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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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Section: SPES (Hope). View all emblems in this section.

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In dies meliora.

Getting better every day.

Rostra novo mihi setigeri suis[1] obtulit anno,
Haecque cliens ventri xenia (dixit) habe.
Progreditur semper, nec retro respicit unquam,
Gramina cum pando proruit ore vorax.
Cura viris eadem est, ne spes sublapsa retrorsum
Cedat: & ut melius sit, quod & ulterius.[2]

A dependant of mine brought me the head of a bristly boar at the New Year and said: Here is a present for your insides. - The pig always moves forwards and never looks back as it greedily tears up plants with its flat snout. - Men have the same attitude - they don’t want hopes to collapse and fall back, they do want what lies ahead also to be better.

Notes:

1. setigeri suis, ‘of a bristly boar’. For pork as a seasonal present at the Saturnalia (17-23 December), see Martial, Epigrams, 14.71: ‘This pig, fattened on acorns among the foaming boars, will make your Saturnalia happy’.

2. ulterius. This, the last word of the epigram, is written on the back of the boar in the pictura, where it suggests the meaning ‘ever onward’. Ulterius is sometimes used a a device of Charles V.


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