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EI QUI SEMEL SUA PRO-
degerit aliena credi non
oportere.

Others’ property should not be entrusted to a person who has once squandered his own

Cholchidos in gremio nidum quid congeris? heu
Nescia cur pullos tam male credis avis.
Dira parens Medaea suos saevissima natos
Perdidit, & speras parcat ut illa tuis.[1]

Why do you build your nest in the bosom of the woman from Colchis? Alas, ignorant bird, why do you entrust your nestlings so mistakenly? That frightful mother, Medea, in her savagery slew her own children. Do you expect her to spare yours?

Notes:

1. This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.346, a much-translated epigram, on the subject of a swallow that built her nest on a representation of Medea. Colchidos, ‘of the woman from Colchis’, refers to Medea, from Colchis on the Black Sea, who slew her children by Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to avenge his unfaithfulness. See further [A31a034].


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Ex arduis perpetuum nomen.

Lasting renown won through tribulation

EMBLEMA CXXXII.

Crediderat platani ramis sua pignora passer,
Et bene, ni saevo visa dracone forent.
Glutiit hic pullos omnes, miseramque parentem
Saxeus, & tali dignus obire nece.
Haec, nisi mentitur Calchas, monimenta laboris
Sunt longi, cuius fama perennis eat.[1]

A sparrow had entrusted her young to the branches of a plane-tree, and all would have been well, if they had not been observed by a merciless snake. This creature devoured all the chicks and the hapless parent too, a stony-hearted beast, turned to stone as it deserved. Unless Calchas speaks falsely, these are the tokens of long toil, the fame of which will go on through all the years.

Notes:

1. See Homer, Iliad 2.299ff. for this portent which occurred at Aulis, where the Greek fleet was waiting to sail for Troy. Calchas the seer interpreted the eating of the eight chicks and their mother, followed by the death of the snake, as foretelling the nine-year battle for Troy, followed by success.


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