Commentary notes can be accessed by clicking on a blue square. The Latin text can be accessed by clicking on a green square.

 

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE AND WELL-BELOVED CHARLES, A LAD OF EXCELLENT HOPE, THE PRINCE OF GREAT BRITAIN, GREETINGS blue

spacerHAVE dedicated the preceding three centuries of my epigrams to the most sacred majesty of our king and your ever-august father. And now, right illustrious prince, I most humbly offer the remaining three to your worship. For since I (perhaps overambitiously) have decided to dedicate them to royal personages alone, and have seen nobody fitter than yourself to occupy the second place after your most serene father, I have thought them most suitable for dedication to Your Highness, prefixed by an encomiastic ode. And I most humbly pray that you will not exclude this, nor my other work, from the most serene purview of your most welcome countenance, although they are far disproportionate to your merits, being unworthy of so great a prince. I shall not say they are deserving of anything, but if, with you their Maecenas, they do not perish, for me this suffices. Meanwhile, most illustrious prince, the very image of your most serene father, the consolation of your most gracious mother, thereborn copy of your brother, whom we so greatly miss, and long may you most happily live and thrive as the sole hope of our kingdoms. May God will this and bring it to pass.

The most devoted servant of Your sacred Highness,
JOHN DUNBAR

AN ENCOMIASTIC ODE, WRITTEN TO CHARLES, PRINCE OF GREAT BRITAIN &c. blue

spacerIf my tongue were capable of uttering each of the due praises my mind would wish to pronounce, lofty Prince (for I have a reputation which can only boast itself to be a minor one with respect to its own merits),
spacerThe glory of Thrace would not surpass me, nor the Mantuan pride of the Muses, nor the exile on the shores of the Euxine, blue nor Phoebus himself, the god of the lyre,
spacerBut rather, with a great sound such as the river Po makes as it rolls its deep eddies into the sea, quickly turning everything in the vicinity into ruins,
spacerI, a bard higher than all the rest, would raise a shout that would soar above the stars. I would bring the Muse down from her mountain, drawing after me yet more savage monsters. blue
spacerThe waters would fall silent, and the cruel storms which hurl rocks up as high as the clouds by the south wind's savage blasts would be pent up in Aeolus' cave. blue
spacerThe hundred-headed beast of the Underworld would fall silent, the snake-foot monsters would lend their kindly ears to my songs, as I rehearsed your titles.
spacer But who could pronounce praises equal to your deserts? For it is a certain thing that eternity is something which surpasses the feeble understandings of men.
spacerThey say that in his life a mortal can have nothing beyond three gifts, goods of body and mind, and a peaceful lot.
spacerAnd each of these things does not befall everyone: for the man you see endowed with a comely frame, who possesses handsomeness, strength, youth, and a sound temperament of his limbs,
spacerThis man often possesses endowments of mind that do not match, although he carries his brain in a fit body, and, contrariwise, a man of deformed body can equal the gods with his intellect.
spacerThere are those who thrive with both these goods, both a great mind and a similar body, who would be able to fly on celestial wings to the highest reaches of heaven,
spacerBut unkind fortune oppresses them, fortune, which always favors fools, and out of ill-will rarely raises up the deserving in proportion to their merits.
spacer But, lofty Prince, you alone abound in all of these things. If I might discuss external things, your countenance has the decencies of the choir of the Graces.
spacerThus the grace of handsome beauty can be seen in each of your parts, so that Apelles blue himself could scarce bring you to life in his paintings,
spacerOr Praxiteles could scarce sculpt you in marble according to your deserts, or the poet who sang of Nirea blue could hymn you in fitting verse.
spacerAnd therefore, in respect to that appearance which the ancients used to say was most worthy to rule, that very countenance of yours wants you to be a king.
spacerBut since physical grace by itself is a small thing, beauty such as any run-of-the-mill man may possess and any woman can mention,
spacerYou also have a mind higher than all others, a mind with which you equal the gods themselves, such as the sacred sum of your bodily frame can scarce contain.
spacerFor what virtue is there whose glory does not illuminate you from its honorable pinnacle? Or what ultimate extremity does not exist in you, shining with its supreme radiance?
spacer Pure religion delights herself within the inmost recesses of your heart, blue and God's reformed worship itself dwells within your house.
spacerAstraea blue warms herself at the hearth of your divine heart. Suasion has given you her tongue, and the holy Muses your lips.
spacerAnd need I tell the greatness of your modesty, the polish of your manners, the tenor of your constancy, and the amount of your gravity?
spacerYou walk with such a lordly stride, raising aloft your bright eyes, that, until you go your way, I imagine I am seeing a demigod.
spacerSuch did Phoebus' lyre represent Castor and Pollux, such did his grace make Hercules, when his youthful beauty created him at birth, destined for his great labors.
spacerAnd indeed, at this point I would dare go through the list of all your virtues and say how your nature is more assured than could be achieved by any manner of art, were I not called away
spacerBy fortune, whose powers are said to be irresistible, and bidden (scarce against my will) to tell what she has destined for you.
spacer No lot is better than the lot of kings, thanks to which he circles in the highest of orbits, and the imperious mistress of the Wheel can be inspired to nothing higher.
spacerBut you shall not be in her debt for your lot. For you, descended from kings, were born to wield the scepter bequeathed you by a thousand forebears.
spacerYou need do no favor for this two-faced monster, for you are in need of no favor from her. Rather, she has need of yours.
spacerFortune is only the handiwork of princes, for now they lift up and now they also cast down these men and those, governing mankind according to their will.
spacerYet God possesses government over a sovereign, guiding all things by His holy godhead. He is the Creator of all things, feared by the inhabitants of heaven and earth.
spacer This is the greatest and best King of Kings, Who once bestowed kingship on your ancestors and on your thrice-great father, and is destined to bestow it on you,
spacerBut only after that divine father of yours, that pillar of Christians, has seen the stars at a very late date, and may you see this pillar surpass the years of the pyramids!
spacerAnd let God, that King of Kings and Creator of the world (oh may my wish never deceive me!) not grant you such a great thing, I pray,
spacerWithout defending, preserving, guiding, amplifying and enhancing it through all the centuries. May the sons of your sons see countless descendants.

