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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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PAREM DELINQUENTIS, ET
suasoris culpam esse.

The one who urges wrongdoing is as guilty as the one who does the wrong

Emblema 172.

Praeconem lituo perflantem classica victrix
Captivum in tetro carcere turma tenet.
Queis ille excusat, quod nec sit strenuus armis,
Ullius aut saevo laeserit ense latus.
Huic illi: Quin ipse magis timidissime peccas,
Qui clangore alios aeris in arma cies.[1]

The victorious troop holds captive in a foul dungeon a herald, who sounds military commands on his trumpet. To them he makes his excuses - he is no strong fighting man and has wounded no one’s side with a cruel sword. They reply: You abject coward, you are in fact more guilty, for you with the sound of your trumpet stir up others to fight.

Notes:

1.  This is a version of Aesop, Fables 325.


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