Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool

I spent too long on this very minor problem. La Mort de Baldassare Silvande, the first story in baby Proust’s Les Plaisirs et Les Jours has as opening epigraph an unsourced quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson – «Apollon gardait les troupeaux d’Admète, disent les poètes; chaque homme aussi est un dieu déguisé qui contrerait le fou.». The notes in both my Pleaide and Folio texts point to Proust using an 1851 translation of Emerson’s essays by Emile Montegut – Essais de philosophie américaine. And the quote is indeed there on page 78 as part of the First Series essay History (Histoire):

Unfortunately, this doesn’t match the much briefer English in my Library of America edition:

The Prometheus Vinctus is the romance of skepticism. Not less true to all time are the details of that stately apologue. Apollo kept the flocks of Admetus, said the poets. When the gods come among men, they are not known. Jesus was not; Socrates and Shakspeare were not. Antaeus was suffocated by the gripe of Hercules, but every time he touched his mother earth his strength was renewed.

But it turns out the LOA edition uses the revised 1847 text, not the original 1841 and the editor didn’t see fit to comment on this significant change in the textual notes. So here is the full 1841 – restoring Montegut’s good name as translator and my equanimity.

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