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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D1r f25r]

Litera occidit, spiritus vivificat.[1]

The letter kills but the spirit gives life

Vipereos Cadmus dentes ut credidit arvis,
Sevit & Aonio semina dira solo,
Terrigenum clypeata cohors extorta virorum est,
Hostili inter se qui cecidere manu.
Evasere quibus monitu Tritonidos armis
Abiectis data pax dextraque iuncta fuit.[2]
Primus Agenorides[3] elementa notasque magistris
Tradidit, iis suavem iunxit & harmoniam.[4]
Quorum discipulos contraria plurima vexant,
Non nisi Palladia quae dirimuntur ope.

When Cadmus entrusted the dragon’s teeth to the furrows and sowed the dread seed in Aonian [Theban] soil, there sprang up a shield-bearing band of earth-born men, who fell by fighting among themselves. Those escaped who at Tritonia’s [Athena’s] command threw down their arms, granted peace and joined right hands. Agenor’s son first gave to teachers letters and symbols and also put together for them sweet musical concord. Many adversities assail those who follow these disciplines, adversities which are resolved only by Pallas Athena’s aid.

Notes:

1.  II Corinthians 3:6.

2.  For the story of Cadmus, founder of Thebes (in Aonia, or less correctly in the French, in Thessaly), and the dragon’s teeth, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.99ff. Athena, goddess of wisdom - here called Tritonia, from the place of her birth in North Africa - brought the internecine struggle between the earth-born warriors to an end.

3.  Agenorides, ‘Agenor’s son’, i.e. Cadmus, who supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.

4.  harmoniam, ‘musical concord’. Cadmus’ wife was called Harmonia.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P7r p237]

La lettre occit: L’esprit vivifie.[1]

Quand Cadmus heut dens de serpens semées
En terre Grecque: incontinent armées
D’hommes divers sortirent de la terre:
S’entretuans par mutuelle guerre.[2]
Ceulx qui salvéz par Pallas demourerent,
Armes jectans, la paix en main jurerent.
Cadmus premier les lettres apporta,[3]
Et bonnes ars par icelles nota.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P7v p238] Les professeurs desquelles s’entremordent,
Et point (sinon par Pallas) ne s’accordent.

Cadmus Phoenicien filz du Roy Agenor fut le
premier qui apporta les lettres d’Asie en Euro-
pe
, & les espandit par toute la Grece, D’ond est
sortie la fable, qu’il sema les dens d’ung serpent,
desquelles sortirent hommes arméz, se comba-
tans, & entretuans les ungz, les aultres, jusque à
cinq restantz, pacifiéz par Pallas, & depuys mul-
tipliéz en grand peuple. Le serpent est Pruden-
ce, les dens semées sont les lettres agues, & subti-
les dispersées par la Grece, Les hommes arméz,
sortans de telle semence sont les gens literéz, &
savans es ars, & sciences, Lesquelz par envie mu-
tuelle se defont l’ung l’aultre, sinon qu’ilz
soient reduictz en paix par Pallas, qui est Sapience, &
multiplient croissans tous les jours en nombre
infiny: Tant qu’a la fin y en aura trop.

Notes:

1.  2 Corinthians 3:6.

2.  For the story of Cadmus, founder of Thebes (in Aonia, or less correctly in the French, in Thessaly), and the dragon’s teeth, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.99ff. Athena, goddess of wisdom - here called Tritonia, from the place of her birth in North Africa - brought the internecine struggle between the earth-born warriors to an end.

3.  Cadmus supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.


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