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Insignia Potarum.

Insignia of poets

Emblema clxxxiii.

Gentiles clypeos sunt qui in Iovis alite gestant,
Sunt quibus aut serpens, aut leo signa ferunt.
Dira sed haec vatum fugiant animalia ceras,
Doctaque sustineat stemmata pulcher Olor.
Hic Phoebo sacer[1], & nostrae regionis alumnus:
Rex, olim[2], veteres servat adhuc titulos.

Some have a family crest distinguished by the bird of Jove, for others the serpent or the lion provides the sign. But let these dread beasts flee from poets’ images; let the lovely swan support their learned clan. This bird is sacred to Phoebus and is a nursling of my homeland. A king once, it still preserves its ancient titles.

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CYcnus, potarum stemma, Phoebo sacer, candi-
dus, pro Rege habitus repraesentat conditionem
potarum, qui suos labores omnes ad literarum
praesidem Phoebum, id est disciplinarum liberalium
principatum referunt: quorum pura & candida de-
bet esse Musa, aliena ab omni fuco & spurcitie: qui
non mins ordinatis beneque cultis versibus in a-
nimos hominum imperium obtinent, qum reget
ipsi armatis copiis.

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La devise des Potes.

AUcuns Seigneurs & Roys portent s escussons
Aigles, lyons, serpens en diverses faons:
Mais les doux & humains & paisibles potes
Jamais en leurs pourtraits n’usent de telles bestes,
Ains ont le Cigne blanc, pour quelque affection
Noter de leur savoir & leur condition:
Phoebus le tient pour sien, il nous est domestique:
Il fut Roy, & retient encor son tiltre antique.

LE Cygne est le blason & armoirie des
Potes: il est consacr Phoebus: il est
blanc, & a est tenu pour Roy: ce que repre-
sente la condition des Potes, qui rappor-
tent tous leurs labeurs Phoebus, prince des
lettres, c’est dire la grandeur des discipli-
nes liberales: d’iceux la Muse & maniere
d’escrire doit estre pure & blanche, esloin-
gnee de tout fard, & villenie: qui par vers
bien ordonnez & mesurez ne commandent
moins aux esprits des hommes, que les Roys
font avec leurs armees.

Notes:

1. ‘sacred to Phoebus’, i.e. to the god of music and poetry (Apollo).

2. ‘a king once’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.367ff. for the story of Cycnus, king of Liguria, turned into a swan and inhabiting the marshes and lakes of the plain of the Po (Alciato’s homeland).


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