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In simulacrum Spei.

A picture of hope

LXXVIII.

Quae dea tam laeto suspectans sydera vultu?
Cuius penniculis reddita imago fuit?
Elpidii[1] fecere manus, ego nominor illa,
Quae miseris promptam Spes bona praestat opem.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [i1v p130]Cur viridis tibi palla? qud omnia me duce vernent.
Quid manibus mortis tela[2] refracta geris?
Quod vivos sperare decet, praecido sepultis.
Cur in dolioli tegmine pigra sedes?
Sola domi mansi volitantibus undique noxis,
Ascraei[3] ut docuit musa verenda senis.
Quae tibi adest volucris? Cornix fidicissimus oscen,[4]
Est bene cm nequeat dicere, dicit erit.
Qui comites? bonus Eventus[5]. praecepsque Cupido,
Qui praeeunt, vigilum somnia vana vocant.
Quae tibi iuncta astat? scelerum Rhamnusia[6] vindex,
Scilicet ut speres nil nisi quod liceat.

What goddess is this, looking up to the stars with face so glad? By whose brush was this image depicted? - The hands of Elpidius made me. I am called Good Hope, the one who brings ready aid to the wretched. - Why is your garment green? - Because everything will spring green when I lead the way. - Why do you hold Death’s blunt arrows in your hands? - The hopes that the living may have, I cut short for the buried. - Why do you sit idle on the cover of a jar? - I alone stayed behind at home when evils fluttered all around, as the revered muse of the old poet of Ascra has told you. - What bird is at your side? - A crow, the faithful prophet. When it cannot say, ‘All’s well’, it says, ‘All shall be well’. - Who are your companions? - Happy Ending and Eager Desire. - Who go before you? - They call them the idle dreams of those who are awake. - Who stands close beside you? - Rhamnusia, the avenger of crimes, to make sure that you hope for nothing but what is allowed.

COMMENTARIA.

Quidam Spei simulacrum intuens & ad-
mirans denique sic percontatur, Quaenam haec
Dea est, adeo hilari vultu sursum in coelum
aspiciens? Vel, quis hoc modo imaginem
effinxit? Cui illa respondet, Me ita formavit
Elpidius (est autem nomen fictum & ad rem
praesentem accommodatum, nam ἔλπις Grae
c spes dicitur, hinc ἐλπίδιος pictor spei) &
vocor spes illa bona quae sola miseris adest.
eosque semper consolatur. Quare viridi veste
induta? Quia sub me omnia viridia & florida
permanent. Quid autem perfracta mortis ar-
ma manibus tenes? Ideo quia mortuis nihil
mecum rei est, sed vivos tantum sperare de-
cet. Dic quare pigra super fundum dolii seu
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [i2r p131]vasis sedes? quoniam sola ego domi mansi
cm caeterae Noxae, omnes per mundum vo-
litabant, ut pulchr Hesiodus Pota canit.
Ascreus dictus ab Ascrea patria sua. (Noxae
Deae finguntur, quae hominibus mala infe-
runt, eorumque mentes pertubant [=perturbant] , ut idem
Pota, sic autem Ovidius lib. 1. de Ponto.

Spes Dea cm fugerent sceleratas numina terras,
In Diis invisa sola remansit humo.)

Quae est illa avis tibi adstans? Cornix est avis
fida, quae certam spem ostendit, cm enim
non bene possit dicere, est, praedicit, erit, ca-
nit nanque subinde cras, cras, Oscen autem
avis est quae voce augurium praesagit, omnes
nanque aves, ore cantuque auspicium facien-
tes, priscis Oscines vocatae fuere, prodit Cri-
nitus
libro 21. cap. ultimo, de honesta discipli-
na ut apud Horatium libro 3. Oda 27. Oscinem
corvum praece suscitabo, solis ab ortu. Sed
qui tui sunt comites? me praecedunt bonus
eventus
, & praeceps Cupido, vocantes inania
vigilantium somnia. Illa ver quae retro pro-
pe adstat Rhamnusia Dea est, quae hominum
scelera praecipu insolentiam & arrogantiam
vindicat, significans nihil sperandum, prae-
terqum quod licitum sit.

Notes:

1. Elpidius is an invented name derived from Greek elpis, ‘hope’.

2. For Death’s arrows cf. [A56a065], [A56a066].

3. ‘the old poet of Ascra’, i.e. Hesiod. See Hesiod, Opera et dies 90ff. for the story of Pandora’s box or jar.

4. ‘a crow, the faithful prophet’. The crow was a bird of prophecy and an emblem of hope. Its caw was interpreted as cras, cras, ‘tomorrow, tomorrow’. Cf. the proverb, Quod hodie non est, cras erit: ‘What is not today shall be tomorrow.’

5. Bonus Eventus or Bonne Aventure, cf. Evento Buono in Ripa, Iconologia; also called ‘Success’ or ‘Happy Ending’.

6. Rhamnusia, i.e. Nemesis, who had a shrine at Rhamnus in Attica.


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