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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[I7v p142]

In colores.

On Colours

EMBLEMA CXVII.

Index maestitiae est pullus color: utimur omnes
Hoc habitu, tumulis cým damus inferias.
At sinceri animi, & mentis stola candida purae:
Hinc sindon sacris linea grata viris.
Nos sperare docet viridis. Spes dicitur esse
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[I8r p143]In viridi, quoties irrita retrÚ cadit.[1]
Est cupidis flavus color, est & amantibus aptus,
Et scortis, & queis spes sua certa fuit.
At ruber armatos equites exornet amictus:
Indicet & pueros erubuisse pudor.
Caeruleus nautas, & qui caelestia vates
Attoniti nimia relligione petunt.
Vilia sunt gilvis, nativaque vellera burrhis:
Qualia lignipedes stragula habere solent.
Quem curae ingentes cruciant vel zelus amoris,
Creditur hic fulva non malŤ veste tegi.
Quisquis sorte sua contentus, ianthina gestet:
Fortunae aequanimis taedia quique ferat.
Ut varia est natura coloribus in gignendis,
Sic aliis aliud: sed sua cuique placent.[2]

Black is a sign of sadness; we all use this garb when we perform funeral rites at tombs. But white clothes are a sign of a sincere mind and pure thoughts. Hence the sindon, the linen garment beloved of holy men. Green teaches us to hope. Hope is said to be in the green whenever it sinks back unfulfilled. A gold colour is suitable for avaricious people and lovers, and whores, and anyone whose hopes have come to fruition. Let red garb adorn armed horsemen, let modesty show boys blushing. Blue suits sailors and prophets who, muddled with too much religion, pursue things in the skies. Cheap and untreated are the fleeces for dun-coloured cloaks, the sort of coverings that the wooden-legged have. A man tortured by great anxieties or the jealousy of love is considered appropriately dressed in yellow. Anyone content with his lot may wear mauve, also the man who bears with composure the unpleasantnesses inflicted by Fortune. - Nature is diverse in producing the colours, and different things are for different situations. Yet each of us is pleased by what is his own.

Notes:

1.‘Green teaches us to hope’. Cf. Emblem 44, line 5 ([A91a044]). In viridi, ‘in the green’ echoes the phrase in herba, for hopes unfulfilled. See e.g. Ovid, Ex Ponto, 16.263: ‘adhuc tua messis in herba est’ (your harvest is still in green leaf).

2.‘each of us is pleased by what is his own’. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 115 (suum cuique pulchrum).


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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[b7v p30]

In occasionem.

Opportunity.

XVI.

Lysippi[1] hoc opus est, Sycion[2] cui patria: tu quis?[3]
Cuncta domans capti temporis articulus.
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[b8r p31]Cur pinnis[4] stas? usque rotor. talaria plantis
Cur retines? passim me levis aura rapit.
In dextra est tenuis dic unde novacula? acutum
Omni acie hoc signum me magis esse docet.
Cur in fronte coma? occurrens ut prendar. at heus tu
Dic cur pars calva est posterior capitis?
Me semel alipedem si quis permittat abire,
Ne possim apprenso postmodÚ crine capi.
Tali opifex nos arte, tui causa, edidit hospes,
Utque omnes moneam, pergula aperta tenet.

This image is the work of Lysippus, whose home was Sicyon. - Who are you? - I am the moment of seized opportunity that governs all. - Why do you stand on points? - I am always whirling about. - Why do you have winged sandals on your feet? - The fickle breeze bears me in all directions. - Tell us, what is the reason for the sharp razor in your right hand? - This sign indicates that I am keener than any cutting edge. - Why is there a lock of hair on your brow? - So that I may be seized as I run towards you. - But come, tell us now, why ever is the back of your head bald? - So that if any person once lets me depart on my winged feet, I may not thereafter be caught by having my hair seized. It was for your sake, stranger, that the craftsman produced me with such art, and, so that I should warn all, it is an open portico that holds me.

COMMENTARIA.

Lysippus cuius meminit Martialis, nobilis
& insignis sculptor, (eius patria Sycion urbs
in Laconia erat, cuius egregia opera Plinius va-
riis in locis commendat) hanc statuam fabri-
cavit, quae Occasio dicitur, id est, opportuni-
tas temporis rectŤ observata omnia regens &
gubernans, teste Plutarcho in vita Niciae. Stat
autem pinnis, id est, calamis durioribus ro-
tundis: semper enim labitur nec unquam fir-
ma permanet, in pedibus talaria, id est, cal-
ceos alatos (ut etiam Mercurius) gerit, per
aŽrem etenim ad omnia loca volitat. Dextra
novaculam tenet, significans illam quavis re
acutissima magis acutam, in fronte solým ca-
pillata, ut occurrens statim apprehendatur,
retro verÚ calva est, quippe semel amissa, post
terga capi amplius nequit , ita etiam Cato ille
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[b8v p32]gravissimus eam describit, inquiens. Fronte
capillata post haec Occasio calva. Stat autem
pergula, hoc est alto eminentique loco ut faci-
lŤ videri possit & omnes admoneat.

Notes:

1.Greek sculptor, 4th century BC.

2.A town west of Corinth.

3.This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 16.275. See also Erasmus, Adagia 670, Nosce tempus, where Erasmus too gives a verse translation of the Greek epigram.

4.‘on points’. Alciato here agrees with Erasmus, who similarly translates the phrase ep’ akra, ‘on tiptoe’, in the Greek original. Thomas More translates more obviously with summis digitis. See Selecta epigrammata (Cornarius, ed.) p. 372ff.


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