Alciato's Book of Emblems
Whitney's Choice of Emblemes,
with Sources in Alciato

Geffrey Whitney's Choice of Emblemes was published in Leiden by Christopher Plantin in 1586 (we provide the title page, if you want to see it). It is the first full-fledged English emblem book in the continental style, and uses woodblocks from a number of other emblem books, the most important of which is Alciato's Emblematum liber. Because 87 emblems from Alciato are here translated or imitated, A Choice of Emblemes is of central importance in the history of the reception of Alciato in English. Only the adaptations in Thomas Palmer's Two Hundred Poosees appear to be earlier. See our reading list for more information.

Our text of Whitney's Choice of Emblemes is not complete. It lacks the introductory material and the sidenotes. It has not yet been thoroughly proofread. So, use with caution. Nevertheless, what we have should be adequate for preliminary comparisons between Whitney's version and the Alciato version in Latin (or in our English translation). The images are here by kind permission of the Stirling Maxwell Collection of the Glasgow University Library. They are in two sizes (the larger size may be had be clicking on the smaller).

The Whitney text was typed by Anna Chiaramonte, the text set in html by Greg Dyke, the text proofed and the images prepared by Nancy Earle, additional links worked on by Gillian Elton, and many aspects of planning undertaken by Mark Feltham.

The following emblem mottoes are in their order in Whitney. If you know a title already, even part of one, use the Find utility in Netscape to locate the page number. We give English translations for the titles.

A Short Reading List for Whitney
Back to Introduction
Back to Alciato Welcome Page

The List of Mottoes

1
Te stante, virebo (As long as you stand, I'll flourish)

2
Quà dii vocant, eundum (In the direction the gods call, the very same)
[Alciato 8]

3
Providentia (Foresight)

4
Veritas temporis filia (Truth, the daughter of time)

5
Dissidia inter aequales, pessima (Disputes among equals are the worst)
[Alciato 180]

6
Temeritas (Recklessness)
[Alciato 55]

7
Intestinae simultates (Internal dissensions)

8
Non tibi, sed religioni (Not for you, but for religion)
[Alciato 7]

9
Experientia docet (Experience teaches)

10
Sirenes (Sirens)
[Alciato 116]

11
Res humanae in summo declinant (Mortal things decline when at their height)

12
Frustrà (In vain)

13
Superbiae ultio (Punishment for pride)
[Alciato 67]

14
In vitam humanam (On human life)
[Alciato 152]

15
Voluptas aerumnosa (Passion is full of misery)

16
Quod potes, tenta (Attempt what is in your power to achieve)
[Alciato 58]

17
Ludus, luctus, luxus (Gambling, grief and debauchery)

18
In avaros (On misers)
[Alciato 86]

19
Nec verbo, nec facto, quenquam laedendum (Neither in word nor in deed should we offend anyone)
[Alciato 27]

20
Minuit praesentia famam (First-hand knowledge refutes popular opinion)

21
Turpibus exitium (Death to the infamous)

22
Nullus dolus contra casum (Cunning will not prevail against Misfortune)

23
Mihi pondera, luxus (Excess is a burden to me)

24
Latet anguis in herba (A snake lies concealed in the grass)

25
Curis tabescimus omnes (We all pine away with anxieties)

26
Otium sortem exspectat (Idleness hopes for good fortune)

27
Dolus in suos (Treachery to his own kind)
[Alciato 50]

28
In astrologos (On astrologers)
[Alciato 104]

29
Amor in filios (Love for one's children)
[Alciato 194]

30
In victoriam dolo partam (On victory gained by deceit)
[Alciato 48]

31
Caecum odium (Blind hatred)

32
In poenam sectatur et umbra (In retribution even a shadow seems to pursue the guilty man)

33
Ei, qui semel sua prodegerit, aliena credi non oportere (He, who has once squandered his own goods, ought not to be trusted with another's)
[Alciato 54]

