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IUSTA ULTIO.

Just revenge

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7v]

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

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.  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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QUA DII VOCANT EUNDUM.

Go where Heaven calls

In trivio mons est lapidum supereminet illi,
Trunca dei effigies pectore facta tenus.
Mercurii est igitur tumulus, suspende viator,
Serta deo, rectum qui tibi monstrat iter.[1]
Omnes in trivio sumus, atque hoc tramite vitae,
Fallimur ostendat ni deus ipse viam.[2]

At a parting of the ways, there is a hillock of stones. Rising above it is a half-statue of a god, fashioned as far down as the chest. So the hill is Mercury’s. Traveller, hang wreaths in honour of the god who points out the road to you. We are all at the crossroads, and on this track of life we go wrong, unless God himself shows us the way.

Notes:

1.  Mercury was, among his many other functions, the god of travellers.

2.  In the emblem In studiosum captum amore [A31a071], we also see Mercury with horns.


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