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HEDERA.

Ivy

Emblema. 203.

Haud quaquam arescens hederae est arbuscula, Cisso[1]
Quae puero Bacchum dona dedisse ferunt:
Errabunda, procax, auratis fulva corymbis,
Exterius viridis, caetera pallor habet.
Hinc aptis vates cingunt sua tempora sertis:[2]
Pallescunt studiis, laus diuturna viret.

There is a bushy plant which never withers, the ivy which Bacchus, they say, gave as a gift to the boy Cissos. It goes where it will, uncontrollable; tawny where the golden berry-clusters hang; green on the outside but pale everywhere else. Poets use it to wreathe their brows with garlands that fit them well - poets are pale with study, but their praise remains green for ever.

Notes:

1.  Κισσός is the Greek word for ‘ivy’. For the story of Cissos, beloved of Bacchus, and his transformation into the ivy, see Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 12.188ff.

2.  vates cingunt sua tempora, ‘Poets use it to wreathe their brows’. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.62.147: poets use the species with yellow berries for garlands.


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Le peuplier blanc.

XLI.

Ce que du peuplier blanc le chef d’Hercule est ceinct,[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N5v p202] Celà du jour & nuict l’entresuite nous peind.[2]

Commentaires.

Le peuplier blanc est consacré à Hercule, Il a la
feuille tremblante, blanchissant’ par le haut, & ver-
de par le bas. Celà nous enseigne le continuel mouve-
ment du temps, distribué en clair jour, & en nuict
obscure. Mais le peuplier blanc a encor cecy de confor-
me avec le temps, qu’apres le solstice ses feuilles se tour-
nent de l’autre costé: & n’y a rien en terre, qui puis-
se plus certainement tesmoigner le solstice, que ceste
conversion. On dit que quand Hercule descendit aux
enfers, il portoit une couronne de peuplier, le dehors de
laquelle fut obscurci par la suye du feu d’enfer: mais
ce qui touchoit sa peau ou ses cheveux, fut blanchi
par sa sueur.

Notes:

1.  The white poplar was dedicated to Hercules. According to Pausanias, Periegesis, 5.14.2, Hercules introduced it to Greece. According to another story, Hercules on his way back from the Underworld garlanded his head with stems from a white poplar growing beside the Acheron, a memorial of the nymph Leuke (White) carried off by Pluto.

2.  ’night and day’, a reference to the dark green surface and white underside of the white poplar leaf. According to Pliny, Natural History, 16.36.87, the leaves of the white poplar turn over at the summer solstice. Hercules was equated with the sun: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.6 and 10.


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