Filthy Friday: What to Name My Smutty Book?

Antonio Beccadelli, The Hermaphrodite 1.3

“Cosimo, if you read the title of my book in the upper margin, you will see that it is The Hermaphrodite. There is a bit of pussy in this book, and a bit of cock as well. Ah, what a fitting name it has, then! But if you called my book The Asshole because it sings with the old rectal flute, it will still have a pretty fitting name. If neither this name nor that seems good to you, put down whatever you would like – just make sure that it isn’t chaste!

Image result for antonio beccadelli

Si titulum nostri legisti, Cosme, libelli
Marginibus primis, Hermaphroditus erat.
Cunnus et est nostro, simul est et mentula, libro:
Conveniens igitur quam bene nomen habet!
At si podicem vocites, quod podice cantet,
Non inconveniens nomen habebit adhuc.
Quod si non placeat nomen nec et hoc nec et illud,
Dummodo non castum, pone quod ipse velis.

The Flower of Youth & The Race to Death

Petrarch, de flore etatis instabili (On the Transient Bloom of Life)

“I seem, and not wrongly so, to fear that I am taken in by the flower of my age, an occurrence common to most young people. I will not promise you, father, that my mind will be solid, stable, and free of all vanity, which I judge in this age to be most difficult and perhaps even more dependent upon divine than on human effort. Yet, I promise you that my mind will not be forgetful of its own condition. I sense, believe me, that now as I appear to be in the bloom of youth, that I am continuing on to wither up. Why do I use such halting words for such a fleeting subject? I should more properly say that I am hastening – nay, running – nay, flying. As Cicero says, ‘Our age flies off, and the time of this life is nothing but a race to death.’ In this race, as Augustine says, ‘no one is allowed to stand still for a moment or to go a bit slower; all are urged on at an equal pace and forced upon the same approach. Someone whose life is shorter does not finish the day sooner than one who lives longer; but when equal moments are snatched away from each of them equally, one goes a bit ahead, and the other is a bit farther, but they both rush to the same goal with equal pace. For it is one thing to have taken a longer journey, and another thing entirely to have walked it more slowly. So, the one who lives for a broader span of time before death is not going to it any more slowly – he is just completing a longer journey.” Behold these two incredibly eminent men, describing the swiftness of mortal life, and the way that they assert that life rushes and flies. How often did Vergil claim that time flies? What if everyone were silent on this subject? What if they all denied it? Would fleeting time rush or fly any slower for that?”

Image result for flowers of elagabalus

Vereri michi, nec immerito, visus es, ne – quod fere omnibus adolescentibus accidit – etatis flore decipiar. Non pollicebor tibi, pater, animum solidum ac stabilem omnisque vanitatis exortem, quod in hac etate difficillimum et potius divine gratie quam humane virtutis arbitror; sed mentem haudquaquam sue conditionis ignaram spondeo. [2] Sentio me, michi crede, nunc, dum maxime florere videor, maxime ad arescendum pergere; quid in re celerrima segnibus verbis utor? imo vero properare, imo currere, imo, ut loquar proprie, volare. «Volat enim etas» ut ait Cicero, et «omnino nichil est aliud tempus vite huius, quam cursus ad mortem; in quo» ut ait Augustinus, «nemo vel paulo stare vel aliquanto tardius ire permittitur; sed urgentur omnes pari motu nec diverso impelluntur accessu. Neque enim cuius vita brevior fuit, celerius diem duxit quam ille cui longior; sed cum equaliter equalia momenta raperentur ambobus, alter abiit propius, alter remotius, quo non impari velocitate ambo currebant. Aliud est enim amplius vie peregisse, aliud tardius ambulasse. Qui ergo usque ad mortem productiora spatia temporis agit, non lentius pergit, sed plus itineris conficit». [3] Ecce quanti duo viri, velocitatem vite mortalis describentes, volare eam et currere asserunt. Quotiens vero Virgilius fugere tempus ait? Quid, si omnes tacerent? quid, etiamsi negarent? nunquid ideo segnius fugiens curreret aut volaret?

Hoping for Literary Excellence

Petrarch, Letter to Robert, King of Sicily:

“Nor am I ignorant of what the litterateurs of our age, that haughty and idle band, would say in response to this: ‘Vergil and Horace have been buried; magnificent words about them are hurled around in vain; the excellent men faded away long ago; the tolerable ones, recently; and, as it happens, they have taken their place at the bottom of the shitheap.’ I know what they are saying and thinking, and I do not wrestle against it thoughtlessly. The old saying of Plautus seems to apply not so much to that age, which had a taste for such things, as it does to this age of ours. He says

‘at that time there was a blossoming of poets

who have departed here into their common place.’

