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Cheesemaking. Medieval manuscript illumination

EPIGRAM 92.

"O
F BOOKS AND CHEESE."


No two things in all things can seem only one;
Because two things so must be one thing alone.
Howbeit, reading of books and eating of cheese,
No two things, for some things, more like one than these.
The talent1 of one cheese in mouths of ten men
Hath ten different tastes in judgment—most times when
He saith "'tis too salt2"; he saith "'tis too fresh3";
He saith "'tis too hard"; he saith"'tis too nesh.4"
"It is too strong of the rennet," saith he;
"It is," he saith, "not strong enough for me."
"It is," saith another, "well as can be."
No two of any ten in one can agree;
And, as they judge of cheese, so judge they of books.
Onlookers on which, who that narrowly looks,
May look for this: Saith he, "that book is too long."
"'Tis too short," saith he. "Nay," saith he, "ye say wrong,
'Tis of meet5 length; and, so fine phrase, or fair style,
The like that book was not made a good while;
And, in touching the truth, invincibly wrought."
"'Tis all lies," saith another, "the book is nought."
No book, no cheese, be it good, be it bad,
But praise and dispraise it hath, and hath had.


[AJ Notes:]
1. Unique quality.
2. Salty.
3. Not aged enough; too mild.
4. Soft.
5. Befitting.



Source:
Farmer, John S., ed. The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood.
London: Early English Drama Society, 1906. 150-151.




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