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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E2v p68]

Periculum in promptu.

Danger at hand

Saepè malum expertus tacta torpedine conto est
Piscator, rigidam dum trahit ille manum.
Sic licet in fundo piscis, nec corpora tangat,
Per quod contiguum est frigore, saevit iners.[1]
Fatales veniunt casus, sperataque nunquam
Damna, licèt caveas, effugiasque procul.
Nil sine fraude agitur, quavis latet anguis in herba,
Nec metuenda solent impediisse magis.

Often a fisherman has experienced harm by touching an [electric] ray with his rod, until he drags his hand rigid. Thus, though the fish is on the bottom, and though it does not touch bodies, he rages helplessly through that thing which is contiguous by means of its coldness. Fatal disasters come, and losses never hoped-for, even if you take precautions and flee far away. Nothing happens without deceit, for the snake in the grass hides anywhere, nor is it normally the case that those things which were to be feared have caused us more trouble.


1.  The plural presumably means ‘body to body’: that is, there is no direct contact. This can be taken as an attempt to explain how an electric ray works.

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