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Erasmus, Praise of Folly, introductory letter to Thomas More

Latin after CDLXXVI

Erasmus, Praise of Folly, introductory letter to Thomas More

Postby hlawson38 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:51 am

Context: Erasmus explains to his friend More how he came to write his Moriae Encomium: to avoid filling time with silly stories during a long trip. He continues by describing the delight he takes in thinking of friends. . . .

Inter hos tu, mi More, uel in primis occurrebas; cuius equidem absentis absens memoria non aliter frui solebam quam presentis presens consuetudine consueueram; qua dispeream si quid unquam in uita contigit mellitius.


Translation: Among them [i.e. Erasmus's friends], my dear More, you certainly [ vel ] have always stood in the first rank; in your absence I used to enjoy thinking of you, just as much as I had enjoyed your intimate friendship when in your presence; I think I'd perish [of delight] if anything more enjoyable touched me.

I don't understand the sense of "absentis absens . . . praesentis praesens". I assume absentis . . . praesentis agree with cuius, and absens . . . praesens agree with the first-person subject of consueueram.

I have made a free translation because I'm struggling to get the literal word-for-word meaning. I'm unhappy with my understanding of the sequence of tense.
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Re: Erasmus, Praise of Folly, introductory letter to Thomas

Postby mwh » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:49 am

It’s a nice figure, making a point of the mutuality: each is absent from the other. Lit. … the remembrance of whom (when you were) absent [from me] I (when I was) absent [from you] used to enjoy just the same as I (when I was) present had been accustomed to the consuetudo of (you when you were) present. This should make sense of the tenses for you too. Doesn't work in English of course.

Anthony Appleyard posted a pretty poem at viewtopic.php?f=42&t=67918&p=194572#p194572
that ended huc deflecte pedem, memoris memor hospes amici. Each is memor of the other.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Erasmus, Praise of Folly, introductory letter to Thomas

Postby hlawson38 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:21 am

Yes, very helpful mwh; for this help much thanks.
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