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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E3v]

CAPTIVUS OB GULAM.

Caught by greed

Regnator penus, & mensae corrosor[1] herilis,
Ostrea mus summis vidit hiulca labris.
Queîs teneram opponens[2] barbam falsa ossa momordit,
Illa recluserunt[3] tacta repente domum.
Depraensum & tetro tenuerunt carcere furem,
Semet in obscurum qui dederat tumulum.[4]

A mouse, king of the pantry, nibbler at the master’s table, saw oysters with their shells just slightly open. Applying his sensitive whiskers, he nibbled the deceptive bone. The oysters, when touched, suddenly slammed shut their house and held the thief, caught red-handed, in a noisome prison, a thief who had put himself into a lightless tomb.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: Regnatorque penus, mensaeque arrosor.

2.  Later editions read apponens.

3.  Textual variant: Ast ea clauserunt.

4.  This poem is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.86.


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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D5r p57]

In fraudulentos.

Deceivers

Parva lacerta, atris stellatus corpora guttis
Stellio,[1] qui latebras, & cava busta colit,
Invidiae, pravique doli fert symbola pictus.
Heu nimium nuribus cognita zelotypis.
Nam turpi obtegitur faciem lentigine quisquis,
Sit quibus immersus Stellio, vina bibat.[2]
Hinc vindicta frequens decepta pellice vino,
Quam formae amisso flore relinquit amans.

The little lizard, called the ‘starred’ gecko from the dark star-shaped marks sprinkled all over its body, a creature that lurks in holes and hollow tombs, is pictured here and presents symbols of resentment and wicked deception, known only too well to jealous wives. For anyone who drinks wine in which a spotted gecko has been soaked comes out in ugly spots all over the face. This is often a way of taking revenge - the husband’s fancy woman is tricked with wine, and, when the flower of her beauty is gone, her lover abandons her.

Notes:

1.  stellio, ‘the ‘starred’ gecko’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5.461 for the explanation of the name stellio.

2.  Nam turpi...vina bibat, ‘anyone who drinks wine...all over the face’. See Pliny, Natural History, 29.22.73.


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