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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H8v p128]

Firmissima convelli non posse.

The firmest things cannot be uprooted

LVI.

Oceanus quamvis fluctus pater excitet omnes,[1]
Danubiumque omnem barbare Turca bibas:[2]
Non tamen irrumpes perfracto limite, Caesar
Dum Charlus populis bellica signa dabit.[3]
Sic sacrae quercus[4] firmis radicibus astant,
Sicca 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.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I1r p129]

Starcke bevestigung.

LVI.

Ob gleich der grewlich Turck das meer
Mit schiffen bedeck uberal,
Und sauff die Danow mit seimm heer,
Mag er unß doch thuen kainn eynfal,
Die weyl den Cristenlichen stal
Der edlest Kayser Carl huett,
Kayn Aych falt nit von windes hal,
Wie fast er in den bleternn wuet.

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

4.  ‘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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  • Asiatic races and peoples: Turks [32B33(TURKS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Constancy, Tenacity; 'Costanza', 'Tenacità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A21(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Stability, Firmness; 'Fermezza', 'Stabilimento', 'Stabilità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [53A22(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Invincibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A71(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(CHARLES V [of Holy Roman Empire])3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME) [61D(DANUBE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • (story of) Oceanus [91B112] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I1v p130]

Cum larvis non luctandum.[1]

Do not wrestle with the dead

LVII.

Aeacidae[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.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I2r p131]

Mit todten ist nit zu fechten.

LVII.

Hector der sighafft toedlich wund
Durch seines feinds Achillis hand,
Sagt noch zu letst aus freyem mund,
Als im anlegten spoetlich band
Die Griechen: Volbringt ewern thand
Nach lust, in zager hasen art,
Die umb ein todten Lewen standt,
Zopffen im hie und dort den part.

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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