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QUI ALTA CONTEMPLAN-
tur cadere.

Those who contemplate the heights come to grief

Dum Turdos visco, pedica dum fallit Alaudas,
Et iactam [=iacta] altivolam figit harundo gruem.
Dipsada non prudens auceps pede perculit ultrix,
Illa mali emissum virus ab ore iacit.
Sic obit extento qui sydera respicit arcu,
Securus fati quod iacet ante pedes.[1]

While he tricks thrushes with bird-lime, larks with snares, while his speeding shaft pierces the high-flying crane, the careless bird-hunter steps on a snake; avenging the injury, it spits the darting venom from its jaws. So he dies, a man who gazes at the stars with bow at the ready, oblivious of the mishap lying before his feet.

Notes:

1.  See Anthologia graeca 7.172 and Aesop, Fables 137.


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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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