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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n1v p194]

Cavendum à meretricibus.

Beware of whores

XVI.

Sole satae Circes tam magna potentia fertur,
Verterit ut multos in nova monstra viros.
Testis equus domitor Picus,[1] tum Scylla biformis,[2]
Atque Ithaci postquam vina bibere sues.[3]
Indicat illustri meretricem nomine Circe, [4]
Et rationem animi perdere, quisquis amat.

So great, we are told, was the power of Circe, daughter of the Sun, that she turned many persons into new monstrous shapes. A witness to this is Picus, tamer of horses, and Scylla with her double form, and the Ithacans who became pigs after drinking the wine. Circe with her famous name indicates a whore and shows that any man who loves such a one loses his reason.

Notes:

1.  Picus, an Italian king, a breeder of horses, turned into a woodpecker by Circe. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.320ff.

2.  Scylla was transformed into a figure that was half girl, half barking dogs. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.51ff. Cf. Emblem 68 ([A50a068]).

3.  Ithacans: See Homer, Odyssey, 10.229ff. for the story of Ulysses’ sailors (from the island of Ithaca), who were turned into pigs by Circe with a magic potion of wine.

4.  Indicat...meretricem: ‘indicates a whore’. See Anthologia Graeca, 10.50 for this rationalisation of the Circe story.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M3v p182]

    Ceux qui vivent en concorde ne peu-
    vent estre surmontés.

    XVIII.

    Telle fut la concorde en trois freres germains,
    Tel leur amour commun, telle leur charité,
    Que jamais Prince aucun ne les a surmonté,
    Quoy que les Geryons eussent ennemis maints.[1]

    Commentaires.

    Par la concorde les petits choses croissent &
    s’aggrandissent, & par la discorde les grandes vien-
    nent à s’escouler & perir entierement. Pline recite
    qu’il y a certaines pierres en l’Isle Cycladique, lesquel-
    les estans entieres, nagent & sont portees sur l’eau:
    mais estans rompues & mises en pieces, elles vont au
    fonds. Scilure le Scythe, estans pres de sa fin, persuada
    à ses enfans de vivre en bonne amitié & concorde, par
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M4r p183] l’exemple qu’il leur bailla d’un trousseau de dards,
    lequel pas un deux ne peut rompre, ny faire ployer:
    mesmes s’estans joincts ensemble, & employans tou-
    tes leurs forces, n’en peurent venir à bout: mais le
    trousseau estant deslié & desjoinct, le plus foible de
    tous les rompoit facilement un à un. Geryon, comme
    dit S. Hierosme, vient du mot gera, qui signifie adve-
    naire. Il fut fils de Hiarbe Numidien. Plutarque, &
    quelques autres, appliquent ainsi ceste fiction poëti-
    que. Geryon fut un personnage de grand sens, de
    grand courage, de grande entreprise. Il avoit avec
    soy deux grands Capitaines, qui executoyent diligem-
    ment & vaillamment tout ce qui leur estoit com-
    mandé par Geyron: & pource qu’ils l’executoyent
    avec tant de fidelité, qu’il sembloit que ce fust Ge-
    ryon luy mesme, la posterité s’est imaginé, que Ge-
    ryon avoit six bras & six jambes, avec lesquels luy
    seul venoit à bout de tous ses desseings.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a rationalisation of Geryones, the unconquerable giant with three heads or three bodies, who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides, eventually vanquished and killed by Hercules during his abduction of Geryones’ famous cattle. See Emblem 25 ([FALe025]).


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