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Iudice sub Tmolo concertauêre canentes
Pan Pastor calamis, Cantor Apollo. lyra.[1]
Et prolata Midae fertur sententia, suavi
Stridula cui melior tibia censa cheli.
Ob quod tam absurdum indignatus areston Apollo.
Illi Asini longas indidit auriculas.
Auriculas Asini fatuus Rex notus ut esset.
Dignas tam stolidi iudicio capitis.
Sunt quibus eloquio sapiente,oquentia [= loquentia] vana
Plus placet: & vero simplice ευδόμυθος
O utinam insignes asininis auribus essent.
Ut posset fatuos noscere quisque Midas.
Dicere quos merito, licet inversos Apuleios,[2]
Nam facie humana, caetera sunt Asini.

With Tmolus to judge, Pan the shepherd and Apollo the singer played their music, one on the pipes, the other on the lyre. And they say that Midas made his judgement, and that he thought the wheezing flute better than the sweet harp. Apollo was indignant at such an absurd preference, and gave him [Midas] the long ears of an ass, that the King should be reknowned for his silliness by his ears, which were fitting to the judgement of such a stupid head. There are some to whom empty babbling is more pleasing than wise eloquence, and lying myth to real truth. If only they were marked with asses’ ears, so they could all be recognized as fatuous Midases. Those of whom this can be said are reverse Apulei, for their faces are human, but the rest is an ass.


1.  Tmolus, the god of a mountain of the same name in Lydia (Asia Minor), decided a musical contest between Apollo and Pan. Midas (who had retired from his spoiled life as king) was a follower of Pan, and attended the contest. Tmolus awarded the victory to Apollo, and all but Midas agreed with the judgment. He dissented, and questioned the justice of the award - and was rewarded with the donkey’s ears, as in the poem. (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 11.168)

2.  Apuleius, a 2nd-century writer, was the author of The Golden Ass, in which the main character (Lucius) is partly changed into an ass and has various adventures, and seems to morph into the author himself by the end.

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