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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[n7r p205]

In colores.

On Colours

LVI.

Index moestitiae est pullus color, utimur omnes
Hoc habitu tumulis cým damus inferias:
At synceri animi, & mentis stola candida purae.
Hinc sindon sacris linea grata viris.
Nos sperare docet viridis, spes dicitur esse
In viridi, quoties irrita retro cadit.[1]
Est cupidis flavus color, est & amantibus aptus,
Et scortis, & queis spes sua certa fuit.
At ruber armatos equites exornet amictus,
Indicet & pueros erubuisse pudor.
Caeruleus nautas, & qui coelestia vates
Attoniti nimia relligione petunt.
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[n7v p206]Vilia sunt gilvis nativaque vellera birris,
Qualia lignipedes stragula habere solent.
Quem curae ingentes cruciant, vel zelus amoris,
Creditur hic fulva non malŤ veste tegi.
Quisquis sorte sua contentus, ianthina gestet,
Fortunae aequanimis taedia quique ferat.
Ut varia est natura coloribus in gignendis,
Sic aliis aliud, sed sua cuique placent. [2]

Black is a sign of sadness; we all use this garb when we perform funeral rites at tombs. But white clothes are a sign of a sincere mind and pure thoughts. Hence the sindon, the linen garment beloved of holy men. Green teaches us to hope. Hope is said to be in the green whenever it sinks back unfulfilled. A gold colour is suitable for avaricious people and lovers, and whores, and anyone whose hopes have come to fruition. Let red garb adorn armed horsemen, let modesty show boys blushing. Blue suits sailors and prophets who, muddled with too much religion, pursue things in the skies. Cheap and untreated are the fleeces for dun-coloured cloaks, the sort of coverings that the wooden-legged have. A man tortured by great anxieties or the jealousy of love is considered appropriately dressed in yellow. Anyone content with his lot may wear mauve, also the man who bears with composure the unpleasantnesses inflicted by Fortune. - Nature is diverse in producing the colours, and different things are for different situations. Yet each of us is pleased by what is his own.

Notes:

1.‘Green teaches us to hope’. Cf. Emblem 78, line 5 ([A56a078]. In viridi, ‘in the green’ echoes the phrase in herba, for hopes unfulfilled. See e.g. Ovid, Ex Ponto, 16.263: ‘adhuc tua messis in herba est’ (your harvest is still in green leaf).

2.‘each of us is pleased by what is his own’. Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 115 (suum cuique pulchrum).


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    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O8v p224]

    Submovendam ignorantiam.

    Ignorance must be done away with

    EMBLEMA CLXXXVII.

    Quod monstrum id? Sphinx[1] est. Cur candida virginis ora,
    Et volucrum pennas, crura leonis habet?
    Hanc faciem assumpsit rerum ignorantia: tanti
    Scilicet est triplex caussa & origo mali.
    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[P1r p225]Sunt quos ingenium leve, sunt quos blanda voluptas,
    Sunt & quos faciunt corda superba rudes.
    At quibus est notum, quid Delphica littera[2] possit,
    Praecipitis monstri guttura dira secant.
    Namque vir ipse bipesque tripesque & quadrupes idem est,
    Primaque prudentis laurea, nosse virum.

    What monster is that? - It is the Sphinx. - Why has it the bright face of a maiden, the wings of birds, the legs of a lion? - Ignorance has assumed this form, because the cause and origin of this great evil is threefold. There are some whom frivolity makes ignorant, others the blandishments of pleasure, still others arrogance. But those who are aware of the force of the Delphic letter, these cut the dread throat of the lowering monster. For man himself is two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, one and the same, and the first victory of the wise is to know the man.

    Notes:

    1.The Sphinx was a monster which lay in wait on the road to Thebes and killed all travellers who could not answer its riddle: What goes on four legs in the morning, two at mid-day, three at evening? Oedipus destroyed the monster by giving the correct answer, ‘Man’ (i.e the baby crawls on all fours , the youth walks upright on his two legs, the old man requires a stick). See below, 1.9 (Namque vir ipse...). See also Erasmus, Adagia 1209, Boeotica aenigmata.

    2.‘the Delphic letter’, i.e. the letter E. See Plutarch, De E apud Delphos, an essay which discusses various explanations put forward for the ‘E’, a letter cast in bronze. At the end of the essay (392ff.), the letter is brought into connection with the inscription Gnothi sauton, ‘Know thyself’ (cf. 1.10), which greeted those who came to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. See also Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.6.6.


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    • Self-knowledge (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52A53(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Ignorance; 'Ignoranza', 'Ignoranza di tutte le cose', 'Ignoranza in un ricco senza lettere' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52AA5(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Pleasure, Enjoyment, Joy; 'Allegrezza', 'Allegrezza da le medaglie', 'Allegrezza, letitia e giubilo', 'Diletto', 'Piacere', 'Piacere honesto' (Ripa) [56B1] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Licentiousness, Lasciviousness; 'Lascivia', 'Licenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA51(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Pride, Loftiness; 'Alterezza in persona nata povera civile' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA64(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Frivolity (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA66(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Delphic oracle [92B3721] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Oedipus and the sphinx; he solves the riddle [94T33] Search | Browse Iconclass

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