Inordinatum

God-creation

Qui vero non astrorum constitutionem, sicuti est cum quidque concipitur vel nascitur vel inchoatur, sed omnium conexionem seriemque causarum, qua fit omne quod fit, fati nomine appellant: non multum cum eis de verbi controversia laborandum atque certandum est, quando quidem ipsum causarum ordinem et quandam conexionem Dei summi tribuunt voluntati et potestati, qui optime et veracissime creditur et cuncta scire antequam fiant et nihil inordinatum relinquere; a quo sunt omnes potestates, quamvis ab illo non sint omnium voluntates. ipsam itaque praecipue Dei summi voluntatem, cuius potestas insuperabiliter per cuncta porrigitur, eos appellare fatum sic probatur. Annaei Senecae sunt, nisi fallor, hi versus:
“duc, summe pater altique dominator poli,
quocumque placuit, nulla parendi mora est.
adsum impiger: fac nolle, comitabor gemens
malusque patiar, facere quod licuit bono.
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.”
nempe evidentissime hoc ultimo versu ea fata appellavit, quam supra dixerat summi patris voluntatem; cui paratum se oboedire dicit, ut volens ducatur, ne nolens trahatur; quoniam scilicet “ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.”
illi quoque versus Homerici huic sententiae suffragantur, quos Cicero in Latinum vertit:
“tales sunt hominum mentes, quali pater ipse
Iuppiter auctiferas lustravit lumine terras.”
nec in hac quaestione auctoritatem haberet poetica sententia, sed quoniam Stoicos dicit vim fati asserentes istos ex Homero versus solere usurpare, non de illius poetae, sed de istorum philosophorum opinione tractatur, cum per istos versus, quos disputationi adhibent quam de fato habent, quid sentiant esse fatum apertissime declaratur, quoniam Iovem appellant, quem summum deum putant, a quo conexionem dicunt pendere fatorum.
(Augustine, Civ. Dei 5.8)

But, as to those who call by the name of fate, not the disposition of the stars as it may exist when any creature is conceived, or born, or commences its existence, but the whole connection and train of causes which makes everything become what it does become, there is no need that I should labor and strive with them in a merely verbal controversy, since they attribute the so-called order and connection of causes to the will and power of God most high, who is most rightly and most truly believed to know all things before they come to pass, and to leave nothing unordained; from whom are all powers, although the wills of all are not from Him. Now, that it is chiefly the will of God most high, whose power extends itself irresistibly through all things which they call fate, is proved by the following verses, of which, if I mistake not, Annæus Seneca is the author:—
“Father supreme, You ruler of the lofty heavens,
Lead me where’er it is Your pleasure; I will give
A prompt obedience, making no delay,
Lo! Here I am. Promptly I come to do Your sovereign will;
If your command shall thwart my inclination, I will still
Follow You groaning, and the work assigned,
With all the suffering of a mind repugnant,
Will perform, being evil; which, had I been good,
I should have undertaken and performed, though hard,
With virtuous cheerfulness.
The Fates do lead the man that follows willing;
But the man that is unwilling, him they drag.”
Most evidently, in this last verse, he calls that fate which he had before called the will of the Father supreme, whom, he says, he is ready to obey that he may be led, being willing, not dragged, being unwilling, since the Fates do lead the man that follows willing, “but the man that is unwilling, him they drag”. The following Homeric lines, which Cicero translates into Latin, also favor this opinion:—
“Such are the minds of men, as is the light
Which Father Jove himself does pour
Illustrious o’er the fruitful earth.”
Not that Cicero wishes that a poetical sentiment should have any weight in a question like this; for when he says that the Stoics, when asserting the power of fate, were in the habit of using these verses from Homer*, he is not treating concerning the opinion of that poet, but concerning that of those philosophers, since by these verses, which they quote in connection with the controversy which they hold about fate, is most distinctly manifested what it is which they reckon fate, since they call by the name of Jupiter him whom they reckon the supreme god, from whom, they say, hangs the whole chain of fates. (tr. Marcus Dods)

* Cf. Homer, Od. 18.136-137:
τοῖος γὰρ νόος ἐστὶν ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων
οἷον ἐπ’ ἦμαρ ἄγησι πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε.

