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Quercus.

The Oak

Emblema cxcix.

Grata Iovi est quercus, qui nos servátque fovétque:
Servanti civem querna corona datur.[1]
Aliud.
Glande aluit veteres,[2] sola nunc proficit umbra:
Sic quoque sic arbos officiosa Iovis.

The oak is pleasing to Jove who preserves and cherishes us. A crown of oak is given to one who preserves a fellow-citizen.
Other: The oak fed men of old with its acorns. Now it benefits us only with its shade. In this way too the tree of Jove does us service.

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QUercus, Iovi sacra, pro salutis usurpata symbo-
lo. Plures rationes pete à Plutarcho. Querna,
seu civica corona ei dabatur olim civi, qui civem ser-
vasset: tanquam vitae testis, & salutis acceptae moni-
mentum. Sed & torqueri quercus potest vel ad ho-
minem, vel ad rem quae olim magno in honore fue-
rit, sed nunc nihil aliud sit quàm magni nominis um-
bra, ut de Pompeio caeso Lucanus cecinit.

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Le Chesne.

LE grand Chesne est en la garde
De Jupiter qui nous garde,
Nous maintient & tous nos biens:
Et de Chesne la coronne
Aussi à celuy se donne,
Qui sauve & garde les siens.
Autre.
Le Chesne a nourry gens sans nombre,
Maintenant ne nous sert que d’ombre:
Les vieux s’en sont aidez ainsi,
Et nous nous en servons aussi.

LE Chesne, consacré à Jupiter, sert de de-
vise, qui signifie salut. Plutarque en rend
plusieurs raisons. Or la coronne de Ches
ne, autrement appellee Civique, estoit an-
ciennement donnee à celuy citoyen, qui a-
voit garanti de mort un autre citoyen, comme
pour memoire & tesmoinage de vie & salut.
il se peust aussi accommoder ou à un homme,
ou à quelque autre chose, qui jadis a esté en
grande reputation, mais maintenant ne por-
te que l’ombre d’un grand nom, comme Lu-
cain
parle de Pompee mort.

Notes:

1.  ‘a crown of oak’, awarded for saving the life of a fellow-soldier; see Pliny, Natural History, 16.3.7.

2.  For the ancient belief that early man fed on acorns see e.g. Lucretius, De Rerum natura, 5.939; Vergil, Georgics, 1.7; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.106.


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Salix.

The willow

Quòd frugisperdam salicem vocitarit Homerus,[1]
Clitoriis homines moribus adsimulat.[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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