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Lascivia.

Wantonness

Emblema lxxix.

Delicias & mollitiem mus creditur albus
Arguere, at ratio non sat aperta mihi est.[1]
An quòd ei natura salax, & multa libido est?
Ornat Romanas an quia pelle nurus?
Sarmaticum murem vocitant plerique Zibellum,[2]
Et celebris suavi est unguine muscus Arabs.[3]

The white mouse is supposed to represent self-indulgence and licentiousness, but the reason is not very clear to me. Is it because it is highly sexed and has strong sexual appetities? Or because it adorns Roman women with its fur? Many people call the civet-cat the Sarmatian mouse, and famous for its sweet oil is the Arabian musk.

MOllities notatur nobilium quarundam matro-
narum, quae ut ad[4] corporis ornatum ostentent ra-
ras pelliculas animalculorum, ut muris aranei, aeluri
Zibellini (fellis libidinosissimi) utantúrque suffitu
musci Arabici. Quae omnia, ut uno verbo, symbo-
la possunt esse rei Venereae.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M4v f112v]

Mignardise.

Pourquoy dit-on que l’hermine,
Et la Martre Zebeline
Servent de beau parement:
Signes de delicatesse,
Mignardise & de molesse
Et superflu ornement?
Est-ce point que les grand’s dames
Comme aussi les nobles femmes,
En usent les plus souvent?
Ou bien que de sa nature
Ell’ est chaude, & à luxure
Addonnee en son vivant.
Le Rat Sarmatic on nomme,
La Martre que l’on renomme
Pour rare estre & de pris cher:
Du musc Arabic s’appreste
Le parfun de la civette,
Chaude en peau, & vive en chair.

ICy est remarquée la mignardise de quel-
ques nobles femmes qui pour leurs paru-
res monstrent sur elles des peaux fort rares
& exquises, comme du rat de Sarmatie, de la
Martre Zebeline: & usent en-outre du musc
Arabic pour souverain parfun: toutes lesquel
les choses (afin de le trousser court) sont au-
tant, de marques du train Venerien.

Notes:

1.  The white mouse was a proverbial example of the effeminate and the promiscuous. See the Suda s.v. mus, and Apostolius, Proverbs, 11,87, who also reports its sexual proclivities.

2.  zibellum, ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes. Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

3.  murem...muscus, ‘mouse...musk’. The words ‘mouse’ and ‘musk’ (late Latin muscus) are connected, from the mouse-shaped sac of the male animals which produce musk. Some plants have a musky smell. Muscus also means ‘moss’ - Arabia was famous for plants which produced aromatic gums (e.g. incense and nard).

4.  Corrected from the Errata.


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