…for the spirit of men upon the earth is just such as the day which the father of gods and men brings upon them. (tr. Augustus Taber Murray, revised by George E. Dimock)

See also this post.

Disconvenit

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Si curatus inaequali tonsore capillos
occurri, rides; si forte subucula pexae
trita subest tunicae, vel si toga dissidet impar,
rides: quid, mea cum pugnat sententia secum,
quod petiit spernit, repetit quod nuper omisit,
aestuat et vitae disconvenit ordine toto,
diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis?
insanire putas sollemnia me neque rides
nec medici credis nec curatoris egere
a praetore dati, rerum tutela mearum
cum sis et prave sectum stomacheris ob unguem
de te pendentis, te respicientis amici.
ad summam: sapiens uno minor est Iove, dives,
liber, honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum,
praecipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est.
(Horace, Ep. 1.1.94-108)

If some ham-fisted barber has cropped my hair and I
Meet you, you laugh: if I happen to wear a tired shirt
Under my tunic, or my toga sits poorly, all
Awry, you laugh: yet if my judgement contends
With itself, spurns what it craved, seeks what it just put down,
Wavers, inconsistently, in all of life’’s affairs,
Razing, re-building, and altering round to square:
You consider my madness normal, don’’t laugh at all,
Don’’t think I need the doctor, or a legal guardian
The praetor appoints, given you, in charge of all
My affairs, are annoyed by a badly-trimmed nail
Of this friend who looks to you, hangs on your every word.
In sum: the wise man is second only to Jove,
Rich, free, handsome, honoured, truly a king of kings,
Sane, above all, sound, unless he’’s a cold in the head!
(tr. Tony Kline)

Sententiae

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Publilius mimos scriptitavit. dignus habitus est qui subpar Laberio iudicaretur. C. autem Caesarem ita Laberii maledicentia et adrogantia offendebat, ut acceptiores sibi esse Publili quam Laberii mimos praedicaret. huius Publili sententiae feruntur pleraeque lepidae et ad communem sermonum usum commendatissimae, ex quibus sunt istae singulis versibus circumscriptae, quas libitum hercle est adscribere:
malum est consilium quod mutari non potest.
beneficium dando accepit, qui digno dedit.
feras, non culpes, quod vitari non potest.
cui plus licet, quam par est, plus vult, quam licet.
comes facundus in via pro vehiculo est.
frugalitas miseria est rumoris boni.
heredis fletus sub persona risus est.
furor fit laesa saepius patientia.
improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum naufragium facit.
ita amicum habeas pesse ut facile fieri hunc inimicum putes.
veterem ferendo iniuriam invites novam.
numquam periclum sine periclo vincitur.
nimium altercando veritas amittitur.
pars benefici est, quod petitur si belle neges.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 17.14)

Publilius wrote mimes. He was thought worthy of being rated about equal to Laberius. But the scurrility and the arrogance of Laberius so offended Gaius Caesar, that he declared that he was better pleased with the mimes of Publilius than with those of Laberius. Many sayings of this Publilius are current, which are neat and well adapted to the use of ordinary conversation. Among these are the following, consisting of a single line each, which I have indeed taken pleasure in quoting*:
Bad is the plan which cannot bear a change.
He gains by giving who has given to worth.
Endure and don’t deplore what can’t be helped.**
Who’s given too much, will want more than’s allowed.***
A witty comrade at your side,
To walk’s as easy as to ride.
Frugality is misery in disguise.
Heirs’ tears are laughter underneath a mask.
Patience too oft provoked is turned to rage.
He wrongly Neptune blames, who suffers shipwreck twice.
Regard a friend as one who may be foe.
By bearing old wrongs new ones you provoke.
With danger ever danger’s overcome.
‘Mid too much wrangling truth is often lost.
Who courteously declines, grants half your suit.

