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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n3v p198]

Sapientia humana stultitia
est apud Deum.[1]

The Wisdom of Man is folly to God

XXVII.

Quid dicam? quonam hoc compellem nomine monstrum?
Biforme quod non est homo, nec est draco:[2]
Sed sine vir pedibus, summis sine partibus anguis,
Vir anguipes dici, & homiceps anguis potest.
Anguem pedit homo, hominem eructavit & anguis,
Nec finis hominis est, initium nec est ferae.
Sic olim Cecrops[3] doctis regnavit Athenis,
Sic & gigantes terra mater protulit.
Haec vafrum species, sed relligione carentem,
Terrena tamtum quique curet,[4] indicat.

What shall I say? By what name call this monster? a two-fold thing that is neither man nor snake? A man without feet, a snake without its upper parts - this can be called a snake-footed man, a man-headed snake. The man farts a snake, the snake has vomited a man, the man has no end, the beast no beginning. In such a form did Cecrops once rule in learned Athens, in such a form did Mother Earth once bring forth the Giants. This is an image of clever men, but indicating one without religion, who cares only for the things of the earth.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is based on Anthologia Graeca, 16.115-6, descriptions of a hippocentaur, the second of which was translated by Alciato at Sel. Ep. p.335. Metre: dactylic hexameters paired with iambic senarii.

2.  Variant reading, ‘monstrum Biforme quod...’, ‘ two-fold monster that is neither ...’.

3.  Cecrops, the mythical wise first king of Athens, the city of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. Cecrops, like the Giants (l.8) was born of the earth and was represented as half-man, half snake.

4.  Terrena tantum quique curet, ‘who cares only for the things of earth’. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.9: the fact that the Giants’ bodies terminated as snakes shows that they had not a single thought that was right or elevated, but that their life in all its comings and goings tended to what was base.


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    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8r f8r]

    Sapientia humana stultitia est
    apud Deum.[1]

    The Wisdom of Man is folly to God

    Emblema v.

    Quid dicam? quonam hoc compellem[2] nomine monstrum
    Biforme, quod non est homo, nec est draco?[3]
    Sed sine vir pedibus, summis sine partibus anguis,
    Vir anguipes dici, & homiceps anguis potest.
    Anguen pedit homo, hominem eructavit & anguis:
    Nec finis hominis est, initium nec est ferae.
    Sic olim Cecrops[4] doctis regnavit Athenis:
    Sic & gigantesterra mater protulit.
    Haec vafrum species, sed religione carentem,
    Terrena tantùm quique curet,[5] indicat.[6]

    What shall I say? By what name call this two-fold monster, that is neither man nor snake? A man without feet, a snake without its upper parts - this can be called a snake-footed man, a man-headed snake. The man farts a snake, the snake has vomited a man, the man has no end, the beast no beginning. In such a form did Cecrops once rule in learned Athens, in such a form did Mother Earth once bring forth the Giants. This image indicates a clever man, but one without religion, who cares only for the things of the earth.

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8v f8v]

    Hoc monstro notantur Athei quidam, & deliri
    Epicurei, qui cùm sint anima rationis participe
    à Deo informati, relicta sui conditione meliore,
    nihil nisi terram sapiunt, neglecta omni religione,
    divinóque cultu, quen tamen prae se ferunt, sed
    simulatione quadam, nimirum ut rebus terrestri-
    bus quas avidissimé appetunt, securiùs fruantur.
    Sumptum carmen est, sed aliò tortum, ex 4. Grae-
    corum Epigrammaton.

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B1r f9r]

    LA SAGESSE DE CE
    monde est folie devant Dieu.

    Mais quoy? quel monstre icy? quel nom peust-il avoir?
    Qu’est il, & d’où vient il, le pourroit on sçavoir?
    Il n’est dragon ny homme, & n’a la forme faicte
    D’homme ny de dragon, ains est serpent sans teste,
    Et homme sans ses pieds: homme-chef, serpent-pied.
    Nous le pourrons nommer, & le mot bien luy sied
    L’homme poulse un serpent: le serpent vomit l’homme:
    La fin de l’un n’y est, ny chef de l’autre en somme.
    Ainsi jadis Cecrops en Athenes regna,
    Tels furent les Geans, que la terre donna.
    Cecy remarque & poinct Athees, idolatres,
    Qui sans religion extremement finastres
    N’ont point d’autre soucy que du terrestre bien,
    Et trop sages mondains, ont de foy moins que rien.

    Par ce monstre sont representez aucuns
    Atheistes & Epicuriens insensez, lesquels
    doüez de Dieu d’une ame raisonable, se
    veaultrent contre la terre, comme ne faisans
    autre estat de leur condition meilleure, au
    contemnement de toute religion & divin
    service, que toutesfois ils font semblant de
    tenir, mais c’est de mine seulement, assavoir
    afin de s’entretenir, s’enrichir des biens de
    la terre, ausquels ils se rendent du tout. Cest
    Embleme est tiré (quoy qu’à autre sens ac-
    commodé) du quatriéme des Epigrammes Grecs.

    Notes:

    1.  This epigram is based on Anthologia Graeca, 16.115-6, descriptions of a hippocentaur, the second of which was translated by Alciato at Sel. Ep. p.335. Metre: dactylic hexameters paired with iambic senarii.

    2.  Corrected from the Errata

    3.  Variant reading in 1550 , ‘monstrum? Biforme quod...’, ‘monster? A two-fold thing, that is neither ...’.

    4.  Cecrops, the mythical wise first king of Athens, the city of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. Cecrops, like the Giants (l.8) was born of the earth and was represented as half-man, half snake.

    5.  Terrena tantum quique curet, ‘who cares only for the things of earth’. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.9: the fact that the Giants’ bodies terminated as snakes shows that they had not a single thought that was right or elevated, but that their life in all its comings and goings tended to what was base.

    6.  Variant reading in 1550, Haec vafrum est species, sed relligione carentem...indicans, ‘This is an image of clever men, but indicating one without religion’.


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