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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n5r p201]

Hedera.

Ivy

XXXVIII.

Haudquaquam arescens hederae est arbuscula, Cisso[1]
Quae puero Bacchum dona dedisse ferunt:
Errabunda, procax, auratis fulva corymbis,
Exterius viridis, caetera pallor habet.
Hinc aptis vates cingunt sua tempora sertis:[2]
Pallescunt studiis, laus diuturna viret.

There is a bushy plant which never withers, the ivy which Bacchus, they say, gave as a gift to the boy Cissos. It goes where it will, uncontrollable; tawny where the golden berry-clusters hang; green on the outside but pale everywhere else. Poets use it to wreathe their brows with garlands that fit them well - poets are pale with study, but their praise remains green for ever.

Notes:

1.  Κισσός is the Greek word for ‘ivy’. For the story of Cissos, beloved of Bacchus, and his transformation into the ivy, see Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 12.188ff.

2.  vates cingunt sua tempora, ‘Poets use it to wreathe their brows’. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.62.147: poets use the species with yellow berries for garlands.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O5v p218]

    Musicam Diis curae esse.

    The gods care for music

    EMBLEMA CLXXXIV.

    Locrensis posuit tibi Delphice Phoebe cicadam
    Eunomus hanc, palmae signa decora suae.
    Certabat plectro Sparthyn commissus in hostem,
    Et percussa sonum pollice fila dabant.
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O6r p219]Trita fides rauco coepit cùm stridere bombo,
    Legitimum harmonias & vitiare melos:
    Tum citharae argutans suavis sese intulit ales,
    Quae fractam impleret voce cicada fidem:
    Quaeque allecta, soni ad legem descendit ab altis
    Saltibus, ut nobis garrula ferret opem.
    Ergo tuae ut firmus stet honos, ô sancte, cicadae,
    Pro cithara hic fidicen aeneus ipsa sedet.[1]

    Phoebus, god of Delphi, Locrian Eunomus set up this cicada in your honour, an appropriate symbol of his victory. He was competing in the lyre contest against his rival Sparthys and the strings resounded as he plucked them with the plectrum. A worn string began to buzz with a hoarse rattle and spoil the true melody of the music. Then a sweet-voiced creature, a cicada, flew chirping onto the lyre to supply with its song the broken string. Recruited to follow the rules of musical sound, it flew down from the high glades to bring us aid with its chirping song. Accordingly, so that the honour due to your cicada, o holy god, may last undiminished, on top of the lyre she sits here herself, a minstrel in bronze.

    Notes:

    1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 6.54. See Strabo, Geography 6.1.9 for the story of Eunomus and the statue he set up at his home town of Locri commemorating this incident in the song contest at the Pythian Games (celebrated near Delphi, in honour of Apollo, Artemis and their mother Leto); also Erasmus, Adagia 414, Acanthia Cicada.


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