Carmen paraeneticon, ad juventutem Gallicam de bello civili (c.1576-77)

This poem is an entreaty to the youth of France to stop fighting a vicious civil war on their parents' behalf, and to put down their arms in favour of education. Both in terms of style, imagery, and content, the poem is very similar to Rollock's Panegyris de pace in Gallia constituenda (Poitiers, 1576), published following the end of the fifth war of religion, which celebrates the freeing of the muses from the horrors of war and the accession of Henri III as the beginning of a new age of peace in France. It is probable that this was authored in or around the same time. Metre: phalacean hendecasyllables.

Link to an image of this page  [p376]

Carmen paraeneticon, ad juventutem Gallicam de bello civili.

1Ecquid o animo putas, juventa
bellorum ancipites sata inter aestus?
Ecquid consilii furente captas
cognati populo cruoris haustu?
5Tune ergo rabiem refers parentum,
et tibi patrias putas Erynneis
cum libamine lactis imbibendas?

En! Deliria pertinacis inter
parentes animi tuum beatis
10mandant artibus impigre excolendum
sub primae ingenium rosa juventae:
sibi quam soboli supiniores,
quam sibi, soboli sagaciores,
qui mali antidoto ingruentis arcent
15proli perniciem, sibi nec ullo
praesentem helleboro levant furorem.

Quin, expende tuum (tenella) robur
insuetasque truci manus duello,
et duri indociles laboris annos,
20quae saevo litui volunt sonore,
et castris procul esse te Quirini.
Sed molle ingenii capacis arvum,
et pectus memori parata claustro
recondens, monet eruditionis
25quamvis difficiles cavare cautes,
et nixu petere alta pertinaci:
et sacrum innocuae dare in Minervae
nomen militiam, nihil furore
armorum, nihil artuum vigore,
30sed acri omnia mente molientis.

Exhaustum indomitis solum rapinis
communis patriae, venusta pubes,
tincta et purpureo fluenta tabo,
stagnantesque hominum cruore campos,
35urbiumque cadavera, et sacrarum
tantum rudera, et aedium ruinas;
Link to an image of this page  [p377] tecum pectore rumina aequiore,
et annis animo sagaciore
et olim populique patriaeque
40te poscentis opem, tuisque tantum
subnixae auspiciis, tuoque fato
miserta, horrisonis ratem procellis
vindex eripias, saloque belli
subductam rapido, silente sistas
45in portu stabilem, anchorisque figas.
Ne si navifrago subacta puppis
succumbat pelago, simul protervos
vectores, populumque patriamque
olim immanibus obruat procellis,
50teque jam in specula licet periclis
secura positum (tibi ut videris)
communes comitem trahant ruinae.
Fas soli est tibi cladibus (juventa)
tuorumque tuisque subvenire:
55si durum studiis domes duellum,
pacisque artibus arma praeliantum:
si Musis subigas minas, Minervae
Martem, tela togae, choris cohortes.
Hac sola ratione, tu labanti
60succurres populoque, patriaeque,
tibique, o quoties beata pubes!

Ecquis denique bellicos furores
pacis fœdere nesciat coire?
Ut olim exitus est quies laborum,
65excipitque salus amica morbos
(ni rescindere regna pertinaci
decretum est Superis superba bello).
At tu, desine cauta fascinari
praesentis rabie rebellionis.
70Et pacis meditere, qui paretur
tempestate decus tibi perenne,
et regno requies salusque plebi,
nullis sollicitanda deinde saeclis.

Eja nunc age, Gallicana pubes,
75bellorum ancipites sata inter aestus,
Link to an image of this page  [p378] ne prae te rabiem feras parentum,
nec tibi patrias putes Erynneis
cum libamine lactis imbibendas.
Sed si mente geris patresque teque,
80et ipsam patriam, et vices futurae
pacis, in mediis quieta bellis,
imbelles meditare tu, Camœnas:
pacis eximium decus, Camœnas,
mentis pabula liberae, Camœnas,
85custodes vigiles opum, Camœnas,
thesauros inopis Laris, Camœnas,
et quicquid tibi fors paret, fideles
88alumnis comites suis Camœnas.

