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GRATIAM REFERENDAM.

Show gratitude.

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Ario insignis pietate Ciconia nido
Investes pullos pignora grata fovet
Taliaque expectat sibi munera mutua reddi,
Auxilio hoc quoties mater egebit anus.
Nec pia spem soboles fallit, sed fessa parentum
Corpora fert humeris prestat & ore cibos.[1]

The stork, famed for its dutiful care, in its airy nest cherishes its featherless chicks, its dear pledges of love. The mother bird expects that the same kind of service will be shown her in return, whenever she needs such help in her old age. Nor does the dutiful brood disappoint this hope, but bears its parents’ weary bodies on its wings and offers food with its beak.

Notes:

1. See Pliny, Natural History 10.32.63: cranes care for their parents’ old age in their turn. See also Aelian, De natura animalium 3.23.


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Amicitia etiam post mortem durans.[1]

Friendship lasting even beyond death

XII.

Arentem senio, nudam quoque frondibus ulmum,
Complexa est viridi vitis opaca coma.[2]
Agnoscitque vices naturae, & grata parenti
Officii reddit mutua iura suo.
Exemploque monet, tales nos quaerere amicos,
Quos neque disiungat foedere summa dies.

A vine shady with green foliage embraced an elm tree that was dried up with age and bare of leaves. The vine recognises the changes wrought by nature and, ever grateful, renders to the one that reared it the duty it owes in return. By the example it offers, the vine tells us to seek friends of such a sort that not even our final day will uncouple them from the bond of friendship.

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Bestendige, und nimmer zertheylte
freundschafft.

XII.

Der Felber grien, der reben jung
Sein hilff erzaigt, und so er alt,
Und nun die reb in yrem sprung,
Sy lieblich noch sich zu im halt:
Warumb wird die figur gemalt?
Das yeder in der jugent tracht
Nach freund, und gsellen solcher gstalt,
Den er gealtt nit werd veracht.

Notes:

1. See Erasmus’ famous variations on this theme in De copia (CWE 24. pp. 354-64).

2. In ancient Italy young vines were often supported by elm trees. See Vergil, Georgics 1.2.


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