To see a commentary note, click on a blue square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square.
THE DOCTORAL DAPHNE POEM
BY JOHN DUNBAR OF GREAT BRITAIN , M. D., Ph. D.
ABOUT THE MARRIAGE OF APOLLO AND THE NYMPH OF THE PENEUS
In memory of the convocation of the right noble and flourishing
UNIVERSITY OF PADUA
Where, in solemn public assembly, being a candidate for a doctoral degree
in Medicine and Philosophy
his name was entered into the
MEDICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL ROSTER OF PADUA
With the congratulations of his friends
EXAMINE, AND YOU WILL NOT BE SURPRISED
Published at Padua by Giambattista de Martini, 1618
By permission of the Censor
THE DOCTORAL DAPHNE POEM
What’s this long series of events? To whom is this great heap of honors given? For whom is all this display being readied? Why are the people thronging to see the sights? Should one believe that the Titan is defeated and Jove is celebrating his triumph and carrying the brothers of Etna through the air in his car with its snow-white wheels, or that Mars is returning from Romulus’ city to visit the land of Thrace and his ancestral realms, or, better yet, that Caesar is coming from the bank of the Euphrates, leading the untamed Mede through the streets? These things were in the past. But now the people are being summoned by things unheard-of, never before seen. Now Apollo is bringing Daphne, Apollo is bringing his Daphne under a lucky star, Daphne, for who, he so often burned with so great love, and now possesses, embracing her in his two loving arms. Until now, how often did she (oh, so averse!) do wrong and flee her lover, scorning his holy fires! Neither piety, nor the divine power of such a great god were able to move her, or win over her hard mind. Rather, as soon as he gave chase, urging her with friendly words, she would flee and reject his suits with a deaf ear. No wonder that now I seem to be hearing the savage complaints Delius poured forth from his savage mouth, when he first felt the flames in his heart:
“Where are you fleeing, my darling? Where are you going, my sweet? What’s the reason for your reluctant escape? Under what sky will you come to rest? I am Apollo, born for you. I am the one who for your sake has undergone so many labors and spent so many sleepless night (for such the gods decreed), and felt so many wakeful cares in my stout heart. I am the one who for your sake not only left the spacious halls of the gods and their sweet quaffs of ever-living nectar, and came down from high heaven to the lowly earth, but even set aside my godhead and submitted my celestial neck to the yoke and endured the regime of a slave, and I also meekly endured whatever risks the dry land has, and the sea, as well as cold, heat, and uncontrollable hunger, nights spent sleeping on hard turf, scorn and all else that his need invites for a wretched pauper, as well as all the things that deceitful love, the deception of false words, rare good faith, deception, and disgraceful poverty always use to oppress those born of our blood, not allowing me to ascend to the sky above. Why should I recount my various misadventures, the thousand woes of my journey, as for your sake I traveled as a wandering stranger from the north, through snow and solid ice, through missiles, swords, the ambuscades of robbers, and the rocks of Hercules’ rampart, reaching up as high as heaven, towards the stars, coming here with my ardent mind? Not even wars, terrible wars, could sway my mind. Neither could my loyal love and unmovable heart be swayed by the madness of the horrendous sea, the armies of Triton scattered over its vast waters with their mountains of water threatening the mountains, and the sky, set in motion by frequent storms and roiling the flood with their opposing wind, not the great herd of Phocus, the monsters of Neptune, nor great water-snakes with their huge tails, nor the notorious reefs of the sea, the seething roars of Nereus, or a pirate ship, so that all the seas lack the power to quench my undying flames. Sky and breezes cannot increase them, nor earth smother them with all its weight, nor night wrap them in her darkling wings. Rather, you should stay, my beloved, you should stay and freely accept me, me who has undergone more perils for your sake than there are stars in the sky, or grains of sand in the gold-bearing Hebrus, or flying birds in the air, or fish in the sea. Why not join hands in holy wedlock?
