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Physica & Ethica

Physics and Ethics

Ioanni Aicholz medico.[1]

Natura exercet tectis indagine rebus
Mentem, ne cuivis cognita mox pateat.
Nempe parens sese vestivit nubibus atris,
Sollicita ut foetus cuncta requirat ope.
Id studium praestat, vigil & solertia tandem:
Sit quadruplex mundi quodve revelat opus.
Huius alumna sed est praxis, mandata capessens
Notitiae, ac licitis usibus apta nitet.[2]
Socratis haec placuit studio, quid enim sine rectis
Profuit exemplis Philosophia vetus?
Haec sterilem nutrit Platanum,[3] dat mitia pomae
Altera, queis oculos aridum & os reficis.
Vivimus in dubiis, brevis est & vita, sodalis,
Occupet hanc prudens utilitate moram.[4]

Nature trains the mind with investigation of hidden things, so that she should not reveal knowledge soon to just anyone. For the parent clothed herself in dark cloud, so that her troubled offspring should search for her with all his powers. This study is best, and, finally, wakeful shrewdness: let the work which reveals something about the universe be fourfold. But her foster-child is Praxis, who follows the dictates of knowledge, and shines fit for legitimate use. This study pleased Socrates, for what is the use of old Philosophy without correct examples? She nourishes a fruitless plane-tree, but the other gives soft fruits, with which you refresh your eyes and dry mouth. We live in uncertainty, comrade, and life is short: may the wise man occupy this period with usefulness.


1.  Johann Aicholz, physician and botanist in Vienna (d. 1588).

2.  Praxis: Greek philosophical process by which a theory or lesson becomes part of lived experience through application in the real world.

3.  For Socrates and the plane tree see Plato’s Phaedrus.

4.  This has been corrected from the Errata (from morum).

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