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Semper praesto esse infortunia.

Misfortune is always at hand

Emblema cxxix.

Ludebant parili tres olim aetate puellae
Sortibus, ad Stygias quae prior iret aquas.
At cui iactato malè cesserat alea talo,
Ridebat sortis caeca puella suae.
Cùm subito icta caput labente est mortua tecto,
Solvit & audacis debita fata ioci.
Rebus in adversis mala sors non fallitur: ast in
Faustis, nec precibus, nec locus est manui.[1]

Once three girls of the same age were amusing themselves, casting lots to see which of them would be the first to go to the waters of the Styx. When the dice were cast, the throw fell out unluckily for one of them, but she laughed with blind contempt at the fate predicted for her. Then suddenly she died, struck on the head as the roof fell in, and so paid the fated penalty for her bold mockery. In misfortune, a bad omen cannot be eluded, but even in prosperity neither prayers nor action have any place.

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APologus hic legitur I. Graecorum Epigrammaton:
ex quo monemur, eum non sapere qui fortunae
suae ita sidit, ut cum ea se tutò posse lusitare pu-
tet: Casus enim adversi semper ultrò cadunt: pro-
spera non sunt in nostra manu, & cum ea nobis in-
terdum obtingunt, sisti ad nostrum arbitrium non
possunt.

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Tousjours le malheur est prest.

UN jour jouoient aux dez ensemble trois pucelles,
Pour sçavoir qui mourroit la premiere d’entre elles.
Celle rioit bien fort qui pire chance avoit:
Ce pandant son malheur tout proche ne sçavoit[2]:
Lors que du tect voisin va tomber une tuille[3]
Tout droit dessus la teste à ceste pauvre fille.
Soit par jeu, soit de bon, le malheur nous advient;
Mais le bien, par souhaits en la main ne nous vient.

CEst apologue se treuve liv. I. Des Epi-
grammes Grecs, qui nous apprend,
que celuy n’est sage qui se fie tellement à sa
fortune, que seurement il peust jouër avec
icelle. Car les adversitez viennent tousjours,
& se presentent à nous, sans que nous en
doubtions: mais le bon-heur n’est en nostre
puissance: que si par fois il nous vient, ce
n’est pas à dire qu’il puisse estre & demeu-
rer permanent à nostre volonté.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.158.

2.  Corrected from the Errata

3.  Corrected from the Errata


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  • (private) prayer; 'Oratione', 'Preghiere', 'Preghiere a Dio' (Ripa) [11Q2] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Weakness, Powerlessness, Helplessness; 'Infermità' (Ripa) [54AA7] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Luck, Fortune, Lot; 'Fato', 'Fortuna', 'Fortuna aurea', 'Fortuna buona', 'Fortuna pacifica overo clemente', 'Sorte' (Ripa) [54F12] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Turn of Fate, Wheel of Fortune (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54F121(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Adversity, Misfortune, Bad Luck; 'Fortuna infelice', 'Infortunio' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54FF11(+4):51A4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Mortality, Extinction of Life [58BB1] Search | Browse Iconclass

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ELOQUENTIA FORTITU-
dine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Arcum leva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud,
Quòd vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid quod lingua illi levibus traiecta cathenis,
Quîs fissa facili allicit aure viros.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E6v]An ne quod Alcyden lingua non robore Galli,
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt.
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda,
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, by which he draws men along with ready ears pierced? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2.  Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • ears [31A2213] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Europeans (with NAME) [32B311(FRENCHMEN)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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