A song sung by Your Highness’s most worshipful admirer,
J. D.

THE FOURTH CENTURY OF EPIGRAMS

1. TO PRINCE CHARLES

spacerGod existed before the world’s beginning as its First Principle, but my first principle is taken from the Prince.

2. TO THE SAME blue

spacerOh you, Charles, whose lot it has been to learn your father’s arts to the point that it is doubtful whether you are a son or a father, Fullerton, full of virtues, fills your young ear with his breath, a man who belongs to you more than to himself. And you have Murray, a shining ray of good manners.No wonder you have few equals.

3. TO THE FIRSTBORN SON OF FREDERICK, PALATINE PRINCE OF THE RHINE blue

spacerSomebody or other, perhaps a poet in his verse, called you the sole hope of the British. But away with this designation! For Charles is the sole hope of the British, it’s enough for you to be their second hope.

4. TO A CRITIC

spacerWhenever I read you the poems of my Muse, critic (she does make bad ones, she can’t make better), you tell me you won’t give me your opinion before I am more liberal in employing my file. I’ve applied my file to them so often that nothing’s left. Just give me your opinion, I beg of you.

5. TO AN OBSCURE POET

spacerWhy write so obscurely, obscure poet? Why do you like such an archaic vocabulary? Do you do this so nobody will understand your meaning? But you’d do better of you kept entirely silent.

6. TO AELLA

spacerWhile Aella was alive there were twelve Furies. Death took her off, and now they have returned to their normal number.

7. TO AULUM, A LAWYER WITH AN ARTHRITIC HAND

spacerWhy not accept the fee your client is offering, Aulus? You at least have a mind, even if you have no hand.

8. TO A CERTAIN FRANCISCAN

spacerMy cinctured friend, that rope should not be a girdle around your fat belly, but rather a noose around your neck.

