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EMBLEMA CXXXI.

Inanis impetus.

Antagonism that achieves nothing

Lunarum [=Lunarem] noctu (ut speculum)[1] canis inspicit orbem:
Seque videns, alium credit inesse canem,[2]
Et latrat: sed frustra agitur vox irrita ventis,
Et peragit cursus surda Diana suos.[3]

A dog at night is looking into the moon’s disk as into a mirror and seeing himself, thinks there is another dog there; and he barks - but the sound is carried away, ineffectual, on the winds. Diana, unhearing, pursues her course.

Das CXXXI.

Vergebne mühe.

Als den Mon sach der Hund zu nacht
Und sich drinn als im Spiegel gdacht
Er es wer eins anderß Hunds Bild
Sprang ubersich und stalt sich wild
Aber sein bellen gieng in lufft
War vergebens und gar ein dufft
Der Mon dannoch sein lauff verricht
Last in bellen als ghör ers nicht.

Notes:

1.  For the theory of the moon’s disk as a mirror reflecting things on earth, see Plutarch, De facie in orbe lunae, Moralia, 920ff.

2.  Variant reading: altum credit inesse canem, ‘thinks there is a dog up there’.

3.  Diana is of course goddess of the moon.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7r]

    IUSTA ULTIO.

    Just revenge

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7v]

    Raptabat volucres captum pede corvus in auras,
    Scorpion, audaci praemia parta gulae.
    Ast ille infuso sensim per membra veneno,
    Raptorem in stygias compulit ultor aquas.
    O risu res digna, aliis qui fata parabat,
    Ipse perit, propriis sucubuitque dolis.[1]

    A raven was carrying off into the flying winds a scorpion gripped in its talons, a prize won for its audacious gullet. But the scorpion, injecting its poison drop by drop through the raven’s limbs, despatched the predator to the waters of the Styx and so took its revenge. What a laughable thing! The one who was preparing death for others himself perishes and has succumbed to his own wiles.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a fairly free translation of Anthologia graeca 9.339. See Erasmus, Adagia 58, Cornix scorpium, where the Greek epigram is again translated.


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