Humor & Prophecies
Most people think of Leonardo as a serious and scientific artist. He was actually controversial, crude, funny, and a jokester. These give an insight to his lighter side. -D
Just as Michaelangelo's occasional poems reflect his private life as well as the general disposition of his mind, we may find in the writings collected in this section, the transcript of Leonardo's fanciful nature, and we should probably not be far wrong in assuming, that he himself had recited these fables in the company of his friends or at the court festivals of princes and patrons. Era tanto piacevole nella conversazione— so relates Vasari—che tirava a se gli animi delle genti.And Paulus Jovius says in his short biography of the artist: Fuit ingenio valde comi, nitido, liberali, vultu autem longe venustissimo, et cum elegantiae omnis deliciarumque maxime theatralium mirificus inventor ac arbiter esset, ad lyramque scito caneret, cunctis per omnem aetatem principibus mire placuit. There can be no doubt that the fables are the original offspring of Leonardo's brain, and not borrowed from any foreign source; indeed the schemes and plans for the composition of fables collected in division V seem to afford an external proof of this, if the fables themselves did not render it self-evident. Several of them— for instance No. l279—are so strikingly characteristic of Leonardo's views of natural science that we cannot do them justice till we are acquainted with his theories on such subjects; and this is equally true of the 'Prophecies'.
I have prefixed to these quaint writings the 'Studies on the life and habits of animals' which are singular from their peculiar aphoristic style, and I have transcribed them in exactly the order in which they are written in MS. H. This is one of the very rare instances in which one subject is treated in a consecutive series of notes, all in one MS., and Leonardo has also departed from his ordinary habits, by occasionally not completing the text on the page it is begun. These brief notes of a somewhat mysterious bearing have been placed here, simply because they may possibly have been intended to serve as hints for fables or allegories. They can scarcely be regarded as preparatory for a natural history, rather they would seem to be extracts. On the one hand the names of some of the animals seem to prove that Leonardo could not here be recording observations of his own; on the other hand the notes on their habits and life appear to me to dwell precisely on what must have interested him most—so far as it is possible to form any complete estimate of his nature and tastes.
In No. 1293 lines 1-10, we have a sketch of a scheme for grouping the Prophecies. I have not however availed myself of it as a clue to their arrangement here because, in the first place, the texts are not so numerous as to render the suggested classification useful to the reader, and, also, because in reading the long series, as they occur in the original, we may follow the author's mind; and here and there it is not difficult to see how one theme suggested another. I have however regarded Leonardo's scheme for the classification of the Prophecies as available for that of the Fables and Jests, and have adhered to it as far as possible.
Among the humourous writings I might perhaps have included the 'Rebusses', of which there are several in the collection of Leonardo's drawings at Windsor; it seems to me not likely that many or all of them could be solved at the present day and the MSS. throw no light on them. Nor should I be justified if I intended to include in the literary works the well-known caricatures of human faces attributed to Leonardo— of which, however, it may be incidentally observed, the greater number are in my opinion undoubtedly spurious. Two only have necessarily been given owing to their presence in text, which it was desired to reproduce: Vol. I page 326, _and Pl. CXXII. It can scarcely be doubted that some satirical intention is conveyed by the drawing on Pl. LXIV (text No. 688).
My reason for not presenting Leonardo to the reader as a poet is the fact that the maxims and morals in verse which have been ascribed to him, are not to be found in the manuscripts, and Prof. Uzielli has already proved that they cannot be by him. Hence it would seem that only a few short verses can be attributed to him with any certainty."
Fables on lifeless objects
The water findin
g that its element was the lordly ocean, was seized with a desire to rise above the air, and being encouraged by the element of fire and rising as a very subtle vapour, it seemed as though it were really as thin as air. But having risen very high, it reached the air that was still more rare and cold, where the fire forsook it, and the minute particles, being brought together, united and became heavy; whence its haughtiness deserting it, it betook itself to flight and it fell from the sky, and was drunk up by the dry earth, where, being imprisoned for a long time, it did penance for its sin.
The razor having one day come forth from the handle which serves as its sheath and having placed himself in the sun, saw the sun reflected in his body, which filled him with great pride. And turning it over in his thoughts he began to say to himself: "And shall I return again to that shop from which I have just come? Certainly not; such splendid beauty shall not, please God, be turned to such base uses. What folly it would be that could lead me to shave the lathered beards of rustic peasants and perform such menial service! Is this body destined for such work? Certainly not. I will hide myself in some retired spot and there pass my life in tranquil repose." And having thus remained hidden for some months, one day he came out into the air, and issuing from his sheath, saw himself turned to the similitude of a rusty saw while his surface no longer reflected the resplendent sun. With useless repentance he vainly deplored the irreparable mischief saying to himself: "Oh! how far better was it to employ at the barbers my lost edge of such exquisite keenness! Where is that lustrous surface? It has been consumed by this vexatious and unsightly rust."
The same thing happens to those minds which instead of exercise give themselves up to sloth. They are like the razor here spoken of, and lose the keenness of their edge, while the rust of ignorance spoils their form.
A stone of some size recently uncovered by the water lay on a certain spot somewhat raised, and just where a delightful grove ended by a stony road; here it was surrounded by plants decorated by various flowers of divers colours. And as it saw the great quantity of stones collected together in the roadway below, it began to wish it could let itself fall down there, saying to itself: "What have I to do here with these plants? I want to live in the company of those, my sisters." And letting itself fall, its rapid course ended among these longed for companions. When it had been there sometime it began to find itself constantly toiling under the wheels of the carts the iron-shoed feet of horses and of travellers. This one rolled it over, that one trod upon it; sometimes it lifted itself a little and then it was covered with mud or the dung of some animal, and it was in vain that it looked at the spot whence it had come as a place of solitude and tranquil place.
Thus it happens to those who choose to leave a life of solitary comtemplation, and come to live in cities among people full of infinite evil.
Some flames had already lasted in the furnace of a glass-blower, when they saw a candle approaching in a beautiful and glittering candlestick. With ardent longing they strove to reach it; and one of them, quitting its natural course, writhed up to an unburnt brand on which it fed and passed at the opposite end out by a narrow chink to the candle which was near. It flung itself upon it, and with fierce jealousy and greediness it devoured it, having reduced it almost to death, and, wishing to procure the prolongation of its life, it tried to return to the furnace whence it had come. But in vain, for it was compelled to die, the wood perishing together with the candle, being at last converted, with lamentation and repentance, into foul smoke, while leaving all its sisters in brilliant and enduring life and beauty.
