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Scyphus Nestoris.

Nestor’s cup

Emblema ci.

Nestoreum geminis cratera hunc accipe fundis,[1]
Quod gravis argenti massa profundit opus.
Claviculi ex auro, stant circum quatuor ansae:
Unamquamque super fulva columba sedet.
Solus eum potuit longaevus tollere Nestor.
Maeonidae doceas quid sibi Musa velit?
Est caelum scyphus ipse: colórque argenteus illi,
Aurea sunt caeli sidera claviculi.
Pleiadas esse putant, quas dixerit ille columbas:[2]
Umbilici gemini,[3] magna minórque fera est.[4]
Haec Nestor longo sapiens intelligit usu:
Bella gerunt fortes: callidus astra tenet.

Receive this bowl of Nestor with its double support, a work which a heavy mass of silver shaped. Its studs are of gold. Four handles stand about it. Above each one sits a yellow dove. Only aged Nestor was able to lift it. Do tell us what Homer’s Muse intended. The cup itself is the heavens; its colour is silvery; the studs are the golden stars of heaven. They think that what he called doves are the Pleiades. The twin bosses are the great and lesser beast. The wise Nestor understood this by long experience: the strong wage war, the wise man grasps the stars.

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NEstoris patera geminis fundis, argentea, clavicu-
lis aureis, quatuor ansis, & sub harum quaque
columba sedens, coelum & pulcerrimum astrorum
ornatum significabat. Nam crater iste coloris ar-
gentei & claviculis aureis coelum purissimum refere-
bat & stellas aurei coloris: columbae. Pleiades erant:
duo umbilici, utraque ursa. Hoc schemate com-
mendatur Astronomia, longi usus & observationis
ars, quaéque in rebus arduis plus potest, quàm robu-
sti corporis vires.

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Le vase de Nestor.

COntemples de Nestor la coupe d’excellence
A double fond, le tout argentin à puissance:
Quatre anses tu y vois posees à cloux d’or,
Quatre colombes sont assises tout autour
Nestor, vieil qu’il estoit, seul avoit la science
De soustenir la coupe[5], & seul l’experience.
A quoy cecy Homere en ses vers inventoit?
La couppe c’est le ciel, dont la couleur se voit
Blanche comme d’argent: les cloux d’or sont les signes,
Et les colombes sont les Pleiades insignes:
Les Ourses y ont lieu par les deux beaux omblics,
Qui sont en leurs endroits representez & mis
Cecy sçavoit Nestor reputé homme sage,
Par addresse d’esprit & par un long usage.
Les preux le fait de guerre entendent beaucoup mieux:
Mais l’homme bien sçavant atteint jusques aux cieux.

LA coupe de Nestor à deux fonds, d’ar-
gent massive, à clouz d’or, ayant quatre
anses, & sus chacune d’icelle une colombe
seante, signifioit le ciel & le tresbel orne-
ment des astres. Car ceste coupe de couleur
argentee à clouz d’or denotoit le ciel tres-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O9r f141r]pur, & les estoilles de couleur d’or: les co-
lombes estoient les Pleiades, les deux om-
bilics, les deux ourses. Par laquelle devise
est louee l’Astronomie, qui est une discipline
de long usage & observation, & qui és gran-
des affaires peust d’advantage que les gran-
des forces corporelles.

Notes:

1.  Nestor’s bowl is described at Homer, Iliad, 11.632-7. Only Nestor, for all his great age (see Emblem 25. n.5, [FALc025]) could lift it when full. For the interpretation of Nestor’s cup (or mixing bowl) given here, see Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 11.487 F ff.

2.  The Greek word for ‘doves’ is πελειάδες.

3.  ‘twin bosses’, i.e. possibly the protuberances inside the bowl where it was joined to the two supports.

4.  ‘great and lesser beast’, i.e. the Great and Little Bear, a phrase based on Ovid, Tristia, 4.3.1: ‘magna minorque ferae’.

5.  Corrected from the Errata.


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