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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 138

The twelve labours of Hercules

His eloquence outstrips the praise for his invincible might.

He untangles the sayings of Sophists, and their silly snares.

No fury or madness is more powerful than virtue.

Wealth yields to the wise man because his course is unswerving.

He spurns avarice, and rejoices neither in plunder nor profit.

He outwits feminine wiles and despoils them of their trophies.

He cleans out filth, and brings cultivation to men's minds.

He abhors illicit intercourse, and banishes the offenders.

Barbarity and crass savagery pay a price in the end.

The virtue of one scatters the assembled foe.

He brings into his country a wealth of good things from foreign shores.

In men's learned words he flies, and never perishes.