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IN EOS QUI supra vires quicquam audent.

Those who venture on what is beyond their powers

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Dum dormit, dulci recreat dum corpora somno,
Sub picea & clavam caeteraque arma tenet.
Alciden pygmaea manus[1] prosternere laetho,
Posse putat, vires non bene docta suas.
Excitus ipse velut pulices, sic poterit [=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], [A34a092]).


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Desidiam abiiciendam.

Away with idleness.

Quisquis iners abeat, in choenice figere sedem[1]
Nos prohibent Samii[2] dogmata sancta senis.
Surge igitur, duroque manus adsuesce labori,
Det tibi dimensos crastina ut hora cibos.

Let the idle man take himself off -- the holy pronouncements of the old sage of Samos forbid us to sit tight on the bushel-box. Get up therefore, get your hands accustomed to hard work, so that tomorrow’s hour may give you your due measure of sustenance.

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Chasser paresse

Voisent au loing, gens paresseux:
Dieu na point cy noz repoz mis:
Dont Pithagoras blasme ceulx,
Qui sont sans art, & endormis:
Car contre le sens des formis,
Ne gaignent que pour ung jour vivre:
Comme qui leur auroit promis,
Que sante les doibt tousjours suyvre.

Notes:

1. This saying, which became a proverbial expression of idleness, is quoted in various ancient sources (e.g. Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride10). A bushel was a day’s ration of corn, and ‘to sit on the bushel-box’ (a container holding a bushel measure, and convenient in size for sitting on) meant to be idle and improvident, leaving tomorrow to take care of itself, since today was provided for.

2. ‘the old sage of Samos’, i.e. Pythagoras ([A50a017]).


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  • Sloth, Indolence, 'Acedia', 'Desidia'; 'Accidia' (Ripa) ~ personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins [11N37] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • insects (with NAME) [25F711(ANT)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • health [31A469] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Industriousness, Assiduity; 'Assiduità', 'Industria', 'Zelo' (Ripa) [54A11] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Idleness; 'Otio' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54DD2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Poverty; 'Povertà', 'Povertàdel doni', 'Povertàin uno ch'habbia bell'ingegno' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55BB1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Pythagoras, the philosopher representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(PYTHAGORAS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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