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Abies.

The fir tree

EMBLEMA CCII.

Apta fretis Abies in montibus editur altis:
Est & in adversis maxima commoditas.[1]

The fir tree that is fit to sail the sea grows high up on the hills. Even in hard circumstances, there is great advantage to be found.

Notes:

1. This is because it grows strong by withstanding the gales and harsh weather. Contrast Anthologia Graeca, 9.30ff, 105, and the much-translated 376 for an opposing view of the fir tree: “how can the fir, storm-tossed while growing on land, resist the gales at sea?” 9.31 was translated by Alciato (Selecta epigrammata, p. 98).


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EMBLEMA CCX [=205] .

Populus alba.

The white poplar

Herculeos crines bicolor qud populus ornet,[1]
Temporis alternat noxque diesque vices.[2]

The two-coloured poplar wreathes the locks of Hercules - and so its dark and light show time’s alternating changes.

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Das CCX [=205] .

Bellenbaum.

Das de Bellen zweiferbig blat
De Herculis har zieret glat
Also verendert sich die zeit
In Tag und Nacht zu aller seit.

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. noxque diesque, ‘its dark and light’ (lit. 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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