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Clemence d’un Prince.

LXVIII.

Des abeilles le Roy nul aiguillon ne porte,[1]
Et sur tout son essein il est en toute sorte
Le plus grand & plus beau. Ce Roy là nous enseigne.
Que les Rois terriens doyvent orner leur regne
De clemence & douceur, & commettre les loix
Entre les mains de gents qui soyent justes &
droits.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P1v p226]

Commentaires.

Tant plus un Prince a de pouvoir, tant plus doit
il estre retenu quand ce vient à chastier. Le Roy
des abeilles est le plus grand & le plus beau de tou-
tes: mais nature ne luy a point baillé d’aiguillon, pour-
ce qu’elle n’a point voulu qu’il fust cruel. Elle luy a
bien baillé auctorité, mais une auctorité desarmee.
L’Empereur Marc Aurele disoit, que rien n’estoit
plus seant à un Prince, que la clemence. Et les Em-
pereurs Theodose, Arcade, & Honore en firent un
edict de telle substance: Si par legereté on a offensé,
il n’en faut pas faire estat: Si le delinquant n’est pas
de sens rassis, il s’en faut condouloir: S’il a esté pro-
voqué à ce faire, il le luy faut pardonner.

Notes:

1.  According to Pliny, Natural History, 11.21.74, wasps do not have ‘kings’: it is the ‘mother’ wasps that are without stings. On the other hand, the ‘king’ bee (the ancients believed the queen bee to be male) and its lack of sting, or refusal to use its sting, was often mentioned; e.g. Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.10; Pliny, ibid., 17.52. For the analogy with kingship, see e.g. Seneca, De Clementia, 1.19; Erasmus, Adagia, 2601 (Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit).


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    La clemencia d’el Principe.

    SONETO.

    D’el Rey de abejas se affirma y escrive
    Que por que herir no pueda està privado
    D’el aguijon,[1] con quien su pueblo armado
    Contrasta a’l enemigo y se apercibe.
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P1r p225] Ansi de sus abejas bien recibe,
    Ansi le guardan siempre en el estado
    Donde de la Fortuna fue encumbrado
    Porque sin hazer mal govierna y bive.
    O Reyes que subis à bien tamaño
    O por Fortuna, ò por merecimiento,
    Sabed con no hazer mal no hazeros daño!
    Mirad que basta el pueblo estar contento
    Para libraros de qualquier engaño,
    Y para os encumbrar en todo aumento.

    Notes:

    1.  According to Pliny, Natural History, 11.21.74, wasps do not have ‘kings’: it is the ‘mother’ wasps that are without stings. On the other hand, the ‘king’ bee (the ancients believed the queen bee to be male) and its lack of sting, or refusal to use its sting, was often mentioned; e.g. Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.10; Pliny, ibid., 17.52. For the analogy with kingship, see e.g. Seneca, De Clementia, 1.19; Erasmus, Adagia, 2601 (Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit).


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