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EMBLEMA CLXXXII [=181] .

Impossibile.

The impossible

Abluis Aethyopem 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.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q7v f114v]

Das CLXXXII [=181] .

Vergebne Arbeit.

Was badt sein Moren lang umb sunst?
Hör auff es ist verlorn all Kunst
Dann niemand der duncklen Nacht kan
Dick Finsternuß erleuchten thon.

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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ΑΝΤΈΡΩΣ, id est AMOR
virtutis
.

Anteros, that is, love of virtue

Dic ubi sunt incurvi arcus? ubi tela cupido?
Mollia quîs iuvenum figere corda soles.[1]
Fax ubi tristis? ubi pennae? tres unde corollas,
Fert manus? unde aliam tempora cincta gerunt,
Haud mihi vulgari est hospes cum Cypride quicquam
Ulla voluptatis nos neque forma tulit.
Sed puris hominum succendo mentibus ignes,
Disciplinae animos astraque ad alta traho.
Quatuor eque ipsa texo virtute corollas,[2]
Quarum quae sophiae est, tempora prima tegit.[3]

Tell me, where are your arching bows, where your arrows, Cupid, the shafts which you use to pierce the tender hearts of the young? Where is your hurtful torch, where your wings? Why does your hand hold three garlands? Why do your temples wear a fourth? - Stranger, I have nothing to do with common Venus, nor did any pleasurable shape bring me forth. I light the fires of learning in the pure minds of men and draw their thoughts to the stars on high. I weave four garlands out of virtue’s self and the chief of these, the garland of Wisdom, wreathes my temples.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.201.

2.  ‘I weave four garlands out of virtue’s self’, a reference to the four cardinal virtues, justice, temperance, courage and wisdom.

3.  In the woodcut, Anteros is wrongly given wings. This iconographic mistake is carried over into early Wechel editions cf. [A34b081], but later corrected, through the removal of the wings. Cf. [FALa081].


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