Thursday 23 November 2023

Sparrow for Dinner?

Battista Fiera (1469-1538)

Ardet et est molli passer durissimus aluo
   Si uis esse salax, hic cerebella dabit.
Cur neget? huic subitam sunt adducentia mortem
   I Venus hinc, solas ni modo perdis aues.
The sparrow burns easily and is one of hardest foods to make tender enough to eat. If you want to be lecherous, eating the brains will help. So why refuse to eat it? Because it can cause a sudden death. So get away from here Venus, unless you ruin only the birds and no one else. 
Coena Baptistae Fierae de herbarum virtutibus, & ea medicæ artis parte, quæ in victus ratione consistit. Columella De cultu hortorum. De generibus morborum, ex imprecatoria satyra Petri Montani (Strassburg: Apud Christianum Aegenolphum, c. 1529), pp.14v-15r. My translation.
On the lusty nature of sparrows, see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae IX.391F; and on their short lives, see Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia 10.36.