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In statuam Amoris.

A statue of love

Emblema cxiii.

Quis sit Amor, plures olim cecinere Poëtae,
Eius qui vario nomine gesta ferunt.
Convenit hoc, quòd veste caret, quòd corpore parvus:
Tela alásque ferens lumina nulla tenet.
Haec ora, hic habitusque Dei est. Sed dicere tantos
Si licet in vates, falsa subesse reor.
Eccur nudus agat? divo quasi pallia desint.
Qui cunctas domiti possidet orbis opes.
Aut quî quaeso nives boreamque evadere nudus,
Alpinum potuit, strictáque prata gelu?[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P12v f156v]Si puer est, puerúmne vocas qui Nestora[2] vincit?
An nosti Ascraei carmina docta senis?[3]
Inconstans puer hic obdurans, pectora quae iam
Trans adiit, numquam linquere sponte potest.
At pharetras & tela gerit, quid inutile pondus?
An curvare infans cornua dira valet?[4]
Alas cúrve tenet, quas nescit in aethera ferre?
Inscius in volucrum flectere tela iecur.[5]
Serpit humi, sempérque virûm mortalia corda
Laedit,[6] & haud alas saxeus inde movet.
Si caecus, vittámque gerit, quid taenia caeco
Utilis est? ideò num minus ille videt?
Quisve sagittiferum credat qui lumine captus?
Hic certa, at caeci spicula vana movet.
Igneus est, aiunt, versátque in pectore flammas.
Cur age vivit adhuc? omnia flamma vorat.
Quinetiam tumidis cur non extinguitur undis
Naiadum, quoties mollia corda subit?[7]
At tu ne tantis capiare erroribis, audi.
Verus quid sit Amor, carmina nostra ferent.
Iucundus labor est, lasciva per otia: signum
Illius est nigro punica glans[8] clypeo.

Many poets in the past have told us who Love is, recording his deeds under many a name. This they agree on - he has no clothes and is small in stature, carries arrows, wears wings, but has no eyes. This is the appearance, the bearing of the god . But if one may contradict such mighty bards, there is falsehood lurking here, I think. Why ever should he be naked? As if garments would be lacking for a god who possesses all the resources of a conquered world. Or how could he, if naked, survive the snows and North wind blowing from the Alps, the fields stiff with frost? - If he is a boy, do you call a boy one who is older than Nestor? Maybe you know the learned poem of the old man of Ascra? A child is changeable, but he is stubborn - the hearts he has once pierced he can never leave of his own volition. He bears quivers and arrows - why this useless burden? Has an infant strength to flex the dreadful bow? - Or why does he have wings, when he does not know how to take to the air with them? He has no skill to direct his arrows at the liver of birds, but steals along the ground and always hurts the mortal hearts of men. Hard as stone, he never stirs his wings from there. - If he is blind and also wears a bandage, what does a blindfold do for a blind person? Surely he doesn’t see any less because of it? Or who would believe that anyone carries arrows when he is deprived of sight Love shoots straight, the blind shoot arrows at a venture. - He is fiery, they say, and has flames leaping in his breast. Then why is he still in existence? Flame consumes everything. Indeed, why is he not quenched by the swelling waves whenever he steals into the tender hearts of the Water Nymphs? In order not to be deceived by such great errors, do you listen and our poem will tell what Love truly is. It is a work of delight, the frivolous occupation of leisure hours. Its sign is a Punic fruit on a black shield.

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OStenditur quàm sit absurda Cupidinis descri-
ptio, qualis circunfertur ex opinione veterum
poëtarum. Nam nuditas, & vestium privatio repu-
gnat Dei naturae rerum omnium copia beatae: puer
non, est qui sit annosior Nestore: inconstans non
est, qui sic obstinatè obfirmet animos: pharetratus
non est, quia puer bene iaculari nescit: neque ala-
tus, qui volandi sit impotens, séque humo tollere
non possit: non est sagittifer, ut qui captus lumine:
igneus non est, quia ignis omnia depascatur. Tan-
dem apponit veram amoris descriptionem, eámque
naturalem, unà cum eius schemate, punica glans , in
nigra clypei planitie
: quae repraesentant sexus utriusque
γενητικὰ μόρια.

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Sur la statue d’Amour.

