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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q3r P245]

In herbam Moly, ex Homero.[1]

On the herb moly (after Homer).

Magnae res sine magnis periculis non fiunt.

Great achievements come with great dangers [lit. great things do not happen without great dangers].

En tibi Maeonii[2] vatis suavissima Moly,
Ostendit vitae fata, decusque tuae.
Lacteus est illi floris color, atraque radix,
Exoriturque nigro palmite lactis honos.
Quid speras magnis rerum successibus uti,
Qui revocas oculos longe ab agone tuos?
An tibi Idumaeae cedent sine pulvere palmae? [3]
Proxima quaerendus damna triumphus habet.

Look how the moly of the Maeonian seer shows you your life’s most sweet and glorious future [lit. the sweetest fate and glory of your life]. The colour of its flower is milky-white, its root is dark: The noble beauty of the white comes out of a black shoot. How do you hope to attain great achievements in life if you can’t bear to look difficulties in the face?* Do you think you can win the Idumaean palm without a struggle? The triumph you must seek has catastrophe [lit. injury] as its closest neighbour.
* Lit. ‘How do you hope to make use of great successes of things, who pull back your eyes far from a contest or action?’

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q3v p246]


MOly herbam magnis rebus efficiendis no
bilem mirabiliter Homerus versibus suis ho
noravit. Nam illius inventum diis immortalibus
attribuens eam à Mercurio ex terra evulsam Ulys
traditam esse ait, ut is inter Circes veneficia
securus versaretur,
Ῥίζου μὲν μέλαν ἔσκε γάλακτι δὲ εἴκελον ἄνθος.
Radice, inquit, nigra est, sed lacti flos simillimus.
Qua re universae hominum vitae concursationes
& studia scientissimè complexus est. Nam in re-
bus aggrediendis ita natura adfert, ut radices ni-
grae sint & obscurae, principiaque ipsa molestia-
rum plena: multique homines inventi sunt, qui dif-
ficultate deterriti in cursu restiterunt. Cùm verò
paulùm ultra radicem res ipsa processerit, mirabi
les gloriae fructus consequuntur. Iam res magnas
& memorabiles gerere gloriosum est, sed tamen
non sine magno fortunarum & vitae discrimine res
tantae perfici possunt. Darius quidem eo praelio
quo apud Issum ab Alexandro Magno superatus
est, in concione apud apud milites suos dixisse fertur,
Res magnas sine magnis periculis non geri.
Nam & multi exercitus eo profecti esse praedican
tur, unde se nunquam redituros confiderent. Tan
ta est enim in maximis, animis incitatio, tantum-
que pugnandi studium, ut victoriae laudem facile
omnibus periculis anteponant,


1.  The herb or plant moly (Greek μῶλυ) was given by Hermes to Odysseus as a counter-charm against the spells of Circe. See Alciato 1584, Emblem 181 ([FALc181]). Pliny describes a plant of that name as having a white flower and black root (Natural History,; as in line three of Coustau’s verse), and another as being a type of nightshade ( Tennyson dreamily describes a bank of amaranth and moly in The Lotos-Eaters; more prosaically, modern botanists use it to refer to a species of wild onion.

2.  I.e. Homer, said to have come from Maeonia (Lydia) in Asia Minor.

3.  Idumaean: from Palestine, a reference to Vergil, Georgics, 3.12.

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