“Let it be said that the locks tumbling from your golden head surpass my beams; that the light of your eyes rivals the lights of heaven, gleaming with an indescribable splendor from beneath your serene eyebrows; that reverend modesty sits high on your round face and your adorable countenance, separated from the warmth below; that your cheeks have a ruddy candor; that your soft lips are like pale roses; that the honey of Hybla is sprinkled on your tongue and mouth; that your nose is harmonious in its shape, as are your small teeth, white as snow; that your neck is like ivory and your head is oval in shape, your chin short, your throat pliant, your arms long, your hands small, your fingers dainty, your frame slender and supple, your feet of small size, your skin very soft, your leg that of a young girl; that your breasts of a rosy whiteness, like to the Oebalian orbs, governed by bountiful pleasure, which the Loves wholly admire; and in sum (since, even if I had the same number of speaking mouths as Argos had eyes, I could not detail all your features), that you have the sublime and wonderful machinery of an upright body, constant in imposing its rule on all of its parts.
“Let it be said that you attract to your friendly conflagration not only kings and lords, scholars and captains, and whoever else are lifted heavenward by their virtue the radiant brightness of your eyes pierces Jove himself with the love of you, and the breath coming from your sweet mouth, which surpasses the breezes of Elysium with its fragrances, has the power to transport all the gods in wonderment. But this is no reason to disdain the power of my own hand. For though I cannot compete with the goddess when it comes to the wealth of the gods, nor with Jove in power, with Mars in strength, or in eloquence with you, oh goddess of Tegea, though I may be lesser than Pallas and her Palladian gifts, lesser than soft Cupid in beauty, I have gifts which are better than those, no less called upon by mortals. Nor (although it is the part of us gods to scorn the riches admired by the common run of mankind) am I born of pauper blood, but rather my father is Jupiter himself. Tenedos, the Clarian shrine at Colophon, the land of Delphi, and my mother Delos worship me and pay me their due offerings, and Mars himself is indebted to me for his arrows. I am the inventor of the medical art, under my patronage the Muses commit the names of demigods to enduring screeds. So, although here I may strike you as a wandering, exiled pauper, born under an unlucky star, cease to be surprised. The human mind hides, pent up in a gross body, fine gems dwell in cheap shells on the seashore and clinging on the rough crags which shine on the Dalmatian mountain, gold (than which mankind accounts nothing dearer) lies under a covering of earth, and often the bright sun rejoices to be hidden by dark shadows. Often learning is concealed under a tattered gown, while ignorance clads itself in purple. So come then, unless you are captivated by outward appearances, and you love those things the common folk adore. If my godhead, my pedigree and name, and my modest stock of possessions, as well as all the labors I have expended here and there, and all the evils I have endured for your sake are to your liking, do not despise your Phoebus, darling Daphne. By the waters of Aganippe, by my quiver and the strings of my lyre, very beloved to great poets, and by my bright light I beg and beseech you, oh at last deign to look favorably on our love! Whatever you crave, I shall do. Command, I shall obey your order. Just name your task, I shall carry it out. Do you still want me to go a-running to the distant Indies and behold the sand-dunes of the Garamantes? I shall cheerfully go. And at the same time to endure the frosts of Scythia? These too I shall endure. Do you want me to bear the terrible arms of Mars? I want to bear them, nor shall I refuse this wish.”
