Old Testament--King James Version
Genesis Chapter 1
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Chapter 2
1. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria.
And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Chapter 3
1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12. And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20. And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Chapter 4
1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
2. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.
And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10. And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
25. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord

http://www.theoi.com/Text/HesiodWorksDays.html Trans. by H. G. EVELYN-WHITE

[42] For the gods keep hidden from men the means of life. Else you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a full year even without working; soon would you put away your rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy mule would run to waste. But Zeus in the anger of his heart hid it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the counsellor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in thunder did not see it. But afterwards Zeus who gathers the clouds said to him in anger:
[54] `Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire -- a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.'
[60] So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.
[69] So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Cronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All Endowed), because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.
[83] But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood.
[90] For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus.

http://www.theoi.com/Text/HesiodWorksTheogony.html Trans. by H. G. EVELYN-WHITE

[507] Now Iapetus took to wife the neat-ankled maid Clymene, daughter of Ocean, and went up with her into one bed. And she bare him a stout-hearted son, Atlas: also she bare very glorious Menoetius and clever Prometheus, full of various wiles, and scatter-brained Epimetheus who from the first was a mischief to men who eat bread; for it was he who first took of Zeus the woman, the maiden whom he had formed. But Menoetius was outrageous, and far-seeing Zeus struck him with a lurid thunderbolt and sent him down to Erebus because of his mad presumption and exceeding pride. And Atlas through hard constraint upholds the wide heaven with unwearying head and arms, standing at the borders of the earth before the clear-voiced Hesperides; for this lot wise Zeus assigned to him. And ready-witted Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains, and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a long-winged eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver; but by night the liver grew as much again everyway as the long-winged bird devoured in the whole day. That bird Heracles, the valiant son of shapely-ankled Alcmene, slew; and delivered the son of Iapetus from the cruel plague, and released him from his affliction -- not without the will of Olympian Zeus who reigns on high, that the glory of Heracles the Theban-born might be yet greater than it was before over the plenteous earth. This, then, he regarded, and honoured his famous son; though he was angry, he ceased from the wrath which he had before because Prometheus matched himself in wit with the almighty son of Cronos.
[545] For when the gods and mortal men had a dispute at Mecone, even then Prometheus was
forward to cut up a great ox and set portions before them, trying to befool the mind of Zeus. Before the rest he set flesh and inner parts thick with fat upon the hide, covering them with an ox paunch; but for Zeus he put the white bones dressed up with cunning art and covered with shining fat. Then the father of men and of gods said to him: "Son of Iapetus, most glorious of all lords, good sir, how unfairly you have divided the portions!"
[545] So said Zeus whose wisdom is everlasting, rebuking him. But wily Prometheus answered him, smiling softly and not forgetting his cunning trick: "Zeus, most glorious and greatest of the eternal gods, take which ever of these portions your heart within you bids." So he said, thinking trickery. But Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, saw and failed not to perceive the trick, and in his heart he thought mischief against mortal men which also was to be fulfilled. With both hands he took up the white fat and was angry at heart, and wrath came to his spirit when he saw the white ox-bones craftily tricked out: and because of this the tribes of men upon earth burn white bones to the deathless gods upon fragrant altars.
[558] But Zeus who drives the clouds was greatly vexed and said to him: "Son of Iapetus, clever above all! So, sir, you have not yet forgotten your cunning arts!"
[560] So spake Zeus in anger, whose wisdom is everlasting; and from that time he was always mindful of the trick, and would not give the power of unwearying fire to the Melian21 race of mortal men who live on the earth. But the noble son of Iapetus outwitted him and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire. Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire; for the very famous Limping God formed of earth the likeness of a shy maiden as the son of Cronos willed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her with silvery raiment, and down from her head she spread with her hands a broidered veil, a wonder to see; and she, Pallas Athene, put about her head lovely garlands, flowers of new-grown herbs. Also she put upon her head a crown of gold which the very famous Limping God made himself and worked with his own hands as a favour to Zeus his father. On it was much curious work, wonderful to see; for of the many creatures which the land and sea rear up, he put most upon it, wonderful things, like living beings with voices: and great beauty shone out from it.
[585] But when he had made the beautiful evil to be the price for the blessing, he brought her out, delighting in the finery which the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had given her, to the place where the other gods and men were. And wonder took hold of the deathless gods and mortal men when they saw that which was sheer guile, not to be withstood by men.
[590] For from her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth. And as in thatched hives bees feed the drones whose nature is to do mischief -- by day and throughout the day until the sun goes down the bees are busy and lay the white combs, while the drones stay at home in the covered skeps and reap the toil of others into their own bellies - even so Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal men, with a nature to do evil. And he gave them a second evil to be the price for the good they had: whoever avoids marriage and the sorrows that women cause, and will not wed, reaches deadly old age without anyone to tend his years, and though he at least has no lack of livelihood while he lives, yet, when he is dead, his kinsfolk divide his possessions amongst them. And as for the man who chooses the lot of marriage and takes a good wife suited to his mind, evil continually contends with good; for whoever happens to have mischievous children, lives always with unceasing grief in his spirit and heart within him; and this evil cannot be healed.
[613] So it is not possible to deceive or go beyond the will of Zeus; for not even the son of Iapetus, kindly Prometheus, escaped his heavy anger, but of necessity strong bands confined him, although he knew many a wile.

