Invectives by Francesco Petrarca, David Marsh

By Francesco Petrarca, David Marsh

Francesco Petrarca, one of many maximum of Italian poets, used to be additionally the top spirit within the Renaissance stream to restore historic Roman language and literature. Petrarch’s 4 Invectives, written in Latin, have been encouraged via the eloquence of the nice Roman orator Cicero. The Invectives are directed opposed to the cultural idols of the center Ages—against scholastic philosophy and drugs in addition to the dominance of French tradition. They guard the worth of literature and supply a transparent assertion of the values of Renaissance humanism. the hot translations during this quantity, commissioned for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, contain the 1st English translation of 3 of the 4 invectives.

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Ille enim de rebus licet experientia 24 . against a physician . book 1 . nibal, to whom he showed the highest honors. It happened that the king’s court included a certain Peripatetic philosopher named Phormio, a man renowned in that age for his vast culture. Hannibal was invited to hear him speak if he wished; and impressed by the philosopher’s fame, he agreed. The little old man was not without learning, and being Greek, he was impudent and verbose. I suppose Phormio thought that in the presence of such a great general the best and most suitable topic was military science.

Now, even if you fall 44 silent a thousand times, we still see you. You chose to appear and to be mocked by many who might not have noticed you. Rejoice, all-powerful orator, that you require no one’s aid to do this! You need no informer, O industrious mouse. You betrary yourself by your own evidence as the noxious fumes of your ill-curdled eloquence spread far and wide. O ridiculous animal, I was going to say: You are writing a book. But let me speak more correctly, using the terms of your profession.

And why do you repeatedly boast of your age? This is the habit of the most ignorant men. When they have grown old in their vices and are inferior to everyone, they exalt themselves solely on account of their antiquity. But I would not grant you even this reason for boasting. By your every word you reveal that you are nothing, know nothing, and understand nothing. Count the years, and you’ll Wnd that Pliny preceded nearly all 25 the physicians that you consult. But what is the point in trusting the antiquity and reputation of physicians?

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