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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O1r f92r]

EMBLEMA CXLIIII.

Sapientia humana stultitia est apud
Deum.[1]

The Wisdom of Man is folly to God

Quid dicam? quónam hoc compellem nomine monstrum
Biforme: quod non est homo, nec est draco?[2]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O1v f92v]Sed sine vir pedibus, summis sine partibus anguis,
Vir anguipes dici, & homiceps anguis potest.
Anguem pedit homo, hominem eructavit & anguis
Nec finis hominis est, initium nec est ferae.
Sic olim Cecrops[3] doctis regnavit Athenis,
Sic & gigantes terra mater protulit.
Haec vafrum species, sed relligione carentem,
Terrena tantum quique curet,[4] indicat.[5]

What shall I say? By what name call this two-fold monster, that is neither man nor snake? A man without feet, a snake without its upper parts - this can be called a snake-footed man, a man-headed snake. The man farts a snake, the snake has vomited a man, the man has no end, the beast no beginning. In such a form did Cecrops once rule in learned Athens, in such a form did Mother Earth once bring forth the Giants. This image indicates a clever man, but one without religion, who cares only for the things of the earth.

Das CXLIIII.

Menschen Weißheit ist vor Gott ein
Torheit.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O2r f93r]

Was soll ich sagen? Und mit was
Namen soll ich doch nennen das
Zweigstaltig wunder und Meerfein
Daß kein Mensch noch kein Drack kan seyn
Sonder on Füß ist es ein Mann
On das obertheil ein Schlang ran
Kan genannt werden ein Menschkopff geschlang
Und ein Schlangnfüssiger Mann lang
Ein Mensch ein Schlangen gefeißt hat
Ein Schlang ein Menschen hrauß kotzt drat
Das ende dem Menschen nit gleicht
Noch der anfang dem Thier so schleicht
Also hat vor zeiten gregiert
Zu Athen der Cecrops und gfürt
Also hat die Mutter die Erd
Die starcken Risen herfür bschert
Diese gstalt zeigt an und bedeut
Gar lustig und geschwinde Leut
Die seind on all forcht Gottes, doch
Nur dem zeitlichen stellen noch.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is based on Anthologia Graeca, 16.115-6, descriptions of a hippocentaur, the second of which was translated by Alciato at Sel. Ep. p.335. Metre: dactylic hexameters paired with iambic senarii.

2.  Variant reading: monstrum? Biforme quod..., ‘monster? A two-fold thing, that is neither ...’.

3.  Cecrops, the mythical wise first king of Athens, the city of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. Cecrops, like the Giants (l.8) was born of the earth and was represented as half-man, half snake.

4.  Terrena tantum quique curet, ‘who cares only for the things of earth’. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.9: the fact that the Giants’ bodies terminated as snakes shows that they had not a single thought that was right or elevated, but that their life in all its comings and goings tended to what was base.

5.  Variant reading: Haec vafrum est species, sed relligione carentem...indicans, ‘This is an image of clever men, but indicating one without religion’.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F5r p89]

Garrulitas.

Garrulity.

EMBLEMA LXX.

Quid matutinos Progne mihi garrula somnos
Rumpis,[1] & obstrepero Daulias ore canis?
Dignus Epops Tereus, qui maluit ense putare,
Quàm linguam immodicam stirpitus eruere.[2]

Procne, why do you disturb my morning slumbers with your chattering? Why, bird of Daulis, sing with never-ceasing voice? Tereus deserved to become a hoopoe, for he preferred to lop off with a sword your unrestrained tongue, rather than tear it out by the roots.

Notes:

1.  garrula somnos rumpis, ‘disturb my...slumbers with your chattering’. See Aelian, De natura animalium, 9.17: “the swallow, an uninvited guest, saddening the dawn with her chattering and interrupting the sweetest part of our slumbers.”

2.  Procne and Philomela were daughters of Pandion, king of Athens. Tereus, king of Daulis (town in Phocis) married Procne and had a son (Itys) by her. He raped her sister Philomela and cut out her tongue to prevent her telling of his misdeeds. She managed however to send a message to her sister Procne (through weaving it into a tapestry), who took her revenge by cooking Itys and serving him up as a meal to his father. When Tereus pursued them with a sword, Philomela was turned into a swallow, Procne into a nightingale and Tereus into a hoopoe. In Latin writers the names are often reversed, with Procne becoming a swallow (as here), Philomela a nightingale. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 6.424ff, especially 555-7.


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  • Prolixity, Verbosity, Loquacity; 'Loquacità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Tereus cuts out Philomela's tongue, and hides her in a lonely place [95B(PHILOMELA & PROCNE)63] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Philomela, Procne and Tereus changed into nightingale, swallow, hoopoe (or hawk): Tereus seeks to kill Philomela and Procne for having slain his son; in their flight the two sisters are changed into a nightingale and a swallow; Tereus is changed into a ho [97DD23(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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