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Mentem, non formam plus pollere.

Intelligence matters, not beauty

Ingressa vulpes in Choragi pergulam,
Fabr expolitum invenit humanum caput,
Sic eleganter fabricatum, ut spiritus
Solm deesset, caeteris vivisceret:
Id illa cm sumpsisset in manus, ait:
Hoc[1] quale caput est, sed cerebrum non habet.[2]

A fox, entering the store-room of a theatrical producer, found an actor’s mask, skilfully shaped, so finely fashioned that the spirit alone was missing, in all else it seemed alive. Taking it up, the fox addressed it - What a head is this, but it has no brain!

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Le Sens plus requis que Beaulte.

Une teste faicte de marbre,
Fut ung jour de Regnart trouvee,
En passant par dessoubz ung arbre.
La quelle il eust tantost levee,
Voicy teste bien achevee,
Dist il, & dung art moult nouveau:
Mais elle est en ung poinct grevee,
Car elle na poinct de cerveau.

Notes:

1. Textual variant: O.

2. See Phaedrus, Fables 1.7 (also in iambic senarii); Aesop, Fables 43.


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AMOR FILIORUM.

Love of one’s children

Ante diem vernam boreali cana palumbes,
Frigore nidificat, praecoqua & ova fovet.
Mollius & pulli ut iaceant sibi vellicat alas,
Ques nuda hyberno deficit ipsa gelu.[1]
Ecquid Colchi pudet, vel te Procne improba mortem?
Cum volucris propriae prolis amore subit?[2]

Before the day of spring, the wood-pigeon, all white with winter snow, builds her nest and cherishes her premature eggs. To make her chicks lie more softly, she plucks her own wing-feathers, and stripped of them, she herself perishes from the wintry frost. Woman of Colchis, do you feel any shame? Or you, heartless Procne? - when a bird submits to death out of love for her own offspring.

Notes:

1. This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.95.

2. Both Medea (the woman of Colchis) and Procne killed their own children. They are the legendary infamous child-killers. See [A50a070] notes for Procne, [A34a097] notes for Medea.


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