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In Senatum boni Principis.

On the senate of a good prince

Emblema cxliiii.

Dialogismus.

Effigies manibus truncae ante altaria divum
Hinc resident, quarum lumine capta prior.
Signa potestatis summae, sanctíque Senatus
Thebanis fuerant ista reperta viris.[1]
Cur resident? quia mente graves decet esse quieta
Iuridicos, animo nec variare levi.
Cur sine sunt manibus? capiant ne xenia, nec se
Pollicitis flecti muneribúsque sinant.
Caecus at est Princeps, quòd solis auribus, absque
Affectu, constans iussa Senatus agit.

Figures without hands sit here before the altars of the gods. The chief of them is deprived of sight. These symbols of the supreme power and of the reverend senate were discovered by men of Thebes. - Why do they sit? - Because lawgivers should be serious, of a calm mind, and not change with inconstant thoughts. - Why have they no hands? - So that they may not take gifts, nor let themselves be influenced by promises or bribes. But the president is blind, because the Senate, by hearing alone, uninfluenced by feeling, impartially discharges what it is bidden to do.

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PRaeter Plutarchum, commentario de Iside, me-
minere plures huius simulachri optimorú apud
Thebanos iudicum. Sedent quidem Senatores, ut
admoneantur constantiae & gravitates, neque se
studio vel gratia flecti patiantur: Sunt sine mani-
bus, ut manus contineant à muneribus capiundis.
Princeps ipse caecus, ne affectu quodam moveatur,
solis ad iudicium ferendum utatur auribus.

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Sur le Senat du bon Prince.

CEs pourtraits ne sont point sans propos inventez
Qu’on voit devant l’autel des Dieux representez,
Dont le premier d’iceux assis & ne voit goutte,
Les autres sont sans mains: ces images sans doute
Sont de l’invention ancienne des Thebains,
Lesquels d’esprit gentil nous ont laissez depaints
Tels signes d’un Senat d’equitable justice,
D’un jugement entier, & souverain office.
Pourquoy sont ils assis? c’est qu’en leurs cours & plaids
Juges doivent juger à repos & en paix,
Avoir la gravité, & l’ame droicte & bonne,
Et ne varier point en faveur de personne.
Pourquoy sont ils sans mains? Parce qu’il ne faut pas
Qu’ils prennent des presens, ou tous autres appasts.
Pourquoy le President ne voit rien, ains travaille
Sans autre affection prestant la seule oreille?
C’est que sans passion il retient droictement,
Et sur ce prend conseil & donne jugement.

OUtre ce qui est rapporté par Plutar-
que
en la dispute d’Isis, plusieurs ont
faict mention de ce pourtrait icy des bons
juges de Thebes. Là les Senateurs sont assis,
afin qu’ils soient advertis d’estre constant &
graves, & ne fleschissent par faveur ou
amour: Ils sont sans mains, à ce qu’ils se
contiennent de prendre presens: le Prince
ou President est aveugle, afin qu’il ne soit
esmeu d’aucune affection, ains que pour don-
ner jugement il preste seulement les aureilles.

Notes:

1.  This is Thebes in Egypt. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 10; also Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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CUM LARVIS NON LUCTAN-
DUM.[1]

Do not wrestle with the dead

Aeacide[2] moriens percussu cuspidis Hector[3],
Qui toties hosteis vicerat antè suos.
Comprimere haud potuit vocem insultantibus illis,
Dum curru & pedibus nectere vincla parant.
Distrahite ut libitum est sic cassi luce leonis,
Convellunt barbam vel timidi lepores.[4]

When he was dying from the wound dealt by the spear of Aeacus’ descendant, Hector, who had so often before defeated his own enemies, could not keep silent as they triumphed over him, while preparing to tie the ropes to chariot and feet. Tear me as you will, he said; when the lion is deprived of the light of life, even cowardly hares pluck his beard.

Notes:

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

2.  ‘of Aeacus’ descendant’, i.e. ‘of Achilles’. Textual variant: Aeacidae.

3.  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.

4.  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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