A small patch of snow finding itself clinging to the top of a rock which was lying on the topmost height of a very high mountain and being left to its own imaginings, it began to reflect in this way, saying to itself: "Now, shall not I be thought vain and proud for having placed myself—such a small patch of snow—in so lofty a spot, and for allowing that so large a quantity of snow as I have seen here around me, should take a place lower than mine? Certainly my small dimensions by no means merit this elevation. How easily may I, in proof of my insignificance, experience the same fate as that which the sun brought about yesterday to my companions, who were all, in a few hours, destroyed by the sun. And this happened from their having placed themselves higher than became them. I will flee from the wrath of the sun, and humble myself and find a place befitting my small importance." Thus, flinging itself down, it began to descend, hurrying from its high home on to the other snow; but the more it sought a low place the more its bulk increased, so that when at last its course was ended on a hill, it found itself no less in size than the hill which supported it; and it was the last of the snow which was destroyed that summer by the sun. This is said for those who, humbling themselves, become exalted.
Fables on plants
The cedar, being desirous of producing a fine and noble fruit at its summit, set to work to form it with all the strength of its sap. But this fruit, when grown, was the cause of the tall and upright tree-top being bent over.
The peach, being envious of the vast quantity of fruit which she saw borne on the nut-tree, her neighbour, determined to do the same, and loaded herself with her own in such a way that the weight of the fruit pulled her up by the roots and broke her down to the ground.
The nut-tree stood always by a road side displaying the wealth of its fruit to the passers by, and every one cast stones at it.
The fig-tree, having no fruit, no one looked at it; then, wishing to produce fruits that it might be praised by men, it was bent and broken down by them.
The fig-tree, standing by the side of the elm and seeing that its boughs were bare of fruit, yet that it had the audacity to keep the Sun from its own unripe figs with its branches, said to it: "Oh elm! art thou not ashamed to stand in front of me. But wait till my offspring are fully grown and you will see where you are!" But when her offspring were mature, a troop of soldiers coming by fell upon the fig-tree and her figs were all torn off her, and her boughs cut away and broken. Then, when she was thus maimed in all her limbs, the elm asked her, saying: "O fig-tree! which was best, to be without offspring, or to be brought by them into so miserable a plight!"
The plant complains of the old and dry stick which stands by its side and of the dry stakes that surround it.
One keeps it upright, the other keeps it from low company.
A nut, having been carried by a crow to the top of a tall campanile and released by falling into a chink from the mortal grip of its beak, it prayed the wall by the grace bestowed on it by God in allowing it to be so high and thick, and to own such fine bells and of so noble a tone, that it would succour it, and that, as it had not been able to fall under the verdurous boughs of its venerable father and lie in the fat earth covered up by his fallen leaves it would not abandon it; because, finding itself in the beak of the cruel crow, it had there made a vow that if it escaped from her it would end its life in a little hole. At these words the wall, moved to compassion, was content to shelter it in the spot where it had fallen; and after a short time the nut began to split open and put forth roots between the rifts of the stones and push them apart, and to throw out shoots from its hollow shell; and, to be brief, these rose above the building and the twisted roots, growing thicker, began to thrust the walls apart, and tear out the ancient stones from their old places. Then the wall too late and in vain bewailed the cause of its destruction and in a short time, it wrought the ruin of a great part of it.
The privet feeling its tender boughs loaded with young fruit, pricked by the sharp claws and beak of the insolent blackbird, complained to the blackbird with pitious remonstrance entreating her that since she stole its delicious fruits she should not deprive it of the leaves with which it preserved them from the burning rays of the sun, and that she should not divest it of its tender bark by scratching it with her sharp claws. To which the blackbird replied with angry upbraiding: "O, be silent, uncultured shrub! Do you not know that Nature made you produce these fruits for my nourishment; do you not see that you are in the world [only] to serve me as food; do you not know, base creature, that next winter you will be food and prey for the Fire?" To which words the tree listened patiently, and not without tears. After a short time the blackbird was taken in a net and boughs were cut to make a cage, in which to imprison her. Branches were cut, among others from the pliant privet, to serve for the small rods of the cage; and seeing herself to be the cause of the Blackbird's loss of liberty it rejoiced and spoke as follows: "O Blackbird, I am here, and not yet burnt by fire as you said. I shall see you in prison before you see me burnt."
The laurel and the myrtle seeing the pear tree cut down cried out with a loud voice: "O pear-tree! whither are you going? Where is the pride you had when you were covered with ripe fruits? Now you will no longer shade us with your mass of leaves." Then the pear-tree replied: "I am going with the husbandman who has cut me down and who will take me to the workshop of a good sculptor who by his art will make me take the form of Jove the god; and I shall be dedicated in a temple and adored by men in the place of Jove, while you are bound always to remain maimed and stripped of your boughs, which will be placed round me to do me honour.
The chesnut, seeing a man upon the fig-tree, bending its boughs down and pulling off the ripe fruits, which he put into his open mouth destroying and crushing them with his hard teeth, it tossed its long boughs and with a noisy rustle exclaimed: "O fig! how much less are you protected by nature than I. See how in me my sweet offspring are set in close array; first clothed in soft wrappers over which is the hard but softly lined husk; and not content with taking this care of me, and having given them so strong a shelter, on this she has placed sharp and close-set spines so that the hand of man cannot hurt me." Then the fig-tree and her offspring began to laugh and having laughed she said: "I know man to be of such ingenuity that with rods and stones and stakes flung up among your branches he will bereave you of your fruits; and when they are fallen, he will trample them with his feet or with stones, so that your offspring will come out of their armour, crushed and maimed; while I am touched carefully by their hands, and not like you with sticks and stones."