Link to an image of this page  [p376]

A poem of exhortation, to the youth of France on the civil war

1 O youth born amid the wavering tumults of the wars, what are you thinking? What advice are you following while the people rage in a river of kindred blood? Do you thus repeat the madness of your parents, and think that you are compelled to drink down your ancestral vengeful Furies with a libation of milk? a

8See! The madness of the unyielding frame of mind among your parents demands that your character be quickly refined in the blessed arts, beneath the bloom of early youth: more careless for themselves than their offspring, and more mindful of their offspring than themselves, are they who check with an antidote the destruction of the illness assailing their children, and do not lighten the present madness with some hellebore for themselves alone. b

17No, ponder your strength (tender one) and your hands unaccustomed to bitter war, and years unused to hard labour, which the Roman war horn in savage blast demands, even with you far from their camps. But the pliable soil of a capable and budding intellect, and a mind storing up things it has prepared in its mindful fortress, encourages one to explore the very difficult rocks of learning, and to seek out the heights with a firm grasp: and to give service to the sacred name of a harmless Minerva, and nothing to the madness of arms, and nothing to the vigour of your limbs, but instead produce all with the sharp mind of an industrious man.

31With a highly impartial mind, charming youth, consider the soil of your shared nation worn out by unbridled pillage, the rivers stained with purple gore, the fields stagnant with the blood of men, and the corpses in the cities, and such destruction of the sacred churches, and the ruins of houses; Link to an image of this page  [p377] and consider these things also with a mind wiser than its years: and after you have taken pity on your people and nation who seek your help, and who rely solely upon your direction and fate, may you, as an avenger, pluck their raft from the dreadful-sounding storm, and after it has been removed from the swift open water of war, may you quietly set it, stabilised, in harbour and fix it with anchors. If their ship, dragged under the shipwrecking sea, should succumb, along with the bold passengers, and subject both the people and the homeland to monstrous tempests, do not let yourself, now placed in a watch-tower free from danger (to see it for yourself), be dragged along as sharer in the common ruin by the people. It is right that you alone (young men) provide relief against your slaughter and that of your men: if you subdue hard war with education, and the arms of fighting with the arts c of peace: if you subjugate menace to the Muses, Mars to Minerva, weapons to the toga, cohorts to the choir. Only by this reckoning, o young men so many times blessed, will you save your people and your homeland, and yourself, from falling!

62 Finally, is there anyone who doesn't know how to unite the forces of war beneath the covenant of peace? After an end to the troubles has been brought forth, then does welcome health replace sickness (unless it has been decreed by the Gods that your proud kingdom breaks out in stubborn warfare). But you, stop being bewitched by the unfeeling madness of the present insurrection. And reflect on peace, so that an everlasting grace may be given to you amid the storm, and rest for the kingdom and safety for the people, which from this point on should not be disturbed in any age.

74Now go, please, French youth, born amid the wavering tumults of the wars, Link to an image of this page  [p378] may you not carry before yourselves the madness of your parents, nor think that you are compelled to drink down your ancestral vengeful Furies with a libation of milk. But if you bear your fathers and yourselves in mind, and the homeland itself, and the succession of future peace, reflect on rest in the middle of wars, on peaceful poetry: poetry, the exceptional honour of peace, poetry, the nourishment of a free mind, poetry, vigilant keeper of works, poetry, a treasure-trove of scanty household gods, and whatever fortune should hold you, poetry with its nurselings will be your faithful companion.



a: At the Eumenideia in Athens, an annual festival held in honour of the Furies (the 'Eumenides'), a propitiatory sacrifice of cakes, water and milk was made by the presiding priests.

b: Plant used for medicinal purposes in the classical world, often for the treatment of insanity, but also highly poisonous if incorrectly administered.

c: There is a pun here on the dual meaning of 'arma' and the ablative 'artibus', which is also found in the fourth declension masculine noun 'artus', meaning 'limbs' or 'arms'.