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IN EOS QUI supra vires quicquam audent.

Those who venture on what is beyond their powers

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Dum dormit, dulci recreat dum corpora somno,
Sub picea & clavam caeteraque arma tenet.
Alciden pygmaea manus[1] prosternere laetho,
Posse putat, vires non bene docta suas.
Excitus ipse velut pulices, sic poterit [=proterit] hostem,
Et saevi implicitum pelle leonis[2] agit.

While Alceus’ descendant was sleeping, while he was refreshing his body with gentle slumber, beneath a spruce tree, keeping hold of his club and other weapons, a band of pygmies thought they could lay him low in death, not really grasping the limit of their powers. But he, waking up, crushed the foe like fleas, and carried them off, wrapped up in the fierce lion’s skin.

Notes:

1.  Hercules’ confrontation with the pygmies is described by Philostratus, Eikones 2.22.

2.  ‘the fierce lion’s skin’, the skin of the Nemean lion which Hercules always wore after slaying the beast ([A50a137], [A34a092]).


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