Ad hos stimulos haudquaquam segnes accedit et urbis Gandavi splendor. neque enim arbitror, quaqua patet Christiana dicio, civitatem ullam reperiri quae cum hac conferri queat, sive spectes amplitudinem urbis ac potentiam, sive politiam, sive gentis indolem. nec enim aliunde feliciora prodeunt ingenia, nec expressiora priscae virtutis exempla.
(Erasmus, Ep. 2093)
On top of these stimuli, hardly ineffectual in themselves, there is the splendor of the city of Ghent. For I don’t believe that in the entire Christian world a single city can be found that compares to this one, whether you look at its size or might, its political regime, or the character of its inhabitants. Nowhere else in fact do we encounter more fertile minds or clearer examples of ancient virtue. (tr. David Bauwens)
Πολλῶν πανηγύρεων Διὸς βαλάνων ἔφαγεν [Michael Apostolius, Paroimiai 14.66], id est Multorum festorum Iovis glandes comedit. de sene longoque plurimarum rerum usu docto; perinde valet quasi dicas; ‘multas vixit Olympiadas’. quercus autem Iovi sacra; unde nuces iuglandes. simili ioco et hodie dicunt nostrates: Comedit multa ova paschalia, senem indicantes.
(Erasmus, Adagia 3149)
He has eaten acorns at many feasts of Jupiter. Said of a man who is old and wise through long and varied experience; it means exactly the same as ‘He has lived many Olympiads.’ The oak is sacred to Jupiter, whence the expression ‘Jove’s oak nuts.’ People in my country still say nowadays, ‘He has eaten many Easter eggs’ as a humorous way of referring to an old man. (tr. Denis L. Drysdall)
Principio quis nescit primam hominis aetatem multo laetissimam multoque omnibus gratissimam esse? quid est enim illud in infantibus, quod sic exosculamur, sic amplectimur, sic fovemus, ut hostis etiam huic aetati ferat opem, nisi stultitiae lenocinium, quod data opera prudens natura recens natis adiunxit, ut aliquo voluptatis velut autoramento et educantium labores delinire queant et tuentium favores eblandiantur? deinde quae succedit huic adolescentia, quam est apud omnes gratiosa, quam illi candide favent omnes, quam studiose provehunt, quam officiose porrigunt auxiliares manus! at unde quaeso ista iuventae gratia? unde nisi ex me? cuius beneficio quam minimum sapit atque ob id quam minime ringitur.
(Erasmus, Moriae Encomium LB4.413)
First of all, who does not know that the earliest period of a man’s life is by far the happiest for him and by far the most pleasant for all about him? What is it in children, that we should kiss them the way we do, and cuddle them, and fondle them – so that even an enemy would give aid to one of that age – except this enchantment of folly, which prudent nature carefully bestows on the newly born; so that by this pleasure, as a sort of prepayment, they win the favor of their nurses and parents and make these forget the pains of bringing them up. After this comes adolescence. How welcome it is in every home! How well everyone wishes it! How studiously does everyone promote it, how officiously they lend it the helping hand! But, I ask, whence comes this grace of youth? Whence but from me, by whose favor the young know so little-and how lightly worn is that little! (tr. Hoyt Hopewell Hudson)
Habet et cuiusque hominis aetas suam vesperam, quae simul atque advenit, iuventae gratia vertitur in taedium. ita senex quidam apud Alexidem: ἤδη γὰρ ὁ βίος οὑμὸς ἑσπέραν ἄγει [fr. 230 K-A], id est: mea quippe seram vita ducit vesperam. sub occasum autem solis incumbunt umbrae, unde Euripides: τί δ’ ἄλλο; φωνὴ καὶ σκιὰ γέρων ἀνήρ [fr. 509 N]. quid aliud atque vox et umbra vir senex?
(Erasmus, Adagia 2215)
And every man’s life has its evening, at whose onset the graces of youth change into weariness. There is an old man in Alexis, who says ‘For now the evening of my life draws on,’ and at the setting of the sun the shadows gather. Hence, as Euripides has it, ‘Old age: a voice, a shadow, and no more.’ (tr. Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors)