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A MINIMIS QUOQUE
timendum.

Beware of even the weakest foe

Bella gerit scarabaeus & hostem provocat ultro,
Robore & inferior consilio superat.
Nam plumis aquile clam se neque cognitus abdit,
Hostilem ut nidum summa per astra petat.
Quaque [=Ovaque] confodiens prohibet spem crescere prolis,
Hocque modo illatum dedecus ulctus [=ultus] abit.[1]

The scarab beetle is waging war and takes the challenge to its foe. Though inferior in physical strength, it is superior in strategy. It hides itself secretly in the eagle’s feathers without being felt, in order to attack its enemy’s nest across the lofty skies. It bores into the eggs and prevents the hoped-for offspring from developing. And then it departs, having thus avenged the insult inflicted on it.

Notes:

1. For the feud between the eagle and the beetle, see Aesop, Fables 4; Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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EMBLEMA IIII.

Nunquam procrastinandum.

Never procrastinate.

Alciatae gentis insignia sustinet Alce[1]
Unguibus & μηδὲν fert ἀναβαλλόμενος.
Constat Alexandrum sic respondisse roganti
Qu tot obivisset tempore gesta brevi?
Nunquam (inquit) differre volens:[2] quod & indicat Alce
Fortior haec dubites, ocyor anne siet.[3]

An elk bears the insignia of the family Alciato - between its hooves it carries (the motto) “Postponing nothing”. Alexander, as is well known, thus answered one who asked him how he had performed so many exploits in a short time: “By never wanting”, he said, “to postpone”. ‘Elk’ in fact indicates this - you may well ask whether it is strong or fast.

Das IIII.

One auffschub und verzug.

Das Alciatisch Gschlecht Wappn ziert
Ein Elend der in klauwen fiert
Diesen Ver und di Reymen blo
Midn Anafallmenos
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [C1v f4v] Also soll geantwortet han
Der gro Alexander eim Man
Der in fragt wier in kurtzer zeit
So viel augricht hett grosse streit
Sprach er ich hab verzogen nie
Mit willen nichts, das anzeigt hie
Der Elend an welchem man schwandt
Ob er sterckr odr schneller sey zhandt.

Notes:

1. An elk, representing the family name, is carved on Alciato’s tomb in Pavia.

2. nunquam...differre volens, ‘By never wanting...to postpone’. The Latin words translate Alexander’s Greek motto, quoted in line 2. See Erasmus, Adagia, 3400 (Nunc tuum ferrum in igne est, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’), where Alexander’s saying is quoted.

3. Alce, ‘Elk’. The Greek word ἀλκή means not only ‘elk’ but ‘strength’. The animal ‘elk’ was famed for its speed: see Pliny, Natural History, 8.16.39.


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