Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C5r p41]


Quaere adolescens, utere senex.

The young man should get, the old man should use.

Ad Andream Ostervicum Splinteri filium.[1]

Hinc dum viget, duro labore exercitus,
Ephebus; hinc senex beato Copiae
Cornu fruens, opum & dapis laetae satur;
Iuvenem parare commonent, uti senem.

One the one side, young and strong, busy with hard work, The young man; on the other the old, enjoying the fruits of the blessed Horn of Plenty, is filled with riches and joyful feasting; These figures remind the young man to lay up his riches, and the old to make use of them.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H6v p124]

Adolescentiae flos non per luxum,
desesve otium deterendus est, sed veris animi or-
namentis tingendus, sive id in litterarum atque
artium liberalium studio, quibus aetas prima ad
humanitatem informatur fiat; sive in mechanicis,
sedentariis,[2] aliisve opificiis. siquidem laboribus
ut duratur virtus atque adolescit in maius; ita
luxu degenerique otio exolescit ac diffluit. Labo-
ribus (quos ubique sanctos agnoscit scriptura sa-
& vitae subsidia quaeruntur, & laetae senectu-
tis adiumenta comparantur. Labor iuventae vi-
ribus, dum genua virent, convenientissimus est: at
senectutem decet feriatum ą laboribus otium, re-
rumque partarum usus: Quo spectat laudatus
ille Ennii poėtae versus:
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H7r p125]Sicut fortis equus, spacio qui fortč supremo
Vicit Olympia, nunc senio confectus quiescit.[3]
Proinde recte dictum est ą Portio Latrone[4] insi-
gni rhetore: Quaere adolescens, utere senex; & in
eandem sententiam ą Seneca: Iuveni parandum,
Seni utendum. Pingantur hinc adolescens expe-
ditis lacertis, nudo capite, ligone terram proscin-
dens: illinc senex abolla pellita suffultus, in solio
accumbens ad genialem mensam epulis scyphis-
que exstructam.

The flower of youth ought not to be frittered away in debauchery or idleness, but steeped in the true ornaments of the spirit, be it in the study of literature and the liberal arts, by which at an early age one is guided towards mental cultivation, or be it in the mechanical, clerical or other artisanal arts: since just as with hard work virtue endures and grows bigger, even so with debauchery and decadent idleness it withers and drains away. By hard work (which holy scripture acknowledges in numerous places to be God’s work), young men both obtain the means for living, and lay up provision for a happy old age. Hard work is most fitting for the strength of youth, whilst the limbs [lit. knees] are vigorous: but leisurely freedom from work suits old age, and the enjoyment of one’s possessions. It is to this that those celebrated lines of the poet Ennius refer: [p.125] ‘Like a strong horse, who on the greatest race-course perhaps Won the Olympic games, now, having had his day, enjoys quiet old age’. It is right, therefore, what Porcius Latro the famous orator said: ‘The young man should earn, the old man should enjoy’; and what Seneca said, to the same effect: ‘It is for the young man to earn, and the old to enjoy’. On the one side a young man should be portrayed with his muscles unencumbered and his head bare, cutting the ground with a mattock; on the other side should be an old man, wrapped up in a thick animal-skin coat, reclining on a couch at a festive table laden with a sumptuous feast and drinking-bowls.


1.  Andreas Ostervicus, son of Splinter, has not been identified. He is perhaps son of Splinter van Hargen (dedicatee in emblem XI, [FJUb011]), perhaps Lord of Oosterwijk.

2.  For sedentarius, see the comment in Coustau, Pegma, Emblem 43 ([FCPb043]); it might refer to any work that requires to be done sitting down (e.g. in Plautus, it is used on one occasion to refer to cobblers). Unlike Coustau, Junius is clearly using it in a good sense here.

3.  Ennius, Annals 18.22-3 (quoted by Cicero, De Senectute (Cato Maior), 5.14).

4.  Marcus Porcius Latro. A native of Hispania, teacher of Ovid, and friend of Seneca’s. Porcius is apparently a better reading than Portius.

Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.


Back to top