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XVI.

L’On a, jadis, veu monstres bien horribles:
Comme Chimere en forme espoventable,
Sagittaire,[1] & Centaures fort terribles,
Et Gerion en trois corps admirable.[2]
Phiton, serpent, fut crainct, & redoubtable,[3]
Meduse fut en son poil trop hideuse,
Hydra difforme en Lerne dangereuse,
Et Cerberus ( veoir) horrible beste:
Mais bien seroit chose plus merveilleuse,
Qui pourroit veoir une femme sans teste.[4]

Notes:

1. Sagittarius the archer is usually represented as a Centaur, but is sometimes associated with Bellerophon.

2. Geryon was a Titan who dwelt on the island Erytheia (one of the mythic Hesperides) in the far western Mediterranean. He had three heads and three bodies. His cattle were the object of the 10th labour of Hercules. See Alciato, 1549, ‘Concorde insuperable’([FALb038]).

3. The original Python was an oracular serpent at Delphi, offspring of Gaia (or sometimes Hera), killed by Apollo who then took over the oracle himself.

4. The monstrosity of this image of a headless woman has a certain resonance with the preaching of Paul against women keping their heads uncovered (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). See G. P. Corrington, “The ‘Headless Woman’: Paul and the Language of the Body in 1 Cor. 11:2-16”, Perspectives in Religious Studies, 18 (1991), pp. 223-31.


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