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Section: MATRIMONIUM (Marriage). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O2v p212]

Nupta contagioso.

A woman married to a diseased man

Dii meliora piis[1] (Mezenti) cur age sic me
Compellas?[2] emptus quòd tibi dote gener.
Gallica, quem scabies[3] dira & mentagra perurit:
Hoc est quidnam aliud (dic mihi saeve pater)
Corpora corporibus, quàm iungere mortua vivis,
Efferaque Etrusci facta novare ducis?[4]

O Mezentius, God grant a better fate to the dutiful! - Now why do you address me by that name? - Because with a dowry you have purchased a son-in-law seared by the Gallic scab and the dreaded sore on the face. What else is this - o tell me, cruel father - but to join corpses to living bodies and repeat the savage deeds of the Etruscan leader?

Notes:

1.  Vergil, Georgics, 3.513.

2.  sic me compellas, ‘address me by that name’, i.e. Mezentius. This is explained below, note 4.

3.  Gallica...scabies, ‘the Gallic scab’: Osseous lesions caused by syphilis, which was epidemic in Europe following Charles VIII’s first Italian war. Spreading to the French army following its occupation of Naples (February 1495), it became known to the French as “the Neapolitan sickness”, to the Italians as “the French sickness.” It acquired its modern name from a mythological Latin poem on the subject by Girolamo Fracastoro, “Syphilis sive morbus gallicus”, a popular favourite first published in 1530. Fracastoro later used the name Syphilus (a mythical shepherd) when he contributed to the scientific literature on the disease (Liber I de sympathia et antipathia rerum, de contagione et contagiosis morbis, 1550). Note that here the French uses ‘un villain Podagre’ instead, which Cotgrave lists as the gout. Of the two corresponding emblems with this one, the 1549 edition uses verolle (pox), and 1615 uses podagre in the title and verolle in the verse.

4.  See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.483-88, for the crimes of Mezentius, the Etruscan king who opposed Aeneas on his arrival in Italy. He inflicted a dreadful fate on his victims by tying them face to face with a corpse and leaving them to die.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Bb9r f273r]

ARBORES.

Cupressus.

The Cypress

Emblema cxcviii.

Indicat effigies metae, noménque cupressi
Tractandos parili conditione suos.[1]
Aliud.
Funesta est arbor, procerum monumenta Cupressus,
Quale apium plebis, comere fronde solet.[2]
Aliud.
Pulchra coma est, pulchro digestaeque ordine frondes,
Sed fructus nullos haec coma pulchra gerit.[3]

The cone-shaped form and the name ‘cypress’ indicate that one’s people should be dealt with on equal terms.
Other: The cypress is a funereal tree. Its branches usually adorn the memorials of leading men as parsley-stems adorn those of humble people.
Other: The foliage is beautiful, and the leaves all arranged in neat order, but this beautiful foliage bears no fruit.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Bb9v f273v]

UT ex naturis animantium, rerúmque aliarum spe-
ctata proprietate, sumitur aliquod symbolum ad
aliquid designandum: ita ex plantis & arboribus: ut
quercus[4] hîc ad tria accommodatur.

1.Ad aequalitatem inter suos significandam, quòd
ea arbor & in foliis & fructibus videatur aliquam
aequalitatem servare.

2.Ad mortis notam: eius enim rami adhibeban-
tur olim in magnatum principúmque funeribus: ut
apium plebis.

3.In eos torquetur qui quanquam pulchrum ne-
scio quid prae se ferant, nullos tamen ex se fructus e-
ducunt.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Bb10r f274r]

Le Cypres.

LEs rameaux de Cypres, ainsi qu’ils se comportent,
Et le nom & son bois & branches se rapportent
Depuis le tige & bas jusqu’à la sommité,
Monstrant qu’il faut es siens tenir egalité.
Autre.
Des riches les tombeaux ornez de Cypres furent:
Mais les moindres es leurs l’Ache seulement eurent.
Autre.
En branches & rameaux tout de bel ordre suit
Au Cypres beau à voir, mais il n’a point de fruit.

COmme par la consideration que lon fait
sur la nature des animaux, & d’autres
choses on tire des devises pour figurer quel-
que conception de l’esprit, tout de mesme
fait-on des plantes & arbres, comme icy le
chesne[5] s’accommode à trois choses.
1.Premierement il sert pour signifier une
egalité entre les siens, par-ce que cest arbre
en ses fueilles & fruits semble garder certai-
ne egalité & convenance.
2.pour une marque de mort: car ses bran-
ches estoyent au passé employees aux fune-
railles des grans: comme les fueilles de l’Ache,
es enterremens des gens de moyenne condition.
3.est prins à l’encontre de ceux, lesquels
quoy qu’ils se monstrent estre beaux, si est-ce
qu’ils ne rapportent rien de bon.

Notes:

1.  This refers to the supposed etymology, Greek κύειν and πάρισος ‘bear’,‘equal’.

2.  See Pliny, Natural History, 20.44.113 for the use of parsley at funeral meals.

3.  See Erasmus, Adagia, 4210 (Cyparissi fructus).

4.  Both Latin and French texts speak here of the oak tree but the following numbered texts refer correctly to the cypress.

5.  See note 4.


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