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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n1r p193]

Ex damno alterius utilitas.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain

XII.

Dum saevis ruerent in mutua vulnera telis,
Ungue leaena ferox, dente timendus aper,
Accurrit vultur spectatum, & prandia captat.
Gloria victoris, praeda futura sua est.[1]

While a lioness, vicious in claw, and a boar, fearsome for its tusks, were setting upon each other, inflicting mutual wounds with their savage weapons, a vulture hurried up to watch, lurking in expectation of a meal. The victor’s glory will belong to the one that gets the spoil.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Aesop 200 and 203.


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    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [m8r p191]

    Antiquissima quaeque com-
    mentitia.

    The oldest things are all invented

    VII.

    Pellenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu, [1]
    Qui modō membra viri fers, modō membra feri.
    Dic agč quae species ratio te vertit in omnes,
    Nulla sit ut vario certa figura tibi?
    Signa vetustatis, primaevi & praefero secli: [2]
    De quo quisque suo somniat arbitrio.

    Proteus, old man of Pallene, whose outward appearance changes like an actor’s, assuming sometimes the body of a man, sometimes that of a beast, come, tell me, what is your reason for turning into all kinds of shapes, so that you have no permanent form as you constantly alter? I offer symbols of antiquity and the very first times, concerning which everyone dreams up what he will.

    Notes:

    1.  Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.

    2.  signa vetustatis primaevi et...secli, ‘symbols of antiquity and the very first times’. Pallene (see n.1.) suggested a connection with the Greek word παλαιός ‘ancient’, as the name Proteus was supposedly connected with πρώτιστος, ‘the very first’.


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