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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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IN SENATUM BONI
PRINCIPIS.

On the senate of a good prince

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Effigies manibus truncae ante altaria Divum,
Hic resident, quarum lumine capta prior.
Signa potestatis summae sanctique senatus,
Thebanis fuerant ista reperta viris.[1]
Cur resident? quia mente graves decet esse quieta,
Iuridicos animo ne [=nec] variare levi.
Cur sine sunt manibus? capiant ne xaenia, nec se
Pollicitis flecti muneribusve sinant.
Caecus at est princeps, quod 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.

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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