Certainly, we are more just in our lament than this. For, at his time, the ones whose departure he decries had not yet come onto the scene. But the intent of our literary critics is unjust in the extreme. Their goal is not to lament the death of the sciences, which they actually wish dead and buried, but by inducing a loss of hope, to deter their contemporaries whom they cannot equal. To be sure, let their own desperation drag them back while it drives us on, and where they find a bridle and reins, let us find impetus and stimulus, so that we strive to become the people whom they think can never be, unless antiquity itself has decorated them in glory. These exemplars of our time are rare, I confess; they are few; but they are some. What is preventing us from being one of the few? If the rarity of excellence terrifies everyone away, soon there will not be few excellent writers, but none. Let us strive, let us hope, and perhaps it will be granted us to reach that goal. Vergil himself says,

‘They can, because they think they can.’

And we, believe me, will be able to, if we can only believe it.”

Image result for the little engine that could

Nec sum nescius quid adversus hoc literatores nostri temporis respondeant, superbum et segne genus hominum: ‘Maronem et Flaccum sepultos esse; nequicquam modo de his magnifica verba iactari; excellentes olim viros periisse; tolerabiles nuper; et, ut fit, in imo fecem substitisse’. Quid dicant et quid cogitent, novi; neque passim obluctor; videtur enim michi unum Plauti dictum non tam illi etati, que vix eius rei gustum ceperat, convenire quam huic nostre: ea inquit

tempestate flos poetarum fuit
Qui hinc abierunt in comunem locum.

Hoc profecto nos dignius lamentamur; tunc enim nondum venerant quos abiisse conqueritur. Iniquissima vero horum intentio est; neque enim id agunt ut interitum scientiarum defleant, quas extinctas ac sepultas cupiunt, sed ut coetaneos suos, quos imitari nequeunt, desperatione deterreant. [8] Sane illos desperatio sua retrahat, nos impellat, et unde illis frenum ac vincula, nobis impetus ac stimuli accesserint, ut studeamus fieri qualem illi nullum opinantur, nisi quem antiquitas illustravit. Rari sunt, fateor, pauci sunt, sed aliqui sunt; quid autem vetat ex paucis fieri? si omnes raritas ipsa terruerit, brevi quidem non pauci erunt, sed nulli. Enitamur, speremus, dabitur forsan ad ista pertingere; Maro ipse ait: possunt quia posse videntur; et nos, michi crede, poterimus, si nos posse crediderimus.

AP Latin Week: Let Aeneas Bee Worne in the Tablet of Your Memorie

Philip Sydney, Defence of Poesie: 

“The incomparable Lacedemonians, did not onelie carrie that kinde of Musicke ever with them to the field, but even at home, as such songs were made, so were they all content to be singers of them: when the lustie men were to tell what they did, the old men what they had done, and the yoong what they would doo. And where a man may say that Pindare many times praiseth highly Victories of small moment, rather matters of sport then vertue, as it may be answered, it was the fault of the Poet, and not of the Poetrie; so indeed the chiefe fault was, in the time and custome of the Greekes, who set those toyes at so high a price, that Philip of Macedon reckoned a horse-race wonne at Olympus, among his three fearfull felicities. But as the unimitable Pindare often did, so is that kind most capable and most fit, to awake the thoughts from the sleepe of idlenesse, to embrace honourable enterprises. Their rests the Heroicall, whose verie name I thinke should daunt all backbiters. For by what conceit can a tongue bee directed to speake evil of that which draweth with him no lesse champions then Achilles, Cirus, Aeneas, Turnus, Tideus, Rinaldo, who doeth not onely teache and moove to a truth, but teacheth and mooveth to the most high and excellent truth: who maketh magnanimitie and justice, shine through all mistie fearfulnesse and foggie desires.

