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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 122

On opportunity

(In the form of a dialogue)

This is the work of Lysippus, whose native city is Sicyon.

Who are you?

A moment of time seized, holding sway over everything.

Why do you stand on tiptoe?

I am constantly moving about.

Why do you keep winged sandals on your feet?

The light breeze carries me hither and thither.

In your right hand is a slender razor. Pray, why?

This symbol teaches that I am keener than every blade.

Why the tuft of hair on your brow?

So that I can be seized as I approach.

But tell me, why is the back of your head bald?

If someone once lets me go, swift as I am, I cannot then be captured by my hair. It is for your sake that the artist has made me with such skill, stranger; and that I may be a warning to everyone, I am placed in an open hall.