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Impossibile.

The impossible

EMBLEMA LIX.

Abluis AEthiopem quid frustra? ah desine: noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit� humana, Fugacit� delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit� (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Les Coquuz.

PROBLEME.

D’ond vient cela, que Lombardz citadins
Nomment coquuz, paysans Contadins?
Le coquu chante au primtemps. L’ors sont ceulx
(Qui n’hont pas faict leurs vignes) paresseux.[1]
Au nid d’aultruy ses oeufz le coquu pose,
Comme qui d’aultre adultere l’espouse.

Coquuz proprement ne sont pas ceulx
qui hont femme ribaulde, mais au contraire
ceulx qui couchent avec la femme d’aul-
truy. Le mot prins sur la nature de L’oy-
seau, qui pont ses oeufz au nid des aultres.

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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