9. A BACCHIC BATTLE

spacerGreat men entered into a sharp fight under the generalship of Bacchus. And the place for such a fight was a tavern. Ivy served as a standard, fiddles as bugles, cups as swords and torches as spear. And their pistols were tobacco-pipes. Stoutly they shouted, they rushed, they struck, they fell. Why say more? What a lot of bloodshed!

10. TO MENELAUS

spacerThis throng of learned men is not running to you, Menelaus, but rather to your dinner.

11. THE INAPPROPRIATE TRANSFORMATION OF CALVIN blue

spacerIf Calvinus is Lucianus by a change of name, so Lucianus will be a true Alcuinus.

12. TO PHILOMUSUS, ABOUT A HYPOCRITE blue

spacerHave a look at this man with his unkempt hair, Philomusus: he’s the man whose dire cocked eyebrow you dread, who’s always speaking about the Church Fathers and has the Bible on his tongue. Don’t trust his brow, he doesn’t have one.

13. ON LAEA

spacerJust as nature has made you a mother to your children, so your mercilessness has made you a monster to them, you dire virago. Or if you are not a monster, you are more monstrous than any monster, and more savage than savage beasts, you savage lioness. The fiercest wild animal does not hate its young, but you shun your offspring worse than dog and snake. blue

14. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SIR THOMAS OVERBURY. TO A PASSER-BY blue

spacerDo you want to know what Man’s life and death are, traveler? He who was lately a Democritus becomes a Heraclitus. Just as his character teaches this to him, so he, unhappy in his death, teaches it to others.

15. ON LUTHER

spacerSince Luther is pure, tell me why he’s not also a genuine Puritan?spacer

16. TO DOMINUS MASSIOT, PHYSICIAN OF LA ROCHELLE blue

spacerFor the ailing, Massiot, you are second Mesue or Macheon, blue when it pleases you to apply your healing touch. When shattered heath had brought me to my extremity and there was nothing to follow but death, thanks to your power over death life was returned to me. O would that life can be given you by my Muse!

17. ON CORDUS

spacerSince you don’t want be called a good, honest-faced [simplex] man, Cordus, can’t I justly call you a two-faced [duplex] one?

18. TO JOHN KING, BISHOP OF LONDON &c. blue

spacerBeloved to God and likewise beloved to Man, to heaven and earth, to whom piety, grace and pure faith are dear, you are a true protector of the right, you are a champion of the honest, being prudent and upright with your holy simplicity. There was once a man who called a king “the shepherd of the people,” blue and this can properly be said about you or about no man at all.

19. ON MARIUS

spacerI praised Marius. He said nothing, so he won’t give me anything. Now he’s read the praises I uttered, so he’ll give.

20. ON PRINCE CHARLES

spacerSince Charles is partly Greek and partly Latin, I believe the omen his name contains. For he is wholly graceful (charus ὅλος), wholly sweet, pleasant, and friendly in his manners, nature, and generous hand. Am I not to think that you who join Latin words to Greek can join these things in fact?

21. WHY OUR SHORTAGE OF MONEY blue

spacerThis is the reason for such a great shortage of coinage: young men fritter coins away, old men hoard them.

22. A PARADOX: MIRACLES ARE NOT CEASING

spacerThat which they assert, that all miracles have ceased for Christians, appears to be false. For nowadays it’s a miracle to see an honest man.

23. ON A CERTAIN FATHER

spacerYou offer advice to your son, but don’t heed it yourself. This is to want the son to be wiser than his father.

24. TO JOHN DUNBAR, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AT LA ROCHELLE blue

spacerLet the ignoble common folk gnash their teeth and grumble as much as they want, they cannot detract anything from your titles. For as long as mercy, piety, peace, love, faith, and the learning you possess are held in esteem, Dunbar, you will live, while the idle rabble perish.

25. TO THE SAME blue

spacerYour name shows that you should be grave, wise Dunbar, for it shows you that you are learned as long as you are weighty (dum βαρὐς).

26. ON THE PHYSICIANS OF OUR AGE

spacerIf physicians are divine, as ancient times imagined, oh how blessed is our age! For nowadays we see so many youthful doctors who can become gods before they become men.

