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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[B2v p20]

Foedera.

Alliances.

II.

Hanc citharam, ŗ lembi quae forma halieutica[1] fertur,
Vendicat & propriam Musa latina sibi,
Accipe Dux, placeat nostrum hoc tibi tempore munus,
Quo nova cum sociis foedera: inire paras.
Difficile est, nisi docto homini, tot tendere chordas,
Unaque si fuerit non bene tenta fides,
Ruptave (quod facile est) perit omnis gratia conchae,
Illeque praecellens cantus, ineptus erit.
Sic Itali coŽunt proceres in foedera: concors,
Nil est quod timeas, si tibi constet amor.
At si aliquis desciscat (uti plerunque videmus)
In nihilum illa omnis solvitur harmonia.

This lute, which from its boat shape is called “halieutica”, my Latin Muse now claims for her own service. Receive it, O Duke. May this offering of mine be pleasing to you at this moment when you are preparing to enter into fresh agreements with your allies. It is difficult, except for a man of skill, to tune so many strings, and if one string is out of tune or broken, which so easily happens, all the music of the instrument is lost and its lovely song disjointed. In like manner the leaders of Italy are now forming alliances. There is nothing for you to fear if affection lasts for you and stays in concord. But if any one should slide away, which we often see, that harmony is all dissolved into nothing.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[B3r p21]

Bundsgenossen.

II.

So du Furst yetz zu diser zeyt
Machst newe bundnuŖ, schenck ich dier
Ein lautten, merck was die bedeyt,
Und nim sy gnediklich von mier.
Ein lautte hallt mit grosser zier,
Soll nicht wo nur ein saytt abschnolt:
Ein steter bund schreckt alle thier
Gilt nicht, wo nur ein bundŖgnoŖ folt.

Notes:

1.A Greek word meaning ‘fishing’ (boat).


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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[B1v f9v]

Scyphus Nestoris.

Nestor’s cup

Nestoreum geminis cratera hunc accipe fundis, [1]
Quod gravis argenti massa profudit opus.
Claviculi ex auro: stant circum quattuor ansae:
Unam quanque super fulva columba sedet.
Solus eum potuit longaevus tollere Nestor.
Maeonidae doceas quid sibi musa velit.
Est coelum scyphus ipse. color argenteus illi est:
Aurea sunt coeli sidera claviculi.
Pleiadas esse putant, quas dixerit ille columbas.[2]
Umblici [=Umbilici] gemini,[3] magna minorque fera est.[4]
Haec Nestor longo sapiens intelligit usu.
Bella gerunt fortes, callidus astra tenet.

Receive this bowl of Nestor with its double support, a work which a heavy mass of silver shaped. Its studs are of gold. Four handles stand about it. Above each one sits a yellow dove. Only aged Nestor was able to lift it. Do tell us what Homer’s Muse intended. The cup itself is the heavens; its colour is silvery; the studs are the golden stars of heaven. They think that what he called doves are the Pleiades. The twin bosses are the great and lesser beast. The wise Nestor understood this by long experience: the strong wage war, the wise man grasps the stars.

Notes:

1.Nestor’s bowl is described at Homer, Iliad, 11.632-7. Only Nestor, for all his great age could lift it when full. For the interpretation of Nestor’s cup (or mixing bowl) given here, see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 11.487 F ff.

2.The Greek word for ‘doves’ is πελειάδες.

3.‘twin bosses’, i.e. possibly the protuberances inside the bowl where it was joined to the two supports.

4.‘great and lesser beast’, i.e. the Great and Little Bear, a phrase based on Ovid, Tristia, 4.3.1: ‘magna minorque ferae’.


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