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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H1v p114]

Maturandum.

Making good speed

LII.

Maturare iubent properè & cunctarier omnes,
Ne nimium praeceps, neu mora longa nimis.
Hoc tibi declaret connexum Echeneide[1] telum,
Haec tarda est, volitant spicula missa manu.

Everyone tells us to deal with things quickly, but they also tell us to hold back - not to be impetuous, nor yet to wait too long. A missile linked with a sucking-fish can demonstrate this for you: the fish is slow, but arrows fly fast when they leave the shooter’s hand.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H2r p115]

Tost, bellement.

LII.

Il fault courir tout bellement,
Et soy a grand loisir haster.
Trop tost n’est pas fait saigement.
Trop tard se doibt precipiter.
Le traict doncq’ qu’on scait tost gecter
Et Remore a course enuieuse,
Ensemble a l’on sceu rapporter,
Pour monstrer diligence oyseuse.

Notes:

1.  ‘linked with a sucking fish’. The sucking-fish (echeneis or remora) was a creature believed by the ancients to have the power of slowing the course of ships to which it attached itself. See Pliny, Natural History 32.1.2-6. He describes it as about six inches long and like a slug. See also [A42a049].


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  • Maturity (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51FF511(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Swiftness, Speed; 'Agilità', 'Celerità', 'Velocità' (Ripa) (+ symbolical representation of concept) [51M11(+3)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Swiftness, Speed; 'Agilità', 'Celerità', 'Velocità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51M11(+4):51MM11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Slowness, Tardiness; 'Tardità' (Ripa) (+ symbolical representation of concept) [51MM11(+3)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Carefulness, Diligence; 'Diligenza' (Ripa) [54A2] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H3v p118]

A minimis quoque timendum.[1]

Beware of even the weakest foe

LIIII.

Bella gerit Scarabaeus & hostem provocat ultrò,
Robore & inferior, consilio superat.
Nam plumis Aquilae clàm 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 l’on doubter.

LIIII.

L’aigle eust au cerf volant debat:
Dont elle fait bien peu de compte,
Comme petit pour son combat.
Mais l’autre emmy ses plumes monte.
Ainsi porté 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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