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Doctos doctis obloqui nefas esse.

It is wicked for scholars to wrangle with other scholars

Quid rapis heu Progne vocalem saeva Cicadam,
Pignoribusque tuis fercula dira paras?[1]
Ac stridula stridulam[2], vernam verna, hospita laedis
Hospitam, & aligeram penniger ales avem?
Ergo abice hanc praedam, nam musica pectora summum est,
Alterum ab alterius dente perire nefas.

Alas, Procne, why, cruel bird, do you sieze on the melodious cicada and prepare a dreadful banquet for your young? A whistler yourself, you harm the shrill singer; a summer visitor, you hurt another fine-weather caller; a guest, you harm a guest; a feathered bird, you hurt another winged creature. So let this prize go. It is the greatest sin for hearts devoted to the Muses to perish by one another’s tooth.

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Scavant ne doit contre scavant parler.

Tu as tort petite Arondelle,
De prandre ceste jolye beste,
Que nous appellons saulterelle,
Faisant comme toy bruit & feste.
Comme toy est en printemps preste.
Comme toy vole sans nuysance.
Musique tient train si honneste:
Que lung jamais lautre ne offence.

Notes:

1.  The reference is to the legend of Procne’s metamorphosis into a swallow. See [FALb064]. For swallows catching cicadas, see Aelian, De natura animalium 8.6.

2.  Textual variant - Stridula stridentem in 1550


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ELOQUENTIA FORTITU-
dine praestantior.[1]

Eloquence superior to strength

Arcum leva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit & Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? non convenit illud,
Quòd vetus & senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid quod lingua illi levibus traiecta cathenis,
Quîs fissa facili allicit aure viros.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E6v]An ne quod Alcyden lingua non robore Galli,
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt.
Cedunt arma togae,[2] & quamvis durissima corda,
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.

His left hand holds a bow, his right hand a stout club, the lion of Nemea clothes his bare body. So this is a figure of Hercules. But he is old and his temples grizzled with age - that does not fit. What of the fact that his tongue has light chains passing through it, by which he draws men along with ready ears pierced? The reason is surely that the Gauls say that Alceus’ descendant excelled in eloquence rather than might and gave laws to the nations. - Weapons yield to the arts of peace, and even the hardest of hearts the skilled speaker can lead where he will.

Notes:

1.  This epigram is closely based on Lucian’s essay, The Gallic Hercules.

2.  Cf. Cicero’s notorious line, Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae, ‘Let weapons yield to the arts of peace, let laurels yield to eloquence’ (quoted in Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.1.24).


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  • ears [31A2213] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Europeans (with NAME) [32B311(FRENCHMEN)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • 'litterae', symbolic representations, allegories and emblems ~ literature; 'Lettere' (Ripa) [48C90] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Power of Eloquence; 'Forza sottoposta all'Eloquenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D31(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Strength, Power; 'Fortezza', 'Fortezza d'Animo e di corpo', 'Fortezza del corpo congiunta con la generosità dell'animo', 'Fortezza & valore del corpo congiunto con la prudenza & virtù del animo', 'Forza' (Ripa) [54A7] Search | Browse Iconclass

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