Sunday, June 26, 2016



W.H. Hudson (1841-1922), Hampshire Days (London: Longmans, Green,and Co., 1906), pp. 51-52:
The blue sky, the brown soil beneath, the grass, the trees, the animals, the wind, and rain, and sun, and stars are never strange to me; for I am in and of and am one with them; and my flesh and the soil are one, and the heat in my blood and in the sunshine are one, and the winds and tempests and my passions are one. I feel the "strangeness" only with regard to my fellow men, especially in towns, where they exist in conditions unnatural to me, but congenial to them; where they are seen in numbers and in crowds, in streets and houses, and in all places where they gather together; when I look at them, their pale civilised faces, their clothes, and hear them eagerly talking about things that do not concern me. They are out of my world—the real world. All that they value, and seek and strain after all their lives long, their works and sports and pleasures, are the merest baubles and childish things; and their ideals are all false, and nothing but by-products, or growths, of the artificial life—little funguses cultivated in heated cellars.

In such moments we sometimes feel a kinship with, and are strangely drawn to, the dead, who were not as these; the long, long dead, the men who knew not life in towns, and felt no strangeness in sun and wind and rain.


The Immense Labors of Men

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Appendix (tr. Donald A. Cress):
When, on the one hand, one considers the immense labors of men, so many sciences searched into, so many arts invented, and so many forces employed, abysses filled up, mountains razed, rocks broken, rivers made navigable, lands cleared, lakes dug, marshes drained, enormous buildings raised upon the earth, the sea covered with ships and sailors; and when, on the other hand, one searches with a little meditation for the true advantages that have resulted from all this for the happiness of the human species, one cannot help being struck by the astonishing disproportion that obtains between these things, and to deplore man's blindness, which, to feed his foolish pride and who knows what vain sense of self-importance, makes him run ardently after all the miseries to which he is susceptible, and which beneficent nature has taken pains to keep from him.

Quand, d'un côté, l'on considère les immenses travaux des hommes, tant de sciences approfondies, tant d'arts inventés, tant de forces employées, des abîmes comblés, des montagnes rasées, des rochers brisés, des fleuves rendus navigables, des terres défrichées, des lacs creusés, des marais desséchée, des bâtiments énormes élevés sur la terre, la mer couverte de vaisseaux et de matelots; et que, de l'autre, on recherche avec un peu de méditation les vrais avantages qui ont résulté de tout cela pour le bonheur de l'espèce humaine; ou ne peut qu'être frappé de l'étonnante disproportion qui règne entre ces choses, et déplorer l'aveuglement de l'homme, qui, pour nourrir son fol orgueil et je ne sais quelle vaine admiration de lui-même, le fait courir avec ardeur après toutes les misères dont il est susceptible, et que la bienfaisante nature avait pris soin d'écarter de lui.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Real Men versus Sissies

Vergil, Aeneid 9.603-620 (Numanus Remulus speaking; tr. Frederick Ahl):
We are a species tough from the roots. We carry our new-borns
Straight to the rivers to toughen them up in the cold and the water.
Boyhood means staying awake to go hunting, exhausting the forests.        605
Playtime is breaking in horses and firing off shafts with a horn bow.
Youth means dealing with work, getting used to a bare-bones existence,
Taming the earth with a rake or shaking up towns in a battle.
Steel grinds our life's every stage; our prod for the ox's
Back when it's tired is our spear-shaft reversed. Old age, as it slows us,        610
Can't either lessen our strength or diminish our vigour of spirit.
We hide our grey hairs with our helmets, delight in importing,
Even then, fresh fruits of our hunts, and in living on plunder.
You, with your needleworked saffron and gleamingly purpled apparel,
You take delight in inertia, indulging yourselves in your dances.        615
Tunics for you come with sleeves, and your bonnets have nice little ribbons.
Phrygian women, not Phrygian men, go to Dindyma's highlands,
Skip to where your double woodwinds please local ears. Up on Ida,
Mother is calling you now with her soft Berecyntian boxwood
Pipes and her timbrels. Stop playing with steel. Leave arms to the real men.        620

durum a stirpe genus natos ad flumina primum
deferimus saevoque gelu duramus et undis;
venatu invigilant pueri silvasque fatigant,        605
flectere ludus equos et spicula tendere cornu.
at patiens operum parvoque adsueta iuventus
aut rastris terram domat aut quatit oppida bello.
omne aevum ferro teritur, versaque iuvencum
terga fatigamus hasta, nec tarda senectus        610
debilitat viris animi mutatque vigorem:
canitiem galea premimus, semperque recentis
comportare iuvat praedas et vivere rapto.
vobis picta croco et fulgenti murice vestis,
desidiae cordi, iuvat indulgere choreis,        615
et tunicae manicas et habent redimicula mitrae.
o vere Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges, ite per alta
Dindyma, ubi adsuetis biforem dat tibia cantum.
tympana vos buxusque vocat Berecyntia Matris
Idaeae; sinite arma viris et cedite ferro.        620
See Nicholas Horsfall, "Numanus Remulus: Ethnography and Propaganda in Aen., ix, 598 f.," Latomus 30.4 (Oct.-Dec. 1971) 1108-1116.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Modern Medicine

