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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D6v f30v]

In colores.

On Colours

Index moestitiae est pullus color, utimur omnes
Hoc habitu tumulis cum damus inferias:
At synceri animi, & mentis stola candida purae.
Hinc syndon sacris linea grata viris.
Nos sperare docet viridis, spes dicitur esse
In viridi, quoties irrita retro cadit.[1]
Est cupidis flavus color, est & amantibus aptus,
Et scortis, & queis spes sua certa fuit.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7r f31r]At ruber armatos equites exornet amictus,
Indicet & pueros erubuisse pudor.
Ceruleus nautas, & qui coelestia vates
Attoniti nimia religione petunt.
Vilia sunt gilvis nativaque vellera birris,
Qualia lignipedes stragula habere solent.
Quem curae ingentes cruciant, vel zelus amoris
Creditur hic fulva non male veste tegi.
Quisquis sorte sua contentus, ianthina gestet
Fortunae aequanimis taedia quique ferat.
Ut varia est natura coloribus in gignendis,
Sic aliis aliud, sed sua cuique placent. [2]

Black is a sign of sadness; we all use this garb when we perform funeral rites at tombs. But white clothes are a sign of a sincere mind and pure thoughts. Hence the sindon, the linen garment beloved of holy men. Green teaches us to hope. Hope is said to be in the green whenever it sinks back unfulfilled. A gold colour is suitable for avaricious people and lovers, and whores, and anyone whose hopes have come to fruition. Let red garb adorn armed horsemen, let modesty show boys blushing. Blue suits sailors and prophets who, muddled with too much religion, pursue things in the skies. Cheap and untreated are the fleeces for dun-coloured cloaks, the sort of coverings that the wooden-legged have. A man tortured by great anxieties or the jealousy of love is considered appropriately dressed in yellow. Anyone content with his lot may wear mauve, also the man who bears with composure the unpleasantnesses inflicted by Fortune. - Nature is diverse in producing the colours, and different things are for different situations. Yet each of us is pleased by what is his own.

Notes:

1.  ‘Green teaches us to hope’. Cf. Emblem 44 of the 1550 edition ([A50a044]). In viridi, ‘in the green’ echoes the phrase in herba, for hopes unfulfilled. See e.g. Ovid, Ex Ponto, 16.263: ‘adhuc tua messis in herba est’ (your harvest is still in green leaf).

2.  ‘each of us is pleased by what is his own’. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 115 (suum cuique pulchrum).


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D5v f29v]

Ἀνέχου καὶ ἀπέχου.[1]

Hold on and hold off

Et toleranda homini tristis fortuna ferendo est,
Et nimium felix saepe timenda fuit.
Sustine, Epictetus dicebat, & abstine. oportet
Multa pati, illicitis absque tenere manus.
Sic ducis imperium vinctus fert poplite taurus
In dextro, sic se continet à gravidis.

A man must bear unhappy chance by seeing it through, but too happy a lot has often proved fearful as well. Hold on, Epictetus used to say, and also, Hold off. One must endure many things and also keep one’s hands away from what is not allowed. Even so the bull submits to the herdsman’s will, chained at the right knee, and so keeps away from the pregnant cows.

Notes:

1.  Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 17.19.5-6.


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