Who if the saying of Plato and Tully bee true, that who could see vertue, woulde be woonderfullie ravished with the love of her bewtie. This man setteth her out to make her more lovely in her holliday apparell, to the eye of anie that will daine, not to disdaine untill they understand. But if any thing be alreadie said in the defence of sweete Poetrie, all concurreth to the mainteining the Heroicall, which is not onlie a kinde, but the best and most accomplished kindes of Poetrie. For as the Image of each Action stirreth and instructeth the minde, so the loftie Image of such woorthies, moste enflameth the minde with desire to bee woorthie: and enformes with counsaile how to bee woorthie. Onely let Aeneas bee worne in the Tablet of your memorie, how hee governeth himselfe in the ruine of his Countrey, in the preserving his olde Father, and carrying away his religious Ceremonies, in obeying Gods Commaundment, to leave Dido, though not onelie all passionate kindeness, not even the humane consideration of vertuous gratefulnesse, would have craved other of him: how in stormes, how in sports, how in warre, how in peace, how a fugitive, how victorious, how besieged, how beseiging, how to straungers, how to Allies, how to enemies, how to his owne. Lastly, how in his inwarde selfe, and how in his outwarde government, and I thinke in a minde moste prejudiced with a prejudicating humour, Hee will bee founde in excellencie fruitefull.”

Sir Philip Sidney from NPG.jpg

Teacher Appreciation Week: The Respect Due to Teachers

Battista Guarino, de ordine docendi et studendi IV

“They should show a sort of paternal respect when honoring their teacher; for, if they disrespect the teacher, it necessarily follows that they will disrespect the teaching as well. It should not be thought that the ancients acted capriciously when they desired that the teacher should be treated like a respected parent; this was done so that the teacher could instruct the pupils with greater diligence and benevolence, and the students would reverently believe that they must observe the teacher’s precepts as though they flowed from the font of parental affection. Therefore, let them imitate the example of Alexander the Great in this matter. He used to claim that he owed no less to Aristotle than to his own father, because though his father had given him only life, but Aristotle had given him the secret of living well.

The mind which is so trained will promise such great hope that it will not only exceed the loftiest expectation, but even the loftiest wishes. For, as Sallust says, ‘wherever you aim your mind, there it excels.’ It is, however, of the utmost importance that students not be handed over to be educated by uncultured and unlettered teachers, from whom they would prove that saying of Cicero that they came back ‘stupider by half’ than they had gone. This is not to mention the time which they lose. It would be just as with the famous music teacher Timotheus – the teacher would have to undertake a double labor. The first is making them forget all which they had learned – a thing which is very difficult, according to Horace:

                ‘Once you fill a jug of wine

                It holds the scent for quite some time.’

The second labor consists of elevating them to better precepts, which happens all the slower because they must waste so much time and labor in erasing all of the previous learning.”

Deinde in praeceptore colendo paternam sibi constituant sanctitatem; nam si eum contempserint, eius quoque praeceptionem contemnant necesse est. Neque enim existimandum est maiores illos temere praeceptorem sancti voluisse parentis esse loco; sed ut ille maiore cum diligentia benevolentiaque eos instrueret, ipsi autem venerabundi eius dicta velut a paterna quadam affectione manantia observanda esse crederent. Quocirca ea in re Alexandri magni exemplum imitabuntur, qui non minus se Aristoteli praeceptori quam Philippo patri debere praedicabat, propterea quod ab hoc esse tantum, ab illo et bene esse accepisset. Qui vero animus ita institutus fuerit, optimam de se spem pollicebitur, ut omnium non modo exspectationem, sed etiam vota sit superaturus. Nam, ut ait Crispus, ‘ubi intenderis ingenium valet.’ In primis autem id cavendum erit ne rudibus et indoctis ab initio praeceptoribus tradantur erudiendi, a quibus illud Ciceronis consequantur, ut ‘dimidio stultiores’ redeant quam accesserint. Ut enim tempus taceam quod amittunt: efficitur profecto illud Timothei musici, ut postea duplex suscipiendus sit labor; alter quo ea quae didicerunt oblivioni tradant – quod sane difficilimum est iuxta Flacci sententiam,

Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem

Testa diu

Alter, ut ad meliores praeceptiones evehantur, quod etiam eo tardius fit, quo in prioribus illis obliterandisque necesse est operam tempusque consumere.

