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Cuculi.

Cuckoos

Emblema lxi [=lx] .

Ruricolas, agreste genus, plerique cucullos
Cur vocitent, quaenam prodita caussa fuit?[1]
Vere novo cantat Coccyx, quo tempore vites
Qui non absolvit, iure vocatur iners.
Fert ova in nidos alienos, qualiter ille
Cui thalamum prodit uxor adulterio.

Whatever explanation has been given for the custom of calling country-dwellers, that rustic race, ‘cuckoos’? - When spring is new, the cuckoo calls, and anyone who has not pruned his vines by this time is rightly blamed for being idle. The cuckoo desposits its eggs in other birds’ nests, like the man on whose account a wife betrays her marriage bed in adultery.

CUculi nomen abusivè in eos traductum est, quo-
rum impudicae sunt uxores: cùm ii contrà cucu-
li potius vocari debeant, qui uxores alienas adul-
terant, spectato nimirum avis ingenio quae sua ova
in nidis alienis ponere soleat.

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Les Coucuz.

JE ne sçaurois penser à quoy
De vray, ny comment, ny pourquoy
On nomme Coucus és villages
Aucuns aggrestes personnages.
Quand le Coucu chante au printemps,
Et que quelque homme oisif à temps
N’a taillé en tout point sa vigne,
Noté est de ce nom insigne.
Le Coucu pond au nid d’autruy:
Et tout de mesme faict celuy
Qui s’accouple à femme mal sage,
Faulsant l’honneur du mariage.

LE nom du Coucu est abusivement em-
ployé à l’endroit des maris qui ont des
femmes impudiques: veu qu’au contraire
ceux doivent à meilleure raison estre nom-
mez Coucuz, qui abusent les femmes d’au-
truy, eu esgard au naturel de l’oiseau qui
coustumierement pond ses oeufs aux nid des
autres.

Notes:

1.  See Pliny, Natural History, 18.66.249, and Horace, Satires, 1.7.31, for the use of the word ‘cuckoo’ as term of mockery for the idle man who has failed to finish pruning his vines before the cuckoo is heard calling.


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