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BONIS A DIVITIBUS nihil
timendum.

The good have nothing to fear from the rich

Iunctus contiguo Marius, mihi pariete, nec non,
Subbardus[1] nostri nomina nota fori.[2]
Aedificant bene nummati, sattaguntque vel ultro,
Obstruere heu nostris undique luminibus.
Me miserum geminae, quem tamquam phinea restant [=raptant]
Harpyae,[3] ut propriis sedibus eiiciant.
Integritas vestra [=nostra] , atque animus quesitor honesti,[4]
His nisi sunt [=sisnt] Zetes, his nisi sint Calais.

Marius is joined to me by a connecting wall, and so is Subbardus, names well-known in our little community. Having plenty of cash, they are building, and what’s more, busily doing their best, without any provocation on my part, to block my windows, alas, on every side. What a plight I am in - I am like Phineus, attacked by two Harpies, trying to throw me out of my own home, unless my integrity, my mind that is a seeker of the right, act as my Zetes and my Calais against them.

Notes:

1.Marius, the typical self-made man (referring to humble origins of Gaius Marius, the consul and general). Subbardus, possibly ‘Mr. Thick’.

2.nostri...fori, ‘in our little community’, probably a reference to the forum in any Roman town as a centre of commercial and legal activities. So these are businessmen or lawyers, possibly the second, as they are acting illegally on several counts.

3.The Harpies, symbols of injustice, were carrying off or soiling Phineus’ food so that he could not eat. He was delivered by Zetes and Calais, the winged sons of the North Wind and Oreithyia. See e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.711-7.4.

4.Integritas...quaesitor. These words (‘integrity’, ‘seeker’) are probably a punning reference to supposed etymologies of Calais and Zetes as if derived from Greek kalos ‘beautiful, good’ and zetein ‘to seek’. For the sentiment of lines 7 - 8, cf. Horace, Odes 1.22.1-2: he whose life is blameless and who knows no sin has no need of Moorish weapons.


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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[Nn2v p564]

Ex arduis perpetuum nomen.

Lasting renown won through tribulation

EMBLEMA CXXXII.

Crediderat platani ramis sua pignora passer,
Et bene, ni saevo visa dracone forent.
Glutiit hic pullos omnes, miseramque parentem
Saxeus, & tali dignus obire nece.
Haec, nisi mentitur Calchas, monimenta laboris
Sunt longi, cuius fama perennis eat.[1]

A sparrow had entrusted her young to the branches of a plane-tree, and all would have been well, if they had not been observed by a merciless snake. This creature devoured all the chicks and the hapless parent too, a stony-hearted beast, turned to stone as it deserved. Unless Calchas speaks falsely, these are the tokens of long toil, the fame of which will go on through all the years.

Notes:

1.See Homer, Iliad 2.299ff. for this portent which occurred at Aulis, where the Greek fleet was waiting to sail for Troy. Calchas the seer interpreted the eating of the eight chicks and their mother, followed by the death of the snake, as foretelling the nine-year battle for Troy, followed by success.


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