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Fortuna Duce.

Guided by Fortune

Ad Hieronymum Wolfium.[1]

Sunt binae hc cistae, quarum tenet altera plumbum,
Auro sed gravis est altera, neutra patet.
Optio si fallat, plumbum ut pro divite caecus
Arripias auro: quis tibi caussa mali est?
Hinc quibus ingenium est, multos fortuna retardat,
Non dignisque refert praemia iniqua viris.
In domino non est semper ditare fideles,
Culpa, nec immeritos tot cumulasse bonis.
Nam quos fata premunt, metas contingere fixas,
Et misera nequeunt se relevare mora.
Sed neque Fortuna est quidquam, nisi opinio vana,
Quam merito spernis, vincis & ingenio.

There are two chests here, one containing lead, the other heavy with gold. Neither of these is open. If the choice would deceive you, and as a blind man you would take hold of the lead, instead of the precious gold, what would you think the cause of the misfortune? Hence, Fortune hinders many who have talent, and grants unfair rewards to those who do not deserve them. The master cannot always enrich his loyals nor is it his fault that the undeserving have amassed so many possessions. Because who are crushed down by the decrees of fate, cannot achieve set goals, nor relieve themselves of their wretched impediment. However, fortune is nothing but hollow opinion [estimation], which you rightly despise, and conquer through your talent.


1. Hieronymus Wolfius was a German Classicist, especially remembered for translations from Greek into Latin (d. 1580).

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