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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[A5r p9]

imperatori augusto, germa-
niae, Hungariae, Bohemiae, Dalmatiae, Croa-
Regi optimo, Archiduci Austriae,
Duci Burgundiae, Comiti Tyrolis, &c.
Domino suo clementissimo.[1]

TO MAXIMILIAN II. EMPEROR AUGUSTUS OF GERMANY, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, and Croatia, greatest of monarchs, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Count of Tyrol, etc., my most compassionate Lord.

Quis tibi tam iuveni divinos fundit honores,
Ausisque immensis complevit pectora, Regum
Maxime? non leviter tribuit mortalibus ista
Munera, qui caelum, ac terras Deus ordine torquet.
Nam volucris latŤ totum fama intulit Orbem,
Te triplici insignem diademate, dotibus auctum.

Who lavishes divine honours on such a young man, and fills thy heart with daring schemes, O greatest of Kings? For God, who whirls the heavens and earth around, does not lightly give these gifts (which you possess). For winged fame has spread you, glorious wearer of the triple crown, widely over the whole earth, mighty in your gifts.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[A5v p10]

Te sibi Roma parens legum, imperiique Latini
Conscia nunc Dominum legit, nomenque decusque
Addidit Augusti, & titulos, renovatque triumphos,
Caesareas laudes cumulat praesaga futuri.

Now Rome, mother of Law and the Latin empire has chosen you willingly as her Lord, and invested you with the name, dignity and titles of Emperor, and renewed your triumphs: prescient of the future, she heaps up Caesar’s praises.

Te quoque Pannoniae fines tot cladibus usque
Afflictae, Regem poscunt, donantve corona:
Ut Gethicis[2] tandem relevetur caedibus, atque
Nutu respirare tuo queat, hostibus obsit,
Quae toties luxit crudeli funere, passim
Tot rivis auxit longinquum sanguinis Istrum.

The countries of Pannonia (Hungary and Transylvania), so stricken constantly with bloodshed, also cry out for a king, and crown you: so that she should finally be healed of Getic wars and gain a respite by your nod, hinder the foe, who shone so often from cruel slaughter, and from all sides fed the long Danube with streams of blood.

Cincta iugis Regem arboreis quoque BoŽmia dudum
Obtinet, in decus, ac vires reditura priores.

Bohemia, too, in her belt of mountains and forests long has you as her king: she will return to her former dignity and strength.

Haec pariter pro te certant, tua iura verentur
Regna, ducem in casus sperant tot fortibus omnes
Viribus intrepidŤ ruiturum, pristina cunctis
Ut revoces populis subitÚ decora, aurea secla:
Sub te ut pax coŽat terrarum, iudice solo, &
Vindice te vigeant, totus laetetur & Orbis.

These kingdoms fight for you and respect the laws you make, and all hope that you will rush boldly in the fullness of your might to return the peoples immediately to their old glories, a golden age: let the peace of the nations under you, sole judge, come together, and let them flourish under your guardianship, and the whole earth rejoice.

Tu regere imperium pote sis, discordia cesset
Relligionis amore tui: te autore secundým
Quisque Deum numen veneretur, adoret idemque.
Haec optant sani, praedicit conscia fati
Turba, simul gaudet fama immortaliter auctum.

Be strong enough to rule the empire: let discord surrender to your holy piety: let all men who love God follow you and adore Him. These things good men desire, and the crowd, conscious of fate, proclaims them, and rejoices to see you immortally glorified by fame.

Indole iam prima docuit moderamen Iberi,
Et necis aversae exemplum venaticus error
Quam capiti sacro intentabat, quid valiturum
Ingenium, ac vires essent: fore te caput Orbis,
Delicias hominum, quem cuncti semper amarent,
Et puro canerent certatim pectore vates.

In the first flush of youth Spanish moderation and the example of death from behind, with which a hunting accident threatened your sacred head, showed already the great things of which your genius is capable: that you would be the leader of the world, the delight of humanity, whom all will always love and poets hymn with pure heart eagerly.

Ergo Deus summo tibi munere donat Olympo,
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[A6r p11]Ille regit, fovet, imperioque ornavit amoeno.
Nam Iovis est ales triplex diadema ministrans,
Quae inter praecipuum est Romanum, quod Dea[3] vestit
Custos, nam Lupa nutrivit miserata gemellos
Uberibus fratres, & Romae praebuit orsus.
Haec oleae ramum dextra, pacemque revinctam
Defert, ac vigili cura iubet omnia serves.

So God gives Olympus to thee as a gift; he rules, and adorns you with sweet power. For the bird of Jove is he who furnishes the triple crown, among the parts of which the Roman is the greatest, which the Guardian Goddess invests, for the Wolf, pitying the infant twins, nursed them, the brothers, with her teats, and assured the origins of Rome. In her right hand she brings a branch of olive, and crowned peace, and commands you to preserve all with vigilant care.

Sunt fluvii Hungariae septem tua sceptra verentes,
Qui sibi provideas orant, cursuque perenni
RitŤ monent curarum molem incumbere Regis
Nunc humeris, te sollicitum debere caducis
Partibus obiicere ex animo, salvamque tueri.
Haec vult, ac petit arma gerens, nec laeta puella.