* Meyer, vv. 362, 55, 176, 106, 104, 193, 221, 178, 264, 245, 645, 383, 416, 469. In one instance it has seemed necessary to use two lines in the English version.
** Cf. “What can’t be cured must be endured.”
*** Cf. “Give an inch, he’ll take an ell.”

(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his notes)

Lamprotēs

oratoria

Μετὰ τὸν περὶ σεμνότητός τε καὶ τραχύτητος λόγον ἔτι τε σφοδρότητος ἀναγκαῖον εἰπεῖν περὶ λαμπρότητος. τῶν γὰρ ποιουσῶν τὸ μέγεθός τε καὶ τὸ ἀξίωμα τῷ λόγῳ ἰδεῶν ἐν τοῖς μάλιστά ἐστιν ἡ λαμπρότης. τά τε ἄλλα γὰρ ἀναγκαία ἡ ἰδέα τῷ ἀξιωματικῷ λόγῳ καὶ ὅτι δεῖ τῷ σεμνῷ τε καὶ τραχεῖ καὶ σφοδρῷ προσεἰναί τι πάντως καὶ φαιδρότητος, ἵνα μὴ πάντῃ αὐστηρὸς ᾖ· φαιδρότητος δὲ οὐ τῆς ἐν ὡραισμῷ, ἣ δὴ γλυκύτητός τε καὶ ἀφελείας ἐστίν, οὐδὲ τῆς κατʼ ἐπιμέλειαν συνθήκης κάλλος ἐχούσης τι—καίπερ γὰρ ὄν κομμωτικὸν τὸ τοιοῦτο καὶ πλεονάζον παρὰ τῷ ῥήτορι ὅμως λεπτόν ἐστι καὶ οὐκ ἔχει δίαρμα οὐδὲ μέγεθος—, οὔκουν ταύτης δεῖ τῆς φαιδρότητος τῷ μεγέθει ὡς καθʼ αὐτό, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀξιωματικῆς· ταύτην δὲ ποιεῖ ἡ λαμπρότης, περὶ ἧς ῥητέον. περὶ γὰρ τοῦ ἐναντίου εἴδους τῇ λαμπρότητι κἀν τῷ περὶ σφοδρότητος εἰρήκαμεν, ὅτι ἐστὶ τὸ κομματικὸν καὶ διαλεκτικὸν καὶ ὄντως ἀγωνιστικὸν εἶδος τοῦ λόγου καὶ ὅλως τὸ γοργόν. γίνεται τοίνυν λόγος λαμπρὸς κατὰ ἔννοιαν μέν, ὅταν πεποίθησιν ἔχῃ τινὰ ὁ λέγων, ἐφ’ οἷς ἄν λέγῃ, ἢ διὰ τὸ ἔνδοξα εἶναι ἢ διὰ τὸ καλῶς πεπρᾶχθαι αὐτῷ ἢ διὰ τὸ χαίρειν τοῖς λεγομένοις τούς ἀκούοντας ἢ καὶ διὰ πάντα ταῦτα· ὅλως τε ἐπὶ τοῖς διαπρεπέσι τῶν ἔργων καὶ ἐφ’ οἷς ἔστι λαμπρύνεσθαι ὡς ἀληθῶς, ὅπερ φησὶν Ἡρόδοτος ἐλλάμψασθαι, ἐπὶ τούτοις ἐστὶ καὶ ἡ λαμπρότης· γίνεται τοίνυν λόγος λαμπρὸς κατὰ ἔννοιαν μέν, ὅταν πεποίθησιν ἔχῃ τινὰ ὁ λέγων, ἐφ’ οἷς ἄν λέγῃ, ἢ διὰ τὸ ἔνδοξα εἶναι ἢ διὰ τὸ καλῶς πεπρᾶχθαι αὐτῷ ἢ διὰ τὸ χαίρειν τοῖς λεγομένοις τούς ἀκούοντας ἢ καὶ διὰ πάντα ταῦτα· ὅλως τε ἐπὶ τοῖς διαπρεπέσι τῶν ἔργων καὶ ἐφ’ οἷς ἔστι λαμπρύνεσθαι ὡς ἀληθῶς, ὅπερ φησὶν Ἡρόδοτος ἐλλάμψασθαι, ἐπὶ τούτοις ἐστὶ καὶ ἡ λαμπρότης· οἶον “οὐ λίθοις ἐτείχισα τὴν πόλιν οὐδὲ πλίνθοις ἐγώ, οὐδ’ ἐπὶ τούτοις μέγιστον τῶν ἐμαυτοῦ φρονῶ· ἀλλ’ ἐὰν βούλῃ τὸν ἐμὸν τειχισμόν” καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς, καὶ πάλιν “αὕτη τῶν περὶ Θήβας ἐγένετο πραγμάτων ἀρχὴ καὶ κατάστασις πρώτη, τὰ πρὸ τούτων εἰς ἔχθραν καὶ μῖσος καὶ ἀπιστίαν τῶν πόλεων ὑπηγμένων ὑπὸ τούτων. τοῦτο τὸ ψήφισμα τὸν τότε περιστάντα τῇ πόλει κίνδυνον παρελθεῖν ἐποίησεν ὥσπερ νέφος”, καὶ πάλιν “ταῦτα ἐποίουν οἱ ὑμέτεροι πρόγονοι, ταῦθ’ ὑμῶν οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, οἲ Λακεδαιμονίους καὶ τὰ ἐξῆς, καὶ πάλιν “ὑμεῖς τοίνυν, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, Λακεδαιμονίων γῆς καὶ θαλάττης ἀρχόντων καὶ τὰ κύκλῳ τῆς Ἀττικῆς κατεχόντων ἁρμοσταῖς καὶ φρουραῖς, Εὔβοιαν, Τάναγραν, τὴν Βοιωτίαν ἅπασαν” καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς μέχρι τοῦ “ἐξήλθετε εἰς Ἁλίαρτον”. πολλὰ δὲ καὶ τοῦ τοιούτου παραδείγματα ἐν τῶ Περὶ τοῦ στεφάνου διὰ τὸ φύσει ἀξιωματικὸν τοῦ λόγου καὶ λαμπρόν. Ἀλλʼ ἔννοιαι μὲν αὗται καὶ αἰ τοιαῦται λαμπραί.
(Hermogenes, Peri Ideōn 1.9)

