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Νῆφε, καὶ μέμνησ’ἀπιστεῖν. ἄρθρα
ταῦτα τῶν φρενῶν

Be sober and remember to withold belief. These are the sinews of the mind.

Emblema xvi.

Ne credas ne (Epicharmus ait[1]) non sobrius esto:
Hi nervi, humanae membraque mentis erunt,
Ecce oculata manus[2] credens id quod videt: ecce
Pulegium antiquae sobrietatis olus:
Quo turbam ostenso sedaverit Heraclitus,[3]
Mulxerit & tumida seditione gravem.

Don’t give easy credence; don’t be intemperate. So said Epicharmus, and these maxims will prove the sinews and limbs of man’s mind. See here a hand with an eye, believing what it can see. See the pennyroyal, the plant of ancient soberness. By showing it, Heraclitus calmed the mob and milked it when heavy with bursting sedition

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DUctum id è dicto Epicharmi, quo duo praecepta
in primis ad vitam necessaria tradebat, unum de
amplexanda sobrietate, alterum de vitanda credu-
litate. Sobrietas, seu temperantia est vitae custos,
mater valetudinis, sapientiae comes, pacis amica:
cui symbolum meritò tribuitur pulegium, exiguum
olus & paratu facile. Credulitas iudicium impedit,
mentémque à sua sede & statu dimovet. eam qui
admittit, saepe sibi, aliisque certum exitium arcessit,
quod exemplis innumerabilibus ostendi potest.
Symbolum est oculata manus, quo ostenditur non
esse credendum, nisi optimè perspecta & cognita
hominum fide.

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QU’IL FAUT VIVRE SO-
brement, & ne croire legierement.

SOis sobre, & ne croy point de legier nullement
Comme Epicharme dit: car veritablement
Sont les principaux poincts de l’humaine sagesse.
Vois-tu la Main qui a un oeil veillant sans cesse?
Vois-tu le Pouliot, qui a bien contenté
Les vieux, tant bonnes gens, pleins de sobrieté?
Heraclit, le monstrant, appaisa la tourmente
Et grand’ sedition d’une trouppe bouillante.

CEcy est tiré du dire d’Epicharme, don-
nant deux preceptes fort necessaires à
la vie, l’un pour embrasser la sobrieté, l’autre
pour refuyr le croire de legier. La sobrieté
ou temperance est gardienne de la vie, mere
de santé, compagne de sagesse, amie de paix:
pour icelle representer on met le Pouliot,
qui est une fort petite herbe, fort aisée à pre-
parer. La trop legiere croyance empesche
le jugement, & destourne la raison de son
vray siege. Celuy qui introduit tel vice, bien
souvent se perd & les autres aussi: ce que se
pourroit esclercir par infinies exemples. Le
symbole est, une main oeillee, cest à dire ayant
un oeil, par laquelle nous apprenons qu’il
ne faut adjouster foy, si premierement
nous ne sommes bien advertis de la prud’hom-
mie des hommes.

Notes:

1.  Epicharmus ait, ‘So said Epicharmus’. The saying is quoted in Polybius, The Histories, 18.40.

2.  oculata manus, ‘a hand with an eye’. See Plautus, Asinaria, 202: ‘our hands always have eyes - seeing is believing for them’; Erasmus, Adagia, 73 (Oculatae manus).

3.  turbam...sedaverit Heraclitus, ‘Heraclitus calmed the mob’. For this incident concerning the sixth-century BC philosopher Heraclitus, see Plutarch, De garrulitate, 511C: when faced with a discordant mob, Heraclitus said nothing but took a cup of cold water, sprinkled on barley-meal and stirred it with a sprig of pennyroyal. Pennyroyal represents modest fare, contentment and control. Cf. Emblem 185 ([FALc185]), line 8. Heraclitus lived on a diet of herbs. For his pessimistic view of life see Emblem 150 ([FALc150]).


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  • (story of) Heraclitus, the philosopher representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HERACLITUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Carefulness, Diligence; 'Diligenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Folly, Foolishness; 'Pazzia', 'Sciocchezza', 'Stoltitia' (Ripa) [52AA51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(EPICHARMUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Precaution (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A24(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Temperance, Moderation; 'Misura' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54A43(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Wisdom; 'Sapienza', 'Sapienza humana', 'Sapienza vera' (Ripa) [52A51] Search | Browse Iconclass

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