Il rasoio vanitoso e borioso

di Leonardo Da Vinci

 

 

Uscendo un giorno il rasoio di quel manico col quale si fa guaina a sé medesimo, e postosi al sole, vide lo sole ispecchiarsi nel suo corpo: della qual cosa prese somma groria, e rivolto col pensiero indirieto, cominciò con seco medesimo a dire: “Or tornerò io più a quella bottega, della quale novamente uscito sono? Certo no. Non piaccia agli Dei, che sì splendida bellezza caggia in tanta viltà d’animo! Che pazzia sarebbe quella la qual mi conducessi a radere le insaponate barbe de’ rustichi villani e fare sì meccaniche operazione? Or è questo corpo da simili esercizi? Certo no. Io mi vogli[o] nascondere in qualche occulto loco, e lì con tranquillo riposo passare la mia vita”.

E così, nascosto per alquanti mesi, un giorno ritornato all’aria, e uscito fori della sua guaina, vide sé essere fatto a similitudine d’una rugginente sega, e la sua superficie non ispecchiare più lo splendente sole. Con vano pentimento indarno pianse lo inreparabile danno, con seco dicendo: “O quan[to] meglio era esercitare col barbiere il mi’ perduto taglio di tanta sottilità. Dov’è la lustrante superfizie? Certo la fastidiosa e brutta ruggine l’ha consumata”.

Questo medesimo accade nelli ingegni, che ‘n iscambio dello esercizio, si dànno all’ozio, i quali, a similitudine del sopradetto rasoio, perde la tagliente sua suttilità e la ruggine dell’ ignoranzia guasta la sua forma.

The vain and arrogant razor

by Leonardo Da Vinci

 

 

One day a razor was raised from the handle that acted as its protective sheath and was set in the sunlight. It saw the sun reflected in its body and was so taken with its own splendor that it started to think: “Am I to go back to that barber’s shop? Of course not. The Gods would never want such sublime beauty to become disheartened!  What madness could drive me to shave the soapy beards of country bumpkins, and carry out such menial tasks? Is this fine body suited for such undertakings? Of course not. I wish to take cover in some secret place, and spend my life there in quiet repose.”

And so, the razor remained hidden for many months, and one day it returned to the light for some air. As soon as it raised itself from its sheath, it noticed that it looked very much like a rusty saw, and that its blade no longer reflected the shimmering sunlight. In vain it repented, and weeping for the irreparable damage it had caused itself said: “Oh, how much better it was to carry out my once precise shaving with the barber, and by so doing keep my blade sharp. What happened to my fine, polished exterior? It was, of course, eaten by the disturbing and dreadful rust.”

This very same thing happens to scholars, who instead of exercising their intellects, prefer idleness. Like the razor, they too give up the cutting subtlety of their intelligence, and allow rusty ignorance to corrode them.

 

 

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

 

Leonardo’s work can be found here: http://www.liberliber.it/libri/l/leonardo/index.php

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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