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The reckless

Emblema. 56.

Aspicis aurigam currus Phaetonta[1] paterni.
Ignivomos ausum flectere Solis equos.
Maxima qui postquam terris incendia sparsit,
Est temerê insesso lapsus[2] ab axe miser.
Sic plerique rotis fortunae ad sidera Reges
Evecti ambitio quos iuvenilis agit.
Post magnum [=magnam] humani generis clademque, suamque,
Cunctorum paenas denique dant scelerum.

You see here Phaethon, driving his father's chariot, and daring to guide the fire-breathing steeds of the Sun. After spreading great conflagrations over the earth, the wretched boy fell from the car he had so rashly mounted. - Even so, the majority of kings are borne up to heaven on the wheels of Fortune, driven by youth's ambition. After they have brought great disaster on the human race and themselves, they finally pay the penalty for all their crimes.


1.  Phaethon, the son of Apollo, the sun-god. The myth referred to here is told in Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.748 - 2.349. Both Phaethon and Icarus (see [A15a102]) are types of those who aim too high and do not recognise their proper sphere.

2.  Corrected from the Errata.

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