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QUI ALTA CONTEMPLAN-
tur cadere.

Those who contemplate the heights come to grief

Dum Turdos visco, pedica dum fallit Alaudas,
Et iactam [=iacta] altivolam figit harundo gruem.
Dipsada non prudens auceps pede perculit ultrix,
Illa mali emissum virus ab ore iacit.
Sic obit extento qui sydera respicit arcu,
Securus fati quod iacet ante pedes.[1]

While he tricks thrushes with bird-lime, larks with snares, while his speeding shaft pierces the high-flying crane, the careless bird-hunter steps on a snake; avenging the injury, it spits the darting venom from its jaws. So he dies, a man who gazes at the stars with bow at the ready, oblivious of the mishap lying before his feet.

Notes:

1.  See Anthologia graeca 7.172 and Aesop, Fables 137.


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DIVES INDOCTUS.

The stupid rich man

Tranat aquas residens precioso in vellere Phrixus,
Et flavam impavidus per mare scandit ovem.
Ecquid id est? vir sensu hebeti, sed divite gaza,
Coniugis aut servi quem regit arbitrium.[1]

Phrixus traverses the waters astride the precious fleece and fearlessly rides the golden sheep across the sea. - Whatever can this be? - A man dull of sense, but with rich coffers, whom the whim of wife or servant rules.

Notes:

1.  For the story of Phrixus and the Golden Fleece see Ovid, Fastii 3.851ff.


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