From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Letter to a friend
Richemont, July 1521

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Source: Egidius de Vadis, Dialogus inter naturam et filium philosophiae, ed. Bernard Gilles Penot, Frankfurt am Main: Johannes Saur for Johann Rex, 1595, sig. A4v–A5r [BP.Penot.1595-01]

Summary: Egidius de Vadis writes to his friend, expressing humility and admiration. Despite acknowledging his own lack of expertise in sciences, de Vadis is driven by virtue to pursue knowledge and honor those who embody it, particularly his friend N, whose virtues he highly esteems. De Vadis criticizes those who seek honor through eloquent but superficial teachings, comparing them to children who prefer trivial pleasures over genuine value. He contrasts this with his own approach, which values the pursuit of the deeper truths of nature over superficial eloquence. De Vadis expresses confidence that his writings, though modest, will be well received by his friend due to their shared values and mutual respect. (generated by ChatGPT)


[sig. A4v] Egidius de Vadis suo amico N. S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit].

Non mireris super me (virorum optime,) qui omnium scientiarum ignarus, tantum opus super vires aggredior, virtus enim tanti vigoris est, vt non modo ignotos flagrans amore & desiderio conciliet, verum etiam inscios, ignauos, torpentesq́ue instigat, vt meram scientiarum omnium medullam concupiscant. Hos inter omnes (vt amici dicere solent) tui non obliuiscor, quippe qui virtutibus ita præditus es, vt minime possum aliquid agere, quin prius virtutem in te radicaram pro viribus honore postponendum cæteris diuulgarem. Honor enim (teste Philosopho) præmium virtutis est: & viuentium quidem cui potius attribuatur: omni adulatione postposita, Deum testor, ambigo quamplurimos equidem video, qui propter ornatum dicendi modum scribendive sibi honores magnos vendicant: qui tamen nihil aliud quam verborum lenociniis, ac phaleratis dictis, meras fabulas & nugas docent. ij quidem non- [sig. A5r] dum reliquerunt nuces, neque sapiunt patruos, sed tanquam pueri, vel iuuenculi, si quis pomum simul & aurum offert, aurum quod summi prætij est & valoris, nihili pendunt: & pomum nucem, quod minimum est anteponunt: hac quidem & permutatio. Nam si quis de Naturæ secretis dissertaret, illi pro certo veluti nucis testitudinem lambentes nihilq́ue medullæ dulcedinem gustantes: comptis & armatis verbis, aut parum aut nihil ad rem pertinentibus, quasi garrulosi respondebunt. Quamobrem istius verba proportione cum illis quadrat: qui dicit, loquentium satis, sapientiæ parum: verumenimuero si illis plurimum deterior sum, tamen præcipue propter ignorantiam cum etiam propter sermonis barbariam, quam ipsi balbutiem vel solœcismum vocant: Quantum ij de testitudine politis verbis contendere ausi sunt: tantum ego (quamuis inornatè) de illius nucis dulcedine intima diligenter perquirere delector, ij exterius, ego & exteriora & interiora liquidè perspicio. Igitur confidentia mea in tanta est, vt hæc nostra in te imprimerentur, & munus meum (quamuis exiguum) læta fronte suscipias: mutuoq́ue me amabis (vt soles,) vale, ex bibliotheca regia Richemetum. 17. Idus Iulij Anno 1521.

E[gidus] D[e] V[adis].

Modern English Raw Translation

Generated by ChatGPT on 25 February 2024. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.
Egidius de Vadis sends his warmest greetings to his friend N.

Do not be surprised at me (best of men), who, ignorant of all sciences, undertake such a great task beyond my strength. For virtue is of such vigor that it not only attracts the unknown with burning love and desire but also spurs the unknowing, the lazy, and the sluggish to crave the very marrow of all sciences. Among all these (as friends are wont to say), I do not forget you, especially since you are so endowed with virtues that I can hardly do anything without first spreading the virtue rooted in you, as far as my strength allows, to be honored above others. For honor (as the Philosopher testifies) is the reward of virtue: and indeed, to whom should it be attributed more rightly? Putting all flattery aside, I swear by God, I see many who claim great honors for themselves because of their ornate way of speaking or writing; yet, they teach nothing but mere fables and trifles with the allurements of words and ornate expressions. These people have not yet left their childish ways behind, nor do they understand their elders, but like children or young calves, if someone offers both an apple and gold, they disregard the gold, which is of the highest price and value, and prefer the apple or nut, which is the least. This is indeed the exchange of Achilles and Glaucus. For if someone were to discuss the secrets of Nature, they would surely respond like those licking the shell of a nut without tasting the sweetness of the marrow: with polished and armed words, either little or nothing relevant, as if babbling. Therefore, their words are in proportion to those who say, there is plenty of talk, but little wisdom: but indeed, if I am much worse than them, it is especially due to ignorance and also because of the barbarity of speech, which they call stammering or solecism: As much as they dared to contend with polished words about the shell, so much do I (although unadorned) delight in diligently inquiring into the sweet innermost part of that nut, they on the outside, I clearly perceive both the exterior and the interior. Therefore, my confidence is so great that these writings of ours would be imprinted in you, and you would accept my gift (although small) with a happy face: and you will love me in return (as you usually do). Farewell, from the royal library of Richemont. July 15, 1521.

Egidius De Vadis.