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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A6r]

IN AVAROS, VEL QUIBUS ME-
lior conditio ab extraneis offertur.

On the avaricious; or being treated better by strangers.

Delphini insidens unda[1] cerula sulcat Arion[2],
Hocque aures mulcet frenat & ora sono.
Quam sit avari hominis, non tam mens dira ferarum est,
Quique viris rapimur, piscibus eripimur.

Astride a dolphin, Arion cleaves the dark blue waves, and with this song charms the creature’s ears and muzzles its mouth: “The mind of wild beasts is not so savage as that of greedy man. We who are savaged by men are saved by fish”.

Notes:

1.  Later editions have vada not unda.

2.  The crew of the ship on which the celebrated musician Arion was travelling, after robbing him, prepared to throw him overboard. He persuaded them to allow him to play his lyre for the last time. Then, after invoking the gods, he jumped into the sea, whereupon a music-loving dolphin conveyed him to land. See Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 16.19.


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Amicitia etiam post mortem
durans.[1]

Friendship lasting even beyond death

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.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C2r]

Amytie durant apres mort.

Au temps que jeune estoit la vigne
Elle fut soustenue de lorme,
(Qui destre ayme se rend bien digne)
A quoy sa vigne fut conforme:
Car au temps quil devint disforme,
Voire mort, sa vigne lembrasse:
Cherchez donc amy de tel forme,
Dont lamour pour mort ne sefface.

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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