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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E1v f33v]

In dies meliora.

Getting better every day.

Rostra novo mihi setigeri suis[1] obtulit anno,
Haecque cliens ventri xenia dixit habe.
Progreditur semper, nec retro respicit unquam,
Gramina cum pando proruit ore vorax.
Cura viris eadem est, ne spes sublapsa retrorsum
Cedat, & ut melius sit, quod & ulterius.[2]

A dependant of mine brought me the head of a bristly boar at the New Year and said: Here is a present for your insides. - The pig always moves forwards and never looks back as it greedily tears up plants with its flat snout. - Men have the same attitude - they don’t want hopes to collapse and fall back, they do want what lies ahead also to be better.

Notes:

1.  setigeri suis, ‘of a bristly boar’. For pork as a seasonal present at the Saturnalia (17-23 December), see Martial, Epigrams, 14.71: ‘This pig, fattened on acorns among the foaming boars, will make your Saturnalia happy’.

2.  In later editions, the boar is labelled ulterius from the last line, where it suggests the meaning ‘ever onward’. Ulterius is sometimes used as a device of Charles V.


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In simulachrum Spei.

A picture of hope.

Emblema. 44.

Quae Deatam [=Dea tam] laeto suspectans sidera vultu?
Cuius peniculis reddita imago fuit?
Elpidii[1] fecere manus. Ego nominor illa,
Quae miseris promptam Spes bona praestat opem.
Cur viridis tibi palla? quod omnia me duce vernent.
Quid manibus mortis tella[2] refracta geris?
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [T3v f147v]Quod vivos sperare decet, praecido sepultis.
Cur in dolioli tegmine pigra sedes?
Sola domi mansi volitantibus undique noxis,
Ascraei[3] ut docuit musa verenda senis.
Quae tibi adest volucris? Cornix fidissimus oscen[4],
Est bene cum nequeat dicere, dicit, erit.
Qui comites? bonus Eventus[5] praecepsque Cupido
Qui praeeunt? Vigilum somnia vana vocant.
Quae tibi iuncta astat? scelerum Rhamnusia[6] vindex,
Scilicet ut speres nil, nisi quod liceat.

What goddess is this, looking up to the stars with face so glad? By whose brush was this image depicted? - The hands of Elpidius made me. I am called Good Hope, the one who brings ready aid to the wretched. - Why is your garment green? - Because everything will spring green when I lead the way. - Why do you hold Death’s blunt arrows in your hands? - The hopes that the living may have, I cut short for the buried. - Why do you sit idle on the cover of a jar? - I alone stayed behind at home when evils fluttered all around, as the revered muse of the old poet of Ascra has told you. - What bird is at your side? - A crow, the faithful prophet. When it cannot say, ‘All’s well’, it says, ‘All shall be well’. - Who are your companions? - Happy Ending and Eager Desire. - Who go before you? - They call them the idle dreams of those who are awake. - Who stands close beside you? - Rhamnusia, the avenger of crimes, to make sure that you hope for nothing but what is allowed.

Notes:

1.  Elpidius is an invented name derived from Greek ἐλπίς, ‘hope’.

2.  For Death’s arrows cf. [A15a153], [A15a154].

3.  ‘the old poet of Ascra’, i.e. Hesiod. See Hesiod, Opera et dies 90ff. for the story of Pandora’s box or jar.

4.  ‘a crow, the faithful prophet’. The crow was a bird of prophecy and an emblem of hope. Its caw was interpreted as cras, cras, ‘tomorrow, tomorrow’. Cf. the proverb, Quod hodie non est, cras erit: ‘What is not today shall be tomorrow.’

5.  Bonus Eventus or Bonne Aventure, cf. Evento Buono in Ripa, Iconologia; also called ‘Success’ or ‘Happy Ending’.

6.  Rhamnusia, i.e. Nemesis, who had a shrine at Rhamnus in Attica.


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