Books, They Are the Finest Thing

Petrarch, Letter to Giovanni dell’Incisa:

“One insatiable desire has me in its grip: I was not able to rein it in, nor did I wish to. I flatter myself that the lust for noble things is not itself ignoble. Are you waiting to hear the nature of my malady? I am unable to be fully sated with books, and I have perhaps more than is proper. But just as in other matters of life, so too in the world of books: success in getting them is really just a spur to further avarice. There is, rather, something singular in books: gold, silver, gems, fine clothes, marble houses, cultivated fields, fine paintings, decked-out horses, and other things of the sort have a dull and superficial pleasure about them, but books delight us to the very marrow of our bones, they converse with us, they advise us, and the are joined to us with a real living and finely-fashioned familiarity. Not only does every book insinuate itself deep into its readers, but it brings forth the names of other books, and every book creates a desire for yet another.”

Image result for books renaissance

Una inexplebilis cupiditas me tenet, quam frenare hactenus non potui, certe nec volui : mihi enim interblandior, honestarum rerum non inhonestam esse cupidinem. Exspectas audire morbi genus? Libris satiari nequeo: et habeo plures forte quam oportet. Sed sicut in ceteris rebus, sic in libris accidit: quaerendi successus avaritiæ calcar est; quin imo singulare quoddam in libris est. Aurum, argentum, gemmæ, purpurea vestis, marmorea domus, cultus ager, pictæ tabulæ, phaleratus sonipes, ceteraque id genus, mutam habent et superficiariam voluptatem; libri medullitus delectant, colloquuntur, consulunt, et viva quadam nobis atque arguta familiaritate junguntur. Neque solum sese lectoribus suis quisque insinuat, sed et aliorum nomen ingerit, et alter alterius desiderium facit.

The Respect Due to Teachers

Battista Guarino, de ordine docendi et studendi IV

“They should show a sort of paternal respect when honoring their teacher; for, if they disrespect the teacher, it necessarily follows that they will disrespect the teaching as well. It should not be thought that the ancients acted capriciously when they desired that the teacher should be treated like a respected parent; this was done so that the teacher could instruct the pupils with greater diligence and benevolence, and the students would reverently believe that they must observe the teacher’s precepts as though they flowed from the font of parental affection. Therefore, let them imitate the example of Alexander the Great in this matter. He used to claim that he owed no less to Aristotle than to his own father, because though his father had given him only life, but Aristotle had given him the secret of living well.

The mind which is so trained will promise such great hope that it will not only exceed the loftiest expectation, but even the loftiest wishes. For, as Sallust says, ‘wherever you aim your mind, there it excels.’ It is, however, of the utmost importance that students not be handed over to be educated by uncultured and unlettered teachers, from whom they would prove that saying of Cicero that they came back ‘stupider by half’ than they had gone. This is not to mention the time which they lose. It would be just as with the famous music teacher Timotheus – the teacher would have to undertake a double labor. The first is making them forget all which they had learned – a thing which is very difficult, according to Horace:

                ‘Once you fill a jug of wine

                It holds the scent for quite some time.’

The second labor consists of elevating them to better precepts, which happens all the slower because they must waste so much time and labor in erasing all of the previous learning.”

Deinde in praeceptore colendo paternam sibi constituant sanctitatem; nam si eum contempserint, eius quoque praeceptionem contemnant necesse est. Neque enim existimandum est maiores illos temere praeceptorem sancti voluisse parentis esse loco; sed ut ille maiore cum diligentia benevolentiaque eos instrueret, ipsi autem venerabundi eius dicta velut a paterna quadam affectione manantia observanda esse crederent. Quocirca ea in re Alexandri magni exemplum imitabuntur, qui non minus se Aristoteli praeceptori quam Philippo patri debere praedicabat, propterea quod ab hoc esse tantum, ab illo et bene esse accepisset. Qui vero animus ita institutus fuerit, optimam de se spem pollicebitur, ut omnium non modo exspectationem, sed etiam vota sit superaturus. Nam, ut ait Crispus, ‘ubi intenderis ingenium valet.’ In primis autem id cavendum erit ne rudibus et indoctis ab initio praeceptoribus tradantur erudiendi, a quibus illud Ciceronis consequantur, ut ‘dimidio stultiores’ redeant quam accesserint. Ut enim tempus taceam quod amittunt: efficitur profecto illud Timothei musici, ut postea duplex suscipiendus sit labor; alter quo ea quae didicerunt oblivioni tradant – quod sane difficilimum est iuxta Flacci sententiam,

Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem

Testa diu

Alter, ut ad meliores praeceptiones evehantur, quod etiam eo tardius fit, quo in prioribus illis obliterandisque necesse est operam tempusque consumere.

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