Maynard Mack (1909-2001), Alexander Pope: A Life (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986), p. 333:
The sense of relative security that modern medicine has induced is best appreciated by reading a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century correspondence, where the minor or chronic discomfort of one letter may be succeeded in the next, as if magically, by what we now know must have been some version of coronary or pulmonary failure, an internal hemorrhage, a burst appendix, septicemia, acute uremia, or any of the thousand and one viral and bacterial killers for which today we always have names, frequently have lenitives, and sometimes have cures.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


None Is Happy But a Glutton

John Lyly (1553-1606), Campaspe 1.88-103, in The Complete Works of John Lyly, ed. R. Warwick Bond, Vol. II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902), p. 322:
Gran. O for a Bowle of fatt Canary,
Rich Palermo, sparkling Sherry,
Some Nectar else, from Iuno's Daiery,        90
O these draughts would make vs merry.

Psyllus. O for a wench, (I deale in faces,
And in other dayntier things,)
Tickled am I with her Embraces,
Fine dancing in such Fairy Ringes.        95

Manes. O for a plump fat leg of Mutton,
Veale, Lambe, Capon, Pigge, & Conney,
None is happy but a Glutton,
None an Asse but who wants money.

Chor. Wines (indeed,) & Girles are good,        100
But braue victuals feast the bloud,
For wenches, wine, and Lusty cheere,
Ioue would leape down to surfet heere.



Ammianus Marcellinus 15.5.4, in a list of supposed co-conspirators in Dynamius' plot against Silvanus, includes:
Eusebius, former keeper of the privy purse, who had been nicknamed Mattyocopus...

Eusebio ex comite rei privatae, cui cognomentum erat inditum Mattyocopi...
Translation and text are from John C. Rolfe's Loeb Classical Library edition. He explains the nickname as follows:
"Glutton," from ҝοπέω, "cut," and ματτύα, "delicacies," "delicate food."
P. de Jonge in his commentary:
Mattyocopi. Word of unknown meaning. Some take it as: epicure, others as: miser, skinflint. At any rate the word is of Greek origin. Cf. Vales. in edit. Wagner II p. 128; Petavius ad Themist. orat. 4 (ed. A.D. 1684 p. 523 sq., most excellent and elaborate); Aristoph. Nubes 451 c. annot. v. Leeuwen.
In Ammianum Marcellinum Notae Integrae Frid. Lindenbrogii, Henr. et Hadr. Valesiorum et Iac. Gronovii quibus Thom. Reinesii quasdam et suas adiecit Io. Augustin. Wagner. Editionem absolvit ac notas passim addidit Car. Gottlob Aug. Erfurdt. Tomus Prior ad Libr. XIV - XXII (Leipzig: Weidemann, 1808), p. 125:

Themistii Orationes XXXIII. E quibus tredecim nunc primum in lucem editae. Dionusius Petavius e Societate Jesu Latine plerasque reddidit, ac fere vicenas Notis illustravit (Paris: Sebastianus Mabre-Cramoisy, 1684), pp. 523-524:

Aristophanis Nubes. Cum prolegomenis et commentariis edidit J. van Leeuwen (Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff, 1898), p. 81:

Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. ματτυοκόπης:
a nickname, = ματτυολοιχός, AMM.MARC.15.5.4.
Id., s.v. ματιολοιχός:
AR.Nu.451, expld. as = κρουσιμέτρης, from μάτιον, τό, trifle, scrap, by loc.: ματαιολοιχός: ὁ περὶ τὰ μικρὰ πανοῦργος καὶ λίχνος, Hsch.:—
Bentley cj. ματτυολοιχός (in both places), v. ματτύη.
Id., s.v. κρουσιμέτρης:
false measurer, cheat, Sch.AR.Nu.450.
Id., s.v. ματτύη:
a rich, highly-flavoured dish, made of hashed meat, poultry, and herbs, and served cold as a dessert, of Macedonian or Thessalian origin, cf. POLL.6.70 (ματύλλη codd.).—
Especially freq. in the New Comedy acc. to ATH.14.662f: but ματτυολοιχός is prob. cj. for ματιολοιχός (q.v.).
The -λοιχός in Bentley's conjecture ματτυολοιχός is from λείχω = lick.

See also Pierre Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, III (Paris: Klincksieck, 1974), s.v. ματτύη, p. 672.

Thanks to Ian Jackson for help.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



Celsus, On Medicine 7.16.1 (tr. W.G. Spencer):
...a doubtful hope is preferable to certain despair...