The hapless willow, finding that she could not enjoy the pleasure of seeing her slender branches grow or attain to the height she wished, or point to the sky, by reason of the vine and whatever other trees that grew near, but was always maimed and lopped and spoiled, brought all her spirits together and gave and devoted itself entirely to imagination, standing plunged in long meditation and seeking, in all the world of plants, with which of them she might ally herself and which could not need the help of her withes. Having stood for some time in this prolific imagination, with a sudden flash the gourd presented itself to her thoughts and tossing all her branches with extreme delight, it seemed to her that she had found the companion suited to her purpose, because the gourd is more apt to bind others than to need binding; having come to this conclusion she awaited eagerly some friendly bird who should be the mediator of her wishes. Presently seeing near her the magpie she said to him: "O gentle bird! by the memory of the refuge which you found this morning among my branches, when the hungry cruel, and rapacious falcon wanted to devour you, and by that repose which you have always found in me when your wings craved rest, and by the pleasure you have enjoyed among my boughs, when playing with your companions or making love—I entreat you find the gourd and obtain from her some of her seeds, and tell her that those that are born of them I will treat exactly as though they were my own flesh and blood; and in this way use all the words you can think of, which are of the same persuasive purport; though, indeed, since you are a master of language, I need not teach you. And if you will do me this service I shall be happy to have your nest in the fork of my boughs, and all your family without payment of any rent." Then the magpie, having made and confirmed certain new stipulations with the willow,—and principally that she should never admit upon her any snake or polecat, cocked his tail, and put down his head, and flung himself from the bough, throwing his weight upon his wings; and these, beating the fleeting air, now here, now there, bearing about inquisitively, while his tail served as a rudder to steer him, he came to a gourd; then with a handsome bow and a few polite words, he obtained the required seeds, and carried them to the willow, who received him with a cheerful face. And when he had scraped away with his foot a small quantity of the earth near the willow, describing a circle, with his beak he planted the grains, which in a short time began to grow, and by their growth and the branches to take up all the boughs of the willow, while their broad leaves deprived it of the beauty of the sun and sky. And not content with so much evil, the gourds next began, by their rude hold, to drag the ends of the tender shoots down towards the earth, with strange twisting and distortion.
Then, being much annoyed, it shook itself in vain to throw off the gourd. After raving for some days in such plans vainly, because the firm union forbade it, seeing the wind come by it commended itself to him. The wind flew hard and opened the old and hollow stem of the willow in two down to the roots, so that it fell into two parts. In vain did it bewail itself recognizing that it was born to no good end.
JESTS AND TALES
A priest, making the rounds of his parish on Easter Eve, and sprinkling holy water in the houses as is customary, came to a painter's room, where he sprinkled the water on some of his pictures. The painter turned round, somewhat angered, and asked him why this sprinkling had been bestowed on his pictures; then said the priest, that it was the custom and his duty to do so, and that he was doing good; and that he who did good might look for good in return, and, indeed, for better, since God had promised that every good deed that was done on earth should be rewarded a hundred-fold from above. Then the painter, waiting till he went out, went to an upper window and flung a large pail of water on the priest's back, saying: "Here is the reward a hundred-fold from above, which you said would come from the good you had done me with your holy water, by which you have damaged my pictures."
When wine is drunk by a drunkard, that wine is revenged on the drinker.
Wine, the divine juice of the grape, finding itself in a golden and richly wrought cup, on the table of Mahomet, was puffed up with pride at so much honour; when suddenly it was struck by a contrary reflection, saying to itself: "What am I about, that I should rejoice, and not perceive that I am now near to my death and shall leave my golden abode in this cup to enter into the foul and fetid caverns of the human body, and to be transmuted from a fragrant and delicious liquor into a foul and base one. Nay, and as though so much evil as this were not enough, I must for a long time lie in hideous receptacles, together with other fetid and corrupt matter, cast out from human intestines." And it cried to Heaven, imploring vengeance for so much insult, and that an end might henceforth be put to such contempt; and that, since that country produced the finest and best grapes in the whole world, at least they should not be turned into wine. Then Jove made that wine drunk by Mahomet to rise in spirit to his brain; and that in so deleterious a manner that it made him mad, and gave birth to so many follies that when he had recovered himself, he made a law that no Asiatic should drink wine, and henceforth the vine and its fruit were left free.
As soon as wine has entered the stomach it begins to ferment and swell; then the spirit of that man begins to abandon his body, rising as it were skywards, and the brain finds itself parting from the body. Then it begins to degrade him, and make him rave like a madman, and then he does irreparable evil, killing his friends.
An artizan often going to visit a great gentleman without any definite purpose, the gentleman asked him what he did this for. The other said that he came there to have a pleasure which his lordship could not have; since to him it was a satisfaction to see men greater than himself, as is the way with the populace; while the gentleman could only see men of less consequence than himself; and so lords and great men were deprived of that pleasure.
Franciscan begging Friars are wont, at certain times, to keep fasts, when they do not eat meat in their convents. But on journeys, as they live on charity, they have license to eat whatever is set before them. Now a couple of these friars on their travels, stopped at an inn, in company with a certain merchant, and sat down with him at the same table, where, from the poverty of the inn, nothing was served to them but a small roast chicken. The merchant, seeing this to be but little even for himself, turned to the friars and said: "If my memory serves me, you do not eat any kind of flesh in your convents at this season." At these words the friars were compelled by their rule to admit, without cavil, that this was the truth; so the merchant had his wish, and eat the chicken and the friars did the best they could. After dinner the messmates departed, all three together, and after travelling some distance they came to a river of some width and depth. All three being on foot—the friars by reason of their poverty, and the other from avarice—it was necessary by the custom of company that one of the friars, being barefoot, should carry the merchant on his shoulders: so having given his wooden shoes into his keeping, he took up his man. But it so happened that when the friar had got to the middle of the river, he again remembered a rule of his order, and stopping short, he looked up, like Saint Christopher, to the burden on his back and said: "Tell me, have you any money about you?"—"You know I have", answered the other, "How do you suppose that a Merchant like me should go about otherwise?" "Alack!" cried the friar, "our rules forbid as to carry any money on our persons," and forthwith he dropped him into the water, which the merchant perceived was a facetious way of being revenged on the indignity he had done them; so, with a smiling face, and blushing somewhat with shame, he peaceably endured the revenge.
A man wishing to prove, by the authority of Pythagoras, that he had formerly been in the world, while another would not let him finish his argument, the first speaker said to the second: "It is by this token that I was formerly here, I remember that you were a miller." The other one, feeling himself stung by these words, agreed that it was true, and that by the same token he remembered that the speaker had been the ass that carried the flour.
It was asked of a painter why, since he made such beautiful figures, which were but dead things, his children were so ugly; to which the painter replied that he made his pictures by day, and his children by night.
A man saw a large sword which another one wore at his side. Said he "Poor fellow, for a long time I have seen you tied to that weapon; why do you not release yourself as your hands are untied, and set yourself free?" To which the other replied: "This is none of yours, on the contrary it is an old story." The former speaker, feeling stung, replied: "I know that you are acquainted with so few things in this world, that I thought anything I could tell you would be new to you."
A man gave up his intimacy with one of his friends because he often spoke ill of his other friends. The neglected friend one day lamenting to this former friend, after much complaining, entreated him to say what might be the cause that had made him forget so much friendship. To which he answered: "I will no longer be intimate with you because I love you, and I do not choose that you, by speaking ill of me, your friend, to others, should produce in others, as in me, a bad impression of yourself, by speaking evil to them of me, your friend. Therefore, being no longer intimate together, it will seem as though we had become enemies; and in speaking evil of me, as is your wont, you will not be blamed so much as if we continued intimate.
