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EMBLEMA CLXXV [=174] .

Fatuitas.

Stupidity.

Miraris nostro quòd carmine diceris Otus,[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q4v f111v]Sit vetus à proavis cum tibi nomen Otho.[2]
Aurita est, similes, & habet ceu noctua plumas,[3]
Saltantemque auceps mancipat aptus avem.[4]
Hinc fatuos, captu & faciles, nos dicimus othos,
Hoc tibi conveniens tu quoque nomen habe.

You are surprised that in my poem you are called Otus, when your ancient family name, handed down for generations, is Otho. The otus is eared and has feathers like the little owl. The skilful birdcatcher gets the bird into his power as it dances. For this reason we call stupid people, easy to catch, oti. You too can have this name, which suits you.

Das CLXXV [=174] .

Torheit.

Das ich dich hab gnannt ein Nachtrab
Der du doch heissest der Nachtrab
Und hast den namm von deim Gschlecht her
Verwunderts sich hefftig und sehr
Der Nachtrab am kopff Oren hat
Am Plaum ist er gleich der Eulspat
Der Vogler in zu fahen weist
So er vor im her tantzen heist
Daher wir die törechte Leut
Die andern bald werden zur beut
Nennen Nachtrabn, diesn namen dir
Auch haben solt, der dir gebür.

Notes:

1.  Otus, the long-eared owl.

2.  It is unclear exactly what Alciato is referring to here. As is made clearer by Mignault in the commentary it is not the Emperor Otho (see note 5, below), but the bustard (otis in Latin, otide in French), a large tufted bird that has interesting mating habits, which (following the commentary in the 1615 edition) consists of strutting and preening to such an extent that the bird is easy to catch. It is there likened to a man named Otho known for his haughty manner, who came from an ancient lineage, in which instance Alciato could originally have been referring in a punning manner to Lucius Roscius Otho, a Roman tribune who authored the law that the knights should occupy the premier seats in a theatre and was much abused for it.

3.  See Pliny, Natural History, 11.50.137: only the eagle-owl and the long-eared owl have feathers like ears (the little owl - noctua - does not in fact have ear-tufts).

4.  See Pliny, Natural History, 10.33.68: ‘The otus is an imitator of other birds and a hanger-on, performing a kind of dance; like the little owl, it is easily caught, when its attention is fixed on one person while another person circles round it’. See also Plutarch, Moralia, Bruta animalia ratione uti, 951E.


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    EMBLEMA CLXXIIII [=173] .

    Oblivio paupertatis parens.

    Heedlessness is the mother of poverty.

    Cum lupus esuriens mandit cervarius escam,
    Praeque fame caprum [=captum] devorat hinnuleum,
    Respiciat si forte alio, vel lumina vertat,
    Praesentem oblitus quem tenet ungue cibum.
    Quaeritat incertam (tanta est oblivio) praedam,
    Qui sua neglexit, stulte aliena petit.[1]

    When a starving lynx is eating its meal and in its hunger gnawing a fawn that it has caught, if it happens to look in another direction or turns its eyes aside, it forgets the food it actually has in its claws. So far does its attention wander that it starts hunting a prey that it may not succeed in catching. Foolishly setting no store by what it has, it pursues things that have nothing to do with it.

    Das CLXXIIII [=173] .

    Vergessenheit ist der Armut Vatter

    Ein Hungriger Luchs der gfangn hat
    Ein jung Rechkalb und darob stat
    Wils fressen geitzig darein beist
    Auß hunger, und zustücken reist
    So er sich ohn als gfehrd umbsicht
    Oder sein Augn anderß hin richt
    Vergißt er der speiß so er helt
    Gegnwertig in sein klauwen gfelt
    Und sucht ein ungewisse beut
    So groß ist die vergessenheit
    Der das verseumet und veracht
    Derselb töricht nach andern tracht.

    Notes:

    1.  See Pliny, as given in the commentary. Cf. also Aesop Fables, 204; and Erasmus, Parabolae, pp.234, 250.


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      • beasts of prey, predatory animals: lynx (+ relationship between animals) [25F23(LYNX)(+44)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • beasts of prey, predatory animals: lynx (+ animal with prey) [25F23(LYNX)(+452)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • hoofed animals: deer (+ dying animal; death of animal; dead animal) [25F24(DEER)(+63)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • Oblivion; 'Oblivione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52AA31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • Folly, Foolishness; 'Pazzia', 'Sciocchezza', 'Stoltitia' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52AA51(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • Poverty; 'Povertà', 'Povertà del doni', 'Povertà in uno ch'habbia bell'ingegno' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55BB1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
      • Greed, Covetousness, Cupidity; 'Cupidità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55CC11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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