Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Aimless Reading: The E's, Part 13.1 (Erasmus)

The Essential Erasmus

I bought this several years later, I know not where, maybe at Oracle Junction books in Kenmore (near Buffalo). It does contain The Praise of Folly, which I did read, though I read little else from this volume.

from The Praise of Folly

ORATION: An Oration of Feigned Matter, spoken by Folly in her own Person

AT WHAT RATE soever the world talks of me (for I am not ignorant what ill report Folly has got, even among the most foolish), yet that I am that she, that only she, whose deity recreates both gods and men, even this is a sufficient argument, that I no sooner stepped up to speak to this full assembly than all your faces put on a kind of new and unwonted pleasantness. So suddenly have you cleared your brows, and with so frolic and hearty a laughter given me your applause, that in truth as many of you as I behold on every side of me seem to me no less than Homer's gods drunk with nectar and nepenthe; whereas before, you sat as lumpish and pensive as if you had come from consulting an oracle. And as it usually happens when the sun begins to show his beams, or when after a sharp winter the spring breathes afresh on the earth, all things immediately get a new face, new color, and recover as it were a certain kind of youth again: in like manner, by but beholding me you have in an instant gotten another kind of countenance; and so what the otherwise great rhetoricians with their tedious and long-studied orations can hardly effect, to wit, to remove the trouble of the mind, I have done it at once with my single look.

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