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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [f6r p91]

In astrologos.

Against astrologers

LIII.

Icare per superos qui raptus & ara, donec
In mare praecipitem cera liquata daret,[1]
Nunc te cera eadem fervensque resuscitat ignis,[2]
Exemplo ut doceas dogmata certa tuo.
Astrologus caveat quicquam praedicere, praeceps
Nam cadet impostor dum super astra vehit[3].

Icarus, you were carried through the heights of heaven and through the air, until the melted wax cast you headlong into the sea. Now the same wax and the burning fire raise you up again, so that by your example you may provide sure teaching. Let the astrologer beware of prediction. Headlong will the imposter fall, as he flies beyond the stars.

COMMENTARIA.

Icarus filius fuit Daedali, qui una cum patre
se volatilem fecit, alis ex cera & pennis com-
pactis, sed cm ultra patris iussa nimium su-
blime volans, solis calore, cera qua pennae
continebantur liquefacta, alaeque fictitiae ruptae
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [f6v p92]fuissent, in mare decidit, ibique periit, sic ab eo
Icarium mare appellatur, ut Ovidius lib. 1. de
Tristibus.

Dum petit infirmis nimium sublimia pennis,
Icarus, Icariis nomina fecit aquis.

Eius itaque tristis casus, omnibus etiam in poste-
rum Astronomis exemplo esse debet, ut fi-
ctitiis atque incertis caveant, nedum imposto
res futura imprudenter praedicere ac nimium
alta petere volentes, simili modo cadant. Dae-
dali ver & Icari ex Creta fuga, causa, & exi-
tus legitur apud Ovidium lib. 2. de arte amandi &
lib. 8. Metamorphoseon Syl[4]. lib. 14. & Diodorum lib. 5.

Notes:

1. Cf. Anthologia graeca 16.107, a poem on a bronze statue of Icarus, translated by Alciato at Selecta epigrammata (Cornarius, ed.) p.333. Icarus and his father Daedalus ([A56a008] notes) escaped from King Minos of Crete on wings of feathers and wax. Icarus was over-bold and flew too near the sun; when his wings melted, he crashed into the Icarian Sea and was drowned. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.183ff. Icarus, like Phaethon ([A56a064]) was a type of those who do not keep to their proper station.

2. ‘same wax...fire’: a reference to the cire perdue method of casting statues.

3. Textual variant: volat.

4. We have been unable to identify this author. Possibly Silenus, a Greek writer of fables; C. Silius Italicus, a writer of heroic verse (including one about Daedalus); or possibly one of the ‘travel writers’, Scylax?


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A minimis quoque timendum.[1]

Beware of even the weakest foe

Bella gerit Scarabaeus, & hostem provocat ultr,
Robore & inferior, consilio superat.
Nam plumis Aquilae clam se neque cognitus abdit,
Hostilem ut nidum summa per astra petat:
Ovaque confodiens, prohibet spem crescere prolis,
Hocque modo illatum dedecus ultus abit.[2]

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.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [H4r p119]

Des petitz se doibt lon doubter.

Laigle eust au cerf volant debat:
Dont elle fait bien peu de compte,
Comme petit pour son combat.
Mais laultre emmy ses plumes monte.
Ainsi porte fut de esle prompte
Au nid, ou tous les oeufz il casse.
Moins fort de corps, par art surmonte.
Souvent nuyt condition basse.

Notes:

1. Before the 1536 edition, Wechel editions used an earlier version of the woodcut in which the beetle had no horns.

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


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