27. ON MACRINUS

spacerWhile you are striving to seem like a fool, Macrinus, you are striving to be what you already are. Look for another ambition.

28. A BLIND MAN’S FRIENDSHIP

spacerWhat kind of friendship is this? For, my blind fellow, you’d rather not be able to see your friend hanged.

29. TO PONTICUS

spacerWhy brag that you are born of a noble father, Ponticus? You are lying, your father was a tailor. Your father was a tailor, Ponticus, or a cobbler. Hence a shoe and a cloak ennoble you.

30. TO THE SAME

spacerAll nobility comes from virtue. But all your nobility, Ponticus, comes from your clothes.

31. TO DOMINUS DE LOUMEAU, MINISTER OF LA ROCHELLE blue

spacerYou who were a physician, de Loumeau, are now a minister, and now as a minister you are doing what you used to as a physician. But I perceive this distinction: that now you heal the afflictions of the soul rather than of the body.

32. TO SIR JAMES FULLERTON, GENTLEMAN OF THE BEDCHAMBER TO PRINCE CHARLES &c. blue

spacerFullerton, ever to be celebrated by my Muses, whether I proclaim your manners or your breeding, holy faith and piety reign in your heart, and all the gifts worthy of a fine man. Your noble pedigree is enlarged by your knighthood, fortune favors you, as does your reputation, splendid for its merits.

33. ΤΟ ΤΗΕ SΑΜΕ blue

spacerWhether it be the palm of virtue (φύλλον ἀρετῆς) or the palm of victory (φύλλον Ἀρῆος), both are well suited to their Fullerton.

34. ON MACRINUS

spacerThat’s a pretty wallet you have, Macrinus. I admit it. But you own nothing but that pretty wallet.

35. ON A STUDIOUS MAN

spacerThis studious man sold off his land to buy books. Now this studious man owns nothing but books.

36. ON SILURIUS

spacerSilurius, I neither want to hail you nor harm you. I don’t want you to be either wise or a fool. I don’t wish you the talent of a Maevius, blue nor that of a Vergil. I don’t want you to have too much learning, nor too little.

37. ON SALIUS

spacerSalius affirms there are no upright, decent men. So isn’t he proving that, according to this logic, he’s a rascal?

38. ON THELESINUS

spacerThelesinus ate an apple and some black bread in a field and says he dined al fresco.

39. TO THOMAS WALLACE OF CRAGIE blue

spacerRight learned Wall, darling of your Dunbar, always to be honored by my Muses, no astonishment tugs at my mind that you are visiting various nooks and crannies of the world. But I shall be very astonished unless the French glory of the sacred Sisters fails to grant you rewards worthy of your genius.

40. ABOUT STATUES

spacerStatues ought to resemble men in every respect, but nowadays many men look like statues.

41. ABOUT PAINTINGS AND STATUES, PUT OTHERWISE

spacerA painting ought to shine for resembling its subject, but nowadays the subjects come closer to resembling paintings.. Thus standing statues ought to be likenesses of their sculpted subjects, but more often these gentlemen are likenesses of statues.

42. TO ALEXANDER UDNEY, ABOUT HIS FRIEND OLIVER BETELER blue

spacerI am not surprised that you thus love your Oliverbranch, since they say this is the branch of Pallas. But since he is like a Pallas to you, and learned Apollo is dear to your heart, this surprises me: why do you have the anagram of a Nobody (Οὐδένος)? I suppose you can be called Οὕτινος for no other reason that that whereby Ulysses was called by the name of Οὕτινος.

43. TO MOMUS blue

spacerWhy bite my verses like a Spartan hunting-dog savaging a lamb with its cruel fang, jealous Momus? These poems are hard, and I warn you to let me alone while you still can, if you don’t want a broken tooth.

43a. TO PRINCE CHARLES blue

spacerYour virtue and even greater prudence in affairs will flourish, great Charles, before the hairs on your chin do.

