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Insignia poëtarum.

Insignia of poets

Gentiles clypeos sunt qui in Iovis alite gestant,
Sunt quibus aut Serpens, aut Leo signa ferunt.
Dira sed haec Vatum fugiant animalia ceras,
Doctaque sustineat stemmata pulcher Olor.
Hic Phoebo sacer,[1] & nostrae regionis alumnus,
Rex olim,[2] veteres servat adhuc titulos.

Some have a family crest distinguished by the bird of Jove, for others the serpent or the lion provides the sign. But let these dread beasts flee from poets’ images; let the lovely swan support their learned clan. This bird is sacred to Phoebus and is a nursling of my homeland. A king once, it still preserves its ancient titles.

Notes:

1.  ‘sacred to Phoebus’, i.e. to the god of music and poetry (Apollo).

2.  ‘a king once’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.367ff. for the story of Cycnus, king of Liguria, turned into a swan and inhabiting the marshes and lakes of the plain of the Po (Alciato’s homeland).


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In oblivionem patriae.

Forgetting one’s country

Iam dudum missa patria, oblitusque tuorum,
Quos tibi seu sanguis, sive paravit amor:
Romam habitas, nec cura domum subit ulla reverti,
Aeternae tantům te capit urbis honos.
Sic Ithacum praemissa manus[1] dulcedine loti
Liquerat & patriam, liquerat atque ducem.

You have long since given up your country and, forgetful of your own people given you by blood or love, you dwell in Rome, and no thought of returning home ever occurs to you. Only the glory of the eternal city possesses you. Even so the advance party of Ithacans, through the sweetness of the lotus, had abandoned homeland and abandoned leader too.

Notes:

1.  Ithacum...manus, ‘party of Ithacans’. See Homer, Odyssey 9.83ff. for the story of Ulysses’ crew (men from the island of Ithaca) in the land of the Lotus Eaters, where those who ate the lotus had no more thought of returning home. See Erasmus, Adagia 1662 Lotum gustavit.


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