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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n2r p195]

Cuculi.

Cuckoos

XIX.

Ruricolas agreste genus plerique cuculos
Cur vocitent, quaenam prodita causa fuit?[1]
Vere novo cantat Coccyx, quo tempore vites
Qui non absolvit iure notatur iners.
Fert ova in nidos alienos, qualiter ille
Cui thalamum prodit uxor adulterio.

Whatever explanation has been given for the custom of calling country-dwellers, that rustic race, ‘cuckoos’? - When spring is new, the cuckoo calls, and anyone who has not pruned his vines by this time is rightly blamed for being idle. The cuckoo desposits its eggs in other birds’ nests, like the man on whose account a wife betrays her marriage bed in adultery.

Notes:

1.  See Pliny, Natural History, 18.66.249, and Horace, Satires, 1.7.31, for the use of the word ‘cuckoo’ as term of mockery for the idle man who has failed to finish pruning his vines before the cuckoo is heard calling.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B3v f11v]

    Concordia insuperabilis.

    Concord is insuperable

    Tergeminos inter fuerat concordia fratres,
    Tanta simul pietas mutua, & unus amor:
    Invicti humanis ut viribus ampla tenerent
    Regna, uno dicti nomine Geryonis.[1]

    There was concord between triplet brothers, such mutual care, one love between them all; and so, unconquerable by human force, they held wide realms and were called by the one name of Geryones.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a rationalisation of Geryones, the unconquerable giant with three heads or three bodies, who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides, eventually vanquished and killed by Hercules during his abduction of Geryones’ famous cattle. See Emblem 25 ([A46a025]).


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