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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S10r f190r]

Duodecim certamina Herculis.[1]

The twelve labours of Hercules

Emblema cxxxvii.

Roboris invicti superat facundia laudes:
Dicta sophistarum, laqueósque resolvit inanes:
Non furor, aut rabies virtute potentior ulla est:
Continuum ob cursum sapienti opulentia cedit:
Spernit avaritiam, nec rapto, aut foenore gaudet:
Vincit femineos spoliátque insignibus astus:
Expurgat sordes, & cultum mentibus addit:
Illicitos odit coitus, abigítque nocentes:
Barbaries, feritásque dat impia denique poenam:
Unius virtus collectos dissipat hostes:
Invehit in patriam externis bona plurima ab oris:
Docta per ora virûm volat,[2] & non interit unquam.

Eloquence surpasses the fame of untamed strength and unravels the sayings of sophists and their vain tricky problems. No rage nor madness of any sort has more power than virtue. Because of his continual exertion, wealth comes the way of the wise. Virtue scorns avarice and takes no pleasure in theft or usury. It overcomes the wiles of women and robs them of their triumph. It cleans out filth and brings culture to the mind. It hates illicit unions and repels them, with all their harm. Barbaric acts and godless savagery in the end pay the penalty. The virtue of one man scatters massed enemies. Virtue brings many good things from abroad to its own country. It passes from one man’ learned lips to another’s and does not perish ever.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S10v f190v]

DUodecim praecipua Herculis fortissimi, & invi-
ctissimi herois certamina quae vulgò circunfe-
runtur, hic allegoricôs explicantur: eum nempe vi
eloquentiae robustos quosque & viribus praeditos
exsuperasse: Sophistas retudisse logicae facultatis
beneficio: virtute furorem coërcuisse: continuis la-
boribus opes comparasse: avaritiam aspernatum
esse: libidinem muliebrem repressisse: cultum animis
adiecisse: nocentes abegisse: de barbaro homine sup-
plicium sumpsisse: sua unius virtute hostes in unum
coëuntes disiecisse: multas secum opes è locis exte-
ris in patriam reportasse: famam nominis nunquam
intermorituram rebus praeclarè gestis meritum
esse.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [S11r f191r]

Les douze labeurs d’Hercules allegorisez.

LEs forces ne font tant comme fait l’eloquence.
Il a tout argument de Sophiste abbatu.
La fureur n’a de force autant que la vertu.
La continue apporte au sage l’opulence.
Il mesprise avarice, & rien d’autruy ne prend.
L’astuce feminine en soy vaincue il rend.
Les ames il repurge, & les rend embellies.
Il a salles amours & les meschans domptez.
A puny cruaultez & toutes barbaries.
Un seul bien vertueux a plusieurs surmontez.
Fait des biens estrangers que son pays abonde
Son nom est immortel, & court par tout le monde.

ICy sont traittez allegoriquement les
douze principaux combats de Hercules
tresfort & tresinvincible personnage, sça-
voir est qu’il a surmonté les plus forts[3] &
roides par la vehemence de son bien dire:
Qu’il a vaincu les Sophistes par le moyen de
la science de Logique: Que par sa vertu il
a reprimé la fureur, & rage d’aulcuns: Que
par continuels travaux il s’est fait riche: Qu’il
n’a eu le coeur à l’avarice: Qu’il a mise bas la
volupté feminine. Qu’il a netoyé les esprits,
& les a embellis: Qu’il a chassé les meschans:
Qu’il a puny l’homme barbare & cruel:
Qu’il a par sa seule vertu mis en routte, &
rompu des ennemis alliez ensemble: Qu’il
a des lieux estrangers rapporté en son pays
beaucoup de richesses: Qu’il a merité pour
ses hauts faits un bruit & reputation qui ne
mourra jamais.

Notes:

1.  Hercules was accredited with many victories over men and monsters, but eventually a list of twelve major ones was compiled. See e.g. Anthologia Graeca, 16.92. These ‘Labours’ he carried out at the behest of Eurystheus, incited by Hera (see next emblem, note 2). Alciato’s epigram follows this order: i. the Nemean lion; ii. the Hydra; iii. the Erymanthean boar; iv. the golden-antlered Arcadian stag; v. the birds of the Stymphalian Marsh; vi. the belt of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; vii. the Augean stables; viii. the Cretan bull; ix. the mares of Diomedes; x. the cattle of the three-bodied giant Geryones (see Emblem 40 [FALb040]); xi. the golden apples of the Hesperides; and xii. the three-headed watchdog Cerberus. The Labours were given various allegorical interpretations both in antiquity and later, and Hercules himself becomes a wise man and philosopher, overcoming folly and sin. See Emblem 180 ([FALc180]).

2.  docta per ora virum volat, ‘It passes from one man’s learned lips to another’s’. Cf. the epitaph of the poet Ennius (Epigrams, Loeb edition, p. 402): ‘volito vivus per ora virum’ (still living, from one man’s mouth to another I fly).

3.  Corrected from the Errata.


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