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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F6v p92]

Contre temeraires.

LXIIII.

Phaëton fier pour son lignage,[1]
Le Soleil conduire voulut:
Les chevaux trop forts pour son aage,
L’ont puni de ce qu’il eslut.
Maint homme est, que mieux luy valut,
Qu’en jeune aage eust moins eu richesse:
Car apres estat dissolut,
Il chet sous le mal qui le presse.

commentaires.

Phaëton, fils d’Appollon & de la nymphe Clyme-
ne
, fut temeraire & importun à l’endroit de son
pere, que sondit pere fut contraint de luy accorder
pour un jour le maniment des chevaux qui portent le
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F7r p93] Soleil. Fardeau toutesfois trop pesant pour ses espau-
les: Car ces chevaux, recongnoissans l’insuffisance de
leur nouveau gouverneur, se donnerent carriere où ils
voulurent, n’estant pas en la puissance de Phaëton
de les empescher: & de la s’ensuyvit un grand
embrasement en terre, qui fit que Jupiter, craingnant
que le ciel n’en patist, fut contraint de foudroyer sur
Phaëton, & le precipiter en bas. Ovide recite par le me-
nu ceste fable au second livre de la metamorphose. Il
ne s’est trouvé & ne se trouve que trop de Princes, qui
sont de l’humeur de Phaëton. Ils veulent commander
sans avoir obeï, & qui pis est, se desdaignent de pren-
dre l’advis & conseil de leurs anciens gouverneurs
& conseillers, qui se sont aidés à conduire le timon de
l’estat sous les Princes precedents. De ceste presom-
ption & temerité bien souvent s’engendrent des
guerres mal fondees, ou, qui pis est, des combustions
& embrasements de ligues intestines, qui renversent,
voire accablent du tout, & l’estat, & le Prince qui
y commande.

Notes:

1.  Phaethon, the son of Apollo, the sun-god. The myth referred to here is told in Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.748 - 2.349. Both Phaethon and Icarus (see Daly 104) are types of those who aim too high and do not recognise their proper sphere. See also Daly 056.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D3r]

NEC QUESTIONI
quidem cedendum.

Do not yield even to torture

Cecropia effictam quam cernis in arce leaenam,
Harmodii an nescis hospes, amica fuit?
Sic animum placuit monstrare viraginis acrem,
More ferae, nomen vel quia tale fuit.[1]
Quod fidibus contorta suo non prodidit ullum,
Indicio, elinguem reddidit Iphicrates.[2]

This lioness that you see represented on the Athenian citadel was Harmodius’s lover - stranger, you must know the story. This was how they decided to proclaim the brave woman’s fierce spirit, by representing her as a lioness. Besides, her name was Lioness too. Tortured on the rack, she betrayed no-one by her evidence, and so Iphicrates represented the beast without a tongue.

Notes:

1.  Later editions read tulit.

2.  Harmodius and Aristogeiton conspired to kill Hipparchus, the brother of the Athenian tyrant Hippias. Harmodius was killed, Aristogeiton arrested and tortured. Also tortured was Leaena (‘Lioness’) a courtesan, beloved of Harmodius, as she too was suspected of being in the conspiracy. She however revealed nothing. After the fall of Hippias, the two men were treated as tyrannicides and bronze statues were erected in their honour (509 BC). To avoid appearing to honour a courtesan, the Athenians had Leaena represented by Iphicrates (or Amphicrates) as a lioness without a tongue, indicating both her name and the reason for remembering her. See Pliny, Natural History 34.19.72; Plutarch, De garrulitate 505E.


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