A man was arguing and boasting that he knew many and various tricks. Another among the bystanders said: "I know how to play a trick which will make whomsoever I like pull off his breeches." The first man— the boaster—said: "You won't make me pull off mine, and I bet you a pair of hose on it." He who proposed the game, having accepted the offer, produced breeches and drew them across the face of him who bet the pair of hose and won the bet .
A man said to an acquaintance: "Your eyes are changed to a strange colour." The other replied: "It often happens, but you have not noticed it." "When does it happen?" said the former. "Every time that my eyes see your ugly face, from the shock of so unpleasing a sight they suddenly turn pale and change to a strange colour."
A man said to another: "Your eyes are changed to a strange colour." The other replied: "It is because my eyes behold your strange ugly face."
A man said that in his country were the strangest things in the world. Another answered: "You, who were born there, confirm this as true, by the strangeness of your ugly face."
[Footnote: The joke turns, it appears, on two meanings of trarre and is not easily translated.]
An old man was publicly casting contempt on a young one, and boldly showing that he did not fear him; on which the young man replied that his advanced age served him better as a shield than either his tongue or his strength.
A sick man finding himself in articulo mortis heard a knock at the door, and asking one of his servants who was knocking, the servant went out, and answered that it was a woman calling herself Madonna Bona. Then the sick man lifting his arms to Heaven thanked God with a loud voice, and told the servants that they were to let her come in at once, so that he might see one good woman before he died, since in all his life he had never yet seen one.
A man was desired to rise from bed, because the sun was already risen. To which he replied: "If I had as far to go, and as much to do as he has, I should be risen by now; but having but a little way to go, I shall not rise yet."
A man, seeing a woman ready to hold up the target for a jousting match, exclaimed, looking at the shield, and considering his spear: "Alack! this is too small a workman for so great a business."
Leonardo could easily be called a "Prophet" - at least a scientific one - or a "visionary" with dozens of his ideas being realized hundreds of years later. These "prophecies" are more humorous and almost make fun of people who claim to have some special supernatural fore-sight. These have double meaning and social commentary. -D
THE DIVISION OF THE PROPHECIES.
First, of things relating to animals; secondly, of irrational creatures; thirdly of plants; fourthly, of ceremonies; fifthly, of manners; sixthly, of cases or edicts or quarrels; seventhly, of cases that are impossible in nature [paradoxes], as, for instance, of those things which, the more is taken from them, the more they grow. And reserve the great matters till the end, and the small matters give at the beginning. And first show the evils and then the punishment of philosophical things.
These creatures will form many communities, which will hide themselves and their young ones and victuals in dark caverns, and they will feed themselves and their families in dark places for many months without any light, artificial or natural.
[Footnote: Lines 1—5l are in the original written in one column, beginning with the text of line 11. At the end of the column is the programme for the arrangement of the prophecies, placed here at the head: Lines 56—79 form a second column, lines 80—97 a third one (see the reproduction of the text on the facsimile PI. CXVIII).Another suggestion for the arrangement of the prophecies is to be found among the notes 55—57 on page 357.]
And many others will be deprived of their store and their food, and will be cruelly submerged and drowned by folks devoid of reason. Oh Justice of God! Why dost thou not wake and behold thy creatures thus ill used?
(Of Sheep, Cows, Goats and the like)
Endless multitudes of these will have their little children taken from them ripped open and flayed and most barbarously quartered.
(Of Nuts, and Olives, and Acorns, and Chesnuts, and such like)
Many offspring shall be snatched by cruel thrashing from the very arms of their mothers, and flung on the ground, and crushed.
(Of Children bound in Bundles.)
O cities of the Sea! In you I see your citizens—both females and males—tightly bound, arms and legs, with strong withes by folks who will not understand your language. And you will only be able to assuage your sorrows and lost liberty by means of tearful complaints and sighing and lamentation among yourselves; for those who will bind you will not understand you, nor will you understand them.
(Of Cats that eat Rats.)
In you, O cities of Africa your children will be seen quartered in their own houses by most cruel and rapacious beasts of your own country.
(Of Asses that are beaten.)
[Footnote 48: Compare No. 845.] O Nature! Wherefore art thou so partial; being to some of thy children a tender and benign mother, and to others a most cruel and pitiless stepmother? I see children of thine given up to slavery to others, without any sort of advantage, and instead of remuneration for the good they do, they are paid with the severest suffering, and spend their whole life in benefitting those who ill treat them.
(Of Men who sleep on boards of Trees.)
Men shall sleep, and eat, and dwell among trees, in the forests and open country.
Men will seem to see new destructions in the sky. The flames that fall from it will seem to rise in it and to fly from it with terror. They will hear every kind of animals speak in human language. They will instantaneously run in person in various parts of the world, without motion. They will see the greatest splendour in the midst of darkness. O! marvel of the human race! What madness has led you thus! You will speak with animals of every species and they with you in human speech. You will see yourself fall from great heights without any harm and torrents will accompany you, and will mingle with their rapid course.
Many who hold the faith of the Son only build temples in the name of the Mother.
(Of Food which has been alive.)
 A great portion of bodies that have been alive will pass into the bodies of other animals; which is as much as to say, that the deserted tenements will pass piecemeal into the inhabited ones, furnishing them with good things, and carrying with them their evils. That is to say the life of man is formed from things eaten, and these carry with them that part of man which dies . . .
(Of Funeral Rites, and Processions, and Lights, and Bells, and Followers.)
The greatest honours will be paid to men, and much pomp, without their knowledge.
[Footnote: A facsimile of this text is on PI. CXVI below on the right, but the writing is larger than the other notes on the same sheet and of a somewhat different style. The ink is also of a different hue, as may be seen on the original sheet at Milan.]
(Of the Avaricious.)
There will be many who will eagerly and with great care and solicitude follow up a thing, which, if they only knew its malignity, would always terrify them.
(Of those men, who, the older they grow, the more avaricious they become, whereas, having but little time to stay, they should become more liberal.)
We see those who are regarded as being most experienced and judicious, when they least need a thing, seek and cherish it with most avidity.
(Of the Ditch.)
Many will be busied in taking away from a thing, which will grow in proportion as it is diminished.
(Of a Weight placed on a Feather-pillow.)
And it will be seen in many bodies that by raising the head they swell visibly; and by laying the raised head down again, their size will immediately be diminished.
