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In Silentium.

Silence

Cm tacet, haud quicquam differt sapientibus amens,
Stultitiae est index linguaque voxque suae.
Ergo premat labias, digitoque silentia signet,
Et sese Pharium vertat in Harpocratem[1].

When he is silent, the fool differs no whit from the wise. It is tongue and voice that betray his stupidity. Let him therefore put his finger to his lips and so mark silence, and turn himself into Egyptian Harpocrates.

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A Silence.

Quand ung ignorant ne dit mot,
Il est bien pareil au scavant:
Et nest de saigesse remot,
Sinon quant il parle souvent:
Ta bouche ayt donc le doy devant,
Pour tenir de parler science.[2]
Ou seras Harpocras suyvant,
Dont lymage monstroit silence:

Notes:

1. Harpocrates, also known as Horus, was the son of the Egyptian divinity Isis. He avenged the murder of his father Osiris by Set/Typhon. He is often represented as an infant with his finger held to his mouth as a sign of silence and economy of words. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 68.

2. The last 3 lines differ significantly from the 1536 edition.


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  • Wisdom; 'Sapienza', 'Sapienza humana', 'Sapienza vera' (Ripa) [52A51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Ignorance; 'Ignoranza', 'Ignoranza di tutte le cose', 'Ignoranza in un ricco senza lettere' (Ripa) [52AA5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Folly, Foolishness; 'Pazzia', 'Sciocchezza', 'Stoltitia' (Ripa) [52AA51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Taciturnity; 'Secretezza', 'Secretezza overo Taciturnità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52DD3(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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POTENTISSIMUS
Affectus amor.

Love, the all-powerful emotion

Aspice, ut invictas[1] vires auriga leonis,
Expressus gemma pusio vincat amor.
Utque manu hac scuticam teneat, hac flectat habenas,
Utque sit in pueri plurimus ore decor.[2]
Dira lues procul esto, feram qui vincere talem
Est potis, nobis temperet anne manus.[3]

Look - here’s Love the lad, carved on a gem. See how he rides triumphant in his chariot and subdues the lion’s might. How in one hand he holds a lash, with the other he guides the reins, and on his countenance rests the loveliness of youth. - Dread pestilence keep far away. Would one who has the power to conquer such a beast keep his hands from us?

Notes:

1. Later editions read invictus

2. In some editions, this sequence of subjunctives is changed to indicative.

3. This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.221, an epigram about a seal carved with a representation of Eros driving a chariot drawn by lions.


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