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La clemence du Prince.[1]

Ce que le Roy des guespes rien ne poingt,[2]
(Quoy qu’il soit grand.) Et d’aguillon n’ha poinct
Monstre ung Seigneur doulx aulx siens, comme amys:
Et les sainct [=sainctz] droictz gens de bien commis.

Le Roy des guespes, & aveilles est deux fois
plus grand, & fort que les aultres, & si n’ha
point d’aguillon picquant, & veneneux, com
me les aultres. Ainsi ung bon Prince plus est
puissant, plus est clement, & moins nuysant,
tel que fut le Magnificque Jule Caesar.

Notes:

1. In the 1549 French edition, this emblem has no woodcut.

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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