Friday, February 26, 2010

Sixteenth Century Quote of the Week

"For at this point too I [Folly] think I should copy the rhetoricians of today who fancy themselves practically gods on earth if they can show themselves twin-tongued, like horse leeches, and think it a splendid feat if they can work a few silly little Greek words, like pieces of mosaic, into their Latin speeches, however out of place these are. Then, if they still need something out of the ordinary, they dig four or five obsolete words out of mouldy manuscripts with which to cloud the meaning for the reader. The idea is, I suppose, that those who can understand are better pleased with themselves, and those who can't are all the more lost in admiration the less they understand."

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Dutch scholar and humanist
Praise of Folly (1509)

Translated by Betty Radice


P. M. Doolan said...

Good old Erasmus. He is one of my 16th century favourites. By the way, I'll be adding a post on my blog on Sunday about a 16th century character. I hope you visit.

Julianne Douglas said...

Will do! I'm curious to see who it will be !