(Of catching Lice.)
And many will be hunters of animals, which, the fewer there are the more will be taken; and conversely, the more there are, the fewer will be taken.
(Of Drawing Water in two Buckets with a single Rope.)
And many will be busily occupied, though the more of the thing they draw up, the more will escape at the other end.
(Of the Tongues of Pigs and Calves in Sausage-skins.)
Oh! how foul a thing, that we should see the tongue of one animal in the guts of another.
(Of Sieves made of the Hair of Animals.)
We shall see the food of animals pass through their skin everyway excepting through their mouths, and penetrate from the outside downwards to the ground.
[Footnote 35: Lanterns were in Italy formerly made of horn.] The cruel horns of powerful bulls will screen the lights of night against the wild fury of the winds.
Flying creatures will give their very feathers to support men.
(Of Animals which walk on Trees—wearing wooden Shoes.)
The mire will be so great that men will walk on the trees of their country.
(Of the Soles of Shoes, which are made from the Ox.)
And in many parts of the country men will be seen walking on the skins of large beasts.
(Of Sailing in Ships.)
There will be great winds by reason of which things of the East will become things of the West; and those of the South, being involved in the course of the winds, will follow them to distant lands.
(Of Worshiping the Pictures of Saints.)
Men will speak to men who hear not; having their eyes open, they will not see; they will speak to these, and they will not be answered. They will implore favours of those who have ears and hear not; they will make light for the blind.
There will be many men who will move one against another, holding in their hands a cutting tool. But these will not do each other any injury beyond tiring each other; for, when one pushes forward the other will draw back. But woe to him who comes between them! For he will end by being cut in pieces.
Dismal cries will be heard loud, shrieking with anguish, and the hoarse and smothered tones of those who will be despoiled, and at last left naked and motionless; and this by reason of the mover, which makes every thing turn round.
(Of putting Bread into the Mouth of the Oven and taking it out again.)
In every city, land, castle and house, men shall be seen, who for want of food will take it out of the mouths of others, who will not be able to resist in any way.
(Of tilled Land.)
The Earth will be seen turned up side down and facing the opposite hemispheres, uncovering the lurking holes of the fiercest animals.
(Of Sowing Seed.)
Then many of the men who will remain alive, will throw the victuals they have preserved out of their houses, a free prey to the birds and beasts of the earth, without taking any care of them at all.
(Of the Rains, which, by making the Rivers muddy, wash away the Land.)
[Footnote 81: Compare No. 945.] Something will fall from the sky which will transport a large part of Africa which lies under that sky towards Europe, and that of Europe towards Africa, and that of the Scythian countries will meet with tremendous revolutions [Footnote 84: Compare No. 945.]
(Of Wood that burns.)
The trees and shrubs in the great forests will be converted into cinder.
(Of Kilns for Bricks and Lime.)
Finally the earth will turn red from a conflagration of many days and the stones will be turned to cinders.
(Of boiled Fish.)
The natives of the waters will die in the boiling flood.
(Of the Olives which fall from the Olive trees, shedding oil which makes light.)
And things will fall with great force from above, which will give us nourishment and light.
(Of Owls and screech owls and what will happen to certain birds.)
Many will perish of dashing their heads in pieces, and the eyes of many will jump out of their heads by reason of fearful creatures come out of the darkness.
(Of flax which works the cure of men.)
That which was at first bound, cast out and rent by many and various beaters will be respected and honoured, and its precepts will be listened to with reverence and love.
(Of Books which teach Precepts.)
Bodies without souls will, by their contents give us precepts by which to die well.
Men will hide themselves under the bark of trees, and, screaming, they will make themselves martyrs, by striking their own limbs.
(Of the Handles of Knives made of the Horns of Sheep.)
We shall see the horns of certain beasts fitted to iron tools, which will take the lives of many of their kind.
(Of Night when no Colour can be discerned.)
There will come a time when no difference can be discerned between colours, on the contrary, everything will be black alike.
(Of Swords and Spears which by themselves never hurt any one.)
One who by himself is mild enough and void of all offence will become terrible and fierce by being in bad company, and will most cruelly take the life of many men, and would kill many more if they were not hindered by bodies having no soul, that have come out of caverns—that is, breastplates of iron.
(Of Snares and Traps.)
Many dead things will move furiously, and will take and bind the living, and will ensnare them for the enemies who seek their death and destruction.
That shall be brought forth out of dark and obscure caves, which will put the whole human race in great anxiety, peril and death. To many that seek them, after many sorrows they will give delight, and to those who are not in their company, death with want and misfortune. This will lead to the commission of endless crimes; this will increase and persuade bad men to assassinations, robberies and treachery, and by reason of it each will be suspicious of his partner. This will deprive free cities of their happy condition; this will take away the lives of many; this will make men torment each other with many artifices deceptions and treasons. O monstrous creature! How much better would it be for men that every thing should return to Hell! For this the vast forests will be devastated of their trees; for this endless animals will lose their lives.
One shall be born from small beginnings which will rapidly become vast. This will respect no created thing, rather will it, by its power, transform almost every thing from its own nature into another.
(Of Ships which sink.)
Huge bodies will be seen, devoid of life, carrying, in fierce haste, a multitude of men to the destruction of their lives.
(Of Oxen, which are eaten.)
The masters of estates will eat their own labourers.
(Of beating Beds to renew them.)
Men will be seen so deeply ungrateful that they will turn upon that which has harboured them, for nothing at all; they will so load it with blows that a great part of its inside will come out of its place, and will be turned over and over in its body.
(Of Things which are eaten and which first are killed.)
Those who nourish them will be killed by them and afflicted by merciless deaths.
(Of the Reflection of Walls of Cities in the Water of their Ditches.)
The high walls of great cities will be seen up side down in their ditches.
(Of Water, which flows turbid and mixed with Soil and Dust; and of Mist, which is mixed with the Air; and of Fire which is mixed with its own, and each with each.)
All the elements will be seen mixed together in a great whirling mass, now borne towards the centre of the world, now towards the sky; and now furiously rushing from the South towards the frozen North, and sometimes from the East towards the West, and then again from this hemisphere to the other.
(The World may be divided into two Hemispheres at any Point.)
All men will suddenly be transferred into opposite hemispheres.
(The division of the East from the West may be made at any point.)
All living creatures will be moved from the East to the West; and in the same way from North to South, and vice versa.
(Of the Motion of Water which carries wood, which is dead.)
Bodies devoid of life will move by themselves and carry with them endless generations of the dead, taking the wealth from the bystanders.
