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Contra.[1]

A contrary view.

[=68]

Vesparum qud nulla unquam Rex spicula siget [=figet] .[2]
Quodque aliis duplo corpore maior erit,
Arguet imperium clemens, moderataque regna.
Sanctaque iudicibus credita iura bonis.

The king of the wasps will never implant any sting and will be twice as big as the rest. This will be a sign of mild dominion, a disciplined kingdom, and inviolable law entrusted to good judges.

Notes:

1. It is to be noted that in this edition, as in the 1546, Maledicentia and Contra are treated as one emblem whereas in other editions Contra is treated as an emblem in its own right called Principis Clementia.

2. According to Pliny, Natural History, 11.21.74, wasps do not have ‘kings’: it is the ‘mother’ wasps that are without stings. On the other hand, the ‘king’ bee (the ancients believed the queen bee to be male) and its lack of sting, or refusal to use its sting, was often mentioned; e.g. Aelian, De natura animalium, 5.10; Pliny, ibid., 17.52. For the analogy with kingship, see e.g. Seneca, De Clementia, 1.19; Erasmus, Adagia, 2601 (Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit).


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    Maledicentia.[1]

    Evil speaking

    Archilochi[2] tumulo insculptas de marmore vespas
    Esse ferunt,[3] linguae certa sigilla malae.

    They say that on the tomb of Archilochus wasps were carved in marble, sure figures of an evil tongue.

    Notes:

    1. It is to be noted that in this edition, Maledicentia and Contra are treated as one emblem whereas in other editions Contra is treated as an emblem in its own right called Principis Clementia.

    2. Archilochus was an eighth-century BC poet, author of much (now fragmentary) verse, including satire. This last was considered in antiquity to be excessively abusive and violent. See Horace, Ars Poetica, 79; also Erasmus, Adagia, 60 (Irritare crabrones).

    3. ferunt, ‘they say’: words suggested by Anthologia Graeca, 7.71, an epigram concerning the tomb of Archilochus.


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