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Firmissima convelli non posse.

The firmest things cannot be uprooted.

EMBLEMA XLII.

Oceanus quamvis fluctus pater excitet omnes:[1]
Danubiumque omnem barbare Turca bibas:[2]
Non tamen irrumpes perfracto limite, Caesar
Dum Carolus populis bellica signa dabit.[3]
Sic sacrae quercus[4] firmis radicibus adstant,
Sicca licet venti concutiant folia.

Though Father Ocean rouses all his waves, though, barbarous Turk, you drink the Danube dry, yet you shall not break through the boundary and burst in, while Emperor Charles shall give to his peoples the signal for war. Even so, holy oaks stand firm with tenacious roots, though the winds rattle the dry leaves.

Notes:

1. This poem is based on Anthologia graeca 9.291, which refers to a threat to ancient Rome from invading German tribes.

2. The Turks invaded along the Danube and reached Hungary, winning the battle of Mohacs in 1526. When Alciato was writing, they continued to threaten Vienna and Central Europe.

3. Caesar...Charlus, i.e. Emperor Charles V, led the charge to recover the lost territory.

4. ‘holy oaks’. Oaks were holy because sacred to Zeus, especially at his sanctuary at Dodona in Greece. See [A91a199]. The image of the dry leaves is already present in the Greek poem, but see also Vergil, Aeneid 4.441-4.


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  • Asiatic races and peoples: Turks [32B33(TURKS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Constancy, Tenacity; 'Costanza', 'Tenacità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A21(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Stability, Firmness; 'Fermezza', 'Stabilimento', 'Stabilità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A22(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Invincibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A71(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(CHARLES V [of Holy Roman Empire])3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(DANUBE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Oceanus [91B112] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Captivus ob gulam.

Caught by greed

LXXXVI.

Regnator penus, & mensae corrosor[1] herilis
Ostrea mus summis vidit hiulca labris.
Queis teneram apponens barbam salsa [=falsa] ossa momordit
Illa recluserunt[2] tacta repente domum.
Depraensum & tetro tenuerunt carcere furem,
Semet in obscurum qui dederat tumulum.[3]

A mouse, king of the pantry, nibbler at the master’s table, saw oysters with their shells just slightly open. Applying his sensitive whiskers, he nibbled the deceptive bone. The oysters, when touched, suddenly slammed shut their house and held the thief, caught red-handed, in a noisome prison, a thief who had put himself into a lightless tomb.

COMMENTARIA.

Mus quidam penum inhabitans, ubi victus
variarum domini fercularum conservaban-
tur, singula corrodens, utque nihil intactum re-
linqueret, vidit inter alia Ostrea hiulca, fissa
testisque apertis, accurrit avid ac momordit.
Ostrea ver laesa repent domum recludunt
capto & strangulato fure, qui semetipsum in
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [i8r p143]illo obscuro sepelivit tumulo, & de merito
deprehensis poenaque dignis, dicitur prover-
bialiter illud. Decipula murem coepit. De
Ostreis etiam Plinius lib. 32. cap. 6.

Notes:

1. Textual variant: Regnatorque penus, mensaeque arrosor.

2. Textual variant: Ast ea clauserunt.

3. This poem is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.86.


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  • Gluttony, Intemperance, 'Gula'; 'Gola', 'Ingordigia', 'Ingordigia overo Avidit�', 'Voracit�' (Ripa) ~ personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins [11N35] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • law and jurisprudence (+ imprisonment) [44G(+56)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intemperance, Immoderation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54AA43(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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