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Splendida si nequeat laus, aut fortuna parari
Invidiae sine latratu morsuque canino:
Invidiae potius subeunda pericula tristis
Qum miserae vitae. Scyllam ergo finxit Homerus
Candida succinctam latrantibus inguina monstris
Dulichias[1] vexasse rates: & gurgite vasto
Ah miseros nautas canibus lacerasse marinis.
Quod minus esse malum quam nigram intrare Charybdin
Vortice mergenti, sic filia Solis Ulyssi
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [F2r p83]Dixit. Μὴ σύγε κεῖθι τύχῃς ὅτε ῥοιβδήσειεν
Οὒ γὰρ κὲν ρύσαιτο σ’ὑπ’ἐκ κακοῦ οὐδ’ Ἐνοσίχθων
Αλλὰ μάλα Σκύλλης σκοπέλω πεπλημένος ὦκα
Νῆα παρεξελααν. ἐπειὴ πολὺ φέρτερον ἐστὶ
Ἓξ ετάρους ἐν νηὶ ποτίμεναι: ἠ ἅμα πάντας.[2]
Invidia obtrectans monstris est Scylla caninis.
Funditus at mergens Paupertas: vasta Charybdis.
Incidat in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdin.
Allatrat livor mordax. absorbet egestas
Ex utroque malo minus elige. Qui sapit: optat
Invidiosus enim mage, qum miserabilis esse.

If shining praises or wealth are not to be had without the bark and canine bite of envy, still, it is better to accept envy’s dangers than those of a miserable life. Homer thus imagined how Scylla, her belly bound round with barking monsters, attacked the ships of Dulichium, and tore them with sea-dogs. Ah poor sailors! The daughter of the Sun [Circe] had told Ulysses that this was a lesser evil than to enter Charybdis, the submerging whirlpool. [p.83] “Don’t you be there when she sucks the water in, for not even the Earth-Shaker [Neptune] will be able to protect you from that evil, but drive the ship close and swiftly by the cliff of Scylla, for it is truly far better for her to attack six of your comrades in the ship than all at once.” Scylla with her reef of monster-dogs is Envy; but Poverty, which submerges all, is a vast Charybdis. Who wishes to avoid Charybdis falls into Scylla, and green envy biting barks at him, while indigence sucks him in. Choose the lesser of these evils. A wise man would rather be envied than miserable.


1. An island in the Ionian sea, southeast of Ithaca, part of the kingdom of Ulysses; the actual location is unknown. See Vergil, Aeneid, 3.271ff.

2. Odyssey, 12.106-110.

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