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Nunquam procrastinandum.

Never procrastinate.

Emblema iii.

Alciatae gentis insignia sustinet Alce,[1]
Unguibus & μηδὲν fert ἀναβαλλόμενος.
Constat Alexandrum sic respondisse roganti,
Quî tot obivisset tempore gesta brevi?
Nunquam, inquit, differre volens.[2] quod & indicat Alce:
Fortior haec, dubites, ocyor ánne siet.[3]

An elk bears the insignia of the family Alciato - between its hooves it carries (the motto) “Postponing nothing”. Alexander, as is well known, thus answered one who asked him how he had performed so many exploits in a short time: “By never wanting”, he said, “to postpone”. ‘Elk’ in fact indicates this - you may well ask whether it is strong or fast.

Ingeniosè nomen suae familiae seu gentis Alciato-
rum
deducit ab Alce, fera Septentrionali: cuius
vires & pernicitatem, adducto ad id Alexandri apo-
phthegmate, transfert ad fortitudinem & diligen-
tiam, quae in rebus gerendis, iîsque honestis & prae-
claris adhibenda est.

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Qu’il ne fault rien remettre
au lendemain.

Des Alciatz la marque est un Alce ou Ellein,
Qui tient cest escriteau, Ne differe à demain.
Le grand Roy Alexandre enquis de ses victoires
Qu’il obtint en brief temps, & de ses faits & gloires,
Et dont cela venoit? Pour n’avoir sejourné,
Dit-il, pour rien qui fut, ne m’estre destourné.
Cecy monstre l’Ellein, qui a autant de force
De corps, comme il est viste & soudain à la course.

Il deduit & tire ingenieusement le nom de
la famille & race des Alciatz du mot Al-
ce, qui est une beste Septentrionale, que
nous appellons Ellein, ou Ellend: de la-
quelle il celebre la force de corps, & vitesse
à la course: & accommodant le propos sen-
tentieux d’Alexandre le Grand, il monstre
qu’il fault employer ses forces & bonne di-
ligence à entreprendre choses honnestes &
d’importance.

Notes:

1.  An elk, representing the family name, is carved on Alciato’s tomb in Pavia.

2.  nunquam...differre volens, ‘By never wanting...to postpone’. The Latin words translate Alexander’s Greek motto, quoted in line 2. See Erasmus, Adagia, 3400 (Nunc tuum ferrum in igne est, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’), where Alexander’s saying is quoted.

3.  Alce, ‘Elk’. The Greek word ἀλκή means not only ‘elk’ but ‘strength’. The animal ‘elk’ was famed for its speed: see Pliny, Natural History, 8.16.39.



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