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Mesdisance.

LXVII.

D’Archiloque[1] au tumbeau la guespe est engravee,
Pour monstrer que sa langue estoit envenimee.

Commentaires.

Archiloque fut si picquant & mordant en sa
poësie, que par ses poignants jambes il contraignit
Lycambe, son beau pere, de s’aller estrangler. De là
est venu qu’on a appelé Archiloques tous ceux qui
ont escrit d’un stile ainsi venimeux. Les guespes sont
engravees sur son tumbeau, non seulement pource
qu’elles sont enrouëes & mordantes, mais aussi pour-
ce que d’elles on ne tire ny plaisir ny proffit.

Notes:

1.  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).


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    • insects: wasp (+ animals used symbolically) [25F711(WASP)(+1)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • grave, tomb [4.20E+32] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Calumny, Detraction; 'Biasimo vitioso', 'Calunnia', 'Detrattione', 'Maledicenza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57BB25(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • male persons from classical history (with NAME) representations to which the NAME of a person from classical history may be attached [98B(ARCHILOCHUS)3] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    Contra.[1]

    A contrary view.

    Vesparum quòd nulla unquam Rex spicula 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, 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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