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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C7r p45]


Malo oppressus, deterius formidat.

When one is oppressed by something bad, one fears something worse.

Clathrata caveae macerie clusa columbula
Incurvis aquilae permetuit carpier unguibus.
Formidat gravius sollicita mente periculum
Afflictus: capiti is rite suo consulit & rei.

The little dove, cooped up and enclosed behind bars in her cage, Is terrified of being caught in the eagle’s curved talons. An afflicted creature fears a worse danger in its anxious mind: it is justifiably concerned about its life, and about the thing itself.
[i.e. it justifiably fears death on top of whatever afflicts it]

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H8v p128]

Alcaicum metrum choriambicum, secundum Ser-
, quale est Flacci illud:

Nullam, Vare, sacra vite priùs severis arborem.[1]
Pingatur columba caveae inclusa, cui in-
sidietur atque immineat altrinsecus supervolans
aquila. potest autem in superiore pariter & infe-
riore caveae limbo, asscribi hic versiculus:
Il mal me preme, et me spaven-
ta il peggio
.[2] Innocentum angustias aptè
exprimit symbolum, quos non ita satis tutatur sua
tenuitas & rei familiaris angustia, quin mille
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I1r p129]discrimina ab impostoribus & rapace hominum
genere illos circumstent.

The metre is an Alcaic choriambic, according to Servius, like that line of Horace: “No tree, Varus, is more excellent for austere men, than the sacred vine.”
A dove is to be portrayed, shut in a cage, with, above, an eagle flying all about it, threatening it and trying to attack it. There could also be inscribed, both on the top and bottom strip of the cage, be inscribed this little verse: IL MAL ME PREME, ET ME SPAVENTA IL PEGGIO (‘Evil oppresses me, and yet I am afraid of something [even] worse’). The emblem aptly describes the dire straits of the innocent, whose lowliness and straitened circumstances are no protection against the thousand [p.129] tribulations which beset them in the form of fraudsters and the predatory sort of men.


1.  Odes, 1.18. Varus is perhaps the same as the critic Quintilius Varus, whose death Horace deplores in Odes, 1.24.

2.  Petrarch, Canzoniere, 244.1

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