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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n2v p196]

Ignavi.

Good for nothing

XXI.

Ignavi aerdeolam stellarem[1] effingere servi
Et studia, & mores fabula prisca fuit,
Quae famulum Asteria[2] volucris sumpsisse figuram
Est commenta, fides sit penes historicos.
Degener hic veluti qui caevet in aëre falco est
Dictus ab antiquis vatibus ardelio.[3]

There was an old story to the effect that the little starred heron displays the activities and character of a good-for-nothing slave, a story which alleged that the slave Asterias took the form of a bird. Let the [natural] historians vouch for this. This sort of despicable person is like the kestrel quivering in one place in the air, a person called a fussing busybody by the ancient poets.

Notes:

1.  The ‘little starred heron’, which, according to the story, had once been human and a slave, was, because of its sluggish nature, called ocnus, i.e. ‘idleness’. Cf. Emblem 17 ([A56a017]). As it understood human speech, it hated to be called this, or ‘slave’. See Pausanias, 10.29.2; Aelian, De natura animalium 5.36; Aristotle, Historia animalium, 9.18.617.

2.  Asterias, ‘starred’, is the Greek name for ardea stellaris, possibly a bittern.

3.  ardelio: ‘a fussing busybody’. See Martial, Epigrams, 2.7.7.; 4.78.9: Phaedrus, Fables, 2.5.1. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 543, Callipides, on someone who expends a great deal of energy achieving nothing.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n1r p193]

    Male parta male dila-
    buntur.[1]

    Ill gotten, ill spent

    XIII.

    Miluus edax,[2] nimiae quem nausea torserat escae,
    Hei mihi mater ait viscera ab ore fluunt.
    Illa autem, quid fles? cur haec tua viscera credas,
    Qui rapto vivens sola aliena vomis?

    A voracious kite, which had eaten too much, was racked with vomiting. ‘O dear, mother’, it said, ‘entrails are pouring out of my mouth.’ She however replied: ‘What are you crying about? Why do you think these are your entrails? You live by plunder and vomit only what belongs to others.’

    Notes:

    1.  The title is proverbial. See Cicero, Philippics, 2.65.

    2.  ‘A voracious kite’. The kite was a figure of greed and extortion.


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