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Section: FORTITUDO (Fortitude). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C6v p44]

Omnia mea mecum porto.[1]

All that is mine I carry with me.

Hunnus inops Scythicique miserrimus accola ponti,[2]
Ustus perpetuo livida membra gelu.
Qui Cereris non novit opes, nec dona Lyaei,[3]
Et pretiosa tamen stragula semper habet:
Nam murinae illum perstringunt undique pelles.
Lumina sola patent, caetera opertus agit.
Sic furem haud metuit, sic vento stemnit [=ventos temnit] & himbres,
Tutus apudque viros, tutus apúdque deos.

The impoverished Hun, wretched dweller beside the Scythian Sea, whose limbs are always blue and burnt by frost, has no knowledge of Ceres’ bounty or of the gifts of Lyaeus, yet he always has luxurious wraps. Ermine furs hug him round on every side; only his eyes are visible, he spends his life covered everywhere else. So he has no fear of the thief, he pays no attention to wind and rain, safe in the presence of men and in the presence of gods.

Notes:

1.  These words, (according to Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, 1.8, and Seneca, Epistulae morales, 9.19), were used by the philosophers Bias and Stilbo, when they had apparently lost everything; also by the poet Simonides when shipwrecked (Phaedrus, 4.22.14).

2.  The Pontus Scythicus was one Classical name for the Black Sea (a.k.a. Pontus Euxinus), on the northern shores of which dwelt various barbarian tribes, from Scythians to Goths to Huns.

3.  Cereris...opes,...dona Lyaei, ‘Ceres’ bounty...gifts of Lyaeus’, i.e. corn and wine, given to mankind by Ceres and Bacchus (Lyaeus, the relaxer, or deliverer from care).


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H6v p124]

A minimis quoque timendum.[1]

Beware of even the weakest foe

LIIII.

Bella gerit Scarabaeus & hostem provocat ultrò,
Robore & inferior, consilio superat.
Nam plumis Aquilae clàm se neque cognitus abdit,
Hostilem ut nidum summa per astra petat:
Ovaque confodiens, prohibet spem crescere prolis:
Hocque modo illatum dedecus ultus abit.[2]

The scarab beetle is waging war and takes the challenge to its foe. Though inferior in physical strength, it is superior in strategy. It hides itself secretly in the eagle’s feathers without being felt, in order to attack its enemy’s nest across the lofty skies. It bores into the eggs and prevents the hoped-for offspring from developing. And then it departs, having thus avenged the insult inflicted on it.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H7r p125]

Man solle ihm auch vor den we-
nigsten furchten.

LIIII.

Vor zeiten wie Esopus schreybt,
Der Schroter mit dem Adler strit,
Dem er sich in das gfider kleybt
Heimlich, und kam gefaren mit
Ins Adlers nest, dem er on bit
Gar listig all sein ayer brach:
Drumb halt mit groß und klaynen frid,
Zu schwach ist niemand zu der rach.

Notes:

1.  Before the 1536 edition, Wechel editions used an earlier version of the woodcut in which the beetle had no horns.

2.  For the feud between the eagle and the beetle, see Aesop, Fables 4; Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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