Having treated Solemnity, Asperity, and Vehemence, we must now discuss Brilliance. Of those types that produce Grandeur and dignity Brilliance is especially important. This type is necessary in a dignified speech for several reasons, but especially because a speech that is solemn and harsh and vehement also needs an element of luster, so that it will not be overly severe. I do not mean by this the kind of luster that is produced by adornment. That is characteristic of Sweetness and Simplicity. Nor am I talking about the kind that produces a beautiful effect through the care taken with the arrangement of words in the sentences. The latter kind of style is decorative and is often found in Demosthenes. It is nevertheless slight and does not produce elevation and Grandeur. To make the passage really elevated, therefore, you do not need the kinds of luster just discussed, but the kind that is truly dignified. That is Brilliance, which I will discuss now. We have already mentioned the kind of style that is the opposite of Brilliance in the discussion of Vehemence, where we said that it is conversational and argumentative, composed of short phrases, and generally quick-paced. Therefore, a passage is brilliant with reference to the thought when the speaker has some confidence in what he is saying, either because what he is saying is generally approved or because he has acted honorably or because his audience is pleased with what he is saying or for all these reasons. In general Brilliance is inherent in those acts that are remarkable and in which one can gain luster, or, as Herodotus says (1.80), in which one can “shine.” This is the case in the following passages from Demosthenes’ speech On the Crown: “I did not fortify the city with stones and with bricks, nor do I consider that the greatest of my achievements reside in such things. But if you want to see the fortifications that I build you will find weapons and cities” etc. (299) or “This was the beginning of our dealings with Thebes and the first negotiation, since before this these men had reduced our attitude toward the Thebans to hostility and hatred and distrust. This decree caused the danger surrounding the city to disappear like a cloud” (188) or “Your ancestors did this, the elders among you did it when they saved the Spartans,” etc. (98) or “You, therefore, Athenians, when the Spartans ruled by land and sea and were holding with governors and garrisons all the frontiers of Attica, as well as Euboea, Tanagra, and all Boeotia,” etc. up to “you set out to Haliartus” (96). And there are many examples of such a style in the speech On the Crown because it is by nature dignified and brilliant. These thoughts, then, and those like them are characteristic of Brilliance. (tr. Cecil W. Wooten III)

