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Words About Loving Maps From Ludovico Ariosto

November 16, 2017

I love maps.  Always have.

As a young boy after school I would lay down on our dining room floor and open a large hard-covered atlas.  Then I would get out our daily newspaper and locate names of places around the world I did not know and search for their locations.   That amusement with maps, and the information they impart has never diminished.

Today while reading The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester I came across a poem written by Ludovico Ariosto in the 1400’s which spoke to me with clarity and beauty.

Let  him wander who desires to wander.

Let him see England, Hungary, France and Spain.

I am content to live in my native land.

I have seen Tuscany, Lombardi, and the Romagna, and the mountain range that divides Italy, and the one that locks her in, and both the seas that wash her.

And that is quite enough for me.

Without ever paying an inn keeper I will go exploring the rest of the world with Ptolemy, whether the world be at peace or else at war.

Without ever making vows when the heavens flash with lightening, I will go bounding over all the seas, more secure aboard my maps than aboard ships.

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