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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  [R6r p267]

    Le Cypres.

    Le Cypres monstre en sa fueille, comment
    Il fault traicter les siens egalement.

    L’arbre du Cypres depuys sa racine mon-
    te tout droict, egal jusque au plus hault de
    son tige, auquel il jecte branches en coron-
    ne environnantes, toutes en leur reng de mes
    me grandeur, & grosseur, ainsi ordonnées
    sans que l’une passe l’aultre, jusque au sommet,
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [R6r p268] ou il faict ung Cone, ou poincte demye ovale. Laquel-
    le egale figure enseigne les parens de traicter leurs en-
    fans tant aisnéz, que puisnéz, tant masles, que femelles
    en pareille condition, & affection, sans acception de
    personne, tant en nourriture, & entretenement, que en
    hoirie, & testament. Car ilz sont egalement naturelz,
    & legitimes. Laquelle equalite ne se observe pas
    es Pays de droict escript, comme au Lyonnois.

    AULTRE.

    Riches tombeaux le Cypres environne:
    Les monumens du Peuple Ache coronne.[1]

    Costume estoit aulx anciens Romains, pour faire hon
    neur à leurs parens, ou amys trespasséz de coronner,
    & environner de fueillages, & fleurs en forme de Chap
    pelletz Les sepulchres. Or les Monumens de ceulx de
    la Seigneurie estoient coronnez de Cypres: & ceulx
    du commun populaire de Ache (non de persil) lesquelz
    tous deux sont quasi de semblable fueille, couleur, o-
    deur, & faculté, à preserver de pourriture.

    AULTRE.

    Le Cypres est en fueilles bien construict,
    Mais belle fueille il porte, & point de fruyct.[2]

    Cecy peut estre dict des beaulx hommes, bien raméz
    de membres, & de mignons bien peignéz, & testou-
    néz, ou de belles femmes à beaux cheveulx, qui au de-
    mourant ne valent rien, & ne portent point de fruyct.

    Notes:

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

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


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