With such words, Apollo burned and besought Daphne, when in front of his eyes her form was suddenly changed into a laurel, which tree Phoebus also loved, and he begged with all his heart: “Oh, if I could still be allowed to touch your branches, beloved Daphne! Oh, if you would stretch out your new arms to me! Would that you would allow me to bind my brow with these!” Thus Phoebus spoke again, and she, admiring at the ardent fires in his heart and his steadfast torches of love, was finally conquered by his suit and gave her consent, and signalling her agreement with his wishes by nodding her lofty top, reaching out her holy arms for lengthy embraces, and displaying her full foliage, she straightway summoned the suppliant Phoebus to receive her kisses. At the sight of these things, Saturn’s daughter Juno, that patroness of marriage, made her entry, joining their hands and mouths, and a golden ring quickly encircled their united fires. Quickly Venus of Cythera came, borne through the air in her swan-drawn car, and joined the peaceful lovers with a triple knot. Thus Phoebus enjoyed his Daphne, and the nymph of the Peneus her Phoebus, and they swapped kisses with their ambrosial lips, like Chaeonian doves in the early springtime. Such was Phoebus, thus happy Daphne bore herself, crowning his temples with her sacred branches. So let Thalassius be present at the wedding. Oh Hymen, resound, and let everything be interrupted by your song, oh Hymen. Let the Muses ply the strings of the masculine lyre, Hymen, oh Hymen, oh Hymen, Hymen oh. Let only Hymen resound, let honors resound, and new holidays for your Daphne, Phoebus, golden Phoebus. Congratulations, oh Phoebus, your temples wreathed with the berries of Daphne, congratulations on your new titles and on having such a great bride. You must raise the torch, Cupid, and lead the dances, you Muses. Or you, oh Muses, lift up the holy torches, and you lead the happy dances along with your mother, Cupid. Let the Graces rejoice, let Hymen be happily said and made to resound. The nymph of the Peneus has married Phoebus.
Raises the torches, Cupid, and lead the dances, you Muses. Come a-flying, you happy jokes, and you peaceful japes, laughter, lively sallies, and sweet pleasures, show your happy madness on smiling faces. Oh Phoebus, bind your temples with Daphne’s berries, and you, oh Daphne, whose arms are encircling Phoebus’ brow, both of you rejoice, both of you live with your flourishing pursuits. Let new joys replace your banished cares, Phoebus, Daphne is yours. Phoebus is yours, oh nymph of the Peneus.
Raise the torches, Cupid, let the Pythia be surpassed in song, and let Hymen resound. Let Hymen always be on the lips of the Muses, let Hymen be repeated, let your honors and titles be repeated, Thymbraeus. The horrendous Python felt your darts from afar when he reared up for battle. After the defeat of that arrogant monster, Fame extolled you by means of her flute-player. Pyrois, Aeos, fire-snorting Aethon, and rapid Phlegon acknowledge you as their master. Silvery Aurora receives you, Phoebus, as she arises in her rosy chariot, and now a compliant Daphne celebrates your marriage.
Raise the torches, Cupid, the nymph of the Peneus is wed to Phoebus. Let Hymen, Hymen always resound, and let your honors and titles resound, divine Daphne, golden Daphne. Oh Daphne, your hand has wreathed Phoebus’ locks. You have no concerns over the frozen ice of chill winter nor the fiery arms of rapid Cancer. You perpetually thrive with your foliage, you scorn the strike of lightning, its fearful flames dread your murmurs, and now your happy Phoebus celebrates your marriage.
Raise the torches, Cupid, renew the dance, you Muses, let Hymen resound, let Phoebus’ honors resound. Oh Phoebus, with your temples encircled by Daphne’s berries. Tritonia nourished you at her holy breasts, the Graces taught you to speak, they dedicate the signs of understanding to you, telling you the ways of heaven and its stars, and now you possess a compliant Daphne in the pact you were seeking.
Raise the torches, Cupid, renew the dances, you Muses, let Hymen be remembered. And Daphne, divine Daphne, let your honors be remembered too, oh fairest Daphne, oh Daphne whose arms encircle Phoebus’ brow. You teach the seer of coming things, and when you stand by his fires, terrified Fortune heeds what you say. And you lead captains to wars. Mars admires your munificence, rejoicing to be extolled with your crowns. Bellona lies at your feet, as does furious Enyo, their bodies bound by a hundred iron chains. Victory likewise awaits you with a happy face, the kings of this earth crave you, and its mighty monarchs and overlords. Venerable Peace greets you, and all the things which follow upon wholesome peace. The noble crew of the learned worship and honor you, seeking your happy gifts as the sole reward for their labors, whether they choose to run the medical race, pluck the holy fruits of Themis, or affix their names to Pandion’s documents. Phoebus now enjoys you as his faithful consort, now you will enjoy him as yours.
