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Misfortune is always at hand

Emblema 128.

Ludebant parili tres olim aetate puellae
Sortibus, ad stigias quae prior iret aquas.
At cui iactato male cesserat alea talo,
Ridebat sortis caeca puella suae:
Cum subito icta caput labente est mortua tecto,
Solvit & audacis debita fata ioci:
Rebus in adversis mala sors non fallitur: Ast in
Faustis, nec precibus, nec locus est manui.[1]

Once three girls of the same age were amusing themselves, casting lots to see which of them would be the first to go to the waters of the Styx. When the dice were cast, the throw fell out unluckily for one of them, but she laughed with blind contempt at the fate predicted for her. Then suddenly she died, struck on the head as the roof fell in, and so paid the fated penalty for her bold mockery. In misfortune, a bad omen cannot be eluded, but even in prosperity neither prayers nor action have any place.


1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.158.

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