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Preciosum quod utile.

What is useful is valuable

Ad Achillem Maphaeum.[1]

Multa solent homines precio dignarier alto,
Rara, quod & longis advehat unda locis.
Vana superstitio, communi dignaque risu,
Hoc rarum cornu sed probat utilitas.
Nam quibus est animus poclis miscere venena,
Omne malum praesens haec medicina vetat.
Regum thesauros ornat, preciumque rependit:
Hi sumptus laudem non mervere levem.

Many things are thought worthy by men of a high price, for they are rare, and the waves bring them from distant places. Empty superstition, worthy of general laughter! All the same, this rare horn is recommended by its utility. For, if men make so bold as to mix poison in the cups, this medicine averts all present danger. It is an ornament to the treasuries of kings, and it demands a price: this expense did not deserve faint praise!


1.  Achilles Maphaeus is unidentified, possibly Achilles Maffei, an antiquarian and collector.

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