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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M8r p191]

Antiquitatis studium.

The study of antiquity

Ad G. Schirletum.[1]

Omnia consumit tempus, longamque senectam
Quid videt artifices quod peperere manus?
Imperio fatum eripuit monimenta, vetustas
Ne quid duraret, conficeretque situs.[2]
Nunc Deus in frugem veterum virtute probatam
Ut vocet en monstrat marmora, Roma, tibi.
Effodiuntur opes irritamenta bonorum,
Nec poterit nummos ulla abolere dies.
Aerea testantur fuerint quibus aurea secla,
Multorumque monent quae tacuere libri.

Time destroys everything, and what, which artists’ hands produced, sees a long old age? Under his rule, destiny has snatched monuments away, so that antiquity cannot last longer, and form a structure. Look, now God shows marble blocks to you, Rome, in order to summon the kind of honesty [morality] approved through the virtue of the ancients. The riches are excavated as incentives for good deeds, and no day can ever efface coins. The golden coins testify of those who lived in a golden age, and they point out many things about which books have been silent.


1.  Gulielmus Schirletus (Guglielmo Sirleto): Cardinal and scholar from Calabria, keeper of the Vatican Library (d. 1585).

2.  Cf. Horace, Odes, 3.30.2: ‘exegi monumentum aere perennius regalique situ pyramidum altius’; looks like a more modest vanitas-echo to Horace’s famous lines.

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