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MENS SIBI BENE CONSCIA NE-
SCIT TIMERE.

A GOOD CONSCIENCE KNOWS NO FEAR

Sola quies tenebrae, nox, sollicitudo, pavores.
Per mala conturbant somnia Maniacos
Terribili spectrum videantur ut ore videre
Triste Melancholicis quod fit imaginibus
Sic vidisse suum Brutus cacodaemona dixit.
Quem praesumptum animo finxerat ipse sibi.[1]
Credimus? Ánne pavent hi qui sibi somnia fingunt
Obversatur atrox Mortis Imago quibus?
Ergo toro surgens, somnum, tenebrasque perosus
Aeternum ad somnum fugit, & ad tenebras.[2]
Incubuit gladio moriens, ut ne moreretur.
Quid poterat gladio peius ab hoste pati?
Sed malè conscia mens, & sanguis Caesarianus,
Ultricem urgebant in sua fata manum.
At securus agit cui mens est conscia recti.
Vana nec umbrarum spectra videre putat.

Lonely sleep, shadows, night, angst, and fears disturb lunatics in their evil dreams, so that they see a sad spectre of fearsome visage which comes from the phantoms of melancholics. So, Brutus said, he saw his own evil spirit, that he himself imagined in his mind. Do we believe him? Or do these people fear who make their own nightmares, before whom appears the ferocious image of Death? So out of bed he jumped, and cursing the shades fled to eternal rest and to the shades. He lay dying upon his sword, so that he need not die. What worse could he have suffered by the sword from the enemy? But his bad conscience and the blood of Caesar drove his vengeful hand to work his doom. But he whose conscience is good lives secure and does not believe he sees any empty ghosts or spectres.

Notes:

1.  The legend of Brutus’ vistation before Philippi takes on an unfamiliar denouement in this epigram.

2.  Play on the double meaning of tenebrae, ‘shadows’.



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