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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[Xx4v f348r as 347]

CONSILIARII PRINCIPUM.

Counsellors of princes

Emblema 144.

Heroum genitos, & magnum fertur Acchillem
In stabulis Chiron erudiisse suis.[1]
Semiferum doctorem, & semivirum Centaurum,
Assideat quisquis regibus, esse docet.
Est fera dum violat socios, dum proterit hostes:
Estque homo, dum simulat se populo esse pium.

It is said that Chiron brought up in his stables the sons of heroes and the great Achilles. He shows us that anyone who sits in counsel with kings is a teacher who is half a beast, a centaur who is half a man. He is the beast when he attacks supporters and tramples on enemies. He is the man when he feigns compassion for the people.

Notes:

1.Chiron, the wise centaur entrusted with the education of Achilles, Aesculapius, and other noble figures. Centaurs were creatures combining the physical and mental characteristics of a man with those of a horse. They were wild and uncontrolled, and came to symbolise humanity descending to savagery. Even the civilised Chiron, the educator, retained violent potential.


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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[D8r p63]

In senatum boni principis.

On the senate of a good prince

Effigies manibus truncae ante altaria Divým
Hic resident, quarum lumine capta prior.
Signa potestatis summae sanctique senatus
Thebanis fuerant ista reperta viris.[1]
Cur resident? quia mente graves decet esse quieta
Iuridicos, animo nec variare levi.
Cur sine sunt manibus? capiant ne xenia, nec se
Pollicitis flecti muneribusve sinant.
Caecus at est princeps: quÚd solis auribus, absque
Affectu, constans iussa senatus agit.

Figures without hands sit here before the altars of the gods. The chief of them is deprived of sight. These symbols of the supreme power and of the reverend senate were discovered by men of Thebes. - Why do they sit? - Because lawgivers should be serious, of a calm mind, and not change with inconstant thoughts. - Why have they no hands? - So that they may not take gifts, nor let themselves be influenced by promises or bribes. But the president is blind, because the Senate, by hearing alone, uninfluenced by feeling, impartially discharges what it is bidden to do.

Notes:

1.This is Thebes in Egypt. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 10; also Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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