...dubia spes certa desperatione sit potior...
Ammianus Marcellinus 15.3.9 (tr. John C. Rolfe):
...more strongly desirous of things forbidden, as is the way of mankind...

...vetita ex more humano validius cupiens...
Ammianus Marcellinus 16.8.6 (tr. John C. Rolfe): when the affair had been exaggerated, after the standard of the times...

...exaggerato itaque negotio ad arbitrium temporum...



Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 2.499-512:
'Tis mirth that fils the veines with bloud,
More then wine, or sleepe, or food.        500
Let each man keepe his heart at ease,
No man dies of that disease.
He that would his body keepe
From diseases, must not weepe,
But who euer laughes and sings,        505
Neuer he his body brings
Into feuers, gouts, or rhumes,
Or lingringly his longs consumes:
Or meets with aches in the bone,
Or Catharhes, or griping stone:        510
But contented liues for aye,
The more he laughes, the more he may.
508 longs: lungs

Monday, June 20, 2016



Ammianus Marcellinus 14.11.25-26 (tr. John C. Rolfe):
[25] These and innumerable other instances of the kind are sometimes (and would that it were always so!) the work of Adrastia, the chastiser of evil deeds and the rewarder of good actions, whom we also call by the second name of Nemesis. She is, as it were, the sublime jurisdiction of an efficient divine power, dwelling, as men think, above the orbit of the moon; or as others define her, an actual guardian presiding with universal sway over the destinies of individual men. The ancient theologians, regarding her as the daughter of Justice, say that from an unknown eternity she looks down upon all the creatures of earth.

[26] She, as queen of causes and arbiter and judge of events, controls the urn with its lots and causes the changes of fortune, and sometimes she gives our plans a different result than that at which we aimed, changing and confounding many actions. She too, binding the vainly swelling pride of mortals with the indissoluble bond of fate, and tilting changeably, as she knows how to do, the balance of gain and loss, now bends and weakens the uplifted necks of the proud, and now, raising the good from the lowest estate, lifts them to a happy life. Moreover, the storied past has given her wings in order that she might be thought to come to all with swift speed; and it has given her a helm to hold and has put a wheel beneath her feet, in order that none may fail to know that she runs through all the elements and rules the universe.

[25] Haec et huius modi quaedam innumerabilia ultrix facinorum impiorum, bonorumque praemiatrix, aliquotiens operatur Adrastia, (atque utinam semper!): quam vocabulo duplici etiam Nemesim appellamus: ius quoddam sublime numinis efficacis, humanarum mentium opinione lunari circulo superpositum, vel ut definiunt alii, substantialis tutela generali potentia partilibus praesidens fatis, quam theologi veteres fingentes Iustitiae filiam, ex abdita quadam aeternitate tradunt omnia despectare terrena.

[26] Haec ut regina causarum, et arbitra rerum ac disceptatrix, urnam sortium temperat, accidentium vices alternans, voluntatumque nostrarum exorsa interdum alio quam quo contendebant exitu terminans, multiplices actus permutando convolvit. Eademque necessitatis insolubili retinaculo mortalitatis vinciens fastus, tumentes in cassum, et incrementorum detrimentorumque momenta versabilis librans (ut novit), nunc erectas eminentium cervices opprimit et enervat, nunc bonos ab imo suscitans ad bene vivendum extollit. Pinnas autem ideo illi fabulosa vetustas aptavit, ut adesse velocitate volucri cunctis existimetur, et praetendere gubernaculum dedit, eique subdidit rotam, ut universitatem regere per elementa discurrens omnia non ignoretur.
Text and translation come from the Digital Loeb Classical Library, except that I corrected crunctis in the last sentence to cunctis. Here is a screen capture of the error:

The physical book (I checked the 1935 edition, p. 104, but not later impressions) doesn't have this misprint.


Sunday, June 19, 2016


Choosing One's Father

Primo Levi (1919-1987), The Voice of Memory: Interviews, 1961-1987, tr. Robert Gordon (New York: The New Press, 2001), p. 101:
Even my love for Rabelais is apparently inexplicable, and yet he is the one I feel closest to of all, almost like a son. If I could I would choose Rabelais as a father.



Thomas Babington Macaulay, letter to his sisters Fanny and Selina (September 11, 1837), quoted in George Otto Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1881), p. 307:
I have no words to tell you how I pine for England, or how intensely bitter exile has been to me, though I hope that I have borne it well. I feel as if I had no other wish than to see my country again, and die. Let me assure you that banishment is no light matter. No person can judge of it who has not experienced it. A complete revolution in all the habits of life; an estrangement from almost every old friend and acquaintance; fifteen thousand miles of ocean between the exile, and everything that he cares for; all this is, to me at least, very trying. There is no temptation of wealth, or power, which would induce me to go through it again.


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