Dialogue on the Threshold

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Friday, 16 July 2010

Encomium culicis

Caelius Calcagninus (1479-1541)

Ast ego magnanimum culicem quo carmine laudem?
Certe huius rara est gloria, rarus honor.
Cetera quaecunque a nobis insecta vocantur,
Furtim ex insidiis figere tela solent.
Ille, cave, exclamat, metuendaque classica pulsat:
Dissidiaeque nota, qui dolet, ille dolet.
In reliquis fraudem atque astum causabere: nemo
De culicis poterit vulnere jure queri.

l. 4 solent Buonaventura, Carmina illustrium poetarum italorum ] sonant Dornau, Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Socraticae Joco-Seriae

But by which song might I praise the great-souled gnat? Assuredly, rare is its glory, rare its renown. Whatever other things we call insects are wont to lay traps, fastening their stings by stealth. The gnat cries out, "Beware!" and blares his fearful war-trumpet: "And mark the fray, whoever smarts will rue. As for the rest, you will allege trickery and cunning: but no one can justly accuse a gnat for the sake of a wound."

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