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In Silentium.

Silence

III.

Cm tacet, haud quicquam differt sapientibus amens,
Stultitiae est index linguaque voxque suae.
Ergo premat labias, digitoque silentia signet,
Et sese Pharium vertat in Harpocratem[1].

When he is silent, the fool differs no whit from the wise. It is tongue and voice that betray his stupidity. Let him therefore put his finger to his lips and so mark silence, and turn himself into Egyptian Harpocrates.

COMMENTARIA.

Satius long ac honestius est silere & ta-
citurnum esse, qum verba fundere seu lo-
quacem. Stultus enim cm tacet, nihil pror-
sus differt sapiente, quia sermo & loquela
indicium erit stultitiae & ignorantiae suae, ver-
ba sunt Salomonis Proverbiorum cap. 17. Sic olim
Solon Philosophus ille sapientissimus, cm
in frequenti quodam hominum conventu
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [a6v p12]multis multa loquentibus, ipse ver nihil di-
ceret, interrogatus Periandro utrum ob ver
borum inopiam an quia stultus esset taceret?
respondit, neminem stultum tacere posse. Sic
& Divinus ille Plato interrogatus per quid
cognoscerentur homines: respondit homi-
nes & vasa figula simili modo probari, haec
quidem ex sono, illos ver ex sermone facile
cognosci, quin im rect etiam Zeno Stoi-
corum Philosophorum Princeps, cuidam
inepta & nihil ad rem loquenti sic dixit. Id-
circo aures habemus duas & os unum, uti
plura audiamus, loquamur pauca: affirmat
Diogenes Lartius lib. 7. de vita Philosopho-
rum. Digito igitur os & labra compri-
menda erunt ut fecisse fertur Harpocratem
quem silentii & taciturnitatis deum Aegy-
ptii
celebrabant, Pharius autem dici-
tur, sumpta denominatione ab insu-
la Pharo prope Alexandriam,
in qua ille natus fuit. Plinius
lib. 5. & lib. 13. cap.
11. & Volater-
ranus
folio
338.[2]

Notes:

1. Harpocrates, also known as Horus, was the son of the Egyptian divinity Isis. He avenged the murder of his father Osiris by Set/Typhon. He is often represented as an infant with his finger held to his mouth as a sign of silence and economy of words. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 68.

2. The historian and humanist Volterranus, was Raffaele Maffei, from Volterra (1455-1522); he wrote the well-known Commentaria Urbana, essentially an encyclopedia.


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  • Wisdom; 'Sapienza', 'Sapienza humana', 'Sapienza vera' (Ripa) [52A51] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Ignorance; 'Ignoranza', 'Ignoranza di tutte le cose', 'Ignoranza in un ricco senza lettere' (Ripa) [52AA5] Search | Browse Iconclass
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Foedera.

Alliances.

II.

Hanc citharam, lembi quae forma halieutica[1] fertur,
Vendicat & propriam Musa Latina sibi,
Accipe Dux, placeat nostrum hoc tibi tempore munus,
Quo nova cum sociis foedera inire paras.
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [a5v p10] Difficile est, nisi docto homini, tot tendere chordas:
Unaque si fuerit non bene tenta fides.
Ruptave (quod facile est) perit omnis gratia conchae,
Illeque praecellens cantus, ineptus erit.
Sic Itali count proceres in foedera: concors,
Nil est quod timeas, si tibi constet amor.
At si aliquis desciscat (uti plerunque videmus)
In nihilum illa omnis solvitur harmonia.

This lute, which from its boat shape is called “halieutica”, my Latin Muse now claims for her own service. Receive it, O Duke. May this offering of mine be pleasing to you at this moment when you are preparing to enter into fresh agreements with your allies. It is difficult, except for a man of skill, to tune so many strings, and if one string is out of tune or broken, which so easily happens, all the music of the instrument is lost and its lovely song disjointed. In like manner the leaders of Italy are now forming alliances. There is nothing for you to fear if affection lasts for you and stays in concord. But if any one should slide away, which we often see, that harmony is all dissolved into nothing.

COMMENTARIA.

Quoniam Dux Mediolanensis nova foe-
dera cum quibusdam inire constituerat. Assi-
gnat sibi Autor Citharam quae ab aliis Lutina
vocatur, musicale instrumentum undecim fi-
dibus, cuius forma est lembi, id est, Naviculae
parvulae piscatorum, ut dicitur in halieutica,
quod est in libris de piscibus & arte piscato-
ria tractantibus, de quibus Plinius lib. 32. cap. 2.
Et simili, quemadmodum difficile est (nisi pe
rito Musico) tot chordas ad iucundam & per-
fectam consonantiam construere: si enim illa-
rum una saltem non rect coaptata ruptave
fuerit, mox omnis sonus alis dulcissimus &
suavissimus perit omnino, fitque ineptus & auditui
molestus. Sic etiam qui count in foedera do
nec erunt concordes & unanimes, nihil illis
timendum. Caeterm si eorum aliquis vero
illo & syncero amore declinaverit (sicut ple-
runque fit) tota confertim harmonia, id est,
suavis ille concentus, corruet.

Notes:

1. A Greek word meaning ‘fishing’ (boat).


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  • 'Lega' (Ripa) [44B450] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • war [45A1] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • the artist and his muse (in general) [48B101] Search | Browse Iconclass
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