Velificans

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

Quid inter haec animi Erasmo tuo fuisse credis? insidebat attonito equo eques attonitus; qui quoties aures erigebat, ego animum deiciebam, quoties ille in genua procumbebat, mihi pectus saliebat. iam Bellerophon ille poeticus suo terrebat exemplo, iam meam ipse temeritatem exsecrabar, qui mutae beluae vitam et una literas meas commiserim. sed audi quiddam, quod tu credas ex veris Luciani narrationibus petitum, ni mihi ipsi Batto teste accidisset. cum arx iam ferme in prospectu esset, offendimus omnia undique glacie incrustata, quae ut dixi in nivem inciderat. et erat tanta ventorum vis, ut eo die unus atque alter collapsi perierint. flabant autem a tergo. itaque per declive montium me demittebam, per summam glaciem velificans, atque interim hastili cursum moderans. id erat clavi vice. novum navigandi genus. toto fere itinere obvius fit nemo, sequitur nemo, adeo non solum saeva sed etiam monstruosa erat tempestas. quarto vix demum die solem aspeximus. hoc unum ex tantis malis commodi excerpsimus, quod latronum incursus timuimus minus; timuimus tamen, ut homines pecuniosos decebat.
(Erasmus, Ep. 88)

How do you think your Erasmus responded to all this? He sat, a terrified rider, on a terrified horse. When my mount’s ears pricked up, my spirit fell; and as often as he fell down on his knees, my heart jumped up into my mouth. I was becoming alarmed at the precedent set by the poets’ Bellerophon, and cursing my foolhardiness in entrusting my life and my letters at one and the same time to a dumb creature. But I will tell you something you would suppose I had borrowed from Lucian’s Vera historia, if I did not have Batt to witness that it really happened to me. When we were almost within sight of the castle, we found the entire countryside covered with a layer of ice which, as I have explained, had fallen on top of the snow. The wind blew so hard that more than one person was blown down and died that day. Since it blew from behind us, I slid down the slopes of the hills, sailing on the surface of the ice, and from time to time steering with my staff, using it as a rudder, a new kind of navigation. In our entire journey we scarcely met a soul or were overtaken by anyone, so wild, indeed monstrous, was the weather. It was only on the fourth day that at last we had a glimpse of the sun. All these difficulties brought us only one advantage: we stood in less fear of attack by robbers; yet fear it we did, as rich men should! (tr. R.A.B. Mynors & D.F.S. Thomson)

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