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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.

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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Buxus.

The box-tree

Perpetuo viridis, crispoque cacumine buxus,
Unde est disparibus fistula facta modis,[1]
Deliciis apta est teneris, & amantibus arbor.
Pallor inest illi, pallet & omnis amans. [2]

The box-tree is evergreen, with crinkly shoots. From it was made the pipe with its variously pitched notes. It is a tree appropriate to tender delights and to lovers. Box-wood is pale and so is every lover.

Notes:

1. For pipes of boxwood, see e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.30.

2. pallet et omnis amans, ‘pale...is every lover’. The lover should affect pallor and emaciation, as these will soften the lady’s heart; see Ovid, Ars Amatoria, 1.729ff.


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  • lovers; courting, flirting [33C2] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • panpipes [48C7353] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Pleasure, Enjoyment, Joy; 'Allegrezza', 'Allegrezza da le medaglie', 'Allegrezza, letitia e giubilo', 'Diletto', 'Piacere', 'Piacere honesto' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56B1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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