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Qui alta contemplatur[1]
cadere.

He who contemplates the heights comes to grief

LXXXIII.

Dum turdos visco, pedica dum fallit alaudas,
Et iacta altivolam figit harundo gruem,
Dipsada non prudens auceps pede perculit: ultrix
Illa mali, emissum virus ab ore iacit.
Sic obit extento qui sydera respicit arcu,
Securus fati quod iacet ante pedes.[2]

While he tricks thrushes with bird-lime, larks with snares, while his speeding shaft pierces the high-flying crane, the careless bird-hunter steps on a snake; avenging the injury, it spits the darting venom from its jaws. So he dies, a man who gazes at the stars with bow at the ready, oblivious of the mishap lying before his feet.

COMMENTARIA.

Auceps quidam dum turdis visco & alau-
dis pedica, laqueis quibus pedibus capiuntur
insidiatur, dumque sagitta volantem gruem
transfigere cupit, imprudens pedibus pressit
iacentem in herbis Dipsadam (colubris seu
serpentis genus est morsu suo inextinguibi-
lem sitim adferens: ut Lucanus lib. 9.) quae do-
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [i6r p139]lore irrita ulciscitur, oreque venenoso momor-
dit eum, sic ille parum providus, qui dum ar-
cu extenso insublimi alterum venari vult, pe-
riculum ante pedes non considerans, ipse pe-
rit. Similis extat fabella Aesopica de Aucupe
& Vipera. Fertur huiusmodi fer de Thalete
Philosopho clarissimo, qui prius Astrologiae
inventor, eiusque peritissimus fuit, cm nocte
quadam vetula ut astra contemplaretur ex-
tra domum ductus in foveam incidit, quem
lugentem derisit anus, dicens quomodo
Thales quae alto in coelo sunt agnosces, cm
ea quae ante pedes adsunt considerare ne-
queas? enarrat inter alios Diogenes Lartius li-
bro 1. de vita Philosophorum.

Notes:

1. Other editions read contemplantur (plural).

2. See Anthologia graeca 7.172 and Aesop, Fables 137.


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