Fracastoro's Syphilis. Introduction, Text, Translation, Notes (ARCA (Classical & Medieval Texts, Papers & Monographs)) Hardcover – 1 Dec 1984
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... this is a fine edition of a fine poem, one worth reading by any serious student of the Renaissance. (Neo-Latin News 32.4 [Seventeenth-Century News (1985)] 54-5) -- Neo-Latin News 32.4 [Seventeenth-Century News (1985)] 54-5
Bene fecit Goffredus Eatough interpres quod poesin illam ad verbum Anglice expressit; quod cum fecit, interpretatio quasi commentarius quidam est factus viris etiam Latine rudibus utilis. Uberrimis in adnotationibus utile dulci mixtum videmus. ... Deinde commentatorem non laudare non possumus quod suis locis attulit quae verba, quos numeros Petrus Bembus et J.C. Scaliger, viri docti, minus probassent, quosve versus paulo immutandos proposuissent. Interiores enim litteras hinc licet introspicere et ipsum artificium poeticum saeculi sexti decimi perspicere. ... His omnibus libri partibus verborum index, machina computatoria generatus, subnexus est; qui quantam utilitatem viris poeseos neolatinae studiosis afferat, nemo est quin videat. -- Giornale filologico ferrarese 7 (1984) 91-93
This work will become part of the essential library of anyone who studies the history of medicine or the history of the sixteenth century. -- Genitourinary Medicine 61 (1985) 285
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
(From Translation, Book 1, pp.55-6 - the progress of the disease). What especially caused wonder was that even after the infection was caught the moon often completed its circle four times before sufficiently clear symptoms were shown. For it does not openly betray itself as soon as it has been received within a body, but it lies hid for a fixed period and gradually gains strength by feeding. Meanwhile, however, those afflicted were burdened by an unusual lethargy and, feeling a languor with no apparent cause, performed their tasks with increasing weariness and tried to keep themselves going although their whole body felt sluggish. Their natural liveliness fell downcast from their eyes, their colour from their unhappy brow. Slowly a caries, born amid squalor in the body's shameful parts, became uncontrollable and began to eat the areas on either side and even the sexual organ. Then the symptoms of this defilement betrayed themselves more clearly. For as soon as the clean, kindly light of day had retreated and brought on the melancholy shades of night, and the innate heat, which at night usually makes for the deep internal parts, had abandoned the surface of the body, and no longer nursed the limbs now covered in a thick mass of humours, then the joints, arms, shoulder-blades and calves were tormented by intolerable pains. For when the contagion had passed through all the veins and had polluted even the humours and what was meant to feed the body, Nature whose wont is to reject what is harmful, attempted to expel the infected part from the whole body towards the surface. But because this matter with its dense substance was slow and by reason of its sluggishness tenacious, much of it clung, during its passage, to the nerves and muscles. Then as it spread it caused intolerable pains in the joints. This matter had a lighter element, more naturally inclined to erupt, which, as it was expelled, made for the surface of the skin and the limbs' extremities. Immediately unsightly sores broke out over all the body and made the face horrifyingly ugly, and disfigured the breast by their foul presence: the disease took on a new aspect: pustules with the shape of an acorn-cup and rotten with thick slime, which soon afterwards gaped wide open and flowed with a discharge like mucous and putrid blood. Moreover the disease gnawed deep and burrowed into the inmost parts, feeding on its victims' bodies with pitiable results: for on quite frequent occasions we ourselves have seen limbs stripped of their flesh and the bones rough with scales, and mouths eaten away yawn open in a hideous gape while the throat produced feeble sounds. As often either on the cherry or on Phyllis' mournful tree you have seen a thick fluid seep from the moist bark, then harden into a sticky gum, in just the same way, where this disease holds sway a mucus usually flows all over the body: then at last it solidifies into an ugly scab. So someone sighing over the springtime of his life and his beautiful youth, and gazing with wild eyes down at his disfigured members, his hideous limbs and swollen face, often in his misery railed against the Gods' cruelty, often against the stars'. Meanwhile all the creatures on earth enjoyed the sweet slumbers of the weary and night's deep sleep: for the sufferers no rest was on hand, sleep had totally fled to the winds: for them Dawn as she blushed in her rising brought no pleasure: for them day was hostile, the night's apparition too was hostile. Ceres in none of her forms pleased them, none of Bacchus' gifts either, neither tasty banquets, nor abundance of good things, not the wealth of cities or of countryside, not any delight, however often they had sought out glittering streams, delightful valleys and gentle breezes on mountain tops. Prayers were showered upon the Gods, incense burned in their temples and their altars were decorated with rich gifts. The Gods heard no prayers nor were moved by gifts.
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