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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Ddd5v f397v as 395]

IUSTA ULTIO.

Just revenge

Emblema 171

Raptabat volucres captum pede corvus in auras
Scorpion, audaci praemia parta gulae.
Ast ille infuso sensim[1] per membra veneno
Raptorem in stygias compulit ultor aquas.
O risu res digna. aliis qui fata parabat,
Ipse perit, propriis subcubuitque dolis.[2]

A raven was carrying off into the flying winds a scorpion gripped in its talons, a prize won for its audacious gullet. But the scorpion, injecting its poison drop by drop through the raven’s limbs, despatched the predator to the waters of the Styx and so took its revenge. - What a laughable thing! The one who was preparing death for others himself perishes and has succumbed to his own wiles.

Notes:

1.  Corrected by hand in the Glasgow copy.

2.  This is a fairly free translation of Anthologia graeca 9.339. See Erasmus, Adagia 58, Cornix scorpium, where the Greek epigram is again translated.


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A MINIMIS QUOQUE
timendum.

Beware of even the weakest foe

Bella gerit scarabaeus & hostem provocat ultro,
Robore & inferior consilio superat.
Nam plumis aquile clam se neque cognitus abdit,
Hostilem ut nidum summa per astra petat.
Quaque [=Ovaque] confodiens prohibet spem crescere prolis,
Hocque modo illatum dedecus ulctus [=ultus] abit.[1]

The scarab beetle is waging war and takes the challenge to its foe. Though inferior in physical strength, it is superior in strategy. It hides itself secretly in the eagle’s feathers without being felt, in order to attack its enemy’s nest across the lofty skies. It bores into the eggs and prevents the hoped-for offspring from developing. And then it departs, having thus avenged the insult inflicted on it.

Notes:

1.  For the feud between the eagle and the beetle, see Aesop, Fables 4; Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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