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IN FERTILITATEM[1] SIBI IPSI
DAMNOSAM.

Fruitfulness bringing its own destruction

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Ludibrium pueris lapides iacientibus hoc me,
In trivio posuit rustica cura nucem.
Quae laceris ramis perstrictoque ardua libro,
Certatim fundis per latus omne petor.
Quid sterili posset contingere turpius? eheu,
Infoelix fructus in mea damna fero.[2]

A countryman’s care placed me, a nut tree, at this cross-roads, where I am the butt of stone-throwing boys. I have grown tall, but my branches are broken, my bark bruised, I am attacked with sling-stones, competing on every side. What worse fate could befall a barren tree? Alas, cursed tree that I am, I bear fruit to my own destruction.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: foecunditatem.

2.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.3, see also Aesop, Fables 152.


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IUSTA VINDICTA.

Just recompense

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Dum resydet cyclops sinuosi in faucibus antri,
Haec secum teneras concinit inter oves.
Pascite vos herbas, sociis ego pascar Achivis
Postremumque utin viscera nostra ferent
Audiit haec Ithacus Cyclopaque lumine cassum
Reddidit, en poenas ut suus author habet[1]. [2]

Sitting in the mouth of his arching cave, the Cyclops sang thus to himself amidst his gentle sheep: Do you feed on grass; I shall feed on the Greek companions, and last of all my belly shall get No-man. The man from Ithaca heard this and made the Cyclops eyeless. See how the one who plotted misfortune collects it himself!

Notes:

1.  A proverbial sentiment: cf. Erasmus, Adagia 3091, Di tibi dent tuam mentem.

2.  For the story of Ulysses (the man from Ithaca) in the Cyclops’ cave and his escape by blinding the Cyclops, see Homer, Odyssey 9.177 ff. Ulysses had told the Cyclops his name was No-man. (Utis l. 4).


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