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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[E1v p66]

Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos.[1]

What lies above us is none of our business

Caucasia aeternum pendens in rupe Prometheus[2]
Diripitur sacri praepetis ungue iecur.
Et nollet fecisse hominem, figulosque perosus
Accensam rapto damnat ab igne facem.
Roduntur variis prudentum pectora curis,
Qui coeli affectant scire deŻmque vices.

Suspended for ever from the Caucasian rock, Prometheus has his liver torn by the talons of the sacred bird. He could well wish he had not made man. Hating moulders of clay, he curses the torch lit from the stolen fire. - The hearts of the learned are gnawed by various cares, the learned who strive to know the vicissitudes of heaven and the gods.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[E2r p67]

Rien toucher ce qui est sur nous.

Prometheus ung homme feist,
Et puis osa luy donner ame:
Dont son cueur a jamais suffit[3]
Au voultour, qui tousjours lentame:
En ceste hystoire est donne blasme,
A cil qui tant est mal discret,
Quen cueur fol son cerveau affame,
Pour enquerir divin secret.


1.See Erasmus, Adagia 569, Quae supra nos nihil ad nos.

2.The Titan Prometheus appears in myth as the champion of men against the ill-will of Zeus. According to one account, he moulded man out of clay (hence the reference to figuli, lit. ‘potters’, in l.3). Again, when Zeus withheld fire from mortals, Prometheus ascended to heaven and stole fire from the chariot of the sun for the benefit of men. As a perpetual punishment, Prometheus was put in chains and suspended from a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle, the sacred bird of Zeus, in the day-time consumed his liver, which renewed itself every night. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.82ff; Hesiod, Theogony 561ff.

3.Corrected from the 1536 edition.

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  • (symbolic) representations ~ creation, cosmos, cosmogony, universe, and life (in the broadest sense) [10] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • fire (one of the four elements) [21C] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Things Unknown, the Unknown (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51AA8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Curiosity, Inquisitiveness, Desire of Knowledge; 'Curiosit√†' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A12(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Punishment; 'Castigo', 'Pena', 'Punitione' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB13(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(CAUCASUS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Prometheus makes man out of clay, usually Minerva present [91E451] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Prometheus steals fire from the chariot of the sun [91E4521] Search | Browse Iconclass

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