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Impossibile.

The impossible

Emblema lix.

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine. noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

EX Aesopi apologo, & Luciani quodam epigram-
mate, quod in eos dicitur qui nulla corrigi arte
possunt: vel in ea omnia quae fucata sunt & simulata,
ut inanem gloriam, non vitae meritis, sed corruptis
hominum suffragiis emptam, cuius tamen simula-
chra omnia ut ita dicam, tanquam flosculi celeriter
decidunt: c¨m simulatum quicquam non possit esse
diuturnum.

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Effort impossible.

C’Est perdre peine & temps de vouloir s’efforcer
Blanchir un Maure noir: car on ne peust forcer
Ou changer par quelque art les loix de la nature,
Ny esclarcir la nuict qui de soy est obscure.

CEcy est prins d’une fable d’Esope, & de
mesme est un epigramme de Lucian:
qui est dit contre ceux qui sont incorrigibles
en toutes sortes: ou contre toutes choses far-
dees & ou il y a desguisement, comme est la
vaine gloire, qui est acquise non par quel-
que merite, mais le jugement depravÚ d’au-
cuns hommes: de laquelle toutesfois les ap-
parences vont bien tost en fumee, & tombent
comme les petites fueilles: ainsi que toute
chose qui est feinte ou desguisee ne peust
durer beaucoup de temps.

Notes:

1. áThis is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit´┐Ż humana, Fugacit´┐Ż delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit´┐Ż (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intrinsic Nature, Essence, Idea (according to Plato) [51A5] Search | Browse Iconclass

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