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IN SENATUM BONI
principis.

On the senate of a good prince

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Effigies manibus truncae ante altaria Divûm,
Hic resident, quarum lumine capta prior.
Signa potestatis summae, sanctique senatus,
Thebanis fuerint [=fuerant] ista reperta viris.[1]
Cur resident? quia mente graveîs decet esse quieta,
Iuridicos animo nec variare levi.
Cur sine sunt manibus? capiant ne xenia, nec se
Pollicitis flecti muneribusve sinant.
Caecus at est princeps, quod solis auribus, absque
Affectu constans iussa senatus agit.

Figures without hands sit here before the altars of the gods. The chief of them is deprived of sight. These symbols of the supreme power and of the reverend senate were discovered by men of Thebes. - Why do they sit? - Because lawgivers should be serious, of a calm mind, and not change with inconstant thoughts. - Why have they no hands? - So that they may not take gifts, nor let themselves be influenced by promises or bribes. But the president is blind, because the Senate, by hearing alone, uninfluenced by feeling, impartially discharges what it is bidden to do.

Notes:

1.  This is Thebes in Egypt. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 10; also 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
Quî 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 Verß und diß Reymen bloß
Midèn Anafallómenos
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C1v f4v] Also soll geantwortet han
Der groß Alexander eim Man
Der in fragt wier in kurtzer zeit
So viel außgricht 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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