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To Maximilian, Duke of Milan

Emblema. 10.

Hanc citharam lembi quae forma halieutica[1] fertur.
Vendicat & propriam Musa Latina sibi
Accipe Dux: placeat nostrum hoc tibi tempore munus,
Quo nova cum sociis faedera inire paras.
Difficile est, nisi docto homini, tot tendere chordas:
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E8v f45v]Unaque si fuerit non bene tenta fides.
Ruptave (quod facile est) perit omnis gratia conchae.
Illeque praecellens cantus ineptus erit.
Sic Itali coeunt proceres in faedera, concors
Nil est, quod timeas, si tibi constet amor.
At si aliquis deciscat [=desciscat] (ut plerunque videmus)
In nihilum illa omnis solvitur harmonia.

This lute, which from its boat shape is called ‘halieutica’, my Latin Muse now claims for her own service. Receive it, O Duke. May this offering of mine be pleasing to you at this moment when you are preparing to enter into fresh agreements with your allies. It is difficult, except for a man of skill, to tune so many strings, and if one string is out of tune or broken, which so easily happens, all the music of the instrument is lost and its lovely song disjointed. In like manner the leaders of Italy are now forming alliances. There is nothing for you to fear if affection lasts for you and stays in concord. But if any one should slide away, which we often see, that harmony is all dissolved into nothing.


1. halieutica, a Greek word meaning ‘fishing’ (boat).

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