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IN PARASITOS.

Professional spongers

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Quos tibi donamus fluviatiles accipe cancros,
Munera conveniunt moribus ista tuis.
His oculi vigiles, & forfice plurimus ordo,
Chelarum armatus, maximaque alvus adest.
Sic tibi propensus stat pingui ab domino [=abdomine] venter,
Pernicesque pedes, spiculaque apta pedi.
Cum vagus in triviis, mensaeque sedilibus erras,
Inque alios mordax scommata salsa iacis.[1]

Receive these river crabs which we present to you. These gifts match your character. They have watchful eyes, and a great row of claws armed with a pincer, and a huge gut is there. You too have a protruding belly with fat paunch, scuttling feet and sharp weapons on them, as you hang about the crossroads or move among the seats at table, and maliciously shoot your stinging, witty jibes.

Notes:

1.  Variant reading, scommata falsa, ‘libellous witticisms’


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OBDURANDUM ADVER-
sus urgentia.

Stand firm against pressure

Nititur in pondus palma & consurgit in arcum
Quo magis & premitur hoc mage tollit onus.[1]
Fert & odoratas bellaria dulcia glandes,[2]
Quis mensas inter primus habetur honos.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B3v]I puer & reptans ramis has collige, mentis
Qui constantis erit, praemia digna feret.

The wood of the palm-tree counteracts a weight and rises up into an arch. The heavier the burden pressing it down, the more it lifts it up. The palm-tree also bears fragrant dates, sweet dainties much valued when served at table. Go, boy, edge your way along the branches and gather them. The man who shows a resolute spirit will receive an appropriate reward.

Notes:

1.  The reaction of palm to a heavy weight is mentioned in various ancient sources, e.g. Pliny, Natural History 16.81.223; Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 3.6. See also Erasmus, Parabolae p.263. It probably refers to a plank of palm-wood, rather than a branch of the living tree. A similar image is used in La Perriere, Morosophie, no. 83 ([FLPb083]).

2.  See Erasmus, Parabolae p.241: ‘the palm-tree, having bark with knife-sharp edges, is difficult to climb, but it bears delicious fruit’.


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