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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N2r p195]

Facundia difficilis.

Eloquence is hard

Antidotum Aeaeae medicata in pocula Circes
Mercurium hoc Ithaco fama dedisse fuit.[1]
Moly vocant, id vix radice evellitur atra,
Purpureus: sed flos, lactis & instar habet.
Eloquii candor facundiaque allicit omnes:
Sed multi res est tanta laboris opus.

According to the story, Mercury gave to the man from Ithaca this antidote to the poisoned cup of Aeaean Circe. They call it moly. It is hard to pull up by its black root. The plant is dark, but its flower is white as milk. The brilliance of eloquence and readiness of speech attracts all men, but this mighty thing is a work of much labour.

Notes:

1.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses (the man from Ithaca) and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 76 ([A51a076]), 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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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Z6r f246r]

Eloquentia fortitudine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Emblema clxxx.

Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud
Quòd vetus, & senio tempora cana gerit
Quid quòd lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis,
Queis fissa faciles allicit aure viros?
An ne quòd Alciden lingua, non robore Galli
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, which are attached to men’s pierced ears, and by them he draws them unresisting along? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Z6v f246v]

SUmpta haec designatio ex Luciani quadam prae-
fatione: qua significatur Herculem illum à scri-
ptoribus decantatissimum, Gallum fuisse, virum
prudentissimum & eloquentissimum, qui cùm vir-
tutibus iis quae civilem hominem decent esset ex-
cultus, populum Gallicum à prima illa feritate &
cultu barbaro ad vitam placidiorem sapienti ora-
tione & nomothesia revocavit.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Z7r f247r]

Que l’eloquence a plus de vertu que les
forces du corps.

LE pourtrait d’Hercules est exposé en veuë,
Dont l’arc est à la gauche, à dextre une massue.
De la peau d’un lion armé au corps il est.
Quoy? cela convient-il à ce qu’un chacun sçet?
Car il semble icy vieil, & tel se fait cognoistre,
Et à le contempler, chauve & ride paroistre.
A sa langue coulant petites chesnes sont
Attachees en ordre, & par l’oreille vont
Des oyans, retenus sans aucune contrainte.
Et c’est que les Gaulois d’une opinion sainte
Maintiennent qu’Hercules, non de force de corps,
Mais par son bien parler fit des peuples concords,
Ausquels il donna loy à ce qu’ils se soubmissent.
Ainsi aux gens diserts les armes obeyssent,
Et les hommes plusdurs, malapprins, malfaisans,
Se rangent aux propos en fin des bien-disans.

CEste pourtraitture est prinse d’un trait-
té de Lucian: par laquelle nous appre-
nons que Hercules tant celebré des auteurs
anciens, a esté Gaullois, homme fort bien ad-
visé, & des mieux disans, lequel estant bien
fourny des parties qui appartiennent à l’hom-
me propre au gouvernement du public, il
reduit par ses sages remonstrances, & esta-
blissemens de bonnes loix le peuple Gaul-
lois premierement impoly & barbare à une
vie plus douce & civile.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2.  Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • extinct, 'historical' peoples (with NAME) [32B2(GAULS)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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