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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 V.

Albutii ad Alciatum, suadentis ut de tumul-
tibus Italicis se subducat, & in Gallia
profiteatur.[1]

Sent by Albutius to Alciato urging him to withdraw from the Italian troubles and take up a teaching post in France

Quae dedit hos fructus arbor,[2] coelo advena nostro,
Venit ab Eoo persidis axe prius.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C2r f5r]Translatu facta est melior: quae noxia quondam
In patria, hîc nobis dulcia poma gerit.
Fert folium linguae, fert poma simillima cordi,
Alciate hinc vitam degere disce tuam.
Tu procul à patria[3] in praecio es maiore futurus:
Multum corde sapis, nec minus ore vales.

The tree that gave us these fruits, a stranger to our skies, came formerly from the eastern climes of Persia. By the transplanting it was made better. The tree that once bore harmful fruits in its native land, here bears sweet ones for us. It carries leaves like a tongue, fruits like a heart. Alciato, learn from it how to spend your life. Far from your own country, you will be held in greater esteem. You are wise in heart, and no less effective in speech.

Das V.

Deß Albutii an Herrn Alciatum, darinn es
Albutius im Alciato räht, das er sich wölle auß den
Italienischen embörungen thun und entziehen,
und in Franckreich sich ver-
fügen.

Der Baum so tragen thut diß Frucht
Ist in unserm Land ein frembd zucht
Dann von auffgang der Sonnen er
Auß Persen Land ist kommen her
Vergiffte Frucht in seinem Landt
Er tragen thet bald er zu handt
Versetzet ward in ander erdt
Gar süsse Frucht er uns beschert
Sein Frucht ist gleich eim Hertzen gstalt
Sein Blat gformiert wie ein Zung galt
Dabey liebr Alciate lehrn
Dein leben also anzukehrn
Dann dir von dem Vatterland weit
Man grösser ehr und wirdin geit
Dieweil du bist von Hertzen weiß
Darzu mit reden hast den preiß.

Notes:

1.  This person has been identified as Aurelius Albutius, lawyer, scholar and poet, like Alciato originally from Milan. On the question of the genuineness of this ascription and a suggested date for the epigram preceding Alciato’s first removal to France in 1518, see J. Köhler, Der ‘Emblematum liber’ von Andreas Alciatus (1492-1550) (Hildesheim: August Lax, 1986).

2.  ‘The tree that gave us these fruits’, i.e. the peach, with its heart-shaped fruit and tongue-shaped leaves.

3.  ‘Far from your own country’. Alciato had two periods in France. He was lecturing on Civil Law in Avignon from 1518-1522, then returned to Milan. He again took up his teaching post in Avignon in 1527, and then removed to Bourges, where he remained until his return to Italy (Pavia) in 1533. The ‘troubles’ mentioned could be political (there was much fighting and tumult in N. Italy), or could refer to the wrangling between rival schools of academic lawyers during Alciato’s youth.


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