The seven rivers of Hungary, worshipping your scepter, pray you take care for them, and with unending flowing they tell you now to shoulder the burden of regal cares right manfully: you must, they say, submit yourself, anxious, freely to this dying country, and preserve it safe. These things she wishes and begs, not a happy maiden, but a warrior in arms.

Parte alia est domitrix Virtus, leo duxque ferarum
Candidus, hunc BoŽmi submittunt Maximiliane,
Imperio, fortem ingeminant, dominumque salutant.
Sed brevibus repetam spes quae patriam tenet aegram.

On the other side is Virtue dominant, and the lion, prince of beasts shining: him the Bohemians submit to Maximilian, to his rule: they redouble his strength, though he is mighty, and salute him as Lord. But I will return briefly to the hope my poor country holds.

Deposita ac toties miserŤ concussa resurget
Pannonia, exitiique modum te Rege futurum
Sperat, constitues Bizantii firma trophaea.
Desinet impietas, te Caesare purus iniquŤ
Posthabitusque DeŻm cultus, probitasque redibit.
Diffugient nimbi, sublatis nubibus aŽr
In medio cunctis splendescet, te feret unum
In terris Regem populus, compage soluta
Corporis, ad SuperŻm sedes, stellasque revises,
Ornabisque aliquod sidus, propriumque dicabis.

Pannonia, struck down and hit so many times so hard, will rise and hope for a limit to destruction, which will come now that you are King: you will set fixed monuments of victory in Constantinople. Impiety, and the denial of the gods’ pure cult will cease if you are Caesar, and decency return. The clouds will scatter, and the sky, free of storms will shine in its full splendour on the nations: you alone on earth the people will call King, and when the bonds of flesh are loosed, you will return to the seat of the gods and see the stars, and you will be an ornament to one of the constellations, and call it your own.

Iam tu magnorum decus, & Rex maxime Regum,
Paucula quae mitto placida simul accipe fronte,
Quoque favore soles minimum cumulato clientem
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[A6v p12]Sambucum: meritÚ tanti qui incensus amore
Principis, haec offert domino non digna potenti.
Sed mitem novi, facilem expertusque subinde,
Oro, clementi aspicias munuscula vultu,
Quae lusi nuper, postponens seria nugis:
Gandavi in clara generosis civibus urbe,
Hospitio celebri, secessu & semper amico.
Suscipe dum maiora paro, tua facta tubaque,
Et pleno memorem virtutes gutture summas.
Undique nam curo, laudi quod serviat olim.
Non ullis ego, quod possum nec sumptibus, Heros,
Nec gravibus parco, nec cedo laboribus, usquam
Aut terra, aut pelago, mihi bibliotheca paratur;
Dum exigua, & veteres nummos, & marmora cogo,
Ut valeam ingenti prodesse clientulus, atque
Illustrem patriae res gestas, commemor aevi.
Quidquid erit studium quod colligit, optime Princeps,
Subiiciam rediens ego tantae numinis aurae.
Quae, precor, aspiret coeptis, & littore sistat.
Vive, vale Hesperii, Eoi & mirentur, amentque.

Accept, then, now you, glory of the great, greatest of Kings, the little that I offer with benevolent brow, with the massed favour that you oft have shown your humblest servant Sambucus: who, justly inflamed with love for such a mighty Prince, offers these humble gifts, not worthy of his powerful lord. But I have learned from immediate experience that you are kind and good-natured: I beg you, look with a generous eye on this small present, the product of my recent idleness, putting serious matters aside for play: in the city of Ghent, famous for the nobility of its citizens, enjoying its renowned hospitality and always-friendly repose. Accept it, while I prepare greater things: your deeds and incomparable virtues with battle-trumpet and full throat to praise. For, Hero, I am fain to assure whatever will serve future fame, with no regard for anything: I’ll not spare costs, however high, nor will I cease to labour by land or sea: as long as my library is at hand, however small, and I collect old coins and marble, so I, a worthless client, should be of use to my protector, and cast a great light on the history of my country and her past. Whatever science collects, O best of Princes, I will devote, returning, to this great wind of divinity. Which, I pray, should blow upon thy strivings, and bring thee safe to shore. Live and be strong: let West and East worship and love thee.

T.M. Clientulus minimus Sambucus.

Your Majesty’s humblest servant, Zsamboky.


1.Maximilian II (1527-1576) was the son of the Emperor Ferdinand I. In his father’s lifetime, he succeeded him as king of Bohemia in 1562, and king of Hungary in 1563, then finally as Holy Roman Emperor at his father’s death in 1564. Sambucus submitted this collection of emblems in part as an effort to secure employment from him at the Imperial court in Vienna. See Arnoud Visser, Joannes Sambucus and the Learned Image. The Use of the Emblem in Late Renaissance Humanism (2005).

2.The Getae were a Thracian people who lived in Dacia (now Romania) as early as the 4th-century BC, who frequently caused troubles to the Romans along their Danubian frontier. Sambucus uses them poetically to refer to 16th-century wars against the Turks in Hungary.

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