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In Occasionem.

Opportunity

Emblema cxxi. διαλογιστικῶς.

Lysippi[1] hoc[2] opus est, Sicyon[3] cui patria. tu quis?[4]
Cuncta domans capti temporis articulus.
Cur pinnis[5] 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?
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [R1v f169v]Me semel alipedem si quis permittat abire,
Ne possim apprenso postmodò 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.

SUmptum ex Graeco Posidippi: quo edocemur,
Occasionem nihil esse aliud quàm minimum tem-
poris punctum: quae cùm sit volubilis, & volatica,
eodem stare loco nescia, eademque acutissima,
fronte capillata, calva occipiti, maturè est, cùm se
offert, arripienda ei qui rem tentatam vel optatam
ad exitum perducturus sit.

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Sur l’occasion.

Dialogisme.

VOicy de Lysippus le renommé ouvrage,
Natif de Sicyon. D. Mais qui es tu image?
R. Un petit poinct de temps, qui tout maistrise icy,
D. Tu as ailes aux pieds? R. Tousjours je tourne aussi.
D. Et bien pourquoy es-tu sus une rouë assise?
R. C’est parce que je n’ay ny repos ny remise.
D. Qu’est-ce que ce rasoir qui en ta main se voit?
R. Plus aiguë je suis que tranchant, quel qu’il soit.
D. Quoy, au devant du front tu as ta chevelure?
R. C’est quand je me presente, on me doit prendre à l’heure.
D. Tu es chauve en derrier’? R. On ne me peust happer,
Si une seule fois on me laisse eschapper.
L’ouvrier m’a faite ainsi, afin de mieux t’instruire,
Passant, & pour t’apprendre à t’y fort bien conduire.
Cest ouvrage, de tous se voit bien aisément,
La boutique est ouverte à tous communément.

PRins du Grec de Posidippe: par lequel
sommes advertis que l’occasion n’est au-
tre chose, qu’un petit poinct & minute de
temps: laquelle estant legiere & volage, ne
peust arrester en un lieu: elle aussi tresaiguë,
ayant des cheveux au front, chauve au der-
riere de la teste, doit pour ce regard estre
happee bien à poinct quand elle se presente,
de celuy mesmement qui veut venir à bout
de quelque entreprinse ou chose desiree.

Notes:

1.  Greek sculptor, 4th century BC.

2.  1550 reads hic

3.  A town west of Corinth.

4.  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.

5.  ‘on points’. Alciato here agrees with Erasmus, who similarly translates the phrase ἐπ’ ἄκρα, ‘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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