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Cupressus.

The Cypress

EMBLEMA CXCVIII.

Indicat effigies metae, nomenque cupressi
Tractandos parili conditione suos.[1]
Aliud.
Funesta est arbor, procerum monumenta Cupressus,
Quale apium plebis, comere fronde solet.[2]
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [P7r p237]Aliud.
Pulchra coma est, pulchro digestaeque ordine frondes,
Sed fructus nullos haec coma pulchra gerit.[3]

The cone-shaped form and the name ‘cypress’ indicate that one’s people should be dealt with on equal terms.
Other.
The cypress is a funereal tree. Its branches usually adorn the memorials of leading men as parsley-stems adorn those of humble people.
Other.
The foliage is beautiful, and the leaves all arranged in neat order, but this beautiful foliage bears no fruit.

Notes:

1. This refers to the supposed etymology, Greek κύειν and πάρισος ‘bear’,‘equal’.

2. See Pliny, Natural History, 20.44.113 for the use of parsley at funeral meals.

3. See Erasmus, Adagia, 4210 (Cyparissi fructus).


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Salix.

The willow

EMBLEMA CC.

Quod frugisperdam salicem vocitarit Homerus,[1]
Clitoriis homines moribus adsimilat.[2]

When Homer called the willow ‘seed-loser’, he made it like men with Clitorian habits.

Notes:

1. Homer, Odyssey, 10.510. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.46.110: the willow drops its seed before it is absolutely ripe, and for that reason was called by Homer ‘seed-loser’.

2. The waters of Lake Clitorius in Arcadia generated an aversion to wine in those who drank of them. See Pliny, Natural History, 31.13.16; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.322ff. The combination of the two images here may symbolise minds and characters gone to the bad and producing nothing of value. See Erasmus, Parabolae, p. 268: “As willow-seed, shed before it ripens, is not only itself barren but when used as a drug causes barrenness in women by preventing conception, so the words of those who teach before they have truly learnt sense not only make them no better in themselves, but corrupt their audience and render it unteachable”; and p. 230: “Those who have drunk of the Clitorian Lake develop a distaste for wine, and those who have once tasted poetry reject the counsels of philosophy, or the other way round. Equally, those who gorge themselves with fashionable pleasures reject those satisfactions which are honourable and genuine.”


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