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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P1r p225]

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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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M4r p183]

    La clemence du Prince.[1]

    Ce que le Roy des guespes rien ne poingt,[2]
    (Quoy qu’il soit grand.) Et d’aguillon n’ha poinct
    Monstre ung Seigneur doulx aulx siens, comme amys:
    Et les sainct [=sainctz] droictz à gens de bien commis.

    Le Roy des guespes, & aveilles est deux fois
    plus grand, & fort que les aultres, & si n’ha
    point d’aguillon picquant, & veneneux, com
    me les aultres. Ainsi ung bon Prince plus est
    puissant, plus est clement, & moins nuysant,
    tel que fut le Magnificque Jule Caesar.

    Notes:

    1.  In the 1549 French edition, this emblem has no woodcut.

    2.  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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