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IN EOS QUI SUPRA VIRES
quicquam audent.

Those who venture on what is beyond their powers.

Emblema 58.

Dum dormit, dulci recreat dum corpora somno
Sub picea, & clavam, caeteraque arma tenet.
Alciden Pygmaea manus[1] prosternere letho
Posse putat, vires non bene docta suas.
Excitus ipse, velut pulices, sic proterit hostem,
Et saevi implicitum pelle leonis[2] agit.

While Alceus’ descendant was sleeping, while he was refreshing his body with gentle slumber, beneath a spruce tree, keeping hold of his club and other weapons, a band of pygmies thought they could lay him low in death, not really grasping the limit of their powers. But he, waking up, crushed the foe like fleas, and carried them off, wrapped up in the fierce lion’s skin.

Notes:

1. áHercules’ confrontation with the pygmies is described by Philostratus, Eikones 2.22.

2. á‘the fierce lion’s skin’, the skin of the Nemean lion which Hercules always wore after slaying the beast. (See [A15a136], notes; [A15a179]).


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Impossibile.

The impossible

Emblema lix.

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine. noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

EX Aesopi apologo, & Luciani quodam epigram-
mate, quod in eos dicitur qui nulla corrigi arte
possunt: vel in ea omnia quae fucata sunt & simulata,
ut inanem gloriam, non vitae meritis, sed corruptis
hominum suffragiis emptam, cuius tamen simula-
chra omnia ut ita dicam, tanquam flosculi celeriter
decidunt: c¨m simulatum quicquam non possit esse
diuturnum.

Link to an image of this pageá Link to an image of this page á[K2v f86v]

Effort impossible.

C’Est perdre peine & temps de vouloir s’efforcer
Blanchir un Maure noir: car on ne peust forcer
Ou changer par quelque art les loix de la nature,
Ny esclarcir la nuict qui de soy est obscure.

CEcy est prins d’une fable d’Esope, & de
mesme est un epigramme de Lucian:
qui est dit contre ceux qui sont incorrigibles
en toutes sortes: ou contre toutes choses far-
dees & ou il y a desguisement, comme est la
vaine gloire, qui est acquise non par quel-
que merite, mais le jugement depravÚ d’au-
cuns hommes: de laquelle toutesfois les ap-
parences vont bien tost en fumee, & tombent
comme les petites fueilles: ainsi que toute
chose qui est feinte ou desguisee ne peust
durer beaucoup de temps.

Notes:

1. áThis is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit´┐Ż humana, Fugacit´┐Ż delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit´┐Ż (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intrinsic Nature, Essence, Idea (according to Plato) [51A5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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