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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8v p16]


Desiderium spe vacuum.

Desire without hope.

Cervina potitur rabidus Leo: suspicit catellus,
Captatque rictu praedam inops opimam.
Sic haeredipetis aliena vorantibus, sed ore
Sicco, evenit, quos funeris trahit spes.

The raging lion has got the venison: the pup looks on, And weakly tries to snatch the rich spoils in its jaw. So it happens when the fortune-hunters, attracted by the prospect* of a death, are devouring other peoples’ property (only their mouths are dry).
* spes [lit. ‘hope’] has the same double meaning in Latin as ‘prospect(s)’ has in English, i.e. the prospect that there will be a death, and the prospects of getting something out of it.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F2r p83]

Logaoedicum Archilochium, Ithyphallicum Marius Plotius[1] nominat cuiusmodi est illud Flacci.
Solvitur acris hyems grata vice veris & favoni,
Trahuntque siccas machinae carinas.

Pingatur Leo otiosè recubans in gra-
mine non procul ab armento pascente, raptae prae-
dae mordicus inhaerens: ita enim solet ex omni nu
mero, quantumvis ingenti fame stimuletur, unum
pecus diripere comedendum: adstet illi Canis li-
mis feram suspectans, & praedam ingratis (quod
dicitur) oculis frustra devorans. Symbolum opt-
mè quadrat in haeredipetas, qui alienis funeribus
inhiant, & per mortes incerta spe bona aliena ca
ptant, saepius delusi, ut iuvenis ille apud Lucia-
in dialogis, quem mors inopina ante senem,
cuius funeri propter summas opes imminebat,
rapuerat. Competit & in quosvis, qui ambitu
tenentur, & sacerdotia aut honores, aliis possessos

The logaoedic Archilochian meter, Marius Plotius calls Ithyphallic; an example being the lines of Horace: “Bitter winter melts away in a delightful exchange for spring and spring breezes, / And winches carry the dry ships [down to the sea].” Odes, 1.4.1.
The Lion should be pictured lying at rest on the grass not far from a grazing herd, getting stuck into the prey that he has seized in his jaw: for it is his custom, whenever he is driven by ravenous hunger, to take one animal out of the whole herd for eating. Near him stands the Dog, glancing sidelong at the beast, and vainly devouring the prey only with his eyes (as the expression is). The emblem fits nicely those fortune-hunters, who keep their eyes fixed on other people’s deaths, and as a result of deaths, they opportunistically go after others’ goods. Quite often the hope is delusory, as that young man in Lucian, in the Dialogues, who was unexpectedly taken by death before the old man, whose deathbed he was hovering around in the hope of untold riches.The emblem also corresponds to that sort who are in the grip of wicked ambitions, and hunt after positions and dignities that are held by others.


1.  Marius Plotius Sacerdos, Latin writer and grammarian, probably from the 5th-6th century AD.

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