Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[Ee7v f223v]


Good for nothing

Emblema 82.

Ignavi ardeolam stellarem[1] effingere servi
Et studia, & mores fabula prisca fuit:
Quae famulum Asteriam[2] volucris sumpsisse figuram
Est commenta, fides sit penes historicos.
Degener hic veluti qui cevet in aere falco est,
Dictus ab antiquis vatibus ardelio.[3]

There was an old story to the effect that the little starred heron displays the activities and character of a good-for-nothing slave, a story which alleged that the slave Asterias took the form of a bird. Let the [natural] historians vouch for this. This sort of despicable person is like the kestrel quivering in one place in the air, a person called a fussing busybody by the ancient poets.


1.The ‘little starred heron’, which, according to the story, had once been human and a slave, was, because of its sluggish nature, called ocnus, i.e. ‘idleness’. Cf. Emblem 90 ([A15a090]). As it understood human speech, it hated to be called this, or ‘slave’. See Pausanias, 10.29.2; Aelian, De natura animalium 5.36; Aristotle, Historia animalium, 9.18.617.

2.Asterias, ‘starred’, is the Greek name for ardea stellaris, possibly a bittern.

3.ardelio: ‘a fussing busybody’. See Martial, Epigrams, 2.7.7.; 4.78.9: Phaedrus, Fables, 2.5.1. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 543, Callipides, on someone who expends a great deal of energy achieving nothing.

To view the commentary for this emblem, press the link to the facsimile image of this page above, and thereafter use the 'Next facsimile' and 'Previous facsimile' links to navigate through the commentary.

Related Emblems

Show related emblems Show related emblems

Hint: You can set whether related emblems are displayed by default on the preferences page

Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.


Back to top