AESOP - SHIRLEY
James Shirley, the 15th century playwright, wrote a book titled, “ΕΣΙΑΓΩΗ: Sive, Intrudoctorium. Anglo-Latino-Graiecum. Complectense colloquia familiaria, Aesopi Fabulas, et Luciani Selectiores mortuorum Dialogos (1656), Jacobus Shirleius.
I can find nothing online about this book. I thought it might be good to write up a few notes for anyone searching for information on it. I wondered, too, if this post might illicit some help from others who might know more about it.
There is no introduction to the book and no contents. There is a second title page which I cannot decipher:
In peſsima ætate,
Bonarum literarum PATRONO
Hanc perexiguam gratæ ſuæ mentis
Each page has three columns, English, Latin, Greek. The English is written in old spelling (“God ſave you Sir.”). The Greek is running minuscule, but not a terribly difficult form of it. Since three languages are given, a page may have as little as 60 words, in one of the languages.
The first 42 pages are titled “Forms of speaking” (Loquendi formulai sive Colloquia - ΟΙΚΕΙΟΙ Διάλογοι). The “forms of speaking” offered are sometimes phrases, more often simple dialogues. This section is divided into six centuries, or groups of 100 lines. Each “century” is further divided by groups of ten. Here are some samples:
God save you sir – Salve Domine – χαῖρε Κύριε. (pg. 1)
What hour is it? – Quota est hora? – Πόσῃ ἐστιν ἡ ὥρα; (pg. 2)
I am not dry. I have drank enough. – Non sitio. Satis bibi. – Οὐ διψῶ. Ἱκανῶσ ἔπιον. (pg. 6)
Reverend Master, I pray give me leave to be absent from School at three oclock. I have some business to do. – Praeceptor observande, quaeso ut liceat mihi abesse Scholae hora tertia. Est mihi aliquid efficiendum. -- Ἀιδέσιμε Παιδαγωγὲ, δέομαὶ σου συγχωρῆσαί μοι τῆς σχολῆς ἀπεῖναι τῇ ὥρᾳ τρίτᾳ. Δεῖ γὰρ με ἐπιτελέσαὶ τι. (pg. 9)
The next section of the book is short, pages 43-63. It contains dialogues, I assume composed, between imaginary characters such as George and Luke. From the first dialogue.
Geo. Are you well? Luk. Examine my countenance. Geo. You shoud rather bid me inspect your Urine. Do you take me for a physician? I do not enquire whether your body be in health, for your face speaks that well. But how you please yourself. Luk. Truly my body is sound, but my mind is not well.
Γεωρ. Ὀυχὶ ὑγιαίνες; Λου. Εἰσόρα τὸ πρόσωπον. Γεω. Διὰ τί οὐ μᾶλλον ἄ οὖρον κελεύεις; Ἆράγε νομίζεις μέ εἴναι ἰατρόν; Οὐκ ἐρωτῷ, εἰ τῷ σόματι δύναμιν ἔχεις, καὶ γὰρ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτὸ μαρτυρεῖ σε καλῶς ἔχειν. ἀλλὰ πῶς σεαυτῷ ἀρέσκεις. Λου. Τὸ σῶμα μου εὖ ἔχει, ἀλλὰ ἡμ ψυχὴ κακῶς διὰκειται. (pg. 43)
The third section of the book contains a selection of 40 of Aesop’s fables. I am uncertain what version of the fables he was using, perhaps his own. Here is one for a sample:
The Lyon and the Frog. Λέων καὶ Βάτραχος. Ποτὲ, λέων ἀκούσας βατράχου μέγα βοῶντος, ἐπιστράφη πρὸς τὴν φωνὴν, οἰόμενος γέγα τι ζῶον εἴναι. Προσμείνας δὲ μικρὸν, ὡς εἴδεν αὐτὸν, κατεπάτησεν.
The final section contains 64 pages of exerpts from Lucian Dialogues of the Dead.