(Of Eggs which being eaten cannot form Chickens.)
Oh! how many will they be that never come to the birth!
(Of Fishes which are eaten unborn.)
Endless generations will be lost by the death of the pregnant.
(Of the Lamentation on Good Friday.)
Throughout Europe there will be a lamentation of great nations over the death of one man who died in the East.
Men will walk and not stir, they will talk to those who are not present, and hear those who do not speak.
(Of a Man's Shadow which moves with him.)
Shapes and figures of men and animals will be seen following these animals and men wherever they flee. And exactly as the one moves the other moves; but what seems so wonderful is the variety of height they assume.
(Of our Shadow cast by the Sun, and our Reflection in the Water at one and the same time.)
Many a time will one man be seen as three and all three move together, and often the most real one quits him.
(Of wooden Chests which contain great Treasures.)
Within walnuts and trees and other plants vast treasures will be found, which lie hidden there and well guarded.
(Of putting out the Light when going to Bed.)
Many persons puffing out a breath with too much haste, will thereby lose their sight, and soon after all consciousness.
(Of the Bells of Mules, which are close to their Ears.)
In many parts of Europe instruments of various sizes will be heard making divers harmonies, with great labour to those who hear them most closely.
The severest labour will be repaid with hunger and thirst, and discomfort, and blows, and goadings, and curses, and great abuse.
(Of Soldiers on horseback.)
Many men will be seen carried by large animals, swift of pace, to the loss of their lives and immediate death.
In the air and on earth animals will be seen of divers colours furiously carrying men to the destruction of their lives.
(Of the Stars of Spurs.)
By the aid of the stars men will be seen who will be as swift as any swift animal.
(Of a Stick, which is dead.)
The motions of a dead thing will make many living ones flee with pain and lamentation and cries.
With a stone and with iron things will be made visible which before were not seen.
(Of going in Ships.)
We shall see the trees of the great forests of Taurus and of Sinai and of the Appenines and others, rush by means of the air, from East to West and from North to South; and carry, by means of the air, great multitudes of men. Oh! how many vows! Oh! how many deaths! Oh! how many partings of friends and relations! Oh! how many will those be who will never again see their own country nor their native land, and who will die unburied, with their bones strewn in various parts of the world!
(Of moving on All Saints' Day.)
Many will forsake their own dwellings and carry with them all their belongings and will go to live in other parts.
(Of All Souls' Day.)
How many will they be who will bewail their deceased forefathers, carrying lights to them.
(Of Friars, who spending nothing but words, receive great gifts and bestow Paradise.)
Invisible money will procure the triumph of many who will spend it.
(Of Bows made of the Horns of Oxen.)
Many will there be who will die a painful death by means of the horns of cattle.
(Of writing Letters from one Country to another.)
Men will speak with each other from the most remote countries, and reply.
(Of Hemispheres, which are infinite; and which are divided by an infinite number of Lines, so that every Man always has one of these Lines between his Feet.)
Men standing in opposite hemispheres will converse and deride each other and embrace each other, and understand each other's language.
(Of Priests who say Mass.)
There will be many men who, when they go to their labour will put on the richest clothes, and these will be made after the fashion of aprons [petticoats].
(Of Friars who are Confessors.)
And unhappy women will, of their own free will, reveal to men all their sins and shameful and most secret deeds.
(Of Churches and the Habitations of Friars.)
Many will there be who will give up work and labour and poverty of life and goods, and will go to live among wealth in splendid buildings, declaring that this is the way to make themselves acceptable to God.
(Of Selling Paradise.)
An infinite number of men will sell publicly and unhindered things of the very highest price, without leave from the Master of it; while it never was theirs nor in their power; and human justice will not prevent it.
(Of the Dead which are carried to be buried.)
The simple folks will carry vast quantities of lights to light up the road for those who have entirely lost the power of sight.
(Of Dowries for Maidens.)
And whereas, at first, maidens could not be protected against the violence of Men, neither by the watchfulness of parents nor by strong walls, the time will come when the fathers and parents of those girls will pay a large price to a man who wants to marry them, even if they are rich, noble and most handsome. Certainly this seems as though nature wished to eradicate the human race as being useless to the world, and as spoiling all created things.
(Of the Cruelty of Man.)
Animals will be seen on the earth who will always be fighting against each other with the greatest loss and frequent deaths on each side. And there will be no end to their malignity; by their strong limbs we shall see a great portion of the trees of the vast forests laid low throughout the universe; and, when they are filled with food the satisfaction of their desires will be to deal death and grief and labour and wars and fury to every living thing; and from their immoderate pride they will desire to rise towards heaven, but the too great weight of their limbs will keep them down. Nothing will remain on earth, or under the earth or in the waters which will not be persecuted, disturbed and spoiled, and those of one country removed into another. And their bodies will become the sepulture and means of transit of all they have killed.
O Earth! why dost thou not open and engulf them in the fissures of thy vast abyss and caverns, and no longer display in the sight of heaven such a cruel and horrible monster.
There will be many which will increase in their destruction.
(The Ball of Snow rolling over Snow.)
There will be many who, forgetting their existence and their name, will lie as dead on the spoils of other dead creatures.
(Sleeping on the Feathers of Birds.)
The East will be seen to rush to the West and the South to the North in confusion round and about the universe, with great noise and trembling or fury.
(In the East wind which rushes to the West.)
The solar rays will kindle fire on the earth, by which a thing that is under the sky will be set on fire, and, being reflected by some obstacle, it will bend downwards.
(The Concave Mirror kindles a Fire, with which we heat the oven, and this has its foundation beneath its roof.)
A great part of the sea will fly towards heaven and for a long time will not return.
(That is, in Clouds.)
There remains the motion which divides the mover from the thing moved.
Those who give light for divine service will be destroyed.
(The Bees which make the Wax for Candles)
Dead things will come from underground and by their fierce movements will send numberless human beings out of the world. (Iron, which comes from under ground is dead but the Weapons are made of it which kill so many Men.
The greatest mountains, even those which are remote from the sea shore, will drive the sea from its place.
(This is by Rivers which carry the Earth they wash away from the Mountains and bear it to the Sea-shore; and where the Earth comes the sea must retire.)
The water dropped from the clouds still in motion on the flanks of mountains will lie still for a long period of time without any motion whatever; and this will happen in many and divers lands.
(Snow, which falls in flakes and is Water.)
The great rocks of the mountains will throw out fire; so that they will burn the timber of many vast forests, and many beasts both wild and tame.
