Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D5v p58]

Dolus inevitabilis.

The unavoidable trap

Quamvis centum oculos habeas, totidemque ministros,
Ā specie veri fallimur, arsque capit.
Fraudibus obscuras poteris removere latebras,
Nilque adeo firmum quin violare queas.
Quām vigil est Argus? sepelitur carmine blando,
Callidus ingreditur pectora Mercurius.
Quis sibi ab insidiis caveat si fraude tegantur?
Non ficta quantum praestat amicus ope.
Sed tales (mirum) paucos haec protulit aetas:
Quisque sibi vivit, cuncta regitque dolus.
Dic simul occisum custodem, nam solet osor,
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D6r p59]Sint oculi ignavûm quotlibet, esse Deus.
Denique segnitie mota, & torpore reciso,
Aeternis certat gloria sideribus.
Inde suam ornavit caudam Iunonius ales,[1]
Perpetuus tristi splendor ab ense venit.

Although you have a hundred eyes, and as many servants, you are fooled by the appearance of truth, and taken by trickery. With cunning you can remove the dark hiding-places, and there is nothing so certain that you cannot violate it. How great a watcher is Argus! But he lies is buried in seductive song, and clever Mercury steals into his breast. How can anybody protect himself against ambushes if they are cunningly hidden? How much real help does a friend give! But this age of ours does not, alas, give such friends in quantity: it’s every man for himself, and trickery rules all. Say “the guard is cut down”, for the hater is usually God, no matter how many eyes people off their guard have. But in the end, when laziness is gone and turpitude pruned back, glory competes with the eternal stars. Whence Juno’s bird adorned his tail: perpetual splendour comes from the merciless sword.


1.  Argus had many eyes, and according to tradition on his death they were added to the peacock’s tail (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.722).

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