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CUCULI.

Cuckoos

Emblema. 60.

Ruricolas, agreste genus, plerique cuculos
Cur vocitent, quaenam prodita causa fuit?[1]
Vere novo cantat Coccyx, quo tempore vites
Qui non absolvit, iure notatur[2] 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.

Notes:

1. áSee 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.

2. áIn some editions, vocatur for notatur.


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Impossibile.

The impossible

LXXXIIII.

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine, noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

Link to an image of this pageá Link to an image of this page á[i6v p140]

COMMENTARIA.

Aethiops Ó natura nigerrimus, Solis enim
vicinitate suae regionis cremantur. ideoque etiamsi
plurimum lavetur, nigredo tamen non tolli-
tur, & in vanum laboratur, nemo enim un-
quam illustrare poterit obscuras tenebras no
ctis, & in proverbium abiit, Aethiopem la-
vas. Erasmus in Chiliadibus.

Notes:

1. áThis is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit´┐Ż humana, Fugacit´┐Ż delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit´┐Ż (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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