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IN AVAROS.

On the avaricious

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Septitius populos inter ditissimus omnes,
Arva senex nullus quo magis ampla tenet.
Defraudans geniumque suum, mensasque paratas
Nil praeter betas, duraque rapa vorat
Cui similem dicam hunc, inopem quem copia reddit?
An ne asino? sic est instar hic eius habet.
Nanque asinus dorso preciosa obsonia gestat,
Seque rubo aut dura carice pauper alit.[1]

Septitius is the richest man on earth; no old man has wider estates than he. Mean to himself and his dinner table, he chews nothing but beets and stringy turnips. To what shall I liken a man whose very wealth makes him a beggar? Shall it be an ass? That’s it - he is just like an ass. An ass carries a load of rich delicacies on his back, but, poor creature, feeds itself on brambles and tough grass.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Anthologia graeca 11.397, concerning a miser called Artemidorus.


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IUSTA ULTIO.

Just revenge

Emblema 171

Raptabat volucres captum pede corvus in auras
Scorpion, audaci praemia parta gulae.
Ast ille infuso sensim[1] per membra veneno
Raptorem in stygias compulit ultor aquas.
O risu res digna. aliis qui fata parabat,
Ipse perit, propriis subcubuitque dolis.[2]

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.  Corrected by hand in the Glasgow copy.

2.  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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