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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O6v p220]

Littera occîdit, spiritus vivificat.[1]

The letter kills but the spirit gives life

EMBLEMA CLXXXV.

Vipereos Cadmus dentes ut credidit arvis,
Sevit & Aonio semina dira solo:
Terrigenûm clypeata cohors exorta virorum est,
Hostili inter se qui cecidere manu.
Evasere quibus monitu Tritonidos armis
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O7r p221]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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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P2v p228]

La lettre occit: L’esprit vivifie.[1]

Quand Cadmus heut dens de serpens semées
En terre Graecque: incontinent armées
D’hommes divers sortirent de la terre:
S’entretuans par mutuelle guerre.[2]
Ceulx qui saulvéz par Pallas demourerent,
Armes jectans, la paix en main jurerent.
Cadmus premier les lettres apporta,[3]
Et bonnes ars par icelles nota.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P3r p229]Les professeurs desquelles s’entremordent,
Et point (sinon par Pallas) ne s’accordent.

Cadmus Phoenicien filz du Roy Agenor
fut le premier qui apporta les lettres d’A-
sie
en Europe, & les espandit par toute la
Graece, D’ond est sortie la fable, qu’il sema
les dens d’ung serpent, desquelles sortirent
hommes arméz, se combatans, & entretuans
les ungz, les aultres, jusque à cinq restantz,
pacifiéz par Pallas, & depuys multipliéz en
grand peuple. Le serpent est Prudence, les
dens semées sont les lettres agues, & subti-
les dispersées par la Graece, Les hommes
arméz, sortans de telle semence sont les gens
literéz, & savans es ars, & sciences, Lesquelz
par envie mutuelle se defont l’ung l’aul-
tre, sinon qu’ilz soient reduictz en paix par
Pallas, qui est Sapience, & multiplient crois
sans tous les jours en nombre infiny: Tant
qu’a la fin y en aura trop.

Notes:

1.  2 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.  Cadmus supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.


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