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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B5r f13r]

Ignavi.

Good for nothing

Ignavi aerdeolam stellarem[1] effingere servi
Et studia, & mores, fabula prisca fuit,
Quae famulum Asteriam[2] volucris sumpsisse figuram
Est commenta. fides sit penes historicos.
Degener hic veluti qui caevet in aere falco est
Dictus ab antiquis vatibus ardelio.[3]

There was an old story to the effect that the little starred heron displays the activities and character of a good-for-nothing slave, a story which alleged that the slave Asterias took the form of a bird. Let the [natural] historians vouch for this. This sort of despicable person is like the kestrel quivering in one place in the air, a person called a fussing busybody by the ancient poets.

Notes:

1.  The ‘little starred heron’, which, according to the story, had once been human and a slave, was, because of its sluggish nature, called ocnus, i.e. ‘idleness’. As it understood human speech, it hated to be called this, or ‘slave’. See Pausanias, 10.29.2; Aelian, De natura animalium 5.36; Aristotle, Historia animalium, 9.18.617.

2.  Asterias, ‘starred’, is the Greek name for ardea stellaris, possibly a bittern.

3.  ardelio: ‘a fussing busybody’. See Martial, Epigrams, 2.7.7.; 4.78.9: Phaedrus, Fables, 2.5.1. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 543, Callipides, on someone who expends a great deal of energy achieving nothing.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P4r p231]

Eloquence difficile.[1]

L’herbe bailla Mercure à Ulysses,
Contrepoison aulx breuvages Circes.[2]
Moly s’appelle, & ha noire racine,
Fleur blanche, & rouge, à trouver bien insigne.
Pure eloquence, est d’attraction pleine,
Mais à plusieurs est oeuvre de grand peine.

Par l’herbe Moly en Homere de noire racine, fleur blanche,
& purpurine, tresdifficile à trouver: est entendue eloquence, au
commencement obscure, puys florissante, claire, & honorée.
Mais difficile à acquerir, sinon aulx bons espritz laquelle sur-
monte toute malice, & obtient grand grace à celluy qui l’ha.

Notes:

1.  In the 1549 French edition, this emblem has no woodcut.

2.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 70 ([A58a070]), for the effect of Circe’s poisoned cup. Cf. Erasmus, De Copia (Loeb edition, 1.91 D), where moly is interpreted as wisdom rather than eloquence. Cf. Coustau, ‘In herbam Moly, ex Homero’ ([FCPb073]).


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