Thanks for the Homer!

Petrarch, Epistulae Familiares 18.2:

“My dearest man, remembering both my desire and your promise, you gave this book to me, and – what adds more than a little to the gift – you gave it to me, not funneled by some violent channel into another language, but pure and uncorrupted, from the very springs of Greek eloquence, just as it first flowed from Homer’s divine intellect. I consider it the highest gift and, if the true price of the thing be considered, it is one of entirely incalculable value. Nothing more could be added to it if you would bestow along with Homer your gracious presence, with the aid of which I first entered upon the narrow paths of a foreign tongue. Happily would I enjoy your gift, and astonished I would glance the ‘light’ and the ‘visual marvels’ about which Horace writes in his Art of Poetry, 

 Antiphates and Scylla, and the Cyclops with Charybdis.”

Image result for scylla and charybdis

Hunc tu michi, vir amicissime, donasti, promissi tui simul ac desiderii mei memor, quodque non modicum dono adicit, donasti eum non in alienum sermonem violento alveo derivatum, sed ex ipsis greci eloquii scatebris purum et incorruptum et qualis primum divino illi perfluxit ingenio. Summum utique et, si verum rei precium exquiritur, inextimabile munus habeo, cuique nil possit accedere si cum Homero tui quoque presentiam largireris, qua duce peregrine lingue introgressus angustias, letus dono tuo fruerer attonitusque conspicerem “lucem” illam et “speciosa miracula” de quibus in Arte poetica Flaccus ait:

 Antiphatem Scyllamque et cum Cyclope Caribdim.

 


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