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Spes proxima.

Hope at hand.

EMBLEMA XLIII.

Innumeris agitur Respublica nostra procellis,
Et spes venturae sola salutis adest:
Non secus ac navis medio circum aequore, venti
Quam rapiunt; salsis iamque fatiscit aquis.
Qud si Helenae adveniant lucentia sidera fratres:[1]
Amissos animos spes bona restituit.

Our country is battered by many a storm, and hope of future safety is all that we have. It is like a ship far out at sea, driven along by the tempest and already gaping open to the salty waters. Yet if the brothers of Helen, the shining stars, appear, then good hope revives the company’s lost courage.

Notes:

1. ‘The brothers of Helen’, i.e. the stars Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri, protectors of sailors.


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Cum larvis non luctandum.[1]

Do not wrestle with the dead

LVII.

Aeacidae[2] moriens percussu cuspidis Hector[3],
Qui toties hosteis vicerat ant 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.

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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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