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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B5v p26]

Non vulganda consilia.

Keep counsels secret.

VIII.

Limine quod caeco, obscura & caligine monstrum[1]
Gnosiacis clausit Daedalus in latebris:
Depictum Romana phalanx in praelia gestat,
Semiviroque nitent signa superba[2] bove.
Nosque monent, debere ducum secreta[3] latere
Consilia, authori cognita techna nocet.

The monster that Daedalus imprisoned in its Cretan lair, with hidden entrance and obscuring darkness, the Roman phalanx carries painted into battle; the proud standards flash with the half-man bull. These remind us that the secret plans of leaders must stay hid. A ruse once known brings harm to its author.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B6r p27]

Tenir encloz secret.

VIII.

Jadiz Romains firent portraire
Minotaurus en leur enseigne:
Dire en ce voulans, qu’on doibt taire
Secret de quelque part qu’il viegne:
Et affin que surce on compreigne
De telle paincture la raison,
Nul n’est vivant qui entrepreigne,
Tirer tel monstre hors sa maison.

Notes:

1. ‘The monster that Daedalus imprisoned’, i.e. the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull monster kept in the famous Labyrinth at Knossos, which Daedalus, the Athenian master-craftsman, constructed for King Minos.

2. According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

3. Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.


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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B2v p20]

Sapientia humana, stultitia est
apud Deum.[1]

The Wisdom of Man is folly to God

EMBLEMA V.

Quid dicam? quonam hoc compellem nomine monstrum
Biforme, quod non est homo, nec est draco?[2]
Sed sine vir pedibus, summis sine partibus anguis
Vir anguipes dici, & homiceps anguis potest.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B3r p21]Anguem pedit homo, hominem eructavit & anguis:
Nec finis hominis est, initium nec est ferae.
Sic olim Cecrops[3] doctis regnavit Athenis:
Sic & gigantes terra mater protulit.
Haec vafrum species, sed relligione carentem,
Terrena tantm quique curet,[4] indicat.

What shall I say? By what name call this two-fold monster, that is neither man nor snake? A man without feet, a snake without its upper parts - this can be called a snake-footed man, a man-headed snake. The man farts a snake, the snake has vomited a man, the man has no end, the beast no beginning. In such a form did Cecrops once rule in learned Athens, in such a form did Mother Earth once bring forth the Giants. This is an image of clever men, but indicates one without religion, who cares only for the things of the earth.

Notes:

1. This epigram is based on Anthologia Graeca, 16.115-6, descriptions of a hippocentaur, the second of which was translated by Alciato at Sel. Ep. p.335. Metre: dactylic hexameters paired with iambic senarii.

2. Variant reading, ‘monstrum? Biforme quod...’, ‘monster? A two-fold thing, that is neither ...’.

3. Cecrops, the mythical wise first king of Athens, the city of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. Cecrops, like the Giants (l.8) was born of the earth and was represented as half-man, half snake.

4. Terrena tantum quique curet, ‘who cares only for the things of earth’. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.9: the fact that the Giants’ bodies terminated as snakes shows that they had not a single thought that was right or elevated, but that their life in all its comings and goings tended to what was base.


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