Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parallel - Viper Depopulates


         "Where is this viper
That would depopulate the city and
Be every man himself?"
 Coriolanus 3.1.262-4

Bacon: "For enclosure of grounds brings depopulation...so instead of a whole town full of people, none but green fields, but "shepherd and a dog"...A sharp and vigorous law had need to be made against these viperous natures who fulfill the proverb Si non posse quod vult, velle tamen quod potest [from Ovid]".
    Speech against Enclosures

Comment:  Thus both our authors rather oddly associate vipers with depopulation. Vipers were believed to eat their way at birth through their mother's bowels, but this has no resemblance to someone depopulating a city or anything else.

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