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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 incommoda vitae
Heraclite, scatet pluribus illa malis.
Tu rursus, si quando alias 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.

Notes:

1.  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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EMBLEMA CXIX.

Opulentia tyranni, paupertas sub-
iectorum.

A wealthy ruler means poor subjects

Humani quod splen est corporis, in populi re
Hoc Caesar[1] fiscum dixerat esse suum.
Splene aucto, reliqui tabescunt corporis artus,
Fisco aucto, arguitur civica pauperies.

It was a saying of Caesar that the imperial treasury has the same relation to the people as the spleen has to the human body: if the spleen is enlarged, all the other members of the body waste away. A swollen treasury is proof of poverty among the citizens.

Das CXIX.

Reich Herrn, arm Underthanen.

Das ins Menschen Leib sMiltz ist diß
In den Regimenten ist gwiß
Der Oberkeit Schatzkammer schwer
Wie gsprochen hat der Keyser
So sich das Miltz mehrt nemmen ab
All ander Glieder biß ins Grab
So sich mehrt der Schatz in der Rennt
Würd der Bürger armut erkennt.

Notes:

1.  The Emperor Trajan (as clarified in the commentary), one of the five ‘Good Emperors’. See Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 42.21; Erasmus, Apophthegmata, 8.


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