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Aliquid mali propter vicinum malum.[1]

Misfortune caused by a bad neighbour

EMBLEMA CLXV.

Raptabat torrens ollas, quarum una metallo,
Altera erat figuli terrea facta manu.
Hanc igitur rogat illa, velit sibi proxima ferri,
Iuncta ut praecipites utraque sistat aquas.
Cui lutea, Haud nobis tua sunt commercia curae,
Ne mihi proximitas haec mala multa ferat.
Nam seu te nobis, seu nos tibi conferat unda;
Ipsa ego te fragilis sospite sola terar.

A stream was carrying along two pots, one of which was made of metal, the other formed by the potter’s hand of clay. The metal pot asked the clay one whether it would like to float along close beside it, so that each of them, by uniting with the other, could resist the rushing waters. The clay pot replied: The arrangement you propose does not appeal to me. I am afraid that such proximity will bring many misfortunes upon me.. For whether the wave washes you against me or me against you, I only, being breakable, will be shattered, while you remain unharmed.

Notes:

1. See Avianus, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 32, Aliquid mali propter vicinum malum.


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Iusta ultio.

Just revenge

LXXIIII.

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 succubuitque 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.

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COMMENTARIA.

Corvus avis vorax & furax, cadaveribus at-
que rapinis intentus. Cm autem aduncis suis pe
dibus in praedam avidae gulae rapuisset scorpio-
nem venenosissimum animal de quo Isidorus
qui caudae suae ictu paulatim venenum infun-
dens eius membris ulciscitur, raptoremque infla-
tum interimit. Res ridicula, ut qui aliorum in-
sidiabatur vitae, ipse propriis dolis periit. Simi
lis extat Apologus apud Aesopum de Corvo &
Serpente, hc etiam adagia sumpta, Corvus ser
pentem, & Corvus scorpium, ut in Chiliadibus.

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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