Friday, January 6, 2012

Non Obest Virtuti Sors

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.6, with an English rendering by George Wither. In Wither's poem, he makes explicit the contrast between the man who rises above the earthly vicissitudes of Fortune, borne aloft on eagle's wings:
He feares no disrespect, no bitter scorne,
Nor subtile plottings, nor Oppressions force;
Nay, though the World should topsie-turvie turne,
It cannot fright him, nor divert his Course.
Above all Earthly powres his Vertue reares him;
And, up with Eglets wings, to Heav'n it beares him.
Meanwhile, faithless fate keeps spinning the world round and round, topsie-turvie as Wither says, as you can see in the emble.

Non Obest Virtuti Sors
Virtuti sors nulla nocet; volat aurea Virtus
Ultra Helicendum; sors perfida versat humum.

Though Fortune prove true Vertues Foe,
It cannot worke her Overthrowe.

Here is the vocabulary:

non - not, no
obsum - hurt, be a nuisance to
virtus - virtue, excellence
sors - lot, fate
nullus - not any, none
noceo - do harm, injure
volo - fly
aureus - golden, gold
ultra - beyond
Helicendum - Mount Helicon
perfidus - treacherous, false
verso - spin, whirl
humus - earth, land

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