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Section: DESIDIA (Idleness). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[F6r p91]

Ignavi.

Good for nothing

Ignavi ardeolam stellarum[1] effingere servi
Et studia, & mores fabula prisca fuit.
Quae famulum Asteriam[2] volucris sumpsisse figuram:
Est commenta: fides[3] sit penes historicos.
Degener hic veluti qui caevet in aŽre falco est,
Dictus ab antiquis vatibus ardelio.[4]

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.

Notes:

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 91 ([A51a091]). 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.Corrected by hand in the Glasgow copy.

4.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.


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