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In Hesiodum.

On Hesiod.

Dii laboribus omnia vendunt.

The gods give everything in return for effort.

Dic Ascraee senex, quae lentae insomnia noctis
Tam cit Pieriam te docuere chelym?[1]
Sicne repentinum te Cactalis[2] unde [=Castalis unda] potam
Fecit, & Aonii ferre trophaea chori?[3]
Sicne licet nobis spatiantibus esse peritis?
An cuius pavo Pythagoraeus adest?[4]
Dii solis almas vendunt sudoribus artes:
Non alio eloquium Palladis asse licet.

Say, old man of Ascra [Hesiod], what dreams of the slow-passing night taught you so swiftly [to play] the poetical lyre? Did the water of Castalia thus make you a poet overnight, [fit] to bring home the crown [lit. trophy] of the Aonian throng. Can we become so experienced by [simply] strolling along? Or whose Pythagorean peacock have we here? The gods grant the liberal [lit. genial, nourishing] arts only in return for hard work: The eloquence of Minerva is not for sale at any other price [lit. for any other coin].

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ALIUD.

Other

Qui sibi Cecropiae quaerit monimenta Sophiae.
Et clara Aetherei sydera nosse poli:
Temporaque, & causas fugientis cernere lunae
Et tota Ausoniae discere iura togae:
Non Croesi ingentes loculi, non Persica gaza
Castalias potis est sollicitare deas:[5]
Sola labor gratae confert compendia palmae,
Sedat & immodicae pocula larga sitis.

If you seek to know the monuments of Athenian Philosophy, And the shining stars of the Empyrean heaven, To discern the reasons for the passing seasons and the phases of the moon, And to learn the whole panoply of Ausonian law*: Neither the money-bags of a Croesus nor the treasuries of Persia Are enough to summon the Castalian goddesses: Hard work alone rewards you with the desired palm of victory, And [only] a great draught will quench an immoderate thirst.
* Lit. ‘the whole law of the Ausonian toga’. Ausonia was an alternate name for Italy or Rome.

NARRATIO PHILOSOPHICA.

HEsiodum vetustissimum potam accepi-
mus confectis apud Heliconem aliquot spatiis,
potam repent evasisse. Et Ennius ipse Homeri animam
per quietem in corpus suum infusam esse praedicabat.
Vetus enim fuit, & iam ab antiquis ducta temporibus
opinio, animas postquam his ereptae vinculis in caelum
evolaverant, iterum deorum immortalium iussu in corpo
ra migrare. Cuius sententiae Pytagoras summus phi
losophus princeps fuit. Verum quem tandem existi-
mamus tantm gratia & authoritate apud Domi-
num
valuisse, ut nullis vigiliis suis, nullo studio & tam-
quam aliud agens, artibus iis quae cognitione percipi
possunt, omnibus instructissimus evaserit. Salomo
nem
quidem referunt historiae rerum divinarum & humana
rum notitia Domino auctum esse: tantaque fuit in ho-
mine illo rerum varietas, ut de omnibus quae in disce
ptationem cadere possunt & natura rerum continentur,
scientissim disputaret. Sed hoc Salomoni cuius gloria
Deo gratissima erat, licuit: nobis forsitan, quibus pau
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [S4v p280]pertatis & rerum externarum despicientiae partes
Christo attributae sunt, non licebit. Itaque qui
ita animo est affectus, ut nihil sit qud malit qum
se quam doctissimum esse, vix temer ad rerum
magnarum cognitionem productus esse poterit,
nisi omni studio, opera, contentione in eam par-
tem incumbat. Nam si eos meminisse lubet, qui-
bus praeclara illa literarum monumenta ad nos de-
venerunt, quis illorum non impiger, quis non di-
ligentia plan incredibili in libris animum suum
defigebat? Plinium, eum qui libros naturalis hi-
storiae conscripsit dixisse accepimus, omne tem-
pus perire, quod non studiis impenderetur. Et

philosophi, cm sibi persuaderent rerum magna-
rum scientiam sine summis laboribus percipi non
posse, doctrinae studia nunquam intermiserunt,
& ad extremam senectutem in gymnasiis suis
garrierunt. Nam & Isocrates eum librum qui Pa-
nathenaicus dicitur, quarto & nonagessimo aeta-
tis anno scripsisse fertur. Neque Gorgiam Leon-
tinum
, qui centum & septem complevit annos,
aetatis progressus studiorum dimicatione revo-
cavit. In quibus, si Graecus & ea conditione vir, ut
de omni re quaecunque proponeretur se ornatis-
sim dicturum praedicaret, tantum operae posuit:
quis tandem per noctis insomnium doctrina ex
cellens esse poterit? Sed tamen homines quidam
tanta celeritate quae discuntur arripiunt, ut non
tam primum scire, qum reminisci videantur.
Qui autem ea sunt animi tarditate, ut nisi ser, &
invita qud aiunt, Minerva aliquid in studiis pro-
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [S5r p281]moveant, contentius in opere sunt, sed ediscunt ta-
ment: neque enim quicquam est quod labore non
simus assecuti, & si intenderis ingenium valet. Et
multos audivimus imperatores, qui in rebus pla-
n exulceratis tanta fiducia sunt sunt elati, ut ea oppi-
da, quae vel opere ipso, vel loci natura expugnari
non capere se posse non desperarent: quo
rum tantm valebat audacia, ut sae
pissim contra opinionem ho
minum praeclarissimas
victorias domum
referrent.

Notes:

1. Chelym: pseudo-Latin ending for the Greek (and classical Latin) chelyn. The word originally meant tortoise, hence, tortoise-shell lyre. Pierius refers to the place on Mount Pierus in Thessaly, sacred to the muses (cf. Pope’s famous line on the Pierian spring).

2. Castalia, a spring on Parnassus sacred to the Muses, and whose waters inspire poets.

3. I.e. (presumably) the Muses: Aonian refers to a part of Boeotia, which included Mount Helicon and places sacred to the Muses.

4. Pythagoras taught the transmigration of souls, and the peacock is a reference to Ennius who, in the prologue to the Annals, relates a dream in which Homer appears to him and tells him that his (Homer’s) soul now resides in Ennius, via a reincarnation as a peacock.

5. The Castalian goddesses, i.e. the Muses. See above, note 2.



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