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Cuculi.

Cuckoos

Emblema lxi [=lx] .

Ruricolas, agreste genus, plerique cucullos
Cur vocitent, quaenam prodita caussa fuit?[1]
Vere novo cantat Coccyx, quo tempore vites
Qui non absolvit, iure vocatur iners.
Fert ova in nidos alienos, qualiter ille
Cui thalamum prodit uxor adulterio.

Whatever explanation has been given for the custom of calling country-dwellers, that rustic race, ‘cuckoos’? - When spring is new, the cuckoo calls, and anyone who has not pruned his vines by this time is rightly blamed for being idle. The cuckoo desposits its eggs in other birds’ nests, like the man on whose account a wife betrays her marriage bed in adultery.

CUculi nomen abusiv in eos traductum est, quo-
rum impudicae sunt uxores: cm ii contr cucu-
li potius vocari debeant, qui uxores alienas adul-
terant, spectato nimirum avis ingenio quae sua ova
in nidis alienis ponere soleat.

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Les Coucuz.

JE ne saurois penser quoy
De vray, ny comment, ny pourquoy
On nomme Coucus s villages
Aucuns aggrestes personnages.
Quand le Coucu chante au printemps,
Et que quelque homme oisif temps
N’a taill en tout point sa vigne,
Not est de ce nom insigne.
Le Coucu pond au nid d’autruy:
Et tout de mesme faict celuy
Qui s’accouple femme mal sage,
Faulsant l’honneur du mariage.

LE nom du Coucu est abusivement em-
ploy l’endroit des maris qui ont des
femmes impudiques: veu qu’au contraire
ceux doivent meilleure raison estre nom-
mez Coucuz, qui abusent les femmes d’au-
truy, eu esgard au naturel de l’oiseau qui
coustumierement pond ses oeufs aux nid des
autres.

Notes:

1. See Pliny, Natural History, 18.66.249, and Horace, Satires, 1.7.31, for the use of the word ‘cuckoo’ as term of mockery for the idle man who has failed to finish pruning his vines before the cuckoo is heard calling.


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IN TEMERARIOS.

The reckless

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Aspicis aurigam currus phaetonta[1] paterni,
Inguivomos [=Ignivomos] ausum flectere solis equos.
Maxima qui postqum terris incendia sparsit,
Est temere insesso lapsus ab axe miser.
Sic plerique rotis fortunae ad sydera Reges,
Evecti ambitio quos iuvenilis agit.
Pst magnam humani generis clademque suamque,
Cunctorum poenas denique dant scelerum.

You see here Phaethon, driving his father’s chariot, and daring to guide the fire-breathing steeds of the Sun. After spreading great conflagrations over the earth, the wretched boy fell from the car he had so rashly mounted. - Even so, the majority of kings are borne up to heaven on the wheels of Fortune, driven by youth’s ambition. After they have brought great disaster on the human race and themselves, they finally pay the penalty for all their crimes.

Notes:

1. Phaethon, the son of Apollo, the sun-god. The myth referred to here is told in Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.748 - 2.349. Both Phaethon and Icarus ([A31a054]) are types of those who aim too high and do not recognise their proper sphere.


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