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Ch’al prudente non convengono molti parole.

The prudent should refrain from loquacity.


Athene già per propria insegna tenne
La Civetta di buon consigli uccello.
Questa accettò Minerva (e ben convenne)
Quando la Dea cacciò del santo hostello
La cornacchia; à cui sol quel danno avenne
Di ceder luogo à uccel di lei men bello,
Perche la sciocca fu troppo loquace.
Saggio chi poco parla, e molto tace.


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Prudentes.

The Wise.

Iane bifrons, qui iam transacta futuraque calles,
Quique retro sannas sicut & ante vides, [1]
Tot te cur oculis, tot fingunt vultibus? an quòd
Circunspectum hominem forma fuisse docet?

Two-headed Janus, you know about what has already happened and what is yet to come, you see the jeering faces behind just as you see them in front. Why do they represent you with so many eyes, why with so many faces? Is it because this form tells us that you were a man of circumspection?

Notes:

1.  quique retro sannas, sicut et ante, vides, ‘you see the jeering faces behind just as you see them in front’, a line based on Persius, Satirae, 1.58-62.


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