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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  [M4r p183]

    Les coquus.

    XIX.

    Pourquoy appelle-on les laboureurs coquus?[1]
    Pource que par son chant le coquu tant & plus
    Convainq les laboureurs de leur faineantise,
    Quand la main de bonne heure à leur vigne ils n’ont mise.
    De ce mot de coquu abuse le vulgaire,
    Nommant ainsi celuy dont la femme adultere.

    Commentaires.

    Le coquu commence à chanter au renouveau, &
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M4v p184] par son chant fait le proces aux paresseux. Car ceux
    qui se sont rostis les genoux aupres du feu tout le long
    de l’hyver, se treuvent avoir beaucoup de besoigne
    sur les bras, quand le Printemps est arrivé. Notam-
    ment les laboureurs, lors qu’ils n’ont ny poué, ny pro-
    vigné, ny clos, durant l’hyver. Pour ce qui concerne le
    commun usage en ce qu’il applique ce mot de coqus
    à ceux qui souffrent les adulteres venir baiser leurs
    femmes, il en va tout au rebours: car le coquu ne per-
    met pas qu’on vienne pondre en son nid: au contrai-
    re, ou il pond au nid d’autruy, ou bien il y porte ses
    oeufs.

    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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