Immensum

Eye-Of-The-Cosmos-Taken-From-The-Hubble-Telescope

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Huic in tanta fidem petimus, quam saepe volucres
accipiunt trepidaeque suo sub pectore fibrae.
an minus est sacris rationem ducere signis
quam pecudum mortes aviumque attendere cantus?
atque ideo faciem caeli non invidet orbi
ipse deus vultusque suos corpusque recludit
volvendo semper seque ipsum inculcat et offert,
ut bene cognosci possit doceatque videntis,
qualis eat, cogatque suas attendere leges.
ipse vocat nostros animos ad sidera mundus
nec patitur, quia non condit, sua iura latere.
quis putet esse nefas nosci, quod cernere fas est?
nec contemne tuas quasi parvo in pectore vires:
quod valet, immensum est. sic auri pondera parvi
exsuperant pretio numerosos aeris acervos;
sic adamas, punctum lapidis, pretiosior auro est;
parvula sic totum pervisit pupula caelum,
quoque vident oculi minimum est, cum maxima cernant;
sic animi sedes tenui sub corde locata
per totum angusto regnat de limite corpus.
materiae ne quaere modum, sed perspice vires,
quas ratio, non pondus, habet: ratio omnia vincit.
ne dubites homini divinos credere visus,
iam facit ipse deos mittitque ad sidera numen,
maius et Augusto crescet sub principe caelum.
(Manilius, Astr. 4.911-935)

I ask for heaven a faith as great as that so oft accorded birds and entrails that quiver beneath their native breast. Is it then a meaner thing to derive reason from the sacred stars than to heed sacrifice of beast and cry of bird? God grudges not the earth the sight of heaven but reveals his face and form by ceaseless revolution, offering, nay impressing, himself upon us to the end that he can be truly known, can teach his nature to those who have eyes to see, and can compel them to mark his laws. Of itself the firmament summons our minds to the stars, and in not concealing its ordinances shows that it would have them known. Who then would deem it wrong to understand what it is right for us to see? Scorn not your powers as if proportionate to the smallness of the mind: its power has no bounds. Thus a small amount of gold exceeds in value countless heaps of brass; thus the diamond, a stone no bigger than a dot, is more precious than gold; thus the tiny pupil of the eye takes in the whole of heaven, and eyes owe their vision to that which is so very small, whilst what they behold is so very large; thus the seat of the mind, though set within the puny heart, exercises from its constricted abode dominion over the whole body. Seek not to measure the material, but consider rather the power which reason has and mere substance not: reason is what triumphs over all. Be not slow to credit man with vision of the divine, for man himself is now creating gods and raising godhead to the stars, and beneath the dominion of Augustus will heaven grow mightier yet. (tr. George Patrick Goold)

Regit

William Blake, Albion Rose (Glad day; The dance of Albion), ca. 1794 (2)
William Blake, Albion Rose (ca. 1796)

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

An cuiquam genitos, nisi caelo, credere fas est
esse homines? proiecta iacent animalia cuncta
in terra vel mersa vadis, vel in aere pendent,
omnibus una quies venter<que Venusque voluptas,
mole valens sola corpus> censumque per artus,
et, quia consilium non est, et lingua remissa.
unus in inspectus rerum viresque loquendi
ingeniumque capax variasque educitur artes
hic partus, qui cuncta regit: secessit in urbes,
edomuit terram ad fruges, animalia cepit
imposuitque viam ponto, stetit unus in arcem
erectus capitis victorque ad sidera mittit
sidereos oculos propiusque aspectat Olympum
inquiritque Iovem; nec sola fronte deorum
contentus manet, et caelum scrutatur in alvo
cognatumque sequens corpus se quaerit in astris.
(Manilius, Astr. 4.896-910)

