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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [C3v p38]

Qui s’emende dict en ce point.
Qu’ay je faict trop,
ou peu, ou point
?

Le noble autheur de la secte Italicque
Mist en brief [=briefs] vers sa doctrine Mysticque.[1]
Qu’ay je faict trop, ou peu, ou point. entendre
Voulant chescun a soy tel compte rendre.
Ce qu’il apprint par les Grues volantes
Qu’en leurs piedz portent pierres pesantes.[2]
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [C4r p39] Pour n’arrester, & n’estre au vent ravies.
Ainsi regir fault des hommes les vies.

Tout vice, & default gist, ou en faire mal,
que est trop faire: ou laisser le bien,
que est, point faire, ou ne faire assez
bien son devoir, que est trop peu fai-
re
, dequoy les Grues donnent exemple,
qui en volant portent pierres, pour n’estre
trop arrestan-tes en l’air, ne trop peu pe-
santes l’arbitre du vent. Et de ces trois cho
ses doibt chescun la fin du jour rendre
compte soymesme.

Notes:

1. ‘Founder of the Italian sect’, i.e. Pythagoras. Born in Samos, he emigrated in 531 BC to Croton in South Italy, where he founded a religious/philosophical sect.

2. Cranes wisely carrying stones as ballast are likened to men of foresight in Suidas (i.e, the Suda), s.v. geranos. Other reasons were suggested by ancient writers for this habit


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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [A6r f6r]

Antiquissima quaeque com-
mentitia.

The oldest things are all invented

Pellenaee senex, cui forma est histrica, Proteu, [1]
Qui modo membra viri fers, modo membra feri,
Dic age quae species ratio te vertit in omnes,
Nulla sit ut vario certa figura tibi?
Signa vetustatis, primaevi & praefero secli: [2]
De quo quisque suo somniat arbitrio.

Proteus, old man of Pallene, whose outward appearance changes like an actor’s, assuming sometimes the body of a man, sometimes that of a beast, come, tell me, what is your reason for turning into all kinds of shapes, so that you have no permanent form as you constantly alter? I offer symbols of antiquity and the very first times, concerning which everyone dreams up what he will.

Notes:

1. Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.

2. signa vetustatis primaevi et...secli, ‘symbols of antiquity and the very first times’. Pallene (see n.1.) suggested a connection with the Greek word παλαιός ‘ancient’, as the name Proteus was supposedly connected with πρώτιστος, ‘the very first’.


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