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Cupressus.

The Cypress

Indicat effigies metae, nomenque cupressi
Tractandos parili conditione suos.[1]
Aliud.
Funesta est arbor, procerum monumenta cupressus,
Quale apium plebis, comere fronde solet. [2]
Aliud.
Pulchra coma est, pulchro digestaeque ordine frondes,
Sed fructus nullos haec coma pulchra gerit.[3]

The cone-shaped form and the name ‘cypress’ indicate that one’s people should be dealt with on equal terms.
Other.
The cypress is a funereal tree. Its branches usually adorn the memorials of leading men as parsley-stems adorn those of humble people.
Other.
The foliage is beautiful, and the leaves all arranged in neat order, but this beautiful foliage bears no fruit.

Notes:

1. This refers to the supposed etymology, Greek κύειν and πάρισος ‘bear’,‘equal’.

2. See Pliny, Natural History, 20.44.113 for the use of parsley at funeral meals.

3. See Erasmus, Adagia, 4210 (Cyparissi fructus).


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Abies.

The fir tree

Apta fretis abies in montibus editur altis:
Est & in adversis maxima commoditas.[1]

The fir tree that is fit to sail the sea grows high up on the hills. Even in hard circumstances, there is great advantage to be found.

Notes:

1. This is because it grows strong by withstanding the gales and harsh weather. Contrast Anthologia Graeca, 9.30ff, 105, and the much-translated 376 for an opposing view of the fir tree: “how can the fir, storm-tossed while growing on land, resist the gales at sea?” 9.31 was translated by Alciato (Selecta epigrammata, p. 98).


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