34
In momentaneam felicitatem (On happiness that endures only for a moment)
[Alciato 125]

35
Aere quandoque salutem redimendam (We must sometimes procure our safety with money)
[Alciato 153]

36
Durum telum necessitas (Necessity is a harsh weapon)

37
Inimicorum dona, infausta (Enemies' gifts are unlucky)
[Alciato 168]

38
Non locus virum, sed vir locum ornat (The office does not advance the man in honour, but the man gives honor to the office)
[Alciato 35]

39
Mediocribus utere partis (Make use of moderate possessions)

40
Bivium virtutis et vitii (The two paths, of virtue and of vice)

41
Poena sequens (Imminent retribution)

42
Venter, pluma, Venus, laudem fugiunt (Gluttony, sloth, and lust shun fame)

43
Mens immota manet (The mind remains steadfast)

44
Desiderium spe vacuum (A desire devoid of hope)

45
Furor et rabies (Rage and fury)
[Alciato 57]

46
Varii hominum sensus (The diverse opinions of men)

47
Marte et arte (By valour and skill)
[Alciato 41]

48
Labor irritus (Useless toil)
[Alciato 92]

49
In eum qui sibi ipsi damnum apparat (On one who brings pain on himself)
[Alciato 64]

50a
Garrulitas (Talkativeness)
[Alciato 70]

50b
Quaere adolescens, utere senex (Youth should acquire, age should spend)

51a
Vitae, aut morti (For life, or for death)

51b
Nil penna, sed usus (A wing is nothing, unless it is used)

52a
Fortissima minimis interdum cedunt (The greatest sometimes yield to the least)

52b
Injuriis, infirmitas subjecta (Weakness is exposed to violence)
[Alciato 170]

53a
In dies meliora (Better things from day to day)
[Alciato 45]

53b
Luxuriosorum opes (The wealth of riotous livers)
[Alciato 73]

54a
Agentes, et consentientes, pari poena puniendi (Those who encourage and those who commit crime should be punished equally)
[Alciato 174]

54b
In quatuor anni tempora (On the four seasons of the year)
[Alciato 101]

55a
Parvam culinam, duobus ganeonibus non sufficere (A small kitchen will not meet the needs of two gluttons)
[Alciato 94]

55b
Cuncta complecti velle, stultum (It is foolish to try to comprehend all things)

56
Alius peccat, alius plectitur (One man sins, another is punished)
[Alciato 175]

57
Aethiopem lavare (To wash the Aethiop)
[Alciato 59]

58
Non dolo, sed vi (Not by cunning, but by force)

59
Nimium rebus ne fide secundis (Do not put too much trust in Fortune's gifts)

60
Silentium (Silence)
[Alciato 11]

61
Video, et taceo (I see, yet I am silent)

62
Amicitia, etiam post mortem durans (Friendship, enduring even after death)
[Alciato 160]

63
Potentissimus affectus, amor (Love, the most powerful of emotions)
[Alciato 106]

64
Quae ante pedes (The things before one's feet)

65
Mutuum auxilium (Mutual help)
[Alciato 161]

66
In utrumque paratus (Prepared for both)

67
Murus aeneus, sana conscientia (A clear conscious is a wall of brass)

68
Sic discerne (Judge in this way)

69
Interiora vide (Look on the inward parts)

70
Fortuna virtutem superans (Fortune prevailing over courage)
[Alciato 120]

71
Fides non apparentium (Trust in things not seen)

72
Virtus unita, valet (Unity is strength)

73
Gratiam referendam (An obligation must be repaid)
[Alciato 30]

74
Avaritia (Covetousness)
[Alciato 85]

75
O vita, misero longa (O life, tedious to the wretched)
[Alciato 103]

76a
Concordia (Concord)
[Alciato 39]

76b
Remedium tempestivum sit (Let there be a remedy in good time)

77a
Serò sapiunt Phryges (The Trojans are wise too late)
[Alciato 21]

