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Populus alba.

The white poplar

Emblema ccxi.

Herculeos crines bicolor quòd populus ornet,[1]
Temporis alternat nóxque diésque vices.[2]

The two-coloured poplar wreathes the locks of Hercules - and so its dark and light show time’s alternating changes.

ALbe populi frondibus statuae Herculis ornabantur
ad significandum temporum continuum cursum motum-
que perpetuum in diem & noctem. Nam frondes eius
arboris altera parte nigricantes, altera verò penè
candidae. Herculem verò pro tempore usurpatum
notat Macrobius, ut etiam pro Sole, spectata vi no-

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Le Peuplier.

LE Peuplier blanc & brun se donne
Au grand Hercule pour coronne:
C’est designer du temps le tour
Alternatif en nuict & jour.

LEs statues d’Hercules estoient decorees
des fueilles de blanc peuplier, pour si-
gnifier le continuel cours du temps, & le
mouvement perpetuel du jour & de la nuict.
Car les fueilles de cest arbre d’un cousté
tendent sur le noir, d’autre sont presque
blanches. Aussi Hercules a esté prins pour
le temps: comme pareillement pour le So-
leil, jouxte la force du mot, ainsi que Ma-
l’a remarqué.


1.  The white poplar was dedicated to Hercules. According to Pausanias, Periegesis, 5.14.2, Hercules introduced it to Greece. According to another story, Hercules on his way back from the Underworld garlanded his head with stems from a white poplar growing beside the Acheron, a memorial of the nymph Leuke (White) carried off by Pluto.

2.  noxque diesque, ‘its dark and light’ (lit. night and day), a reference to the dark green surface and white underside of the white poplar leaf. According to Pliny, Natural History, 16.36.87, the leaves of the white poplar turn over at the summer solstice. Hercules was equated with the sun: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.6 and 10.

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