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Semper praesto esse infortunia.

Misfortune is always at hand

Emblema cxxix.

Ludebant parili tres olim aetate puellae
Sortibus, ad Stygias quae prior iret aquas.
At cui iactato malè cesserat alea talo,
Ridebat sortis caeca puella suae.
Cùm subito icta caput labente est mortua tecto,
Solvit & audacis debita fata ioci.
Rebus in adversis mala sors non fallitur: ast in
Faustis, nec precibus, nec locus est manui.[1]

Once three girls of the same age were amusing themselves, casting lots to see which of them would be the first to go to the waters of the Styx. When the dice were cast, the throw fell out unluckily for one of them, but she laughed with blind contempt at the fate predicted for her. Then suddenly she died, struck on the head as the roof fell in, and so paid the fated penalty for her bold mockery. In misfortune, a bad omen cannot be eluded, but even in prosperity neither prayers nor action have any place.

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APologus hic legitur I. Graecorum Epigrammaton:
ex quo monemur, eum non sapere qui fortunae
suae ita sidit, ut cum ea se tutò posse lusitare pu-
tet: Casus enim adversi semper ultrò cadunt: pro-
spera non sunt in nostra manu, & cum ea nobis in-
terdum obtingunt, sisti ad nostrum arbitrium non
possunt.

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Tousjours le malheur est prest.

UN jour jouoient aux dez ensemble trois pucelles,
Pour sçavoir qui mourroit la premiere d’entre elles.
Celle rioit bien fort qui pire chance avoit:
Ce pandant son malheur tout proche ne sçavoit[2]:
Lors que du tect voisin va tomber une tuille[3]
Tout droit dessus la teste à ceste pauvre fille.
Soit par jeu, soit de bon, le malheur nous advient;
Mais le bien, par souhaits en la main ne nous vient.

CEst apologue se treuve liv. I. Des Epi-
grammes Grecs, qui nous apprend,
que celuy n’est sage qui se fie tellement à sa
fortune, que seurement il peust jouër avec
icelle. Car les adversitez viennent tousjours,
& se presentent à nous, sans que nous en
doubtions: mais le bon-heur n’est en nostre
puissance: que si par fois il nous vient, ce
n’est pas à dire qu’il puisse estre & demeu-
rer permanent à nostre volonté.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.158.

2.  Corrected from the Errata

3.  Corrected from the Errata


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  • (private) prayer; 'Oratione', 'Preghiere', 'Preghiere a Dio' (Ripa) [11Q2] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Adversity, Misfortune, Bad Luck; 'Fortuna infelice', 'Infortunio' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54FF11(+4):51A4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) [54F12] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Mortality, Extinction of Life [58BB1] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Turn of Fate, Wheel of Fortune (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F121(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Weakness, Powerlessness, Helplessness; 'Infermità' (Ripa) [54AA7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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