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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E3v p70]

Albucii ad D. Alciatum, suadens, ut de tu-
multibus Italicis se subducat, & in
Gallia profiteatur.[1]

Sent by Albutius to Alciato urging him to withdraw from the Italian troubles and take up a teaching post in France

Quae dedit hos fructus arbor,[2] coelo advena nostro,
Venit ab Eoo Persidis axe pris.
Translatu facta est melior, quae noxia quondam
In patria, hc nobis dulcia poma gerit.
Fert folium linguae, fert poma simillima cordi,
Alciate hinc vitam degere disce tuam.
Tu procul patria[3] in precio es maiore futurus,
Multm corde sapis, nec mins ore vales.

The tree that gave us these fruits, a stranger to our skies, came formerly from the eastern climes of Persia. By the transplanting it was made better. The tree that once bore harmful fruits in its native land, here bears sweet ones for us. It carries leaves like a tongue, fruits like a heart. Alciato, learn from it how to spend your life. Far from your own country, you will be held in greater esteem. You are wise in heart, and no less effective in speech.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E4r p71]

Albutius persuade que Alciat laisse les
tumultes Ditalie, & vienne en
France.

La Pesche es regions de Perse
Est venin & mort aux mangeans:
En aultres lieux est moins perverse,
Et rend bonne pasture aux gens:
Ainsi est il de maintz regens,
A cueur scavant langue diserte:
Que leurs lieux prestement changeans,
Changent tout malheur & disette.

Notes:

1. This person has been identified as Aurelius Albutius, lawyer, scholar and poet, like Alciato originally from Milan. On the question of the genuineness of this ascription and a suggested date for the epigram preceding Alciato’s first removal to France in 1518, see J. Khler, Der ‘Emblematum liber’ von Andreas Alciatus (1492-1550) (Hildesheim: August Lax, 1986).

2. ‘The tree that gave us these fruits’, i.e. the peach, with its heart-shaped fruit and tongue-shaped leaves.

3. ‘Far from your own country’. Alciato had two periods in France. He was lecturing on Civil Law in Avignon from 1518-1522, then returned to Milan. He again took up his teaching post in Avignon in 1527, and then removed to Bourges, where he remained until his return to Italy (Pavia) in 1533. The ‘troubles’ mentioned could be political (there was much fighting and tumult in N. Italy), or could refer to the wrangling between rival schools of academic lawyers during Alciato’s youth.


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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E1v p66]

Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos.[1]

What lies above us is none of our business

Caucasia aeternum pendens in rupe Prometheus[2]
Diripitur sacri praepetis ungue iecur.
Et nollet fecisse hominem, figulosque perosus
Accensam rapto damnat ab igne facem.
Roduntur variis prudentum pectora curis,
Qui coeli affectant scire demque vices.

Suspended for ever from the Caucasian rock, Prometheus has his liver torn by the talons of the sacred bird. He could well wish he had not made man. Hating moulders of clay, he curses the torch lit from the stolen fire. - The hearts of the learned are gnawed by various cares, the learned who strive to know the vicissitudes of heaven and the gods.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E2r p67]

Rien toucher ce qui est sur nous.

Prometheus ung homme feist,
Et puis osa luy donner ame:
Dont son cueur a jamais suffit[3]
Au voultour, qui tousjours lentame:
En ceste hystoire est donne blasme,
A cil qui tant est mal discret,
Quen cueur fol son cerveau affame,
Pour enquerir divin secret.

Notes:

1. See Erasmus, Adagia 569, Quae supra nos nihil ad nos.

2. The Titan Prometheus appears in myth as the champion of men against the ill-will of Zeus. According to one account, he moulded man out of clay (hence the reference to figuli, lit. ‘potters’, in l.3). Again, when Zeus withheld fire from mortals, Prometheus ascended to heaven and stole fire from the chariot of the sun for the benefit of men. As a perpetual punishment, Prometheus was put in chains and suspended from a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle, the sacred bird of Zeus, in the day-time consumed his liver, which renewed itself every night. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.82ff; Hesiod, Theogony 561ff.

3. Corrected from the 1536 edition.


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  • (symbolic) representations ~ creation, cosmos, cosmogony, universe, and life (in the broadest sense) [10] Search | Browse Iconclass
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  • Things Unknown, the Unknown (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51AA8(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
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