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In detractores.

Against his detractors

Audent flagriferi matulae, stupidique magistri
Bilem in me impuri pectoris evomere:
Quid faciam? reddam ne vices? sed non ne cicadam
Ala una obstreperam corripuisse[1] ferar?
Quid prodest muscas operosis pellere[2] flabris?
Negligere est satius, perdere quod nequeas.

Those cane-wielding, empty-headed, thick-skulled teachers dare to spew out on me the bile of their foul minds. What am I to do? Return like for like? But surely I would then be said to have seized the dinning cicada by the wing. What is the good of driving flies away with tiresome swipes? It is better to ignore what you cannot get rid of.

Notes:

1. cicadam / Ala una...corripuisse, ‘to have seized the...cicada by the wing’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 828 (Cicadam ala corripuisti): if you hold a cicada by the wing, it will only chirp more loudly.

2. muscas...pellere, ‘driving flies away’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2660 (Muscas depellere): driving flies away is a waste of effort as they simply return.


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Cupressus.

The Cypress

Indicat effigies metae, nomenque cupressi
Tractandos parili conditione suos.[1]
Aliud.
Funesta est arbor, procerum monumenta cupressus,
Quale apium plebis, comere fronde solet. [2]
Aliud.
Pulchra coma est, pulchro digestaeque ordine frondes,
Sed fructus nullos haec coma pulchra gerit.[3]

The cone-shaped form and the name ‘cypress’ indicate that one’s people should be dealt with on equal terms.
Other.
The cypress is a funereal tree. Its branches usually adorn the memorials of leading men as parsley-stems adorn those of humble people.
Other.
The foliage is beautiful, and the leaves all arranged in neat order, but this beautiful foliage bears no fruit.

Notes:

1. This refers to the supposed etymology, Greek κύειν and πάρισος ‘bear’,‘equal’.

2. See Pliny, Natural History, 20.44.113 for the use of parsley at funeral meals.

3. See Erasmus, Adagia, 4210 (Cyparissi fructus).


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