44. TO THOMAS MURRAY, TUTOR TO PRINCE CHARLES &c. blue

spacerThe virtues that made you worthy to be tutor to the Prince, Murray, are your pious and loyal mind, your grave mien, your steadiness of action, and the keen wit that makes you excellent in understanding. That Charles has been accustomed to these things from his earliest years is something for which the land of Britain is indebted to you.

45. A LAMENT FOR HIS TIMES

spacerAt the moment, it is not the sacred Sisters who confer a name and reputation on the learned: a cheap tailor will supply both. For the Sisters do not accomplish this thanks to virtue. Rather, tailors do it with costumes.

46. TO AULUS

spacerDon’t let it go to your head that I call you “sir,” Aulus. I often apply that word to my servant.

47. TO THE CRITIC JOHN RAY blue

spacerYou can’t be no thing, for the ablative is in use. Give me the right case, Re, and you’ll be some thing [res].

48. TO THE SAME

spacerHow should I address you, learned priest of the Muses? Do you want to be called Re, Res, Raius or Reus? You don’t want to be a felon [reus], lest you be condemned, nor do you care to be an ablative, so you won’t be Re. A res [thing] belongs to the feminine gender, but you belong to the masculine. So, since you aren’t going to be Res, to your friends you must be Raius.

49. ON A PAINTED WOMAN

spacerA painted woman is the shadow of a man, and a shadow is nothing. So what’s a painted woman? She’s the shadow of a shadow, and so is less than nothing.

50. TO AN UNFRIENDLY MAN

spacerYou call my epigrams bad. Don’t ask why I’ve removed you from them. Yes, they are bad, but lest they be thought yet worse I’ve taken out your name, you unfriendly fellow.

51. ON AN UNSKILLED MINISTER

spacerThis man was made a minister on the spur of the moment. For, trust me, he does not deliver written-out sermons.

52. ON TONGILLUS

spacerThey say that Tongillus is being burned up by a disease. I know the fellow’s ways, he’s been sleeping with Glycira. His physician prescribed bleeding, but he’s mistaken if he imagines this Tongillus to be hot with a fever.

53. TO AUCTUS

spacerYou say that you support my Muses in vain, Auctus. You’ll not be any supporter of mine unless you’ll be my subsidizer.

54. THE DEATHS OF JAMES STUART AND GEORGE WHARTO blue

spacerBoth were alike in years, disposition and manners, both were alike in breeding, character and kind. Both were alike, so that in an equal fight neither this one could be bested, nor that. And yet both were overmastered because they could not master themselves. For, being victors, they became their own victims.

55. ANOTHER ABOUT THE SAME MEN, TO THE BRITISH

spacerNow that Britain’s protracted war is wound up, it may see sure signs of its gain. Hence an Englishman has killed a Scotsman and vice versa. Go now, British land, and encourage duels.

56. TO PATRICK YOUNG, LIBRARIAN TO KING JAMES blue

spacerHang me if I don’t know if any man is more learned than you. But I do know that no man is less ostentatious about his learning.

57. ON CHLORIS

spacerChloris does not know how to exist in the same place with this priest, and swears she cannot tolerate him. I’m not surprised: a priest’s place is heaven, hers is Hell, and in addition God Himself scarcely knows how to tolerate the man.

58. TO AULUS

spacerAulus, they say you only eat once a day: for you sit at table from dawn to dusk. spacer

59. TO THOMAS GOAD, DOCTOR OF DIVINITY &c. blue

spacerGoad, most conspicuous glory for the stream of Parnassus, of whose waters no man has drunk more deeply, just as you commanded my Muse to make her public appearance, let my Muse appear to sound your praises. But what small fraction of all your praise is her doing? She has more need of yours, than you of hers.

60. TO ZOILUS blue

spacerDon’t frown, Zoilus, For I can find a way to please you. Imagine these poems are yours. Perhaps they will please you because they are yours, if mine don’t.

61. TO A VAIN MAN

spacerIf you who wear silk should scorn my greeting, you should realize that I am not greeting you, but rather your clothes.

62. TO DOMINUS MERLIN, PASTOR OF LA ROCHELLE blue

spacerWhen I recall with what great zeal you handle Scripture, and what thunder pours forth from your mouth, Merlin, which are excellent endowments for all time, I cannot help but be mindful of your genius.