(The Flint in the Tinder-box which makes a Fire that consumes all the loads of Wood of which the Forests are despoiled and with this the flesh of Beasts is cooked.)
Oh! how many great buildings will be ruined by reason of Fire.
(The Fire of great Guns.)
Oxen will be to a great extent the cause of the destruction of cities, and in the same way horses and buffaloes.
(By drawing Guns.)
The Lion tribe will be seen tearing open the earth with their clawed paws and in the caves thus made, burying themselves together with the other animals that are beneath them.
Animals will come forth from the earth in gloomy vesture, which will attack the human species with astonishing assaults, and which by their ferocious bites will make confusion of blood among those they devour.
Again the air will be filled with a mischievous winged race which will assail men and beasts and feed upon them with much noise— filling themselves with scarlet blood.
Blood will be seen issuing from the torn flesh of men, and trickling down the surface.
Men will have such cruel maladies that they will tear their flesh with their own nails.
Plants will be seen left without leaves, and the rivers standing still in their channels.
The waters of the sea will rise above the high peaks of the mountains towards heaven and fall again on to the dwellings of men.
(That is, in Clouds.)
The largest trees of the forest will be seen carried by the fury of the winds from East to West.
(That is across the Sea.)
Men will cast away their own victuals.
(That is, in Sowing.)
Human beings will be seen who will not understand each other's speech; that is, a German with a Turk.
Fathers will be seen giving their daughters into the power of man and giving up all their former care in guarding them.
(When Girls are married.)
Men will come out their graves turned into flying creatures; and they will attack other men, taking their food from their very hand or table.
Many will there be who, flaying their mother, will tear the skin from her back.
(Husbandmen tilling the Earth.)
Happy will they be who lend ear to the words of the Dead.
(Who read good works and obey them.)
Feathers will raise men, as they do birds, towards heaven
(that is, by the letters which are written with quills.)
The works of men's hands will occasion their death.
(Swords and Spears.)
Men out of fear will cling to the thing they most fear.
(That is they will be miserable lest they should fall into misery.)
Things that are separate shall be united and acquire such virtue that they will restore to man his lost memory; that is papyrus [sheets] which are made of separate strips and have preserved the memory of the things and acts of men.
The bones of the Dead will be seen to govern the fortunes of him who moves them.
Cattle with their horns protect the Flame from its death. (In a
[Footnote 13: See note page 357]
The Forests will bring forth young which will be the cause of their death.
(The handle of the hatchet.)
Men will deal bitter blows to that which is the cause of their life.
(In thrashing Grain.)
The skins of animals will rouse men from their silence with great outcries and curses. (Balls for playing Games.)
Very often a thing that is itself broken is the occasion of much union. (That is the Comb made of split Cane which unites the threads of Silk.)
The wind passing through the skins of animals will make men dance.
(That is the Bag-pipe, which makes people dance.)
(Of Walnut trees, that are beaten.)
Those which have done best will be most beaten, and their offspring taken and flayed or peeled, and their bones broken or crushed.
Alas! what do I see? The Saviour cru- cified anew.
(Of the Mouth of Man, which is a Sepulchre.)
Great noise will issue from the sepulchres of those who died evil and violent deaths.
(Of the Skins of Animals which have the sense of feeling what is in the things written.)
The more you converse with skins covered with sentiments, the more wisdom will you acquire.
(Of Priests who bear the Host in their body.)
Then almost all the tabernacles in which dwells the Corpus Domini, will be plainly seen walking about of themselves on the various roads of the world.
And those who feed on grass will turn night into day
And many creatures of land and water will go up among the stars*Note
(that is Planets.)
The dead will be seen carrying the living
(in Carts and Ships in various places.)
Food shall be taken out of the mouth of many
( the oven's mouth.)
And those which will have their food in their mouth will be deprived of it by the hands of others
(Of Crucifixes which are sold.)
I see Christ sold and crucified afresh, and his Saints suffering
(Of Physicians, who live by sickness.)
Men will come into so wretched a plight that they will be glad that others will derive profit from their sufferings or from the loss of their real wealth, that is health.
(Of the Religion of Friars, who live by the Saints who have been dead a great while.)
Those who are dead will, after a thou- sand years be those who will give a livelihood to many who are living.
(Of Stones converted into Lime, with which prison walls are made.)
Many things that have been before that time destroyed by fire will deprive many men of liberty.
(Of Children who are suckled.)
Many Franciscans, Dominicans and Benedictines will eat that which at other times was eaten by others, who for some months to come will not be able to speak.
(Of Cockles and Sea Snails which are thrown up by the sea and which rot inside their shells.)
How many will there be who, after they are dead, will putrefy inside their own houses, filling all the surrounding air with a fetid smell.
(Of Mules which have on them rich burdens of silver and gold.)
Much treasure and great riches will be laid upon four-footed beasts, which will convey them to divers places.
(Of the Shadow cast by a man at night with a light.)
Huge figures will appear in human shape, and the nearer you get to them, the more will their immense size diminish.
[Footnote page 1307: It seems to me probable that this note, which occurs in the note book used in 1502, when Leonardo, in the service of Cesare Borgia, visited Urbino, was suggested by the famous pillage of the riches of the palace of Guidobaldo, whose treasures Cesare Borgia at once had carried to Cesena (see GREGOROVIUS, . XIII, 5, 4). ]Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter
(Of Snakes, carried by Storks.)
Serpents of great length will be seen at a great height in the air, fighting with birds.
(Of great guns, which come out of a pit and a mould.)
Creatures will come from underground which with their terrific noise will stun all who are near; and with their breath will kill men and destroy cities and castles.
(Of Grain and other Seeds.)
Men will fling out of their houses those victuals which were intended to sustain their life.
(Of Trees, which nourish grafted shoots.)
Fathers and mothers will be seen to take much more delight in their step-children then in their own children.
(Of the Censer.)
Some will go about in white garments with arrogant gestures threatening others with metal and fire which will do no harm at all to them.
(Of drying Fodder.)
Innumerable lives will be destroyed and innumerable vacant spaces will be made on the earth.
(Of the Life of Men, who every year change their bodily substance.)
Men, when dead, will pass through their own bowels.
Men will take pleasure in seeing their own work destroyed and injured.
The time of Herod will come again, for the little innocent children will be taken from their nurses, and will die of terrible wounds inflicted by cruel men.
DRAUGHTS AND SCHEMES FOR THE HUMOROUS WRITINGS
Schemes for fables, etc.
The crab standing under the rock to catch the fish which crept under it, it came to pass that the rock fell with a ruinous downfall of stones, and by their fall the crab was crushed.