77b
Dum vivo, prosum (While I live, I do good)

78
Noli altum sapere (Be not high minded)
[Alciato 105]

79
Saepius in auro bibitur venenum (Quite often poison is drunk from golden cups)
[Alciato 79]

80
Praepostera fides (Misplaced trust)

81
Fatuis levia commitito (Entrust trifles to fools)

82
Homines voluptatibus transformantur (Men are transformed by their passions)
[Alciato 76]

83
Judicium Paridis (The judgement of Paris)

84 (misnumbered 76 in original)
Ridicula ambitio (Ridiculous ambition)

85
Desidiam abjiciendam (We must throw off idleness)
[Alciato 82]

86
Mortui divitiae (A dead man's wealth)

87
Quod in te est, prome (Give utterance to what is within you)

88
De parvis, grandis acervus erit (From small things, there will grow a mighty heap)

89
Vita irrequieta (A restless life)

90
In eum qui truculentia suorum perierit (On one who will perish through the cruelty of his countrymen)
[Alciato 167]

91
Tecum habita (Live at home)

92
Industria naturam corrigit (Diligence improves natural endowments)

93a
Infortunia nostra, alienis collata, leviora (Our misfortunes seem light when compared with those of others)

93b
Uxoriae virtutes (Wifely virtues)

94
Invidiae descriptio (A description of envy)
[Alciato 71]

95
De Invido et Avaro, iocosum (A humorous tale of an envious man and a miser)

96
Petre, imitare petram (O Peter, seek to be like the rock)

97
Dum potes, vive (Live while you can)

98a
Stultitia sua seipsum saginari (To feed oneself fat on one's own foolishness)

98b
Virescit vulnere virtus (Virtue flourishes when wounded)

99
Impar conjugium (An unequal marriage)
[Alciato 198]

100
Frontis nulla fides (There is no trust to be placed in a man's face)

101
Animi scrinium servitus (Subjection is the prison of the mind)

102
In sortis suae contemptores (On those who are dissatisfied with their lot)

103
Interdum requiescendum (Sometimes we must rest)

108
Respice, et prospice (Bear in mind time past and time to come)

111
Mutius Scaevola: Pietas in patriam (Love for one's country)

112
Habet et bellum suas leges (Even war has its rules)

113
M. Valerius Corvinus: Insperatum auxilium (Unlooked for aid)

114
Regulus Attilius: Hosti etiam servanda fides (Faith must be kept even to an enemy)

115
Marcus Sergius: Fortiter et feliciter (Bravely and successfully)

116
En. Pompeius Magnus: Celsa potestatis species (A noble image of authority)

117
Marcus Scaeva: Audaces fortuna iuvat (Fortune favours the bold)

118
Invidia integritatis assecla (Envy the attendant of integrity)

119
Ex damno alterius, alterius utilitas (From one man's loss, another man's profit)
[Alciato 126]

120
Vigilantia, et custodia (Watchfulness and care)
[Alciato 15]

121
Festina lentè (Hasten slowly)
[Alciato 20]

122
Sine justitia, confusio (Without justice, there is disorder)

124
Amicitia fucata vitanda (Counterfeit friendship is to be avoided)

125
Sobriè potandum (We must drink moderately)

126
Insignia poetarum (The badges of poets)
[Alciato 184]

127
Cùm larvis non luctandum (We must not strive against phantoms)
[Alciato 154]

128
Captivus, ob gulam (Caught, because of gluttony)
[Alciato 95]

129
Constanter (Steadfastly)

130
Dicta septem sapientum (The sayings of the seven sages)
[Alciato 187]

131
Scripta manent (Writings endure)

132
De morte, et amore: Jocosum (Of Death and Love: a humorous tale)
[Alciato 155]

133
Prudentes vino abstinent (The wise abstain from wine)
[Alciato 24]

134
In colores (On colours)
[Alciato 118]

135
In studiosum captum amore (On a scholar who fell in love)
[Alciato 109]

136
Abstinentia (Self-control)
[Alciato 31]

137
Constantia comes victoriae (Perseverance the companion of victory)
[Alciato 43]

138a
Ex Bello, pax (Out of war comes peace)
[Alciato 178]

