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In occasionem.

Opportunity.

XVI.

Lysippi[1] hoc opus est, Sycion[2] cui patria: tu quis?[3]
Cuncta domans capti temporis articulus.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [b8r p31]Cur pinnis[4] stas? usque rotor. talaria plantis
Cur retines? passim me levis aura rapit.
In dextra est tenuis dic unde novacula? acutum
Omni acie hoc signum me magis esse docet.
Cur in fronte coma? occurrens ut prendar. at heus tu
Dic cur pars calva est posterior capitis?
Me semel alipedem si quis permittat abire,
Ne possim apprenso postmod crine capi.
Tali opifex nos arte, tui causa, edidit hospes,
Utque omnes moneam, pergula aperta tenet.

This image is the work of Lysippus, whose home was Sicyon. - Who are you? - I am the moment of seized opportunity that governs all. - Why do you stand on points? - I am always whirling about. - Why do you have winged sandals on your feet? - The fickle breeze bears me in all directions. - Tell us, what is the reason for the sharp razor in your right hand? - This sign indicates that I am keener than any cutting edge. - Why is there a lock of hair on your brow? - So that I may be seized as I run towards you. - But come, tell us now, why ever is the back of your head bald? - So that if any person once lets me depart on my winged feet, I may not thereafter be caught by having my hair seized. It was for your sake, stranger, that the craftsman produced me with such art, and, so that I should warn all, it is an open portico that holds me.

COMMENTARIA.

Lysippus cuius meminit Martialis, nobilis
& insignis sculptor, (eius patria Sycion urbs
in Laconia erat, cuius egregia opera Plinius va-
riis in locis commendat) hanc statuam fabri-
cavit, quae Occasio dicitur, id est, opportuni-
tas temporis rect observata omnia regens &
gubernans, teste Plutarcho in vita Niciae. Stat
autem pinnis, id est, calamis durioribus ro-
tundis: semper enim labitur nec unquam fir-
ma permanet, in pedibus talaria, id est, cal-
ceos alatos (ut etiam Mercurius) gerit, per
arem etenim ad omnia loca volitat. Dextra
novaculam tenet, significans illam quavis re
acutissima magis acutam, in fronte solm ca-
pillata, ut occurrens statim apprehendatur,
retro ver calva est, quippe semel amissa, post
terga capi amplius nequit , ita etiam Cato ille
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [b8v p32]gravissimus eam describit, inquiens. Fronte
capillata post haec Occasio calva. Stat autem
pergula, hoc est alto eminentique loco ut faci-
l videri possit & omnes admoneat.

Notes:

1. Greek sculptor, 4th century BC.

2. A town west of Corinth.

3. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.275. See also Erasmus, Adagia 670, Nosce tempus, where Erasmus too gives a verse translation of the Greek epigram.

4. ‘on points’. Alciato here agrees with Erasmus, who similarly translates the phrase ep’ akra, ‘on tiptoe’, in the Greek original. Thomas More translates more obviously with summis digitis. See Selecta epigrammata (Cornarius, ed.) p. 372ff.


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