Sunday, January 15, 2017

Latin Reader (11): Pullus a nido volans

Today, it's Emblem VII from Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens: Pullus a nido volans. Last time, we had an agricultural allegory, and now Maier turns to the world of nature for an allegory. The theme is the combination of contrary elements.

Pullus a nido volans, qui iterum cadit in nidum.

The chick flying from the nest, who again falls back into the nest.

For a hand-colored version, see Adam McLean's website: Emblem VII.

And here's the poem:

Rupe cava nidum Jovis ALES struxerat, in quo
Delituit, pullos enutriitque suos:
Horum unus levibus voluit se tollere pennis,
At fuit implumi fratre retentus ave.
Inde volans redit in nidum, quem liquerat, illis
Junge caput caudae, tum nec inanis eris.

Jupiter's bird (= eagle, Jovis ales) had built its nest (nidum struxerat) in a hollow rock (rupe cava); the eagle hid in the nest (in quo delituit) and nourished her chicks (pullos enutriitque suos). One of the chicks (horum unus) wanted to rise up (voluit se tollere) on his slight wings (levibus pennis), but he was held back (at fuit retentus) by his featherless brother bird (implumi fratre ave). The chick thus flies back (inde volans redit) into the nest which it had left (in nidum quem liquerat): join them head to tail (illis junge caput caudae) and then you will not be wasting your time (tum nec inanis eris).

Maier intends this as a lesson in the combination of contrary elements. The essay talks about the alchemical elements, and then turns again to the bird allegories from nature:
Hoc declaratur per duas Aquilas, pennatam et implumem, ex quibus illa volare conata ab hac retinetur. In Falconis et Ardeae pugna exemplum huius rei evidens est: ille enim celeri volatu et alis pernicibus superior in aere factus hanc unguibus prehendit et lacerat, cuius pondere in terram uterque decidit.
This is made clear (hoc declaratur) by the two Eagles (per duas Aquilas), one with feathers and one without (pennatam et implumem); when the feathered one of the two (ex quibus illa) tries to fly (volare conata) it is held back by the other (ab hac retinetur). In the fight between the falcon and the heron (in Falconis et Ardeae pugna) an example of this matter (exemplum huius rei) is evident (evidens est): for the falcon (ille enim) by his swift flight (celeri volatu) and agile wings (et alis pernicibus) rises higher in the air (superior in aere factus) and seizes the heron in its talons (hanc unguibus prehendit) and mangles her (et lacerat), but because of her weight (cuius pondere) they both fall to the ground (in terram uterque decidit). 
And now for your listening pleasure — a choral performance or just the musical fugue:

And the following is a list of the emblems I have completed so far:

Emblem I: Portavit eum ventus in ventre suo
Emblem II: Nutrius ejus terra est
Emblem III: Vade ad mulierem
Emblem IV: Conjunge fratrem cum sorore
Emblem V: Appone mulieri super mammas bufonem
Emblem VI: Seminate aurum vestrum
Emblem VII: Pullus a nido volans
Emblem VIII: Accipe ovum
Emblem XXXVI: Lapis projectus

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