Are we to believe that man is born of aught but heaven? All the other animals lie prostrate on the earth or submerged in water, or else hover in the air; all alike have only sleep and food and sex for their delights; the strength of an animal is measured only by its size and its value by its limbs, and since it has no intelligence it lacks speech, too. The breed of man, who rules all things, is alone reared equal to the inquiry into nature, the power of speech, breadth of understanding, the acquisition of various skills: he has left the open air for city-life, tamed the land to yield him its fruits, made the beasts his slaves, and laid a pathway on the sea; he alone stands with the citadel of his head raised high and, triumphantly directing to the stars his star-like eyes, looks ever more closely at Olympus and inquires into the nature of Jove himself; nor does he rest content with the outward appearance of the gods, but probes into heaven’s depths and, in his quest of a being akin to his own, seeks himself among the stars. (tr. George Patrick Goold)

Pervidimus

My God, it's full of stars

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Sed quid tam tenui prodest ratione nitentem
scrutari mundum, si mens sua cuique repugnat
spemque timor tollit prohibetque a limine caeli?
“conditur en” inquit “vasto natura recessu
mortalisque fugit visus et pectora nostra,
nec prodesse potest quod fatis cuncta reguntur,
cum fatum nulla possit ratione videri.”
quid iuvat in semet sua per convicia ferri
et fraudare bonis, quae nec deus invidet ipse,
quosque dedit natura oculos deponere mentis?
perspicimus caelum, cur non et munera caeli?
<mens humana potest propria discedere sede>
inque ipsos penitus mundi descendere census
seminibusque suis tantam componere molem
et partum caeli sua per nutricia ferre
extremumque sequi pontum terraeque subire
pendentis tractus et toto vivere in orbe
[quanta et pars superet rationem discere noctis.]
iam nusquam natura latet; pervidimus omnem
et capto potimur mundo nostrumque parentem
pars sua perspicimus genitique accedimus astris.
an dubium est habitare deum sub pectore nostro
in caelumque redire animas caeloque venire,
utque sit ex omni constructus corpore mundus
aëris atque ignis summi terraeque marisque
hospitium menti totum quae infusa gubernet,
sic esse in nobis terrenae corpora sortis
sanguineasque animas animo, qui cuncta gubernat
dispensatque hominem? quid mirum, noscere mundum
si possunt homines, quibus est et mundus in ipsis
exemplumque dei quisque est in imagine parva?
(Manilius, Astr. 4.866-895)

But what avail is it to search out the secrets of the shining firmament with such subtle reasoning, if a man’s spirit resists and fear banishes confidence and bars access to the gate of heaven ? “See,” he objects, “nature is buried in deep concealment and lies beyond our mortal gaze and ken; it cannot profit us that all is governed by fate, since the rule of fate cannot by any means be seen.” What boots it to assail oneself with self-reproach, to deprive oneself of benefits ungrudged by God himself, and to renounce that mental vision which nature has bestowed? We perceive the skies, then why not the skies’ gifts too? The mind of man has the power to leave its proper abode and penetrate to the innermost treasures of the sky; to construct the mighty universe from its component seeds; to transport the offspring of heaven about the places from which it came; to make for Ocean’s farthest horizon, descend to the inverted parts of the Earth, and inhabit the whole wide world. Now nature holds no mysteries for us; we have surveyed it in its entirety and are masters of the conquered sky; we perceive our creator, of whom we are part, and rise to the stars, whose children we are. Can one doubt that a divinity dwells within our breasts and that our souls return to the heaven whence they came? Can one doubt that, just as the world, composed of the elements of air and fire on high and earth and water, houses an intelligence which, spread throughout it, directs the whole, so too with us the bodies of our earthly condition and our life-blood house a mind which directs every part and animates the man? Why wonder that men can comprehend heaven, when heaven exists in their very beings and each one is in a smaller likeness the image of God himself? (tr. George Patrick Goold)