Maxims, Songs & Poems: Miscellaneous Notes in Renaissance Books - Queens' Old Library
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This well-known sixth-century Latin distich (poem of two verses) is commonly referred to as Virgil’s Epitaph. For its meaning to be clearly perceived, it should be read horizontally in three columns and four lines.

'pastor  arator  eques
pavi       colui   superavi
capras   rus       hostes
fronde   ligone manu.'

As shepherd  farmer    knight
I pastured       tilled       conquered
goats              soil          foes
with leafage   mattock hand

Bearing in mind the humanist curriculum offered in sixteenth-century Cambridge, the presence of these verses in a medical book by the famous sixteenth-century Swiss physician, Paracelsus, is unsurprising. In addition to the study of medicine, students of that subject followed a course encompassing the liberal arts, including Latin grammar and rhetoric, Greek, history and moral philosophy.

Author: Paracelsus 
Title: De restituta utriusque medicinae vera praxi  (London, 1578)
Shelfmark: H.19.17   (catalogue record)

This well-known sixth-century Latin distich (poem of two verses) is commonly referred to as Virgil’s Epitaph. For its meaning to be clearly perceived, it should be read horizontally in three columns and four lines. 'pastor arator eques pavi colui superavi capras rus hostes fronde ligone manu.' As shepherd farmer knight I pastured tilled conquered goats soil foes with leafage mattock hand Bearing in mind the humanist curriculum offered in sixteenth-century Cambridge, the presence of these verses in a medical book by the famous sixteenth-century Swiss physician, Paracelsus, is unsurprising. In addition to the study of medicine, students of that subject followed a course encompassing the liberal arts, including Latin grammar and rhetoric, Greek, history and moral philosophy.

Author: Paracelsus
Title: De restituta utriusque medicinae vera praxi (London, 1578)
Shelfmark: H.19.17 (catalogue record)

16th century17th centuryH.19.17ParacelsusVirgilannotations