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MAGNUS LABOR CASSUS.

GREAT LABOUR, FRUITLESSLY

Exercet partes pila sphaerica corporis omnes,
Ora, manus, oculos, brachia, crura, pedes.
Quíque pila ludit: motus incompositos dat,
Corporis affectus concipit & varios.
Nam modò laetitia gestit: modò rumpitur ira.
Flet, ridet, dubium spésque metúsque tenent:
Denique non agit, at satagit conamine multo.
Idque pilam circa, rem minimi precii.
Scilicet ex membris tanto sudore solutis,
Ut nullum existens inde supersit opus.
Sic faciunt (aliter quàm vult Prudentia) qui dant
Difficiles operas rebus inutilibus.[1]

The spherical ball exercises all parts of the body: head, hands, eyes, arms, thighs, and feet. Whoever plays ball makes improvised motions and takes on different bodily states. Now he is buoyant with joy; now he bursts with anger, weeps, laughs, and hope and fear hold him in doubt. It’s not action, but rather a sort of bustling-about with great effort, and all for a ball, a thing of little if any value; for nothing remains, once you have exhausted your limbs with so much sweat. Those behave this way against the counsel of Prudence, who put much hard effort into useless things.

Notes:

1.  For the same idea (and a similar image), see Sambucus’ emblem ‘Temporis iactura, Ad pilulam’ [Waste of time. To a little ball]: [FSAb093].



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