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Friday, September 26, 2014

Non tibi, sed religioni (Not for you, but for religion)

I’m going to follow up on my last post by presenting readers with a somewhat less mediated look at the Emblemata. My plan is simply to use the space of my next few posts to display emblems from Alciati’s book followed by a transcription of the Latin text that accompanies it. I’m also going to provide (what will hopefully be) approximate translations of the Latin. Here is Emblem 7:

Our newly acquired duodecimo

The Center’s quarto edition, donated to us by Robert and Carol Kaske

  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.

A foolish little ass carried the image of Isis,
Bearing the mysteries on its dull back.
So everyone in the street worshiped the goddess reverently
And conceived of loving prayers on bended knees.
But the ass believed that such honor was
For himself and swelled up with pride,
Until the driver restrained him with whips, saying,
“You are not a God, little ass, but carry a god.” 

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