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QUO DII VOCANT EUNDUM.

Go where Heaven calls

In trivio mons est lapidum, supereminet illi,
Trunca dei effigies pectore facta tenus.
Mercurii est igitur tumulus, suspende viator,
Serta Deo, rectum qui tibi monstrat iter.[1]
Omnes in trivio sumus, atque hoc tramite vitae
Fallimur, ostendat ni deus ipse viam.[2]

At a parting of the ways, there is a hillock of stones. Rising above it is a half-statue of a god, fashioned as far down as the chest. So the hill is Mercury’s. Traveller, hang wreaths in honour of the god who points out the road to you. We are all at the crossroads, and on this track of life we go wrong, unless God himself shows us the way.

Notes:

1. Mercury was, among his many other functions, the god of travellers.

2. In the emblem In studiosum captum amore [A31a071], we also see Mercury with horns.


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IMPOSSIBILE.

The impossible

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine, noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit� humana, Fugacit� delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit� (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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