Plate 70

"I speak like a fool"


Moriae Encomium

Illustrated by Hans Holbein the Younger




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Holbein's illustration shown in Plate 70 from Moriae Encomium is associated with the following text drawn from

John Wilson's 1668 translation:


Especially when a no small professor, whose name I wittingly conceal lest those choughs

should chatter at me that Greek proverb I have so often mentioned, "an ass at a harp,"

discoursing magisterially and theologically on this text, "I speak as a fool, I am more," drew

a new thesis; and, which without the height of logic he could never have done, made this

new subdivision--for I'll give you his own words, not only in form but matter also--"I speak

like a fool," that is, if you look upon me as a fool for comparing myself with those false

apostles, I shall seem yet a greater fool by esteeming myself before them; though the same

person a little after, as forgetting himself, runs off to another matter. 



The associated French text from L'Eloge de la Folie (1728) follows:


D'ailleurs, j'ai pour moi un glorieux Théologien: je ne la nommerai pas; nos Caqueteurs ne

manqueroient jamais de citer le Proverbe, l'Ane à la Lyre. Ce Docteur explique magistralement,

théologalement, ce passage, Je le dis avec moins de Sagesse, je le suis plus qu'eux: il en fait un

nouveau Chapitre, &, ce qui demande un Dilectique consommée, il ajoute une nouvelle

Section. Voici, en forme & en matiere, les paroles de mon Théologien: "Je le dis moins sagement,

c'est à dire, si je vous parois fou lorsque je me compare aux faux Apôtres, vous me trouverez

encore plus fous de me préferer à eux".