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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M5v p186]

Captivus ob gulam.

Caught by greed

Regnator penus, & mensae corrosor[1] herilis
Ostrea mus summis vidit hiulca labris.
Queis teneram apponens barbam falsa ossa momordit,
Illa recluserunt[2] tacta repentè domum.
Deprensum & tetro tenuerunt carcere furem,
Semet in obscurum qui dederat tumulum.[3]

A mouse, king of the pantry, nibbler at the master’s table, saw oysters with their shells just slightly open. Applying his sensitive whiskers, he nibbled the deceptive bone. The oysters, when touched, suddenly slammed shut their house and held the thief, caught red-handed, in a noisome prison, a thief who had put himself into a lightless tomb.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M6r p187]

Prins pour la gueule.

Une huitre en son escaille estant,
Entreouverte (comme il advient)
Fut ung jour la souris sentant,
Qui pour sa chair ronger survient.
Lors de sestraindre luy souvient.
La souris est au groing surprise.
Tel chastoy aux gloutons convient,
Qui tousjours font chatte entreprise.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: Regnatorque penus, mensaeque arrosor.

2.  Textual variant: Ast ea clauserunt.

3.  This poem is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.86.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D6v]

ΑΝΤΈΡΩΣ AMOR VIRTU
tis alium cupidinem superans.

Anteros, Love of Virtue, conquering the other Love.

Aligerum aligeroque inimicum pinxit amori
Arcu arcum atque ignes igne domans Nemesis[1]
Ut quae aliis fecit patiatur, at hic puer olim,
Intrepidus gestans tela[2] miser lachrymat.
Ter spuit inque sinus imos[3] (res mira) crematur,
Igne ignis furias odit amoris amor.

Nemesis has fashioned a form with wings, a foe to Love with his wings, subduing bow with bow and flames with flame, so that Love may suffer what he has done to others. But this boy, once so bold when he was carrying his arrows, now weeps in misery and has spat three times low on his breast. A wondrous thing - fire is being burned with fire, Love is loathing the frenzies of Love.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.251. The punishment of Cupid (Amor) for the hurt he inflicts on men is a common theme in Hellenistic Greek poetry and art. This punishment is often carried out by Nemesis, goddess of retribution. Cupid’s arrows and torch are taken from him and destroyed, and he himself is bound, beaten, burned, and pricked with his own arrows.

2.  ‘when he was carrying his arrows’. The corresponding line of the Greek text reads γευσάμενος βελέων, ‘getting a taste of the arrows’, and Alciato probably wrote here gustans tela, ‘tasting the arrows’, though this reading is not attested in the editions. Velius’ translation of the same poem in Selecta epigrammata reads expertus spicula, ‘experiencing the darts’.

3.  ‘has spat three times low on his breast’. This is a charm to avert the anger of Nemesis for some overbold thought or action. See Erasmus, Adagia 594, In tuum ipsius sinum inspue.


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