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EMBLEMA IX.

Principis clementia.

Clemency in a ruler

Vesparum quod nulla unquam Rex spicula figet:[1]
Quódque aliis duplo corpore maior erit.
Arguet imperium clemens, moderataque regna.
Sanctaque iudicibus credita iura bonis.

The king of the wasps will never implant any sting and will be twice as big as the rest. This will be a sign of mild dominion, a disciplined kingdom, and inviolable law entrusted to good judges.

Das IX.

Fürstliche Gnad.

Das der Wespen König nimmer
Mit seim Angel sticht, und daß er
An seinem Leib zweymal ist groß
Dann die andern Wespen genoß
Zeigt an ein gnedig Regiment
Und stilles Reich darinn man lendt
All Hendel und sachen nach recht
Wie es vertrauwt ist dem Richter schlecht.

Notes:

1.  According to Pliny, Natural History, 11.21.74, wasps do not have ‘kings’: it is the ‘mother’ wasps that are without stings. On the other hand, the ‘king’ bee (the ancients believed the queen bee to be male) and its lack of sting, or refusal to use its sting, was often mentioned; e.g. Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.10; Pliny, ibid., 17.52. For the analogy with kingship, see e.g. Seneca, De Clementia, 1.19; Erasmus, Adagia, 2601 (Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit).


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EMBLEMA IIII.

Nunquam procrastinandum.

Never procrastinate.

Alciatae gentis insignia sustinet Alce[1]
Unguibus & μηδὲν fert ἀναβαλλόμενος.
Constat Alexandrum sic respondisse roganti
Quî tot obivisset tempore gesta brevi?
Nunquam (inquit) differre volens:[2] quod & indicat Alce
Fortior haec dubites, ocyor anne siet.[3]

An elk bears the insignia of the family Alciato - between its hooves it carries (the motto) “Postponing nothing”. Alexander, as is well known, thus answered one who asked him how he had performed so many exploits in a short time: “By never wanting”, he said, “to postpone”. ‘Elk’ in fact indicates this - you may well ask whether it is strong or fast.

Das IIII.

One auffschub und verzug.

Das Alciatisch Gschlecht Wappn ziert
Ein Elend der in klauwen fiert
Diesen Verß und diß Reymen bloß
Midèn Anafallómenos
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C1v f4v] Also soll geantwortet han
Der groß Alexander eim Man
Der in fragt wier in kurtzer zeit
So viel außgricht hett grosse streit
Sprach er ich hab verzogen nie
Mit willen nichts, das anzeigt hie
Der Elend an welchem man schwandt
Ob er sterckr odr schneller sey zhandt.

Notes:

1.  An elk, representing the family name, is carved on Alciato’s tomb in Pavia.

2.  nunquam...differre volens, ‘By never wanting...to postpone’. The Latin words translate Alexander’s Greek motto, quoted in line 2. See Erasmus, Adagia, 3400 (Nunc tuum ferrum in igne est, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’), where Alexander’s saying is quoted.

3.  Alce, ‘Elk’. The Greek word ἀλκή means not only ‘elk’ but ‘strength’. The animal ‘elk’ was famed for its speed: see Pliny, Natural History, 8.16.39.


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