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Insignia of poets

Emblema 182.

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 Phaebo 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.


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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