63. TO TORVULUS

spacerTorvulus, why are you always keeping an eye on me? Since you are one-eyed, you possess no more.

64. TO MARINUS blue

spacerMarinus reads well, yet he’s a fool. Marinus knows much, yet he’s a fool. Marinus expounds the law, yet he’s a fool. Marinus wears a gown, yet he’as a fool. Marinus writes books, yet he’s a fool. Whatever Marinus does, he’s still a fool.

65. TO CORDOLUS

spacerCordolus, you have the words and face of an upright man. But trust me, the rest you have is that of a villain.

66. TO THE EPIGRAMMATICIST JOHN OWEN blue

spacerSome call you Owen, others Oenus, Audoenus, or Odoenus. Romans possessed three names, but you alone have four. What’s the reason? Is it because you’re a Welshman?

67. TO THE SAME

spacerYour Muse always limps along on an hexameter and a pentameter. Is this why she’s habitually late?

68. ON THE EPIGRAM

spacerA bonny epigram seems like an eel, for both have their lives in their tails.

69. TO ALEXANDER STUART, LAIRD OF GARLIES blue

spacerNoble scion of lords, you who receive your noble name from a long line of innumerable ancestors, if great praise is due only to great men, with what praise can I paint such a diminutive gentleman? But I accord you great praise. For though you may be small of body, but you are large for your great character.

70. TO JAMES CARMICHAEL, CUPBEARER TO PRINCE CHARLES &c.blue

spacerWhen I see the piety and virtue with which you rival heaven, and when I see the pace at which you are hastening to the stars, were angels’ hearts mortal, then I could truly say you had Michael’s heart (cor Michaelis).

71. ON A CHAPEL

spacerA chapel is so-called because once Christians’ places of worship were roofed with the skins of goats (caprarum). But why shouldn’t a church rather be called a sheepfold, since Christians are called Christ’s sheep?

72. A RESPONSE blue

spacerThat which was once called a sheepfold [ovile] can now be called an assfold [onile], for what are ignorant sheep if not asses?

73. ON THE REFORMED YEAR AND THE REFORMED ANGLICAN FAITH blue

spacerThe English Church ought to adopt the calendar which Rome has to offer, and Rome should adopt the faith to which the English Church adheres, and thus each should yield to the other and all the world would combine into one in Christ’s sheepfold.

74. ANOTHER

spacerI applaud their new year. But oh, would they afterwards reform their mind [animum], as already have this year [annum]!

75. OTHERWISE

spacerAll right, you have justly reformed the seasons of the year. But I would have you reform your minds, not the year. spacer

76. THE EPITAPH OF MARK ALEXANDER BOYD blue

spacerOvid was the scribe of heroines, and the Boyd who lies here wrote back responses of their heroes. To the extent that the glory of heroes is greater than that of heroines, Boyd’s glory is greater than Ovid’s.

77. ON CORNUTUS blue

spacerYou could have married a Thais, Cornutus, but you married a Diana. And no wonder, for you desire to be an Actaeon.

78. TO THE COLLEGE AT EDINBURGH blue

spacerYou excellent supporter and image of the Muses, forever destined to give birth to distinguished and learned men, oh supreme shaper of my youth, and from which I received the fair gift of my M. A., blue with what words can I extol you as you deserve? Even Apollo himself could scarcely commemorate you in worthy measures.

79. FIGURES OF VENETIAN GLASS

spacerNow this glass snake is pouring a foaming cup of wine from its mouth, who would want to flee? All snakes’ weapons are not lethal. This one does not purvey death, but rather delight.

80. ON R. DALLINGTON, GENTLEMAN OF THE BEDCHAMBER TO PRINCE CHARLES &c. blue

spacerIf the Muses wished to express themselves in many tongues, Dallington, I believe it is your tongue they would choose.

81. TO THE SAME

spacerThe Italian tongue is yours, as are the French and the Greek. You understand what the Spaniard and the Roman say. Thus, perhaps, you can forget your nation’s language, but you cannot forget your national manners, heart and spirit.

