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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 102

The cup of Nestor

Take this Nestorean cup with its double bowl, a work of art produced from a mass of weighty silver. Its studs are made of gold, and four handles surround it; on each of these sits a golden dove. Though he was advanced in years, only Nestor could lift it. Maeonian, would you teach us what the Muse meant thereby? The cup itself is the sky, and it has a silvery colour; the studs are the golden stars of heaven. What he called doves are thought to be the Pleiades; and the bear, both the Greater and the Lesser form its twin centres. From long experience, wise Nestor understands these truths: strong men wage wars, a sage man holds the stars.