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Mignardise.

PROBLEME.

Pourquoy dict on que l’Hermine, ou Musaigne
De mignardise, & delice est enseigne?[1]
Est ce pourtant quelle est chaulde en nature,
Et de sa peau donne aulx Dames vesture?
Rat Sarmatic, est Zebelin nommé[2]
Musc Arabic,[3] est parfum renommé.

Par la Musaigne, ou Hermine, & la Martre Sebeline,
& le Musc Arabic, de Civette qui sont bestes chaul
des & odorantes tant vives en chair, que mortes en
peau, est denotée la delicieuse mignardise, des dames
en vestemens, & senteurs.

Notes:

1.  The white mouse was a proverbial example of the effeminate and the promiscuous. See the Suda s.v. mus, and Apostolius, Proverbs, 11,87, who also reports its sexual proclivities.

2.  ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes. Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

3.  The words ‘mouse’ and ‘musk’ (late Latin muscus) are connected, from the mouse-shaped sac of the male animals which produce musk. Some plants have a musky smell. Muscus also means ‘moss’ - Arabia was famous for plants which produced aromatic gums (e.g. incense and nard).



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