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Tenir caché le secret.

VIII.

Romains jadis firent pourtraire
Le Minotaure en leur enseigne:[1]
Dire en ce voulans, qu’on doit taire
Secret de quelque part qu’il vienne:[2]
Et à fin que sur ce on comprenne
De tell’ peinture la raison,
Nul n’est vivant qui entreprenne.
Tirer tel monstre hors sa maison.

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commentaires.

Pasiphaë, fille du Soleil, & femme de Minos Roy
de Crete, se laissa emporter à l’abominable amour
d’un taureau, & en fut tellement embrasee, qu’elle se
fit enfermer dans une vache de bois, à fin que ce tau-
reau la congnust. De ce detestable accouplement nasquit
un horrible monstre, qui estoit demi homme, & demi
taureau, dont il fut appellé Minotaure. Le Roy Mi-
nos
, voulant oster ce monstre hors de la veuë des
hommes, commanda à Dedale, (ingenieux ouvrier
Athenien, qui mesmes avoit fabriqué la vache de bois)
de luy bastir un labyrinthe, enveloppé & construit
avec tant de difficiles destours, que qui y entroit une
fois, à grand’ peine en pouvoit-il jamais sortir: & là
dedans enferma il le Minotaure. Les Romains por-
toyent autresfois ceste peincture en leurs enseignes de
guerre, donnans à entendre, que les conseils secrets des
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B1r p17] Princes, doyvent estre merveilleusement couverts &
cachés: car estant descouverts, ils sont cause de beau-
coup de maux. Partant ceux qui president aux repu-
bliques & aux estats, se doyvent bien garder de des-
couvrir leurs conseils, quand bien ce seroit à leurs plus
grands amis. C’est pourquoy un grand Capitaine
Romain respondit à un de ses plus familiers, qui de-
siroit sçavoir de luy ses desseings, Si je sçavois que ma
chemise les sceust, je la bruslerois tout maintenant.

Notes:

1.  According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

2.  Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.


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Non vulganda consilia.

Keep counsels secret.

VIII.

Limine quod caeco, obscura & caligine monstrum[1]
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b2r p19]Gnosiacis clausit Daedalus in latebris:
Depictum Romana phalanx in praelia gestat,
Semiviroque nitent signa superba[2] bove.
Nosque monent, debere ducum secreta[3] latere
Consilia, authori cognita techna nocet.

The monster that Daedalus imprisoned in its Cretan lair, with hidden entrance and obscuring darkness, the Roman phalanx carries painted into battle; the proud standards flash with the half-man bull. These remind us that the secret plans of leaders must stay hid. A ruse once known brings harm to its author.

COMMENTARIA.

Pasiphaë filia Solis uxor Minois Regis
Cretensis, in nefandum amorem Tauri de-
lapsa fuit, adeoque exarsit, ut pateretur se in-
cludi ligneae vaccae, quo Tauro illo potire-
tur: Diodori lib. 5. Vergilii Aeglogae 6. Ovidii lib.
1. de Arte amandi & Higini Fabula 49.[4] Ex quo
concepit & genuit horribile monstrum for-
mam habens partim hominis & partim Tau-
ri, unde appellatum est Minotaurus: semi-
bovemque virum, semivirumque bovem. Ovidius
lib. 2. de Arte amandi. Idem lib. 8. Metamorphoseon
Vergilius lib. 6. Aeneidos Minos autem Rex vo-
lens monstrum illud Minotauri ex homi-
num oculis occultare, iussit Daedalum (Athe-
niensem
artificem ingeniosissimum: qui etiam
ligneam illam vaccam, de qua suprà, fabrica-
verat) praeparare & extruere sibi labyrinthum,
aedificium & inextricabilibus erroribus clau-
sum, adeoque ut quicunque ingrediebatur vix
unquam iterum egredi poterat: in quo Mi-
notaurum abscondidit. Autores sunt pro-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [b2v p20]xim citati. Hanc picturam Minotauri olim
Romani in suis vexillis bellicis gerebant, si-
gnificantes secreta principum consilia, de-
bere esse multum abscondita, ea enim pro-
dita & revelata, ipsomet Autori erunt noci-
va: haud etenim temerè, praesertim hi qui Rei-
publicae aliisve arduis praesunt negotiis, animi
consultationes, nec intimis etiam amicis com
mittere debent: Cecilii Metelli viri summae
prudentiae atque consilii, exemplo, qui (ut
Valerius Maximus refert) cuidam suo Amico, quid
ille in re quadam magni momenti acturus
esset, interroganti, ita respondit ingenuè: Tu-
nicam, inquit, hanc, meam rescinderem
& abiicerem, si eam scire meum
consilium existimarem. Respon-
sum hoc argutum, extolli-
tur etiam à Crini-
to
libro 19.
cap. 7.

Notes:

1.  ‘The monster that Daedalus imprisoned’, i.e. the Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull monster kept in the famous Labyrinth at Knossos, which Daedalus, the Athenian master-craftsman, constructed for King Minos.

2.  According to Pliny, Natural History 10.5.16, before the second consulship of Marius (104 BC) Roman standards bore variously eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars. Marius made the eagle universal.

3.  Cf. Festus, De verborum significatu (135 Lindsay): the Minotaur appears among the military standards, because the plans of leaders should be no less concealed than was the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth.

4.  Caius Julius Hyginus (or Higinus), first century writer on mythology, astrology, agricultre, biography and literature, superintendent of the Palatine library under Augustus.


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