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The willow

Emblema cc.

Quod frugisperdam salicem vocitarit Homerus,[1]
Clitoriis homines moribus adsimilat.[2]

When Homer called the willow ‘seed-loser’, he made it like men with Clitorian habits.

SAlix ὠλεσίκαρπος Homero dicitur Odyss. κ[3].
quia salicis fructus cum vino propinatus sterilita-
tem inferat, genitale semen extinguat, & libidinis
impetum marco re afficiat, ait Plinius. Sed propter
κλειτοριάζειν obscoenum verbum, malim in eos
convertere qui licentiùs Venere abutuntur, quos
ideo meritò frugisperdas, & seminiperdas appel-

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Le Saulx.

LE Saulx d’Homere est nommé Perd-semence,
Qui peust noter expres
D’amours villains & trop salles l’outrance,
Et l’abus, & l’exces.

LE Saulx est appellé perd-semence par
Homere au 10. de l’Odyssee, d’aultant que
le fruit du saulx mis dans le vin induit ste-
rilité, esteint la semence genitale, & amortit
la vehemence d’amour, comme dit Pline.
Mais à raison du verbe κλειτοριάζειν, qui
est un mot obscene, j’aymeroye mieux l’a-
dapter contre ceux qui abusent par trop li-
centieusement du plaisant deduit d’amour,
lesquels à ceste occasion peust on appeller
perd-fruits, ou, perd-semences.


1.  Homer, Odyssey, 10.510. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.46.110: the willow drops its seed before it is absolutely ripe, and for that reason was called by Homer ‘seed-loser’.

2.  The waters of Lake Clitorius in Arcadia generated an aversion to wine in those who drank of them. See Pliny, Natural History, 31.13.16; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.322ff. The combination of the two images here may symbolise minds and characters gone to the bad and producing nothing of value. See Erasmus, Parabolae, p. 268: “As willow-seed, shed before it ripens, is not only itself barren but when used as a drug causes barrenness in women by preventing conception, so the words of those who teach before they have truly learnt sense not only make them no better in themselves, but corrupt their audience and render it unteachable”; and p. 230: “Those who have drunk of the Clitorian Lake develop a distaste for wine, and those who have once tasted poetry reject the counsels of philosophy, or the other way round. Equally, those who gorge themselves with fashionable pleasures reject those satisfactions which are honourable and genuine.”

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  • (story of) Homer representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(HOMER)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (with NAME [61D(CLITOR)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Licentiousness, Lasciviousness; 'Lascivia', 'Licenza' (Ripa) [57AA51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Non-procreation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [58AA2(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • sobriety; 'Sobrietà', 'Astinenza' (Ripa) [31B59] Search | Browse Iconclass

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