[From The Correspondence of Erasmus / translated by R.A.B. Mynors and D.F.S. Thomson ; annotated by Wallace K. Ferguson Toronto 1974-, vol. 1] Ep. 116 / To Johannes Sixtinus Oxford [November 1499]

This letter records a second discussion on a point of biblical interpretation in which Colet and Erasmus were involved, and, as on the previous occasion
(cf Epp 109-11) found themselves on opposing sides. Colet had apparently invited Erasmus and Prior Richard Charnock to dinner, probably at Magdalen. The company included a theologian and a lawyer, who cannot be otherwise identified, and a number of Fellows. When the biblical discussion had gone on too long and become too serious, Erasmus introduced a lighter note by offering an alternative version of the story of Cain which he seems to have invented on the spot. It has recently been suggested that what Erasmus had done was to turn the myth of Eden into the myth of Prometheus. R. H. Bainton Erasmus of Christendom (New York 1969) 57.


How I wish you had been at that recent feast of ours, as I thought you were going to be, for it was a true feast of reason and no drinking-party. I, at least, have never experienced anything more pleasant, civilized, delicious. ... [But] While there were many subjects on which there was little agreement, we quarrelled particularly fiercely over the following. Colet asserted that the sin by which [25] Cain first angered God was that, as though he lacked faith in the Creator's good will and placed too much trust in his own efforts, he was the first to plough the earth, whereas Abel pastured his sheep, in contentment with things that grew of themselves. Two of us argued separately against this, the theologian using syllogistic logic while I employed the methods of [30] rhetoric. The Greeks maintain that Hercules himself cannot fight against two; yet Colet, single-handed, had the better of us all. He seemed to become intoxicated with a sort of holy frenzy, and to exhibit in his bearing something of superhuman exaltation and majesty. His voice was altered, his eyes had a different look, and his features and expression were transformed; he [35] 'greater seemed, possessed by deity.'
In the end, since the discussion had gone on rather long and had become too serious and too rigorous to suit a dinner party, I decided to play my part, that is, the part of a poet, with the object of getting rid of this contentious argument and introducing some gaiety into the meal. And so, [40] 'This,' I said, 'is a most ancient subject, for which we have to consult the very oldest authorities. I will tell you what I have found out about it in the course of my own reading, if you first promise me that you will not regard what I am about to tell you as fictitious.' When they had promised, I said: 'Once upon a time I came upon an extremely old book; its title and author's [45] name had been effaced by time and eaten away by worms, those perpetual enemies of sound learning. In it there was one page that had not either rotted away or been gnawed to shreds by worms or mice (because, I believe, the Muses always guard their own property), and I can remember reading there an account, either true or, if not, at least a very plausible approxima- [50] tion to the truth, of the very subject you are fighting about; and I will tell it to you if you like.'
They asked me to do so, and I began: 'This Cain,' said I, 'was not merely a hard worker but greedy and avaricious as well. Now, he had often heard his parents say that in the paradise they had been forced to leave [55] bountiful crops grew of their own accord, with ears of generous size and enormous seeds and stalks so tall that they matched an alder tree of today, and not a tare or thorn or thistle growing among them. He laid this well to heart and, as he observed that the soil he was working at the time grudged him even a mean and meagre crop, he added a dash of cunning [60] to his hard work. Approaching the angel who stood watch over the gate of the garden, and laying siege to him with artful tricks, he managed, by making extravagant promises, to persuade the angel secretly to make him a gift of just a very few seeds from its more abundant harvests. He claimed that God had ceased to pay heed or attention to the matter for some time past, [65] and that, even if he were to find out, it would be easy for the angel to escape punishment as it was an affair of no consequence so long as hands were not laid upon the actual fruit, to which alone God's prohibition under penalty had applied.
"Now, then," he said, "you ought not to show an excess of zeal in your [70] capacity as gatekeeper. What if your over-conscientiousness is positively unwelcome to the Lord, and he wishes you to be deceived and is likely to be more gratified when mankind displays brains and hard work then idleness and sloth? Do you get any satisfaction from your present post? God has turned you from an angel into an executioner so that you might cruelly [75] keep us poor, lost creatures out of our fatherland. He has chained you to the door, sword and all, a function that we have begun lately to assign to dogs.
