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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C1v p34]

Πῆ παρέβην; τί δ’ἔρεξα; τί μοι δέον οὐκ ἐτελέσθῆ;

Where have I transgressed? What have I committed? What thing incumbent on me has been left undone?

EMBLEMA XVII.

Italicae Samius sectae celeberrimus auctor[1]
Ipse suum clausit carmine dogma brevi:
Quò praetergressus? quid agis? quid omittis agendum?[2]
Hanc rationem urgens reddere quemque sibi.
Quod didicisse Gruum volitantum ex agmine fertur,
Arreptum gestant quae pedibus lapidem:[3]
Ne cessent, neu transversas mala flamina raptent.
Qua ratione, hominum vita regenda fuit.

The famous Samian founder of the Italian sect himself put his essential teaching into a short verse: Where have you overstepped the mark? What are you doing? What are you leaving undone that ought to be done? - urging each man to make this reckoning in his own mind. He is said to have learnt this from a skein of flying cranes, which seize a stone and carry it in their claws, to prevent themselves from making no headway, and to stop adverse gusts of wind carrying them off course. Man’s life was ever to be lived on this principle.

Notes:

1.  Italicae Samius sectae...autor, ‘Samian founder of the Italian sect’, i.e. Pythagoras. Born in Samos, he emigrated in 531 BC to Croton in South Italy, where he founded a religious/philosophical sect.

2.  This is a version of the Greek text in the motto, which is recorded in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, 8.20.

3.  Cranes wisely carrying stones as ballast are likened to men of foresight in Suidas (i.e, the Suda), s.v. geranos. Other reasons were suggested by ancient writers for this habit.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b3v p22]

Reverentiam in matrimonio
requiri.

Respect is required in marriage

X.

Cùm furit in Venerem pelagi se in littore sistit
Vipera, & ab stomacho dira venena vomit:
Muraenamque ciens, ingentia sibila tollit,
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b4r p23]At subitò amplexus appetit illa viri.[1]
Maxima debetur thalamo reverentia, coniunx
Alternum debet coniugi & obsequium.

When the viper is sexually aroused, it stations itself on the seashore and ejects the dread poisons from its gut. To summon the moray eel, it raises a loud hissing, and suddenly she comes to the embrace of her mate. - Great reverence is owed to the marriage bed, and the partners owe each other mutual respect.

COMMENTARIA.

Vipera nequissimum genus serpentis & astu-
tissimum, libidine coëundi exaestuans, ad lit-
tus progreditur, ibique sibilando praesentiam
suam testatur, & sponsam suam Muraenam
allicit, ac omne venenum evomitione eiicit,
ut suavis sponsus suae sponsae videatur. Murae-
na verò protinus è Mari egreditur, atque am-
bo mutuam libidinem expleunt, mox haec ad
mare regreditur: illa verò resorpto iterum
veneno, ad latibulum suum etiam revertitur.
Autores sunt Aelianus lib. 12. cap. 5. & cap. 23.
Plinius lib. 9. cap. 23. & Caelius antiquarum lectio-
num lib. 16. cap. 13. Muraena piscis marinus
est, à nonnullis Lampetra putatur, sed falsò. de
qua Plinius loco citato. Sic etiam inter hu-
mana consortia, matrimonialis re-
verentia plurimum adverten
da & observanda erit, ut
vir uxorque sponte
alterna exer-
ceant obse
quia.

Notes:

1.  For the mating of the viper with the moray eel, see Pliny, Natural History 9.39.76; Aelian, De natura animalium 1.50; 9.66. The viper spits out the poison in order to be gentle and safe for the union.


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