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DOCTOS DOCTIS OB-
loqui nefas esse.

It is wicked for scholars to wrangle with other scholars

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F1r]

Quid rapis heu progne vocalem saeva cicadam,
Pignoribusque tuis fercula dira paras?[1]
Ac stridula stridulam[2], vernam verna hospita laedis,
Hospitam, & aligeram penniger ales avem?
Ergo abiice hanc praedam, nam musica pectora summum est,
Alterum ab alterius dente perire nefas.

Alas, Procne, why, cruel bird, do you sieze on the melodious cicada and prepare a dreadful banquet for your young? A whistler yourself, you harm the shrill singer; a summer visitor, you hurt another fine-weather caller; a guest, you harm a guest; a feathered bird, you hurt another winged creature. So let this prize go. It is the greatest sin for hearts devoted to the Muses to perish by one another’s tooth.

Notes:

1.  The reference is to the legend of Procne’s metamorphosis into a swallow. See [A50a070]. For swallows catching cicadas, see Aelian, De natura animalium 8.6.

2.  Textual variant: Stridula stridentem.


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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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