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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C4r p39]



Ad Georgium Drascovithum Episcopum

Quanto plus terrae effoditur, scrobs crescit hiatu:
Et tumulus maior prominet indicio.
Divitias aliis si quis communicat amplas,
Non fit pauperior, statque benigna manus.
Dispereant quorum numi pro numine[2] habentur,
Vicinisque negant omine fontis aquas.
In tenebris cur non capiat sibi lumen egenus,
Num fit flamma minor? num quoque terra satis?
Κοινὰ φίλων dicas si Croesi ingentia tractes,
Aut bona Pactoli,[3] possideasve Tagum[4].[5]

The more earth one digs, the bigger the pit becomes in its opening, and the higher the pile sticks out as evidence. If someone shares extensive riches with others, he does not become poorer, and the generous hand maintains his position. May those be ruined who regard their money as god, and refuse their neighbours the water of their spring because of an omen. In darkness, why does the needy not take light for himself: Will the flame become weaker? Is there not enough earth either? Say ‘Friends hold all in common’ when you have the wealth of Croesus, or the goods of Pactolus, or when you own the Tagus.


1.  Georgius Drascovithus (György Draskovith in Hungarian, Draskovic in Croat): Hungarian humanist and statesman (of a Croatian family). He was vice-chancellor of Hungary before becoming successively Bishop of Pécs (Quinquecclesiensis), then of Györ, and finally Archbishop of Kalocsa and Cardinal in 1586 (d. 1587).

2.  Pun on nummi and numen, ‘money as god’.

3.  A river in Lydia with gold sands. Midas washed away his power to convert all he touched to gold in this river after he discovered it wouldn’t make him happy.

4.  The river in Spain, once abounded with gold and precious stones.

5.  For Sambucus’ extensive borrowings from Cicero and other sources, Arnoud Visser, Joannes Sambucus and the Learned Image: The Use of the Emblem in Late-Renaissance Humanism (Leiden, 2005), pp. 174-179.

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