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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n5v p202]

Litera occidit, spiritus
vivificat.[1]

The letter kills but the spirit gives life

XLV.

Vipereos Cadmus dentes ut credidit arvis,
Sevit & Aonio semina dira solo,
Terrigenum clypeata cohors extorta virorum est,
Hostili inter se qui cecidere manu.
Evasere quibus monitu Tritonidos armis
Abiectis data pax, dextraque iuncta fuit.[2]
Primus Agenorides[3] elementa notasque magistris
Tradidit, iis suavem iunxit & harmoniam.[4]
Quorum discipulos contraria plurima vexant,
Non nisi Palladia quae dirimuntur ope.

When Cadmus entrusted the dragon’s teeth to the furrows and sowed the dread seed in Aonian [Theban] soil, there sprang up a shield-bearing band of earth-born men, who fell by fighting among themselves. Those escaped who at Tritonia’s [Athena’s] command threw down their arms, granted peace and joined right hands. Agenor’s son first gave to teachers letters and symbols and also put together for them sweet musical concord. Many adversities assail those who follow these disciplines, adversities which are resolved only by Pallas Athena’s aid.

Notes:

1.  II Corinthians 3:6.

2.  For the story of Cadmus, founder of Thebes (in Aonia, or less correctly in the French, in Thessaly), and the dragon’s teeth, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.99ff. Athena, goddess of wisdom - here called Tritonia, from the place of her birth in North Africa - brought the internecine struggle between the earth-born warriors to an end.

3.  Agenorides, ‘Agenor’s son’, i.e. Cadmus, who supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.

4.  harmoniam, ‘musical concord’. Cadmus’ wife was called Harmonia.


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    Section: LES ARBRES. View all emblems in this section.

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [R%r p265]

    Le Morier.[1]

    Le Morier sage, & en Grec mal nommé[2]
    Ne fleurit point que L’hyver consommé.[3]

    Consommé, & finy L’hyver, lors le
    Morier, apres les aultres grandz arbres,
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [R5v p266] commence à jecter ses fleurs, & germes, hors
    les dangiers des froidures, & gelées, Ainsi
    faict le sage, qui ne s’advance point en tous
    affaires, avant qu’il soit temps, & ne hazarde
    rien, à dangier, mais au plus seur. Parquoy,
    il est nommé en Grec Moros par sens cont-
    raire, Car Μωρος en Grec est à dire fol: &
    il est sage, qui ne gecte point sa fleur, & son
    fruyct, que tout le peril d’hyver ne soit con
    sommé.

    Notes:

    1.  The woodcut here is a fairly close, laterally inverted, copy of that used in the 1549 French edition.

    2.  Reference to a supposed ‘etymology by opposites’: Latin morus ‘mulberry’ was equated with Greek μῶρος ‘fool’, but the tree was considered wise: see note 2.

    3.  See Pliny, Natural History, 16.25.102: ‘the mulberry is the last of domesticated trees to shoot, and only does so when the frosts are over; for that reason it is called the wisest of trees’.


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