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POTENTISSIMUS
Affectus amor.

Love, the all-powerful emotion

Aspice, ut invictas[1] vires auriga leonis,
Expressus gemma pusio vincat amor.
Utque manu hac scuticam teneat, hac flectat habenas,
Utque sit in pueri plurimus ore decor.[2]
Dira lues procul esto, feram qui vincere talem
Est potis, nobis temperet anne manus.[3]

Look - here’s Love the lad, carved on a gem. See how he rides triumphant in his chariot and subdues the lion’s might. How in one hand he holds a lash, with the other he guides the reins, and on his countenance rests the loveliness of youth. - Dread pestilence keep far away. Would one who has the power to conquer such a beast keep his hands from us?

Notes:

1. Later editions read invictus

2. In some editions, this sequence of subjunctives is changed to indicative.

3. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.221, an epigram about a seal carved with a representation of Eros driving a chariot drawn by lions.


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FOEDERA ITALORUM.[1]

The Italians’ Alliances.

Hanc cytharam lembo [=lembi] , quae forma halieutica[2] fertur.
Vendicat, & propriam musa latina sibi.
Accipe Dux, placeat nostrum hoc tibi tempore munus
Quo nova cum sociis foedera inire paras.
Difficile est nisi docto homini tot tendere chordas,
Unaque si fuerit non bene tenta fides.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [A3r]Ruptave (qud facile est) perit omnis gratia conchae,
Illeque praecellens cantus ineptus erit.
Sic Itali count proceres in foedera, concors,
Nil est quod timeas, si tibi constet amor.
At si aliquis desciscat (uti plerunque videmus)
In nihilum illa omnis solvitur harmonia.

This lute, which from its boat shape is called “halieutica”, my Latin Muse now claims for her own service. Receive it, O Duke. May this offering of mine be pleasing to you at this moment when you are preparing to enter into fresh agreements with your allies. It is difficult, except for a man of skill, to tune so many strings, and if one string is out of tune or broken, which so easily happens, all the music of the instrument is lost and its lovely song disjointed. In like manner the leaders of Italy are now forming alliances. There is nothing for you to fear if affection lasts for you and stays in concord. But if any one should slide away, which we often see, that harmony is all dissolved into nothing.

Notes:

1. In later editions the title is merely Foedera.

2. A Greek word meaning ‘fishing’ (boat).


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  • the artist and his muse (in general) [48B101] Search | Browse Iconclass
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  • Accord, Accordance [54E3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Agreement, Unity; 'Concordia', 'Concordia insuperabile', 'Concordia militare', 'Concordia di Pace', 'Unione civile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54E31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(SFORZA, Massimiliano)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(ITALY)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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