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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O6v p220]



Est via quae potus, atque escas ducit in alvum,
Est quoque quae vitam suppetit aura levem:
Hos natura sagax discrevit rit่ canales,
Ut certas servet quilibet ordo vices.
Si mica, aut gutta infestet spiracula vitae,
Exoritur tussis, saevaque damna movet.
Ordine nil melius, nocuit confusio turbae,
Constare & numeris dixerat omne σοφός.[1]

There is a road by which food and drink reaches the belly, and air, as well, holds fragile life in store. Wise nature has separated these two channels, so that any order can preserve certain roles. Should a crumb or a drop infest the breath-path of life, a cough is called up to chase grave doom away. There’s nothing better than order! The confusion of the crowd does harm; and a wise man once said that all is a matter of numbers.


1.  The ‘wise man’ referred to here is probably Cicero. Quintilian refers to the orator as having frequently made this point in Institutio oratoria, 9.4.52.

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