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IMPOSSIBILE.

The impossible

Abluis Aethiopem quid frustra? ah desine, noctis
Illustrare nigrae nemo potest tenebras.[1]

Why are you washing an Ethiopian in vain? Oh, do stop. No one can turn the shades of black night into light.

Notes:

1. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 11.428. See also Aesop, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 350, Aethiopen lavas.


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit� humana, Fugacit� delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit� (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • day and night [23R] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Impossibility (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52BB42(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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In aulicos.

On Courtiers

CXI.

Vana Palatinos quos educat[1] aula clientes,
Dicitur auratis nectere compedibus.

The court, so full of vanities, supports the palace entourage, but binds them with fetters of gold, it is said.

COMMENTARIA.

Qui in Regum Principumve Aulis educun-
ter & nutriuntur, hi quidem spendid vivunt,
comedunt ac bibunt lautissim, vestiuntur ma-
gnific, incedunt superb, adeoque ut eorum feli-
cissima videatur vita. Interim tamen sui iuris
non sunt, nec ingenu liberi im aureis vin-
culis colligati dici possunt, quos reprehendit
Seneca inquiens, stulti esse compedes suas
quamvis aureas amare, hinc Aulicorum con-
ditio in proverbium abiit, Aureae compedes.

Notes:

1. Textual variant: ‘ducat’


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  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; Fragilit� humana, Fugacit� delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, Vanit� (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • royal household; courtiers, retinue, train [44B152] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Restriction, Limitation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51EE11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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