Thursday, January 5, 2012

Labore Virtus, Virtute Gloria Paratur

Here is today's emblem and distich by Gabriel Rollenhagen, Book 1.5, with an English rendering by George Wither. The distich presents a step-by-step process, leading from hard work to excellence, and from excellence to glory - and there's no other way to go about it! In Wither's poem to accompany the emblem, he lists all kinds of other ways in which true glory is not acquired:
Svppose you Sirs, those mimicke Apes you meet
In strange fantasticke habits? or the Rabble,
That in gay clothes embroyder out the street,
Are truely of Worshipfull or Honorable?
Or can you thinke, that, To be borne the Sonne
Of some rich Alderman, or ancient Peere,
Or that the Fame our Predecessors wonne
May claime those Wreathes which true Deserving weare?
Is Honour due to those, who spend their dayes
In courting one another? or consuming
Their Fortunes and themselves, on Drabbs and Playes?
In sleeping, drinking, and Tobacco-fuming?
If you examine the emblem, you will see the spade as a symbol of hard work, while the laurel is a symbol of the glory that results. In the background, you can see a farmer engaged in manual labor on the right, while on the left you can see scholars engaged in intellectual work; presumably, then, glory accrues to both types of effort.

Labore Virtus, Virtute Gloria Paratur

Saepe labore fuit Virtus, Virtute parata
Gloria, non alio concilianda modo.

By Labour, Vertue may be gain'd;
By Vertue, Glorie is attain'd.

Here is the vocabulary:

labor - effort, hard work
virtus - virtue, excellent
gloria - glory, renown
paro - prepare, provide, supply
saepe - often
sum - be, exist
non - not, no
alius - other, another
concilio - unite, acquire, gain
modus - way, manner, mode