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LVII. DE CONTEMPTU MUNDI.
UR mundus militat sub vanâ gloriâ,
Cujus prosperitas est transitoria?
Plus fide litteris scriptis in glacie,
Credendum magis est viris fallacibus,
Quàm breve festum est hæc mundi gloria !
LVII. Bernardi Opp., ed. Bened. v. 2, p. 913; Mohnike, Hymnol. Forschungen, v. 2, p. 173.
9. viris] But the viri fallaces do themselves constitute the world, so that, the two things being identical, there cannot well be a comparison between them. Mohnike (i. 377) proposes to read ventis ; yet better still is a later suggestion which he makes, (2, 177,) vitris fallacibus. It is evident, as he observes, that Opitz
, in his grand old German translation of the hymn, must have had this reading before him, for he writes : Lieber will ich Glauben fassen, Auf ein Glas, das bäld zerfällt, Als mich trösten mit den Schätzen, Und dem Glücke dieser Welt.
Quæ semper subtrabunt æterna præmia,
O esca vermium! o massa pulveris !
Hæc carnis gloria, quæ tanti penditur,
Nil tuum dixeris quod potes perdere,
Dic, ubi Salomon, olim tam nobilis,
18. O ros, o vanitas] Some editions read O roris vanitas, while others O nox, o vanitas, as indeed throughout the hymn the text is very far from accurately fixed. Mohnike suggests O flos, o vanitas, with allusion to such scriptural passages as Job xiv. 2; Ps. ciii. 15; Isai. xxviii, 1, 4; 1 Pet. i. 24. Yet this image the poet seems to have reserved for the second line of the next stanza ; while the early drying up of the morning dew is also a scriptural image for that which quickly passes away and disappears; (Hos. vi. 4; xiii. 3;) and one appearing in medieval as indeed in all poetry. Thus the author of the Carmen Paræneticum, sometimes ascribed to St Bernard (Opp., v. 2, p. 910, Bened. ed.):
Quàm malè fraudantur, qui stultè ludificantur,
Vel pulcher Absalon, vultu mirabilis,
Quo Cæsar abiit, celsus imperio,
Tot clari proceres, tot rerum spatia,
ACOB Balde, born at Ensisheim in Alsace, in 1603, en
tered the Order of the Jesuits in 1624, and died in 1668. The greater part of his life was spent in Bavaria ; where he could watch only too well the unspeakable miseries of the Thirty Years' War. Filling up, as that war did, exactly the central period of his life, he was spectator of these from first to last: and almost every page of his poems bears witness with what a bleeding heart he beheld the wounds of his native land. This sympathy of his, so true and so profound, with the sufferings of Germany, gives a reality to his verse which modern Latin poetry so often wants: yet with all this, and with a free recognition, not of his talents merely, but of his genius, I cannot think but that there is some exaggeration in the language in which it has become the fashion to speak of him among his fellowcountrymen. They exalt him as the greatest of modern Latin poets-not, of course, as having reached the highest perfection of classical style, for no one would be so absurd as to attribute this praise to him, which any page of his writings would abundantly refute—but for the grandeur of his thoughts, the originality and boldness of his imagery; so that they regard him, not so much as an accomplished Latin versifier, but rather as a great German poet in the disguise of a foreign tongue. It was Herder who first began to speak this language about him, and who indeed first revived his memory in the minds of his fellow-countrymen, publishing in his Terpsichore a translation of a large
The poem, of which the tone is mock-heroic, is intended no doubt to set forth the praises of abstemiousness. Thus one of the most frequent topics of consolation which he offers to the martyrs to this disease, is the dignity of their
BALDE. number of his odes. A. W. Schlegel followed in the same track, with yet more enthusiastic praise+: and since his time several editions of Balde's works, entire or selected, have been published, thus two by Orelli
, Zurich, 1805, 1818; and in like manner translations of the whole
, or a portion of them, have appeared.
Nor is his poetry, which has thus been brought to light a second time, inconsiderable in bulk. It fills, on the cortrary, four closely printed volumes. Next to his odes his Solatium Podagricorum (Munich, 1661) has perhaps been the most widely read. It must be owned that the gout is rather a ghastly subject for merriment, especially when the jest is continued through some thousand lines, complaint—that it is only the rich and the luxurious whom it honors with its visits; as in these lines:
Morbus hic induitur gemmis et torquibus aureis,
i These are Schlegel's words: Ein tiefes, regsames, oft schwärmerisch ungestümes Gefühl, ein Einbildungskraft, woraus starke nnd wunderentfernten Vergleichungen, an überraschenden Einkleidungen geschäftiger Witz, ein scharfer Verstand, grosse sittliche Schnellkraft und Selbständigkeit, kühne Sicherheit des Geistes, welche sich immer eigene Wege wählt, und auch die ungebahntesten nicht scheut: alle diese dass man ihn nicht für einen ungewöhnlich reich begabten Dichter erkennen müsste.
Eigenschaften erscheinen in Balde's Werken allzu hervorstechend, als