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Mentem, non formam, plus pollere.

Intelligence matters, not beauty

Emblema clxxxviii.

Ingressa vulpes in Choragi pergulam,
Fabr expolitum invenit humanum caput,
Sic eleganter fabricatum, ut spiritus
Solm deesset, caeteris vivisceret.
Id illa cm sumpsisset in manus, ait,
O quale caput est! sed cerebrum non habet.[1]

A fox, entering the store-room of a theatrical producer, found an actor’s mask, skilfully shaped, so finely fashioned that the spirit alone was missing, in all else it seemed alive. Taking it up, the fox addressed it - What a head is this, but it has no brain!

PErmultos non rar videre est excellenti forma
& dignitate corporis homines, qui ingenio pla-
n stolido & pen nullo sunt, ut revera simulachra
quaedam esse citis quam homines videantur. Qu
spectat Cleanthis illud, ἀπαιδέυτους μόνῃ τῇ
μορφῇ θηρίων διαφέρειν
.

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Que l’entendement est bien plus estimer
que non pas la beaut.

DEdans l’ouvroir d’un statuaire
Un Regnard ne sachant que faire,
Va incontinent adviser
Une teste humaine parfaitte,
Et de tous poincts autant bien faite
Que lon la pourroit deviser.
Il la manie, & si l’admire,
Et n’y trouve rien redire,
Voyant un ouvrage si beau,
Et o rien que la voix ne reste:
Mon Dieu, dit-il, la belle teste,
Mais elle n’a point de cerveau.

ON voit assez souvent des hommes beaux
de corps, qui ont l’esprit fort lourd, ou
n’en ont point du tout, de maniere qu’il
semble veoir que soyent plustost statues.
A quoy se rapporte le dire de Cleanthes,
que les ignorans ne different des bestes sinon
du seul visage.

Notes:

1. See Phaedrus, Fables 1.7 (also in iambic senarii); Aesop, Fables 43.


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