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REMEDIA IN ARDUO MALA.
in prono esse.

Remedies are hard, damage is easy

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Aetheriis postquam deiecit sedibus Aten,
Iupiter[1] heu vexat qum mala noxa viros.
Evolat haec pedibus celer & pernicibus alis,
Intactumque nihil casibus esse sinit.
Ergo litae proles Iovis hanc comitantur euntem,[2]
Sarcturae quicquid fecerit illa mali.
Sed quia segnipedes strabae[3] lassaeque senecta,
Nil nisi post longo tempore restituunt.[4]

Once Jupiter had cast Ate down from the heavenly abode, what an evil bane thereafter assailed poor man! Ate flies out fleet of foot with fast-beating wing and leaves nothing untouched by mishap. So Jove’s daughters, the Litae, accompany her as she goes, to mend whatever ill she has brought about. But they are slow-footed, poor of sight and weary with age, and so they restore nothing until later, after long passage of time.

Notes:

1. ‘Jupiter had cast Ate down’. See Homer, Iliad 19. 125ff.

2. ‘the Litae accompany her’. See Homer, Iliad 9.502ff. Ate means ‘Mischief’, Litae, ‘Prayers’. Ate was cast out of Olympus to bring harm to mankind, a personification of humans being led astray. The Litae were a personification of prayers offered in repentance.

3. Textual variant: luscae.

4. The woodcut is puzzling. Possibly the monster is supposed to represent Ate; in later editions she appears as a harpy-like figure. The Litae feature, in later editions, as old women. The old man presumably represents the suffering of mankind.


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  • walking - AA - female human figure [31AA2711] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Slow Motion (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51MM1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Viciousness, Naughtiness (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA6(+4):54D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Revenge, Requital, Retaliation; 'Vendetta' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA741(+4):54DD4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Jupiter seizes Ate by her hair and hurls her down from Olympus, possibly because of the delayed birth of Hercules (+ variant) [92B143(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • other lesser deities of Heaven ~ destiny, fate, adversity: Litae [92G7(LITAE)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Antiquissima quaeque commenticia.

The oldest things are all invented

Emblema clxxxii.

Pallenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu,[1]
Qui mod membra viri fers, mod membra feri:
Dic age, quae species ratio te vertit in omnes,
Nulla sit ut vario certa figura tibi?
Signa vetustatis, primaevi & praefero secli,[2]
De quo quisque suo somniat arbitrio.

Proteus, old man of Pallene, whose outward appearance changes like an actor’s, assuming sometimes the body of a man, sometimes that of a beast, come, tell me, what is your reason for turning into all kinds of shapes, so that you have no permanent form as you constantly alter? I offer symbols of antiquity and the very first times, concerning which everyone dreams up what he will.

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COnvertit Protei πολυμορφοῦ fabulam in scri-
ptores quosdam rhapsodos, & rerum antiquissi-
marum narrationem e variis & saepe pugnantibus
inter se narrationibus petitam concinnantes[3]: qui cum
somnient de rebus se remotissimis, portentosam
historiae formam nobis obtrudunt, ut revera Proteum
quendam effingere velle videantur.

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Les chose du pass, controuvees, ou for-
gees plaisir.

Dialogisme.

D.
POurquoy te changes-tu, dis moy, vieillard Protee,
En diverses faons, par fois homme semblant,
Par fois aussi mu, beste resemblant
Dis moy pourquoy as-tu ta face humaine ostee?
R. Le pourtrait du vieil temps je marque tout content,
Duquel un chacun songe ainsi comme il entend.

IL accommode la fable de Protee change-
forme ces rhapsodes d’escrivains, & hi-
stoires des choses du pass, qui ne font que
regratter tout ce qu’ils font de divers com-
ptes tissus & cousus de diverses & contraires
pieces: lesquels apres avoir long temps resv
sur des choses qui sont bien fort esloignees
de leur memoire, ils nous forgent je ne scay
quel corps d’histoire tout monstrueux, de sor-
te qu’ils semblent nous vouloir figurer quel-
que nouveau Protee.

Notes:

1. Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.

2. signa vetustatis primaevi et...secli, ‘symbols of antiquity and the very first times’. Pallene (see n.1.) suggested a connection with the Greek word παλαιός ‘ancient’, as the name Proteus was supposedly connected with πρώτιστος, ‘the very first’.

3. Corrected from the Errata.


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