Forward | Back | Commentary | Whitney | Welcome Page


Whitney's Choice of Emblemes 40

Bivium virtutis et vitii

When HERCULES, was dowtfull of his waie,
Inclosed rounde, with vertue, and with vice:
With reasons firste, did vertue him assaie,
The other, did with pleasures him entice:
   They longe did strive, before he coulde be wonne,
   Till at the lengthe, ALCIDES thus begonne.

Oh pleasure, thoughe thie waie bee smoothe, and faire,
And sweete delightes in all thy courtes abounde:
Yet can I heare, of none that have bene there,
That after life, with fame have bene renoum'de:
   For honor hates, with pleasure to remaine,
   Then houlde thy peace, thow wastes thie winde in vaine.

But heare, I yeelde oh vertue to thie will,
And vowe my selfe, all labour to indure,
For to ascende the steepe, and craggie hill,
The toppe whereof, whoe so attaines, is sure
   For his rewarde, to have a crowne of fame:
   Thus HERCULES, obey'd this sacred dame.