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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  [P4v p232]

Les Antiquitez sont controuvées.[1]

Apologie. Dialogisme.

D. Vieillard Proteu[2], qui has forme muable:
Homme par fois, puys beste dissemblable:
Quelle raison toute espece en toy mue:
Tant que tu n’has figure de tenue?
R. Je represente antique Poësie,
De qui chascun songe à sa phantasie.

Des choses anciennes, & mises hors de toute memoire: cha-
scun en songe, & en divine à sa phantasie: tellement que les au-
theurs ne s’ac
cordans, font une monstrueuse histoire ou fable
de variables formes, tel que les Poëtes faignent estre Proteus
dieu marin, fort vieulx, & muable en toutes formes.

Notes:

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

2.  Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.


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