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Vera amicitia.

True friendship

Et caelo & terra manibus cor untrinque tenetur,
Externa nunquam quae dirimuntur ope.
Est in amicitia suavis concordia rerum:
Nec potis est fictos, aut violenta pati.
Nam virtute coit, simulat nec enormia lucra,
Haec ubi deficiunt, debita nulla fides.
Nullus amor durat, nulli comitantur honores,
Et quamvis caussae dissolvëre leves.
Sed nec in humanis consensus firmat amicos,
Sint opus aeterna relligione pares.
Quis sua committat Thurcis, quo foedere tutus,
Qui diversa colit Numina, fingit idem?[1]

The heart is held on both sides by hands from heaven and earth, which no external power can break asunder. There is in friendship a sweet concord of things, and it bears no false men or violent acts. For virtue binds it, nor does it pretend to huge profit. Still, if the latter is missing, no trust is given. No love lasts, no honours find friends, and any cause, no matter how small, is enough to break it apart. And since not even shared feelings make friendship strong, let pairs of friends have recourse to eternal religion. Who would entrust his affairs to Turks? In what treaty might he imagine he finds safety? They worship another God!


1.  In this, Sambucus is certainly addressing his comments to Emperor Maximilian II, who was at that moment negotiating a treaty with the Ottomans in Hungary. The resulting treaty of 1568 did not last long and by 1570 they were at war again. The comment also refers to the past treaties made between François I of France and Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent against Emperor Charles V, seen as scandalous in the eyes of the Christian west.

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