Here You Will Read Pleasing Things

Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.10-12

“I want the present work to be of this sort: there are in it many arts, many lessons, and the examples of many ages, all blown together into one book. If, while reading these, you do not neglect those thing which you already know, nor avoid those things which you do not yet know, you will find many things which are either a pleasure to read, a mark of distinction to have read, or at any rate useful to have remembered. I think that I have inserted nothing into this work which is either useless to know or difficult to understand; everything here will make your intellect more active, your memory better-supplied, your speech more skillful, and your language less degraded, except when the course of the Latin language betrays me, since I was born under a foreign sky. I ask that those, who have the time and inclination to read this, will consider my plea and be just and good in their judgment, if they find the native elegance of Roman speech lacking in me.”

Ferdinand Hodler, ‘The Reader’

10 Tale hoc praesens opus volo: multae in illo artes, multa praecepta sint, multarum aetatum exempla, sed in unum conspirata: in quibus si neque ea quae iam tibi sunt cognita asperneris, nec quae ignota sunt vites, invenies plurima quae sit aut voluptati legere aut cultui legisse aut usui meminisse. 11 Nihil enim huic operi insertum puto aut cognitu inutile aut difficile perceptu, sed omnia quibus sit ingenium tuum vegetius, memoria adminiculatior, oratio sollertior, sermo incorruptior, nisi sicubi nos sub alio ortos caelo Latinae linguae vena non adiuvet. 12 Quod ab his, si tamen quibusdam forte nonnumquam tempus voluntasque erit ista cognoscere, petitum impetratumque volumus ut aequi bonique consulant, si in nostro sermone nativa Romani oris elegantia desideretur.

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