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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[n2v p196]

Ignavi.

Good for nothing

XXI.

Ignavi aerdeolam stellarem[1] effingere servi
Et studia, & mores fabula prisca fuit,
Quae famulum Asteria[2] volucris sumpsisse figuram
Est commenta, fides sit penes historicos.
Degener hic veluti qui caevet in aŽre falco est
Dictus ab antiquis vatibus ardelio.[3]

There was an old story to the effect that the little starred heron displays the activities and character of a good-for-nothing slave, a story which alleged that the slave Asterias took the form of a bird. Let the [natural] historians vouch for this. This sort of despicable person is like the kestrel quivering in one place in the air, a person called a fussing busybody by the ancient poets.

Notes:

1.The ‘little starred heron’, which, according to the story, had once been human and a slave, was, because of its sluggish nature, called ocnus, i.e. ‘idleness’. Cf. Emblem 17 ([A56a017]). As it understood human speech, it hated to be called this, or ‘slave’. See Pausanias, 10.29.2; Aelian, De natura animalium 5.36; Aristotle, Historia animalium, 9.18.617.

2.Asterias, ‘starred’, is the Greek name for ardea stellaris, possibly a bittern.

3.ardelio: ‘a fussing busybody’. See Martial, Epigrams, 2.7.7.; 4.78.9: Phaedrus, Fables, 2.5.1. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 543, Callipides, on someone who expends a great deal of energy achieving nothing.


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    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O5r p217]

    Insignia PoŽtarum.

    Insignia of poets

    EMBLEMA CLXXXIII.

    Gentiles clypeos sunt qui in Iovis alite gestant,
    Sunt quibus aut serpens, aut leo, signa ferunt:
    Dira sed haec vatum fugiant animalia ceras,
    Doctaque sustineat stemmata pulcher Olor.
    Hic Phoebo sacer[1], & nostrae regionis alumnus:
    Rex olim[2], veteres servat adhuc titulos.

    Some have a family crest distinguished by the bird of Jove, for others the serpent or the lion provides the sign. But let these dread beasts flee from poets’ images; let the lovely swan support their learned clan. This bird is sacred to Phoebus and is a nursling of my homeland. A king once, it still preserves its ancient titles.

    Notes:

    1.‘sacred to Phoebus’, i.e. to the god of music and poetry (Apollo).

    2.‘a king once’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.367ff. for the story of Cycnus, king of Liguria, turned into a swan and inhabiting the marshes and lakes of the plain of the Po (Alciato’s homeland).


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