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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E8v]

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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BONIS A 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, sattaguntque vel ultro,
Obstruere heu nostris undique luminibus.
Me miserum geminae, quem tamquam phinea restant [=raptant]
Harpyae,[3] ut propriis sedibus eiiciant.
Integritas vestra [=nostra] , atque animus quesitor honesti,[4]
His nisi sunt [=sisnt] 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.

Notes:

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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