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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[B1v]

IN EOS QUI SUPRA VIRES
quicquam audent.

Those who venture on what is beyond their powers

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[B2r]

Dum dormit, dulci recreat dum corpora somno,
Sub picea & clavam caeteraque arma tenet.
Alcyden pygmea manus[1] prosternere laetho,
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.Hercules’ confrontation with the pygmies is described by Philostratus, Eikones 2.22.

2.‘the fierce lion’s skin’, the skin of the Nemean lion which Hercules always wore after slaying the beast ([A50a137], [A31a092]).


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Section: HOSTILITAS (Enmity). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[M1r p177]

In detractores.

Against his detractors

Audent flagriferi matulae, stupidique magistri
Bilem in me impuri pectoris evomere:
Quid faciam? reddamne vices? sed nonne cicadam
Ala una obstreperam corripuisse[1] ferar?
Quid prodest muscas operosis pellere[2] flabris?
Negligere est satius, perdere quod nequeas.

Those cane-wielding, empty-headed, thick-skulled teachers dare to spew out on me the bile of their foul minds. What am I to do? Return like for like? But surely I would then be said to have seized the dinning cicada by the wing. What is the good of driving flies away with tiresome swipes? It is better to ignore what you cannot get rid of.

Notes:

1.cicadam / Ala una...corripuisse, ‘to have seized the...cicada by the wing’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 828 (Cicadam ala corripuisti): if you hold a cicada by the wing, it will only chirp more loudly.

2.muscas...pellere, ‘driving flies away’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2660 (Muscas depellere): driving flies away is a waste of effort as they simply return.


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