most of all the horned Tragelaph; indeed, Chimaera, the triple monster is there, with the mouth of a lion (what creature is prouder?), the belly of a randy goat, but the tale of a viper. Be sure that what you see is a crowd of ferocious and barbarous Sophists, word-wasters to a man, the biggest brutes under the sky, who argue about Chimaeras and Tragelaphs, and dispute pointless matters that do not exist, or are useless in the normal course of life. But their brows are weighty, and the cries and mad fury of their fighting are tremendous and many.

Notes:

1. The metre is the iambic trimeter of the drama. Note that the temporal adverb cum in the first line has no apparent meaning: Aneau seems to need it for the metre, so it is overlooked in the English version.

2. Tragelaph (or tragelephant): a fabulous animal, a stag with the beard of a goat, mentioned in Pliny and the Vulgate. (Gk tragelaphos, from tragos, goat + elaphos, deer)



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