19 june 2011

hoc erat in votis*

This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun scorched bit of land, favored by thistles and by wasps and bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by passers by, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex, and engage in that difficult conversation whose questions and answers have experiment for their language; here, without distant expeditions that take up my time, without tiring rambles that strain my nerves, I could contrive my plans of attack, lay my ambushes and watch their effects at every hour of the day. Hoc erat in votis. Yes, this was my wish, my dream, always cherished, always vanishing into the mists of the future.

- Fabre, The Life of the Fly

* he's echoing Horace, Satire II.vi, but Fabre's ideas of an earthly paradise are rather different from Horace's and much closer to mine.