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SEMPER PRAESTO ESSE
infortunia.

Misfortune is always at hand

Ludebant parili tres olim aetate puellae
Sortibus, ad stygias quae prior iret aquas.
Ast cui iactato male cesserat alea talo,
Ridebat sortis caeca puella suae.
Cum subito icta caput labente est mortua tecto,
Solvit & audacis debita fata ioci.
Rebus in adversis mala sors non fallitur, ast in
Faustis, nec precibus nec locus est manui.[1]

Once three girls of the same age were amusing themselves, casting lots to see which of them would be the first to go to the waters of the Styx. When the dice were cast, the throw fell out unluckily for one of them, but she laughed with blind contempt at the fate predicted for her. Then suddenly she died, struck on the head as the roof fell in, and so paid the fated penalty for her bold mockery. In misfortune, a bad omen cannot be eluded, but even in prosperity neither prayers nor action have any place.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.158.


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Mentem, non formam plus
pollere.

Intelligence matters, not beauty

XLVIII.

Ingressa vulpes in Choragi pergulam,
Fabr expolitum invenit humanum caput,
Sic eleganter fabricatum, ut spiritus
Solm deesset, caeteris vivisceret:
Id illa cm sumpsisset in manus, ait:
Hoc[1] quale caput est! sed cerebrum non habet.[2]

A fox, entering the store-room of a theatrical producer, found an actor’s mask, skilfully shaped, so finely fashioned that the spirit alone was missing, in all else it seemed alive. Taking it up, the fox addressed it - What a head is this, but it has no brain!

COMMENTARIA.

Vulpecula quaedam (asutissimum animal)
cm forte intrasset officinam cuiusdam sculpto-
ris, reperit ibi humanum caput ade artificios
& egregi fabricatum ac politum, ut omnino
vivum sibi videretur, nisi spiritus defuisset, illud
revolvit dicens: qum formosum caput, sed
intellectu caret. Extat fabella Esopica de vul-
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [f3v p86]pe & capite reperto. Significatur solam pul-
chritudinem corporis & nitorem non suffice
re nisi etiam accedant animi bona, praestat igi-
tur sordidum & deformem, sed sapientia prae-
ditum esse, qum elegantissimum & venustis-
simum, ingenio autem & mente carere.

Notes:

1. Textual variant: O.

2. See Phaedrus, Fables 1.7 (also in iambic senarii); Aesop, Fables 43.


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  • Beauty; 'Bellezza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intellect, Intelligence; 'Intelletto', 'Intelligenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A1(+4):54B6(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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