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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n3v p198]

In detractores.

Against his detractors

XXVIII.

Audent flagriferi matulae, stupidique magistri
Bilem in me impuri pectoris evomere:
Quid faciam? reddamne vices? sed nónne 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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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O5v p218]

    Musicam Diis curae esse.

    The gods care for music

    EMBLEMA CLXXXIV.

    Locrensis posuit tibi Delphice Phoebe cicadam
    Eunomus hanc, palmae signa decora suae.
    Certabat plectro Sparthyn commissus in hostem,
    Et percussa sonum pollice fila dabant.
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O6r p219]Trita fides rauco coepit cùm stridere bombo,
    Legitimum harmonias & vitiare melos:
    Tum citharae argutans suavis sese intulit ales,
    Quae fractam impleret voce cicada fidem:
    Quaeque allecta, soni ad legem descendit ab altis
    Saltibus, ut nobis garrula ferret opem.
    Ergo tuae ut firmus stet honos, ô sancte, cicadae,
    Pro cithara hic fidicen aeneus ipsa sedet.[1]

    Phoebus, god of Delphi, Locrian Eunomus set up this cicada in your honour, an appropriate symbol of his victory. He was competing in the lyre contest against his rival Sparthys and the strings resounded as he plucked them with the plectrum. A worn string began to buzz with a hoarse rattle and spoil the true melody of the music. Then a sweet-voiced creature, a cicada, flew chirping onto the lyre to supply with its song the broken string. Recruited to follow the rules of musical sound, it flew down from the high glades to bring us aid with its chirping song. Accordingly, so that the honour due to your cicada, o holy god, may last undiminished, on top of the lyre she sits here herself, a minstrel in bronze.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 6.54. See Strabo, Geography 6.1.9 for the story of Eunomus and the statue he set up at his home town of Locri commemorating this incident in the song contest at the Pythian Games (celebrated near Delphi, in honour of Apollo, Artemis and their mother Leto); also Erasmus, Adagia 414, Acanthia Cicada.


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