Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O2v p212]

Noctuae cur Platano abigantur.

Why the owls were driven off the plane-tree.

Natali de Comitibus.[1]

Est pietas erga natos στοργή τε πελαργοῖς,
Casibus adversis providet undique amor.
Haec, quoniam insidiae nocturnae saepe diurnis
Sunt magis obscurae, pervigilare solet.
Noctua cùm pullos cupit & removere tenellos,
Mox foliis Platani territa, & acta fugit.
Sed cur hanc tantùm fugiat si noctua, quaeris,
Occultam praeter, caussa subesse potest.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O3r p213]Est sterilis, quare semper contraria nocti,
Proli nocte operam quippe subinde damus.
Vel quia nox studiis tribui melioribus aptè
Debet, quò utilitas digna sequatur opus.
Noctua cornicis poenam, lumenque veretur;
Dum media illius surripit ova die.

There is a piety [kind of loving responsibility] towards children, love of those nearest & dearest [Greek]: in adverse fortune Love always provides. This piety never sleeps, since night-time traps are better hidden than those of the day. And when the screech-owl wants to remove her tender chicks, she is frightened off by the plane tree’s leaves, and driven away. But you ask why the owl fled only this, there could be another reason apart from the hidden one. The tree is sterile, and always contrary to the night; for of course at night we frequenlty pay attention to [begetting] our offspring, and also because we should devote the time of night rightly to studies, so that appropriate utility should follow labour. The owl fears the punishment of the crow and the light; for he steals her eggs by the light of day.


1.  Natale [de’] Conti (Natalis Comes): humanist and neo-latin poet, mythology specialist; born in Milan but worked in Venice (d. 1582).

Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.


Back to top