From Thomas du Clevier to his friend Pierre Tryocan, greetings.
bout eight years ago, dear friend, I promised I would translate for you the short treatise that I had shown you then: the Cymbalum mundi, composed of four poetical dialogues, which I had found in the old library of a monastery near the city of Dabas. My days have been so busy that I have fulfilled this promise only as best as I could have.
You must understand that, if I did not translate it word for word from the Latin, it was on purpose, to follow, as much as possible, the manners of speaking that one finds in our French tongue. You will clearly notice this in the swearwords that are found here: for Me Hercule, Per Jovem, Dispeream, Aedepol, Per Styga, Pro Jupiter and other such Latin swearwords, I put those that are used by our good old lads, that is Morbieu, Sambieu, Je puisse mourir… to better translate and characterize the emotion of the speaker rather than his own words.
Similarly, I used “Beaune wine” instead of “Falernian wine” so that it seemed more familiar and understandable to you. I also wished to relate the god Proteus to our own maître Gonin to better make you see who Proteus actually is. As regards the songs that Cupido sings in the third dialogue, there were some lyrical verses about love affairs that I chose to replace with songs of our times since they would be as appropriate as the Latin lyrical verses which would not have been as full of grace if I had translated them.
So I send you the text as is, but on the condition that you refrain from giving a copy to anybody so that it does not fall in to the hands of those who are connected to printing, an art that originally brought many advantages to the world of letters but now – because it has become to common – makes it so that what is printed has less grace and is less admired than if it had remained a simple manuscript, even if the printing of the text seems clean and correct.
I will send you many other good things if I learn that you have not found this one too bad.
Farewell dear friend, may God keep you in his grace and give you whatever your little heart desires.