It is true that we are most unhappy, but it seems to me that you yourself are in considerably worse case; for, while we are deprived of the garden for tasting too-sweet fruit, you for your part have to miss both Heaven and [80] garden alike, in order to keep us out, and are more wretched than we, inasmuch as we at least can wander hither and yon wherever we choose. And, in case you are unaware of this, even the place we dwell in now contains within it means of solacing our exile: 'groves of vivid green foliage and trees of myriad kinds for some of which we have hardly as yet found names; little [85] streams that gush from hills and cliffs everywhere; rivers of clear bright water lapping on grassy banks; soaring mountains, shady glens, and teeming seas. And I feel sure that deep inside the inward parts of the earth there lies concealed some precious commodity; to dig this up I will investigate every vein of Earth's body or, if my own life suffice not, at least my descen-[90] dants will do so. Here, too, there are golden apples, plump figs, and crops in great variety; and so profusely do many things spring up uncultivated that, could we but live here forever, we should not miss your garden much. Disease indeed attacks us, but man's industry will find a remedy even for this. I observe that there are herbs exhaling marvellous properties. What [95] if some herb can be found, in this same world of ours, to make life immortal? For I cannot see the importance of your tree of knowledge, and what concern have I with matters that are irrelevant to me? Still, I shall persevere in this endeavour, for there is nothing that will not yield to determined application. Thus, while we have obtained the wide, wide world in exchange for [100] a single narrow garden, you, banished from both of them, enjoying neither garden nor Heaven nor earth, chained for ever to this door, and endlessly waving your sword, are but fencing with the wind! Very well then, why not be sensible and act in your own interest as well as ours? Give us what you can give without any loss to yourself, and take in exchange the things [105] we are offering to share with you. Let our unhappiness, our banishment, our condemnation arouse sympathy in you who are unhappy, banished, and under a still worse damnation."
Cain won his wicked case - a thoroughly bad man, but a consummate orator. He took the handful of seeds, surreptitiously given, and buried [110] them with care. They grew up and multiplied; again he sowed the seed and yet again, and so on, until before many seasons had elapsed he had filled a vast and extensive area of farmland with this seed-crop; until it became too obvious to escape the eye of Heaven, and God was greatly angered. And God said, "So far as I can see, this thief enjoys toil and sweat; and with these [115] things shall he be surfeited." No sooner said than done; God sent upon the crop a horde of ants, weevils, toads, caterpillars, mice, locusts, swine, birds, and other plagues of the kind, to eat up the harvest either in the seed or in the blade or in the ear or in the barn. And from Heaven, besides, came a disastrous hailstorm and winds so strong that the grain-stalks, thick as [120] the trunks of oaks, snapped like dry and brittle straw. The angel was replaced by another sentinel, and was clothed in a human body for his sympathy with mankind. And when Cain endeavoured to atone for it to God by making a burnt offering of his crops the smoke arose not to Heaven, so Cain fell into despair for he saw that God's anger was not to be appeased.' [125] This then, Sixtinus, is the story, told over our cups and born among the cups - even born of the cups, if you like - which I decided to set down for you; firstly in order to avoid an empty letter, for I recognized that it was my turn to write to you since I received your letter after I sent you one, and secondly to make sure that you had at least some share in that delightful [130 dinner-party. Farewell. Oxford [1499]

116:3 feast of reason] Erasmus plays on the word 'conviviurn' (literally, 'living together'), contrasting it with 'symposium' (literally 'drinking together'), although the two words are, in common usage, practically synonymous.
31 Hercules] Adagia
I v 39
36 'greater ... deity'] Virgil Aeneid 6.49-50
109-10 bad man ... consummate orator] Erasmus alludes to, and jokingly rebuts, Cato's definition of an orator as 'a good man, skilled in speaking.' Cicero De oratore 2.85: Quintilian Institutio oratoria 1. Praef. 9

[Erasmus prefers an allegorical reading of the Prometheus story to a literal reading of Genesis 1-3 in his Enchiridion Militis Christiani (1503), Opera Omnia (Leiden, 1703-06), 5.29.]