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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E2v p68]

La neçedad.

Dialogo. Lettor. Autor.

SONETO.

L. Que monstro es este? A. Sphinge.[1] L. Porque tiene
El rostro de muger, y plumas de ave,
Y piernas de leon? A. Por que es la llave
De la ignorançia lo que aqui contiene.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E3r p69] Que aquesta enfermedad, à uno viene
Por la sobervia, à otro por suave
Deleyte, à otro porque antes que acave
De madurar su liviandad mantiene,
Mas el que sabe que deçir queria
Aquella letra[2] en Delphos çelebrada  [M]
A aqueste monstro presto domaria,
Que ser de pies dos, tres, y quatro dada
Cosa es açl hombre, y ansi venceria
A quien su condiçion fuesse alcançada.

[Marginalia - link to text]Conocete.

Notes:

1.  The Sphinx was a monster which lay in wait on the road to Thebes and killed all travellers who could not answer its riddle: What goes on four legs in the morning, two at mid-day, three at evening? Oedipus destroyed the monster by giving the correct answer, ‘Man’ (i.e the baby crawls on all fours, the youth walks upright on his two legs, the old man requires a stick). See below, l. 13 (Cosa es açl hombre...). See also Erasmus, Adagia 1209, Boeotica aenigmata.

2.  ‘the Delphic letter’, i.e. the letter E. See Plutarch, De E apud Delphos, an essay which discusses various explanations put forward for the ‘E’, a letter cast in bronze. At the end of the essay (392ff.), the letter is brought into connection with the inscription Gnothi sauton, ‘Know thyself’ (cf. 1.10), which greeted those who came to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. See also Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.6.6.


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  • Delphic oracle [92B3721] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • fabulous beings with wings [31A458] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Frivolity (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA66(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Ignorance; 'Ignoranza', 'Ignoranza di tutte le cose', 'Ignoranza in un ricco senza lettere' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52AA5(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Licentiousness, Lasciviousness; 'Lascivia', 'Licenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA51(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Oedipus and the sphinx; he solves the riddle [94T33] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Pleasure, Enjoyment, Joy; 'Allegrezza', 'Allegrezza da le medaglie', 'Allegrezza, letitia e giubilo', 'Diletto', 'Piacere', 'Piacere honesto' (Ripa) [56B1] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Pride, Loftiness; 'Alterezza in persona nata povera civile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA64(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Self-knowledge (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A53(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • sobriety; 'Sobrietà', 'Astinenza' (Ripa) [31B59] Search | Browse Iconclass

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