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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C1v p34]

Albucii ad. D. Alciatum suadens,
ut de tumultibus Italicis se
subducat, et in Gallia
profiteatur.[1]

Sent by Albutius to Alciato urging him to withdraw from the Italian troubles and take up a teaching post in France

Quae dedit hos fructus arbor,[2] coelo advena nostro,
Venit ab eoo persidis axe prius:
Translatu facta est melior, quae noxia quondam
In patria, hic nobis dulcia poma gerit:
Fert folium linguae, fert poma simillima cordi,
Alciate hinc vitam degere disce tuam.
Tu procul à patria[3] in pretio es maiore futurus,
Multùm corde sapis, nec minus ore vales.

The tree that gave us these fruits, a stranger to our skies, came formerly from the eastern climes of Persia. By the transplanting it was made better. The tree that once bore harmful fruits in its native land, here bears sweet ones for us. It carries leaves like a tongue, fruits like a heart. Alciato, learn from it how to spend your life. Far from your own country, you will be held in greater esteem. You are wise in heart, and no less effective in speech.

Notes:

1.  This person has been identified as Aurelius Albutius, lawyer, scholar and poet, like Alciato originally from Milan. On the question of the genuineness of this ascription and a suggested date for the epigram preceding Alciato’s first removal to France in 1518, see J. Köhler, Der ‘Emblematum liber’ von Andreas Alciatus (1492-1550) (Hildesheim: August Lax, 1986).

2.  ‘The tree that gave us these fruits’, i.e. the peach, with its heart-shaped fruit and tongue-shaped leaves.

3.  ‘Far from your own country’. Alciato had two periods in France. He was lecturing on Civil Law in Avignon from 1518-1522, then returned to Milan. He again took up his teaching post in Avignon in 1527, and then removed to Bourges, where he remained until his return to Italy (Pavia) in 1533. The ‘troubles’ mentioned could be political (there was much fighting and tumult in N. Italy), or could refer to the wrangling between rival schools of academic lawyers during Alciato’s youth.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C3r p37]

Inviolabiles telo Cupidinis.

Immune to Cupid’s dart

Ne dirus te vincat amor, neu foemina mentem
Diripiat magicis artibus ulla tuam:
Bacchica avis praestò tibi motacilla paretur,
Quam quadriradiam circuli in orbe loces:
Ore crucem & cauda, & geminis ut complicet alis,[1]
Tale amuletum carminis omnis erit.
Dicitur hoc Veneris signo Pagasaeus Iason,
Phasiacis laedi non potuisse dolis.[2]

To prevent merciless love overcoming you, to prevent any woman plundering your mind with magic arts, provide yourself with a wagtail, bird of Bacchus. Place it spread four ways within the sphere of a circle, so that it forms the arms of a cross with its beak, tail and paired wings. Such a thing will be an amulet against all magic spells. Through this figure, the gift of Venus, it is said that Jason of Pagasae became immune to the wiles of Phasis.

Notes:

1.  These lines describe the rhombos, a device used in casting love-spells. The bird usually employed was a wryneck, associated with Bacchus, possibly because of its dappled markings. (Cf. the dappled fawns associated with the god.) The wagtail seems to have been confused with the wryneck in folk belief.

2.  Pagasa (or Pagasae) was the place in Thessaly where the ship Argo was built, in which the Argonauts, led by Jason, sailed to Colchis in the region round the river Phasis to fetch the Golden Fleece. In this and in other tasks imposed on them by the king of Phasis they were helped by the sorceress Medea, daughter of the king. Instructed by Venus, Jason used the rhombos to cause Medea to fall in love with him and so use her spells to help, not harm, him. See Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.216ff.


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