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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E3v p70]

Virtus unita valet.

Virtue is powerful when united

Ad Principes Ungariae.[1]

For the Princes of Hungary.

Nil mare corrumpit, salsum ŕ putredine tutum est,
Multaque perpetuis motibus acta, vigent.
Si tamen in fossas derives, atque paludes,
Vim patitur, dotes nec tenet inde suas.
Dulcibus amittit vires, nitrique vapores
Exhalant, quoties mutat origo novi.
Plus unita potest virtus, dispersa labascit,[2]
Atque suo durant quaelibet apta loco.
Pignore commutat suavi translata veneno
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E4r p71]Persicus[3], & tutis carpitur illa gulis.
Fluctibus in mediis patriae tot cladibus actae
Concordi proceres subveniatis ope.
Nec vos exosae mentes, propriaeque salutis
Oblitae exagitent, & nota turpis alat.
Huniadis memores, ac Regis quaeso Mathiae[4]
Estote, ad quorum nomina Thurca tremit.
Diversum ne vos studium disiungat iniquč,
Colligat in patriae vos amor unus opem.

The sea corrupts nothing, something salty is safe from putrefaction, and many things flourish when driven by perpetual motion. However, if you would divert it into canals and fens, it is subject to a force and no longer keeps its qualities. It looses its powers to sweet waters, and new nitrous vapours exhale whenever the source changes. When united virtue can do more, separated it dissolves and indeed anything lasts when found in its own place. The peach, when it is transplanted, exchanges its poison for a sweet quality and is enjoyed with safe gullets. In the middle of the waves do you leaders with united effort come to the aid of your country, driven along by so many disasters. May no hateful minds, forgetting personal safety, stir you up, no ugly slur feed you. I beg you, remember Hunyadi and King Matthias, whose names have the Turks trembling. May no disparate zeal unduly divide you, but may one single combine you to the aid of your country.


1.  This emblem is dedicated to the two men who claimed rightful rule over the Kingdom of Hungary: Maximilian II, the Habsburg emperor, and János Zsigmond Szapolyai, Prince of Transylvania, supported as rival king of Hungary by the Ottomans. See Visser, Joannes Sambucus and the Learned Image, p. 36.

2.  The bundle of arrows lying on the ground in the woodcut is presumably a reference to the story of the Scythian King Scylurus who demonstrated the importance of unity by showing that a bundle of arrows was strong, whereas individually each could easily be broken.

3.  The comparison with the peach - or Persea tree, a frequent confusion - is puzzling, since the logic of the argument requires the opposite.

4.  János Hunyadi and his son Matthias Corvinus represented the height of power acheived by the native Hungarian nobles against foreign domination, Turk, Vlach, and indeed Habsburg (though Sambucus would certainly downplay this). János was Regent of Hungary, 1446-1452; his son, Matthias (Mátyás), was elected as King in 1458 - his reign was marked for its civility and great scholarly and artistic patronage, until his death in 1490.

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