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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C7v f23v]

Salix.

The willow

Quòd frugisperdam salicem vocitarit Homerus,[1]
Clitoriis homines moribus adsimulat.[2]

When Homer called the willow ‘seed-loser’, he made it like men with Clitorian habits.

Notes:

1.  Homer, Odyssey, 10.510. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.46.110: the willow drops its seed before it is absolutely ripe, and for that reason was called by Homer ‘seed-loser’.

2.  The waters of Lake Clitorius in Arcadia generated an aversion to wine in those who drank of them. See Pliny, Natural History, 31.13.16; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.322ff. The combination of the two images here may symbolise minds and characters gone to the bad and producing nothing of value. See Erasmus, Parabolae, p. 268: “As willow-seed, shed before it ripens, is not only itself barren but when used as a drug causes barrenness in women by preventing conception, so the words of those who teach before they have truly learnt sense not only make them no better in themselves, but corrupt their audience and render it unteachable”; and p. 230: “Those who have drunk of the Clitorian Lake develop a distaste for wine, and those who have once tasted poetry reject the counsels of philosophy, or the other way round. Equally, those who gorge themselves with fashionable pleasures reject those satisfactions which are honourable and genuine.”


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N6r p203]

Le meurier.

XLIIII.

Jamais durant le froid le meurier ne bourgeonne:[1]
Sage il est, quoy qu’à tort nom de fol on luy donne.[2]

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N6v p204]

Commentaires.

On baille diverses etymologies au meurier. Les
uns le derivent d’un mot Latin, qui signifie retarde-
ment: les autres d’un mot Grec qui signifie noir: &
autres encor d’un autre mot Grec, qui signifie fol: &
ce par antiphrase: car c’est le plus sage de tous les ar-
bres. Pline & autres en parlent en ceste façon: Le
meurier verdoye le dernier de tous les arbres de la
ville: car il attend que tout le froid soit passé: & pour-
ce est-il appellé le plus sage de tous les arbres. Mais
quand il commence à pousser, il acheve tout en une
nuict, & se fait mesme ouïr. On l’employe pour sym-
bole de la prudence: car il attend l’occasion du temps
& de la saison, de peur que l’injure de l’air ne l’en-
dommage. Ainsi l’homme prudent dilaye tout expres
ses affaires d’importance, & tous ses conseils, ne les
voulant point executer avant le temps, ains attendant
une occasionmeure , ou il les puisse exploiter sans
dommage & sans danger.

Notes:

1.  See Pliny, Natural History, 16.25.102: “the mulberry is the last of domesticated trees to shoot, and only does so when the frosts are over; for that reason it is called the wisest of trees”.

2.  Reference to a supposed ‘etymology by opposites’: Latin morus ‘mulberry’ was equated with Greek μῶρος ‘fool’, but the tree was considered wise: see note 1.


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