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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 120

Fortune overcoming virtue

When Brutus was vanquished by the Caesarean host, he saw Pharsalia awash in the blood of citizens, and now about to draw his sword and plunge it into his breast in death, he delivered from his bold lips these words: Unhappy virtue, wise only in words, why in life's flux do you yield to Mistress Fortune?