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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F1r p81]

Non luicter contre un mort.[1]

LVII.

Hector jusqu’à la mort blessé
Fut par les Grecs ses haineux pris:[2]
Et tantost de cordes troussé:

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F1v p82]

Lors dit à ceux qui l’ont surpris:
Faites comme avez entrepris:
Ores je vois vray le proverbe,
Qu’au Lion ja de mort espris,
Les Lievres vont tirer la barbe.[3]

commentaires.

Hector, fils du Roy Priam, & le plus fort de tous
les Troyens, apres avoir plusieurs fois vaincu ses enne-
mis, faict prendre la fuite à tous les Grecs, & garen-
ti sa patrie contre tous leurs efforts, en fin, sans qu’il
y prinst garde, fut percé d’outre en outre par la lance
d’Achilles, lequel l’ayant faict attacher au derriere
de son chariot, le traina à l’entour des murailles de
Troye. Or comme les Grecs virent Hector porté par
terre demi mort, ils se jecterent sur luy, & luy firent
mil insolences & vituperes. Mais il leur dit, Trainez
moy: tormentez moy selon vos passions desreiglees:
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F2r p83] ainsi souvent les timides lievres osent arracher la bar-
be au lion, lors qu’ils le voyent mort, & avoir les
yeux fermés. Ciceron soustient qu’Hector estoit du
tout mort, quand il fut attaché au chariot d’Achil-
les. Or est-ce une chose honteuse, ridicule, & du tout
indigne d’un coeur genereux & vaillant, de braver
& combattre ceux qui sont desja privés de vie, les-
quels, s’ils vivoyent, à grand’ peine oseroit on regar-
der entre deux yeux. Mais les morts ne mordent
plus.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Erasmus, Adagia 153, Cum larvis luctari.

2.  Hector was the greatest warrior on the Trojan side in the Trojan War, killed in single combat by Achilles, the Greek champion. See Homer, Iliad 22.367ff. and 24.14ff. for Achilles’ desecration of Hector’s body, dragging it, tied by the feet behind his chariot, round the tomb of Patroclus.

3.  The last two lines are a translation of the two-line epigram Anthologia graeca 16.4, where, in Planudes’ text, the words are attributed to Hector in the heading.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C8r]

FIRMISSIMA CONVELLI
non posse.

The firmest things cannot be uprooted

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C8v]

Occeanus quamvis fluctus pater excitet omnes,[1]
Danubiumque omnem barbare Turca bibas,[2]
Non tu[3] irrumpes perfracto limite, Caesar
Dum Charolus populis bellica signa dabit.[4]
Sic sacrae quercus[5] firmis radicibus adstant.
Sicca licent [=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.  Later editions correct to tamen, no doubt to improve the scansion.

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

5.  ‘holy oaks’. Oaks were holy because sacred to Zeus, especially at his sanctuary at Dodona in Greece ([A50a199]). 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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  • Invincibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A71(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
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