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In Silentium.

Silence

III.

Cm tacet, haud quicquam differt sapientibus amens,
Stultitiae est index linguaque voxque suae.
Ergo premat labias, digitoque silentia signet,
Et sese Pharium vertat in Harpocratem[1].

When he is silent, the fool differs no whit from the wise. It is tongue and voice that betray his stupidity. Let him therefore put his finger to his lips and so mark silence, and turn himself into Egyptian Harpocrates.

COMMENTARIA.

Satius long ac honestius est silere & ta-
citurnum esse, qum verba fundere seu lo-
quacem. Stultus enim cm tacet, nihil pror-
sus differt sapiente, quia sermo & loquela
indicium erit stultitiae & ignorantiae suae, ver-
ba sunt Salomonis Proverbiorum cap. 17. Sic olim
Solon Philosophus ille sapientissimus, cm
in frequenti quodam hominum conventu
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [a6v p12]multis multa loquentibus, ipse ver nihil di-
ceret, interrogatus Periandro utrum ob ver
borum inopiam an quia stultus esset taceret?
respondit, neminem stultum tacere posse. Sic
& Divinus ille Plato interrogatus per quid
cognoscerentur homines: respondit homi-
nes & vasa figula simili modo probari, haec
quidem ex sono, illos ver ex sermone facile
cognosci, quin im rect etiam Zeno Stoi-
corum Philosophorum Princeps, cuidam
inepta & nihil ad rem loquenti sic dixit. Id-
circo aures habemus duas & os unum, uti
plura audiamus, loquamur pauca: affirmat
Diogenes Lartius lib. 7. de vita Philosopho-
rum. Digito igitur os & labra compri-
menda erunt ut fecisse fertur Harpocratem
quem silentii & taciturnitatis deum Aegy-
ptii
celebrabant, Pharius autem dici-
tur, sumpta denominatione ab insu-
la Pharo prope Alexandriam,
in qua ille natus fuit. Plinius
lib. 5. & lib. 13. cap.
11. & Volater-
ranus
folio
338.[2]

Notes:

1. Harpocrates, also known as Horus, was the son of the Egyptian divinity Isis. He avenged the murder of his father Osiris by Set/Typhon. He is often represented as an infant with his finger held to his mouth as a sign of silence and economy of words. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 68.

2. The historian and humanist Volterranus, was Raffaele Maffei, from Volterra (1455-1522); he wrote the well-known Commentaria Urbana, essentially an encyclopedia.


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  • Folly, Foolishness; 'Pazzia', 'Sciocchezza', 'Stoltitia' (Ripa) [52AA51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Ignorance; 'Ignoranza', 'Ignoranza di tutte le cose', 'Ignoranza in un ricco senza lettere' (Ripa) [52AA5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnit?(Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Wisdom; 'Sapienza', 'Sapienza humana', 'Sapienza vera' (Ripa) [52A51] Search | Browse Iconclass

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