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Opulenti haereditas.

The rich man’s legacy

Emblema clviii.

Patroclum falsis rapiunt hinc Troës in armis.
Hinc socii, atque omnis turba Pelasga vetat.
Obtinet exuvias Hector, Graecique cadaver.[1]
Haec fabella agitur, cùm vir opimus obit.
Maxima rixa oritur, tandem sed transfigit haeres,
Et corvis aliquid, vulturiisque sinit.[2]

On that side the Trojans are carrying off Patroclus in his deceptive armour, on this, his co-fighters and all the Greek host try to stop them. Hector obtains the spoils, the Greeks the body. This story is played out when a rich man dies. A great quarrelling arises, but eventually the heir brings the argument to an end and leaves something for crows and vultures.

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HIc Patroclus, qui non suis, sed alienis armis di-
micat, opulentorum imaginem refert, qui alienis
fortunae bonis intumescunt: quibus fato functis, inter
haeredes rixa solet innasci de bonorum iure: vel e-
tiam possessione: quo fit ut litigatores partem inde
aliquam abripiant cadaver humandum datur ves-
pilonibus, & sacerdotibus committitur qui impen-
sas habent funeris.

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L’hoirie d’un opulent homme.

PAtrocle en combattant occis soubs faulses armes,
Tiré, trainé, rompu par les Troyens gendarmes.
Les Grecs se presentans pour empescher d’effort
Qu’au corps desja tombé on ne fist point de tort:
Mais en fin à Hector les despouilles allerent,
Les Grecs eurent le corps, qu’ils ensepulturerent.
Telle farce est jouee, & de fait on se bat
Quand un riche se meurt, on alterque, on debat:
Mais l’heritier en fin pour avoir paix, compose,
Aux corbeaux & vautours accordant quelque chose.

ICy Patrocle, qui bataille armé non de
ses armes, mais de celles d’autruy, nous fi-
gure la condition des riches & opulens, qui
sont enflez des biens de fortune qui ne sont
proprement à eux: lesquels si tost qu’ils
ont l’oeil clos, les heritiers entrent en dispu-
tes pour le droit de la succession, ou pour
ce qui est desja saisi. cela fait que les plai-
deurs & praticiens en grippent quelque por-
tion: le corps est donné aux enterreurs, &
commis aux prestres, ausquels on paye le
droit de sepulture.

Notes:

1.  For the death of Patroclus, see Homer, Iliad, 16.784ff. He borrowed Achilles’ armour to fight the Trojans when Achilles refused, and was killed by Hector, who took the armour.

2.  ‘Vulture’ was a term used to refer to people who hang round rich persons, hoping for a legacy See Erasmus, Adagia, 614 (Si vultur es, cadaver exspecta).


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