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In eos qui supra vires quicquam
audent.

Those who venture on what is beyond their powers

Dum dormit, dulci recreat dum corpora somno
Sub picea, & clavam caeteraque arma tenet.
Alcidem pygmaea manus[1] prosternere laetho
Posse putat, vires non bene docta suas.
Excitus ipse, velut pulices, sic 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.

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Contre ceulx qui osent pardessus
leurs forces.

Les Nains se vont ung jour trouver,
La ou Hercules prenoit somme:
Bien luy cuydans les yeulx crever,
Pour ce quil ne sembloit fort homme:
Lors sesveille, & voyant la somme,
De telz gens, a coup sen revenche,
Et en feist ainsi que de pommes,
Car il les mist tous en sa manche.

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 ([FALb130], [FALa093]).


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