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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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    Principis clementia.

    Clemency in a ruler

    Emblema cxlviii.

    Vesparum quòd nulla unquam rex spicula figet,[1]
    Quódque aliis duplo corpore maior erit,
    Arguet imperium clemens, moderatáque regna,
    Sanctáque iudicibus credita iura bonis.

    The king of the wasps will never implant any sting and will be twice as big as the rest. This will be a sign of mild dominion, a disciplined kingdom, and inviolable law entrusted to good judges.

    IDem fermè habet Plato, dialogo de Regno: talem
    enim civitatibus regem optat, qualis inter apum
    examina rex nascitur, ut & corpore & animi dotibus
    fit insignior & praestantior. Rex apum aculeo caret,
    aut si habet, eo non utitur: ita bonus princeps ad
    puniendum tardus esse debet, ad clementiam verò
    pronus.

    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [V1v f205v]

    Clemence du Prince.

    LE Roy des Guespes pas ne poingt,
    Aussi d’eguillon n’a il point,
    Et est plus-grand de corpulence.
    Ce que nous monstre un Roy bien dous,
    Et qui commet le droit pour tous
    A gens droits & d’experience.

    TOut de mesme est dit en Platon, au
    dialogue du regne: là où il souhette un
    tel Roy aux villes & pays, comme naist en
    l’essain des abeilles celuy qui est tenu pour
    Roy, c’est qu’il soit plus remarquable & plus
    excellent en grandeur de corps & facultez
    de l’esprit. Le Roy des abeilles n’a point
    d’eguillon, ou s’il en a, il n’en use point: de
    mesme le bon Prince doibt estre tardif à pu-
    nir & enclin à clemence.

    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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