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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E7r]

IN VITAM HUMANAM.

On human life

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E7v]

Plus solito humanae nunc defle incomoda vitae
Heraclite, scatet pluribus illa malis.
Tu rursus, si quando alias extolle[1] cachinnum,
Democrite, illa magis ludicra facta fuit.
Interea haec cernens meditor, qua denique tecum.
Fine fleam, aut tecum quomodo splene iocer.[2]

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.

Notes:

1.  Corrected from the Errata, and also corrected by hand in this copy.

2.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.148. For Heraclitus, cf. [A50a016]. 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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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P4r p231]

Eloquence difficile.[1]

L’herbe bailla Mercure à Ulysses,
Contrepoison aulx breuvages Circes.[2]
Moly s’appelle, & ha noire racine,
Fleur blanche, & rouge, à trouver bien insigne.
Pure eloquence, est d’attraction pleine,
Mais à plusieurs est oeuvre de grand peine.

Par l’herbe Moly en Homere de noire racine, fleur blanche,
& purpurine, tresdifficile à trouver: est entendue eloquence, au
commencement obscure, puys florissante, claire, & honorée.
Mais difficile à acquerir, sinon aulx bons espritz laquelle sur-
monte toute malice, & obtient grand grace à celluy qui l’ha.

Notes:

1.  In the 1549 French edition, this emblem has no woodcut.

2.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 70 ([A58a070]), for the effect of Circe’s poisoned cup. Cf. Erasmus, De Copia (Loeb edition, 1.91 D), where moly is interpreted as wisdom rather than eloquence. Cf. Coustau, ‘In herbam Moly, ex Homero’ ([FCPb073]).


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