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Philautia.

Self-satisfaction.

LXX [=71] .

Qud nimium tua sorma [=forma] tibi Narcisse placebat,
In florem, & noti est versa stuporis olus.[1]
Ingenii est marcor, cladesque philautia, doctos
Quae pessum plures datque deditque viros,
Qui veterum abiecta methodo, nova dogmata quaerunt
Nilque suas praeter tradere phantasias.

Because your beauty gave you too much satisfaction, Narcissus, it was turned both into a flower and into a plant of acknowledged insensibility. Self-satisfaction is the rot and destruction of the mind. Learned men in plenty it has ruined, and ruins still, men who cast off the method of teachers of old and aim to pass on new doctrines, nothing more than their own imaginings.

Notes:

1. For the story of Narcissus, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.344ff. On the flower, see Pliny, Natural History, 21.75.128: “there are two kinds of narcissus... The leafy one ... makes the head thick and is called narcissus from narce (‘numbness’), not from the boy in the story.” (cf. ‘narcotic’).


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    Maledicentia.[1]

    Evil speaking

    LXVII.

    Archilochi[2] tumulo insculptas de marmore vespas
    Esse ferunt,[3] linguae certa sigilla malae.

    They say that on the tomb of Archilochus wasps were carved in marble, sure figures of an evil tongue.

    Notes:

    1. It is to be noted that in this edition, as in the 1546, Maledicentia and Contra are treated as one emblem whereas in other editions Contra is treated as an emblem in its own right called Principis Clementia.

    2. Archilochus was an eighth-century BC poet, author of much (now fragmentary) verse, including satire. This last was considered in antiquity to be excessively abusive and violent. See Horace, Ars Poetica, 79; also Erasmus, Adagia, 60 (Irritare crabrones).

    3. ferunt, ‘they say’: words suggested by Anthologia Graeca, 7.71, an epigram concerning the tomb of Archilochus.


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