138b
Calumniam contra calumniatorem virtus repellit (Virtue throws back false accusations against the accuser)

139a
Sic spectanda fides (In such a way must we judge sincerity)

139b
Illicitum non sperandum (We must not hope for what is unlawful)
[Alciato 46]

140
Feriunt summos fulmina montes (Lightning strikes the highest moutain tops)

141
Perfidus familiaris (A treacherous friend)

142
In copia minor error (In excess there lies less danger of error)

143
Vindice fato (By God's protection)

144
Homo homini lupus (Man is a wolf to man)
[Alciato 90]

145
In curiosos (On those who pry)

146
In juventum (On youth)
[Alciato 100]

147
Fel in melle (Poison in honey)
[Alciato 112]

148
Ferè simile ex Theocrito (Much the same from Theocritus)
[Alciato 113]

149
Amor sui (Self-love)
[Alciato 69]

150
Nusquam tuta fides (Honesty is nowhere safe)

151
Quod non capit Christus, rapit fiscus (What Christ does not get, the treasury seizes)
[Alciato 148]

152
Paupertatem summis ingeniis obesse ne provehantur (Poverty obstructs the progress of the most gifted minds)
[Alciato 121]

153a
Pro bono, malum (Evil for good)

153b
In pace de bello (In time of peace prepare for war)

154
Aliena pericula, cautiones nostrae (The distresses of others are our warnings)

155
Indulgentia parentum, filiorum pernicies (The parents' lenience is the sons' ruin)

156a
Dolor è medicina (Vexation derived from a cure)

156b
Dura usu molliora (Difficult things become easier with practice)

157
In eos, qui, proximioribus spretis, remotiora sequuntur (On those who, having disdained the things near at hand, pursue the more remote)

158
Post fata: uxor morosa, etiam discors (After her death: a perverse wife is still contrary)

159
Dum aetatis ver agitur: consule brumae (While life's spring lasts, be mindful of winter)

160
Bilingues cavendi (We must be on our guard against hypocrites)

161
Ars deluditur arte (Cunning is outwitted by cunning)

162
In eos qui multa promittunt, et nihil praestant (On those who promise many things, and give nothing)

163
Pietas filiorum in parentes (The love of sons towards their parents)
[Alciato 195]

164
Aliquid mali propter vicinum malum (Something bad from a bad neighbour)
[Alciato 166]

165
Post amara dulcia (After the bitter come the sweet)

166a
Veritas invicta (Invincible truth)

166b
Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos? (If God be for us, who can be against us?)

167
Cum tempore mutamur (We are changed with time)

168a
Si nihil attuleris, ibis Homere foras (If you have brought nothing with you, Homer, you will be sent away)

168b
Ingenium superat vires (Intelligence is superior to strength)

169
Malè parta malè dilabuntur. In foeneratores (Ill-gotten goods are ill spent. On usurers)

170
Ferè simile praecedenti, ex Alciato (Much the same as the emblem before, from Alciatus)
[Alciato 129]

171
Usus libri, non lectio prudentes facit (Not the reading of books, but the application of what we read makes us wise)

172
Studiis invigilandum (We must pay attention to our studies)

173
Praecocia non diuturna (Fruit that ripens before its time is not lasting)

174
In foecunditatem, sibi ipsi damnosam (On fruitfulness that does itself harm)
[Alciato 193]

175
Otiosi semper egentes (The idle are always in need)

176
Semper praesto esse infortunia (Misfortune is always at hand)
[Alciato 130]

177
Unica semper avis (Only one bird of its kind)

178
Coelum, non animum (The climate, not the character)

179
Auri sacra fames quid non? (O accursed greed for gold, what do you not lead to?)

180
Verbum emissum non est revocabile (A word once spoken cannot be called back)

181
In occasionem (On occasion)
[Alciato 122]

182a
Potentia amoris (The power of love)
[Alciato 107]