The spider, being among the grapes, caught the flies which were feeding on those grapes. Then came the vintage, and the spider was cut down with the grapes.
The vine that has grown old on an old tree falls with the ruin of that tree, and through that bad companionship must perish with it.
The torrent carried so much earth and stones into its bed, that it was then constrained to change its course.
The net that was wont to take the fish was seized and carried away by the rush of fish.
The ball of snow when, as it rolls, it descends from the snowy mountains, increases in size as it falls.
The willow, which by its long shoots hopes as it grows, to outstrip every other plant, from having associated itself with the vine which is pruned every year was always crippled.
Fable of the tongue bitten by the teeth.
The cedar puffed up with pride of its beauty, separated itself from the trees around it and in so doing it turned away towards the wind, which not being broken in its fury, flung it uprooted on the earth.
The traveller's joy, not content in its hedge, began to fling its branches out over the high road, and cling to the opposite hedge, and for this it was broken away by the passers by.
The goldfinch gives victuals to its caged young. Death rather than loss of liberty. [Footnote: Above this text is another note, also referring to liberty; see No. 694.]
Goats will convey the wine to the city.
All those things which in winter are hidden under the snow, will be uncovered and laid bare in summer. (for Falsehood, which cannot remain hidden).
The lily set itself down by the shores of the Ticino, and the current carried away bank and the lily with it.
Why Hungarian ducats have a double cross on them.
A vase of unbaked clay, when broken, may be remoulded, but not a baked one.
Seeing the paper all stained with the deep blackness of ink, it he deeply regrets it; and this proves to the paper that the words, composed upon it were the cause of its being preserved.
The pen must necessarily have the penknife for a companion, and it is a useful companionship, for one is not good for much without the other.
Schemes for prophecies
The knife, which is an artificial weapon, deprives man of his nails, his natural weapons.
The mirror conducts itself haughtily holding mirrored in itself the
Queen. When she departs the mirror remains there …
Flax is dedicated to death, and to the corruption of mortals. To death, by being used for snares and nets for birds, animals and fish; to corruption, by the flaxen sheets in which the dead are wrapped when they are buried, and who become corrupt in these winding sheets.— And again, this flax does not separate its fibre till it has begun to steep and putrefy, and this is the flower with which garlands and decorations for funerals should be made.
(Of Peasants who work in shirts)
Shadows will come from the East which will blacken with great colour darkness the sky that covers Italy.
(Of the Barbers.)
All men will take refuge in Africa.
The cloth which is held in the hand in the current of a running stream, in the waters of which the cloth leaves all its foulness and dirt, is meant to signify this &c.
By the thorn with inoculated good fruit is signified those natures which of themselves were not disposed towards virtue, but by the aid of their preceptors they have the repudation of it.
A COMMON THING.
A wretched person will be flattered, and these flatterers are always the deceivers, robbers and murderers of the wretched person.
The image of the sun where it falls appears as a thing which covers the person who attempts to cover it.
(Money and Gold.)
Out of cavernous pits a thing shall come forth which will make all the nations of the world toil and sweat with the greatest torments, anxiety and labour, that they may gain its aid.
(Of the Dread of Poverty.)
The malicious and terrible [monster] will cause so much terror of itself in men that they will rush together, with a rapid motion, like madmen, thinking they are escaping her boundless force.
The man who may be most necessary to him who needs him, will be repaid with ingratitude, that is greatly contemned.
They live together in communities, they are destroyed that we may take the honey from them. Many and very great nations will be destroyed in their own dwellings.
WHY DOGS TAKE PLEASURE IN SMELLING AT EACH OTHER.
This animal has a horror of the poor, because they eat poor food, and it loves the rich, because they have good living and especially meat. And the excrement of animals always retains some virtue of its origin as is shown by the faeces …
Now dogs have so keen a smell, that they can discern by their nose the virtue remaining in these faeces, and if they find them in the streets, smell them and if they smell in them the virtue of meat or of other things, they take them, and if not, they leave them: And to return to the question, I say that if by means of this smell they know that dog to be well fed, they respect him, because they judge that he has a powerful and rich master; and if they discover no such smell with the virtue of meet, they judge that dog to be of small account and to have a poor and humble master, and therefore they bite that dog as they would his master.
The circular plans of carrying earth are very useful, inasmuch as men never stop in their work; and it is done in many ways. By one of these ways men carry the earth on their shoulders, by another in chests and others on wheelbarrows. The man who carries it on his shoulders first fills the tub on the ground, and he loses time in hoisting it on to his shoulders. He with the chests loses no time. [Footnote: The subject of this text has apparently no connection with the other texts of this section.]
If Petrarch was so fond of bay, it was because it is of a good taste in sausages and with tunny; I cannot put any value on their foolery. [Footnote: Conte Porro has published these lines in the Archivio Stor. Lombarda VIII, IV; he reads the concluding line thus: I no posso di loro gia (sic) co' far tesauro.—This is known to be by a contemporary poet, as Senatore Morelli informs me.]
We are two brothers, each of us has a brother. Here the way of saying it makes it appear that the two brothers have become four.
TRICKS OF DIVIDING.
Take in each hand an equal number; put 4 from the right hand into the left; cast away the remainder; cast away an equal number from the left hand; add 5, and now you will find 13 in this [left] hand; that is-I made you put 4 from the right hand into the left, and cast away the remainder; now your right hand has 4 more; then I make you throw away as many from the right as you threw away from the left; so, throwing from each hand a quantity of which the remainder may be equal, you now have 4 and 4, which make 8, and that the trick may not be detec- ted I made you put 5 more, which made 13.
TRICKS OF DIVIDING.
Take any number less than 12 that you please; then take of mine enough to make up the number 12, and that which remains to me is the number which you at first had; because when I said, take any number less than 12 as you please, I took 12 into my hand, and of that 12 you took such a number as made up your number of 12; and what you added to your number, you took from mine; that is, if you had 8 to go as far as to 12, you took of my 12, 4; hence this 4 transferred from me to you reduced my 12 to a remainder of 8, and your 8 became 12; so that my 8 is equal to your 8, before it was made 12.
[Footnote 1334: G. Govi says in the'Saggio' p. 22: Si dilett Leonarda, di giuochi di prestigi e molti (?) ne descrisse, che si leggono poi riportati dal Paciolo nel suo libro:de Viribus Quantitatis, ]e che, se non tutti, sono certo in gran parte invenzioni del Vinci.
If you want to teach someone a subject you do not know yourself, let him measure the length of an object unknown to you, and he will learn the measure you did not know before;—Master Giovanni da Lodi.