Wednesday, 28 November 2012

One more Coleridge quotation

Today's is from Biographia chapter 12, near the beginning: 'Vir bonus es, doctus, prudens; ast haud tibi spiro.' The Latin means: ‘you are a good man, well-schooled, prudent, but it’s not for you that I breathe [ie ‘speak’].’ The second part is proverbial. ‘Let Mr Galt satisfy himself by addressing [criticisms] in the cautionary words of the Rosemary to the Sow: Sus, apage; haud tibi spiro’ [‘Galt’s Life of Byron’, Museum of Foreign Literature and Science 17 (1830), 506]—that is, the flower’s words to the pig are ‘go away, pig: I do not blow for you.’ The earliest printed example of this is Joachim Camerarius’ Sÿmbolorum et Emblematum (1590; not as Engell and Bate have it, ‘Symbolarum’). The first part, though, nobody seems to have traced. In fact it's quoted from Johannes Trithemius, Annales Hirsaugienses: Opus nunquam hactenus editum, & ab Eruditis (1590), in which Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV is described as ‘vir bonus, magnificus, prudens & doctus’ [2:215].

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