182b
Pulchritudo vincit (Beauty conquers)

183a
Qui me alit me extinguit (What gives me life destroys me)

183b
Scribit in marmore laesus (An offended man writes on marble)

184
Nec sibi, nec alteri (Neither for himself, nor for anyone else)

185
Scripta non temerè edenda (We should not publish our works in haste)

186
Orphei musica (The music of Orpheus)

187
In statuam Bacchi (On the statue of Bacchus)
[Alciato 25]

188a
Caecus amor prolis (Blind love for one's children)

188b
Maturandum (One must do nothing over-hastily)
[Alciato 20]

189a
In sinu alere serpentem (To nourish a serpent in one's bosom)

189b
In desciscentes (On turncoats)
[Alciato 141]

190a
Stultorum quantò status sublimior, tantò manifestior turpitudo (The more eminent the position of fools, the more obvious is their disgrace)

190b
Bis dat qui citè dat (He who gives quickly gives twice)

191a
Spes vana (Groundless expectation)

191b
Audi, tace, fuge (Hear, be silent, and flee)

192
Importunitas evitanda (We must not be importunate)

193
Strenuorum immortale nomen (The immortal fame of men of valour)
[Alciato 136]

194
Vel post mortem formidolosi (Intimidating even after his death)
[Alciato 171]

195
Victoria cruenta (A bloody victory)

196
Pennae gloria perennis (The ever-lasting glory of the pen)

198
Animus, non res (Mind, not material possessions)

199
Quae sequimur fugimus (We flee from what we seek)

200
Patria cuique chara (Every man's native land is dear to him)
[Alciato 149]

202
Aureae compedes (Fetters of gold)
[Alciato 87]

203
Auxilio divino (By divine aid)

204
Avaritia huius saeculi (The covetousness of these times)

205
Pulchritudo sine fructu (Beauty without fruit)

206
Tempore cuncta mitiora (All things become more palatable in time)

207
Imparilitas (Difference)
[Alciato 140]

208
Tunc tua res agitur, paries cùm proximus ardet (It is your concern, when your neighbour's wall is on fire)

209
Ex morbo medicina (From the disease, a cure)

210
Fraus meretur fraudem (Deceit deserves deceit)

211
Zelotypia (Jealousy)

212
Medici Icon (The image of a physician)

213
Inanis impetus (Futile vehemence)
[Alciato 165]

214
In divitem, indoctum (On a rich and ignorant man)
[Alciato 190]

215
Interminabilis humanae vitae labor (The unending labour of man's life)

216a
Qui se exaltat, humiliabitur (Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased)

216b
Sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram (Let not the sun go down upon your wrath)

217
Omnis caro foenum (All flesh is grass)

218a
Perversa judicia (Bad judgements)

218b
Mulier umbra viri (Woman is man's shadow)

219
In amore tormentum (Pain induced by love)

220
Vincit qui patitur (He who endures conquers)

221
Aculei irriti (Ineffectual thorns)

222a
Neglecta virescunt (Despised things flourish)

222b
Impunitas ferociae parens (License the parent of cruelty)

223
Nemo potest duobus dominis servire (No man can serve two masters)

224a
Sic probantur (In this way are they tested)

224b
Noli tuba canere Eleemosynam (When you give alms, do not publicize them with a trumpet)

225
Superest quod suprà est (The things above last forever)

226
Amico ficto nulla fit injuria (One cannot do wrong to a false friend)

227
Sic aetas fugit (Thus life rushes by)

228
Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone)

229a
Dominus vivit et videt (The Lord lives and sees)

229b
Ex maximo minimum (From the greatest, least)

230
Tempus omnia terminat (Time ends all things)

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Last modified 28 August 2002