82. TO MUSCULUS, A MINISTER blue

spacerI admit you are a muscle, for you duly connect His mystic members to Christ, their head.

83. ON A LAY TITHE-COLLECTOR

spacerThis young shearer turned up on every man’s doorstep, seeking his tithe with a cruel exaction. He spared the poor no more than the rich. But this shearer did not shear his sheep, he did not shear them, I say. What did he do, I ask? He shaved them clean.

84. AN EPITAPH OF THE LORD HUME, EARL OF DUNBAR blue

spacerBeing born of noble origins, a trusty intimate of the king, hateful to the people but well beloved by the bishops, and a champion of justice, he left behind a pair of daughters, and he who who was lately Hume is now inhumed.

85. ON FANNIA

spacerFannia is a noun, not a verb. She might be inflected, but she cannot be conjugated.

86. ON THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW blue

spacerLet Cambridge vie with Oxford among the English. Among the Scots the Universities of St. Andrews and Glasgow compete. I don’t dare say Glasgow is the equal of St. Andrews, but I do say that here too the Muses flourish.

87. ON A CERTAIN PEACHAM blue

spacerHow fitly Peacham calls himself by the name of Ham! He mocks the father of his country, just as that man mocked his father.

88. TO ZOILUS

spacerDo you dare bite poets, Zoilus? You’ll be called a rhetorical dog.

89. ON THE NEED TO SCORN DEATH, TO A PIOUS MAN

spacerWhy should you fear death, since death is nothing but the simple loss of your life, and nothing more? It is scarcely a syllable, not even an utterance if you take away its single vowel. But you may leave this, and when your final breath departs the only thing you have to fear is the O.

90. DEATH AND THE WORLD {MORS ET ORBIS]

spacerLeave the world to death, and the world is taken away from the dying man. Take the world out of the world, and the world will likewise be nothing. And without the world, death is nothing, the dying man should not think of the world. Thus death will be nothing to him, and neither will the world.

91. ANOTHER: DEATH AND THE WORLD, TO THE SAME MAN

spacerIf death [mors] and the world [orbis] were to lose their dog-growling letter, what would you do? The custom [mos] is that you piously die [obis].

92. THE EPITAPH OF M. MURE OF MOCHRUMblue

spacerMure was the daughter of a knight and a knight’s most beloved consort, and when she completed thrice three lustra [forty-five years], she at long length paid her debt to the Fates, namely her soul to heaven and her dead limbs to earth.

93. TO BIBO

spacerSince you know two words of that language, Bibo, you want to be reckoned Hebriate. This being the case, you may be an Ebriate.

94. TO A VISITOR

spacerCome then, whoever is here as a visitor from foreign climes, what good does it do you to have passed through so many seas and lands? Territories, realms, peoples, cities and buildings: you could have seen these all at home. And, if you want to understand the thing, what’s the profit in all this effort? The road is long for you, but life is short.

95. TO PRINCE CHARLES

spacerBorn of gods and destined to bear gods yourself, if the Delphic ridge proclaims the truth, kindly image of your great father, since your praises are greater than any voice can pronounce, let be enough to feel the things I am unable to say.

96. ON J. T., “THE WATER POETblue

spacerWhen the Water Poet sucks up the liquor of Parnassus, does a squeezed sponge yield up so much water?

97. TO LANGUS

spacerIn what way can a man be made a poet, when it is well known that he has never hewn any poems into shape, Langus? Let a preacher answer who has never preached a sermon himself.

98. TO A BEARDED STOICblue

spacerWhy does the goat claim first place in the flock? Because, my Stoic, he alone has a beard.

99. TO A CERTAIN MAN

spacerYou say, if I recall aright, you defer to me, and I likewise tell you I defer to you. You tell me you are my inferior, being my superior. And in the same way I am superior to you. I tell you I am nothing, you admit you are nothing. And if we are nothing, then we are both equals.

100. TO A CRITICAL READER

spacerYou rail against my epigrams for being so short. But you write none at all, so yours are yet shorter.

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