Raise the torches, Cupid, renew the dances, you Muses, and let Hymen always resound. Let hollow drums make the air crash with their swift movement, let the brassy song of trumpets disturb the breezes with its blare. And you, sweet lyre, in the company of tuneful fiddles pour forth new songs. Let the delightful flute not fail to play its part, nor the noble zither, let four-voiced singing harmonize with such great art that not even the Siren can surpass it with all her sweetness, nor that chaste girl who scorned your love, Tereus. Let Nymphs bring garlands. Let lilies, mingled with roses, be strewn, let violets be added and the grace of the sweet olive on its greeny branches, and the palms lift up their fronds, and the friendly grapevine which adjoins itself nearby. You, Hyacinthus, must lift up your foliage, and you your brow or your new face, Narcissus. Arise, cinnamon of Sybaris, you child of nard, and you heavenly sweetness of savory, myrrh, and cardamom, you balsam with your holy twigs, and suffuse these joys with your gifts. Let your aroma reach up to the gods of heaven, let all things be scented with cedar, and let Daphne’s holy marriage thrive forever. Thus may Phoebus’ temples keep green with laurel.
THE CONGRATULATIONS OF THIS SAME MAN’S FRIENDS ON HIS DOCTORAL LAUREATE
Bright Phoebus bestowed both drugs and honeyed songs as the reward of your virtue, Dunbar. Wreathed in both these laurels, now you will carry off the rest. Apollo will willingly quit his heavenly realm.
DANIEL MAUCLERC OF FRANCE M. D., Ph. D.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME MAN
I am not surprised at your becoming a Doctor, most learned man. It is to your greater honor that you make others learned.
ANOTHER ON HIS FELLOW DOCTOR
You have no need of honors since I am your colleague, for the little star of Venus is a welcome companion for the moon.
THESE WERE CONTRIBUTED BY ROBERT GIFFARD Ph. D., M. D. , AN ENGLISMAN
ANOTHER ON THE SAME
Stop, all you unhappy souls hastening to the Styx, and you, Charon, sink your boat, or burn it. The honourable Dunbar is now made a doctor, and well-earned laurels crown his noble head. So you lot won't be popping off just yet, and boatman, you'll be short of freight for your deadly river.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME
That Dunbar should be doctor of the medic’s art may not please the Fates, but it pleases you, Apollo. The Fates are right, because he'll break their baleful threads and make folk live for centuries like Nestor. And why are you pleased, Apollo? Because he's a good at Greek? Or because he's another Galen or Hippocrates
A. A. A.
TO THE SAME, IN ITALIAN
From your studies diseases flee, afflictions flee to the Stygian marshes, for all that they are armed with lethal weapons. Death too is trembling — and perhaps not without cause, for fear that finally you’ll take the scythe from his hand. But should that come to pass, do not be afraid that heaven, because of death’s complaints, will be angered and hurl its thunderbolts at you, as it did at the wise son of the Delian god, since against its anger courage has already armed your brow with laurels.
BY SIG. ANTONIO MANFREDI
ANOTHER TO THE SAME, IN FRENCH
While the Chirons of learned Padua prepare the laurels to crown your head, Apollo from on high, glancing down, calls on his favorites to hear his words. “Dear children,” he says, “I have already ordained that my son be given a double crown: I have already crowned him as an excellent poet, and now I acclaim him a learned doctor.”
ELIE THIBAULT M. D., Ph. D.
ANOTHER, IN ENGLISH
Worthy Dunbar, had I but one of nine,
Of nine Dame Muses duellinge in thy brest.
Had I but one of thy three tongues devine,
Or of thy vulgar tongues one of the least,
I’d singe thy doble honor, but my lute, 5
Orchargd with greatnes, bids me play the mute.
ROBERT GIFFARD D. OF PHILOSOPHY AND PHYSICKE