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Bonis ā divitibus nihil timendum.

The good have nothing to fear from the rich

Iunctus contiguo Marius mihi pariete, nec non
Subbardus[1] nostri nomina nota fori.[2]
Aedificant bene nummati, sataguntque vel ultrō
Obstruere heu nostris undique luminibus.
Me miserum geminae quem tanquam Phinea raptant
Harpyiae,[3] ut propriis sedibus eiiciant.
Integritas nostra, atque animus quaesitor honesti,[4]
His nisi sint Zetes, his nisi sint Calais.

Marius is joined to me by a connecting wall, and so is Subbardus, names well-known in our little community. Having plenty of cash, they are building, and what’s more, busily doing their best, without any provocation on my part, to block my windows, alas, on every side. What a plight I am in - I am like Phineus, attacked by two Harpies, trying to throw me out of my own home, unless my integrity, my mind that is a seeker of the right, act as my Zetes and my Calais against them.

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Bons ne doivent craindre les riches.

Mes voisins Maire & Subardus,
Ont ja tant hault edifie:
Quilz rendront mes manoirs perdus:
Car mon jour ont rarifie.
Dont ay besoing destre affie,
De Calais & de zetes,
Fors pour Harpies deffier,
Et pour chasser malaises tels.


1.  Marius, the typical self-made man (referring to humble origins of Gaius Marius, the consul and general). Subbardus, possibly ‘Mr. Thick’.

2.  nostri...fori, ‘in our little community’, probably a reference to the forum in any Roman town as a centre of commercial and legal activities. So these are businessmen or lawyers, possibly the second, as they are acting illegally on several counts.

3.  The Harpies, symbols of injustice, were carrying off or soiling Phineus’ food so that he could not eat. He was delivered by Zetes and Calais, the winged sons of the North Wind and Oreithyia. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.711-7.4.

4.  Integritas...quaesitor. These words (‘integrity’, ‘seeker’) are probably a punning reference to supposed etymologies of Calais and Zetes as if derived from Greek kalos ‘beautiful, good’ and zetein ‘to seek’. For the sentiment of lines 7 - 8, cf. Horace, Odes 1.22.1-2: he whose life is blameless and who knows no sin has no need of Moorish weapons.

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