Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alciato VII: Non tibi, sed religioni

Alciato VII: Non tibi, sed religioni

Isidis effigiem tardus gestabat asellus,
Pando verenda dorso habens mysteria.
Obvius ergo Deam quisquis reverenter adorat,
Piasque genibus concipit flexis preces.
Ast asinus tantum praestari credit honorem
Sibi, et intumescit, admodum superbiens:
Donec eum flagris compescens, dixit agaso,
Non es Deus tu, aselle, sed Deum vehis.

This image comes from a 1621 edition of the emblems (click on the image for a larger view), and you can also read an English translation online. For help with the Latin, here is the poem presented in an easier-to-read format, with the word order rearranged (the word order in poetry often serves the sound more than the sense), and with the phrase segments clearly marked:
Tardus asellus
Isidis effigiem gestabat,
verenda mysteria habens
pando dorso.
Obvius ergo quisquis
Deam reverenter adorat,
et, genibus flexis,
pias preces concipit.
Ast asinus credit
sibi tantum honorem praestari
et intumescit,
admodum superbiens,
donec agaso,
flagris compescens,
Non es Deus tu, aselle,
sed Deum vehis.
To learn more about the traditional story of the donkey bearing the divine icon, see the story of The Donkey who Carried the God at the website. Below you can see some more images from other editions of Alciato's Emblemata:





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