MAints poëtes ont chanté d’Amour & de ses traits,
Et soubs termes divers ont descrit ses hauts faicts.
En ce premierement tous ensemble conviennent,
Qu’il est nud, & petit, & archer le maintiennent,
Qu’il a flesches sur soy, aussi que point ne void:
Tel est ce Dieu depeint, tel il se recognoit.
Mais si j’ose accuser tell’ ménsongere avance,
Je diray du contraire avec plus d’apparence.
Comment donc est-il nud, luy qui a le pouvoir
Sur les plus grands thresors, & tant de biens avoir?
Ou comme pourroit-il eviter la froidure,
Luy estant tousjours nud de sa prime nature?
Ou comme est-il enfant, qui Nestor passe d’ans?
Sçais-tu pas ce qu’en dit Hesiode en ses chants?
Aussi ce jeune enfant est-il plein d’inconstance,
Luy qui les coeurs ravis endurcit à outrance?
Luy qui n’est qu’un enfant, pourquoy a-il des traits?
Manier un tel arc il ne pourroit jamais.
Pourquoy est-il aislé, qui au vol ne peut tendre,
Ny tirer aux oiseaux, & moins encor les prendre?
Il blesse les humains, & rampe contre-bas:
Pesant comme la pierre, en haut ne vole pas.
Ou si aveugle il est, de beaucoup ne peut nuire
Un bandeau sur ses yeux, quand de ses traits il tire:
Car soit qu’il l’ait ou non, tousjours il ne voit rien,
Mais un archer estant aveugle, voit-il bien?
Cestuy-cy tire droit, celuy-là point ne vise.
On dit qu'il est de feu, les flammes il attise
Tout au dedans de nous par ses ruses & tours:
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [] Le feu consume tout, pourquoy vit-il tousjours?
Ou que n’est-il esteint, quand il se fourre en l’onde
Des Naïades, & coeurs qui sont plus froids au monde?
Mais toy, pour ne faillir & errer en cecy,
Que c’est qu’Amour de vray, je t’apprendray icy:
C’est un plaisant travail, lasciveté oisive,
C’est une oisiveté pleine de mignardise:
En l’escusson duquel tu peux appercevoir
Un gland, ou la grenade emmy un bouclier noir.

ICy est monstré combien est absurde la
description d’Amour, ainsi que les Poëtes
ont accoustumé le depeindre. Car estre nud,
comme il est, & destitué de tous vestemens,
repugne à la nature d’un Dieu, qui abonde
en toutes commoditez: aussi cela est repu-
gnant qu’il soit enfant, veu qu’il est bien
plus ancien que Nestor: il n’est pas inconstant,
veu que si fort il rend les esprits des humains
opiniastres: il n’est pas archer, d’autant qu’un
enfant ne peust pas bien tirer de l’arc: il n’est
point aislé, n’ayant puissance aucune de vo-
ler, & ne se peust remuer de terre: il n’a point
de traits pour tirer, veu qu’il est aveugle: il
n’est pas de feu, puis que tant est que le feu
consume tout. En fin est mise la vraye descri-
ption d’Amour, qui est bien naturelle, avec
sa devise, qui est une grenade au milieu d’un
bouclier ayant le champ noir: qui represen-
tent les parties genitales de tous les deux
sexes.

Notes:

1.  ‘snows and North wind...fields stiff with frost’. These are traditional hardships endured by the hopeful lover who finds the door shut against him. See e.g. Horace, Odes 3.10.

2.  Nestor, king of Pylos, who had outlived three generations of men, was a proverbial example of extreme old age.

3.  ‘the old man of Ascra’, i.e. the poet Hesiod who, at Theogony 120, describes Love as a primeval cosmic force.

4.  Variant reading in 1550, cornua dura, ‘the stiff bow’.

5.  The liver was held to be the seat of the affections.

6.  ‘hurts the mortal hearts of men’. Cf. Anthologia graeca 5.10, where Love attacks men, not animals.

7.  ‘the...hearts of the Water Nymphs’: a reference to the many legends of water nymphs and other water spirits succumbing to love.

8.  ‘Punic fruit’, i.e. the pomegranate. Possibly the connection here is the rough aftertaste it leaves and the likelihood of it being bad under its smooth skin. The pomegranate is a symbol of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.


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