Like the preceding poem (d2_MelA_039), the subject of this scurrilous set of epigrams is Hercules Rollock. Melville lambasts Rollock the 'grammarian' for his filthy appearance and the hundreds of lice which crawl across him, and for his boorish and ignorant teaching, which is punctuated with corporal punishment under his heavy ('Herculea') hand. Rollock refutes all the allegations in kind (even responding to Melville's pun on his name) in his poetic reply (see d2_RolH_002). Metre: elegiac couplets.
Aliud in pediculosum grammatistam (c.1596?)
Aliud in pediculosum grammatistam
Cui dant mille pedes, dat longum linea nomen,
cui fractum Herculea sinciput omne manu:
si vacuo vecors fundit maledicta cerebro,
si tonat in vates fulmina bruta pios,
quid tum? Grammaticus nescit Metaphysica, nescit
ultorem in caelis, et negat esse Deum.
Grammaticus, paedore gravi, illuvieque, situque
squalidus, esuriens fit modo causidicus.
Et maledicta vomit: nec mirum qui maledixit
grammaticus dicat qui bene causidicus?
Another against the lousy grammarian
To the man whom lice give a thousand feet, whose line gives him a lengthy name, who has broken every head with his Herculean hand: if this idiot pours forth curses from his empty brain, if he thunders out insensible thunderbolts against pious prophets, so what? A grammarian doesn't know metaphysics, he doesn't know the punisher in heaven, and he denies that there is a God.
The grammarian, stiff with oppressive stench, and filth, and dirt, is only fit to be a ravening advocate. And he spews out curses: is it any wonder that the grammarian who spoke ill is an advocate who speaks well?