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Section: SCIENTIA (Learning). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N2r p195]

Facundia difficilis.

Eloquence is hard

Antidotum Aeaeae medicata in pocula Circes
Mercurium hoc Ithaco fama dedisse fuit.[1]
Moly vocant, id vix radice evellitur atra,
Purpureus: sed flos, lactis & instar habet.
Eloquii candor facundiaque allicit omnes:
Sed multi res est tanta laboris opus.

According to the story, Mercury gave to the man from Ithaca this antidote to the poisoned cup of Aeaean Circe. They call it moly. It is hard to pull up by its black root. The plant is dark, but its flower is white as milk. The brilliance of eloquence and readiness of speech attracts all men, but this mighty thing is a work of much labour.

Notes:

1.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses (the man from Ithaca) and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 76 ([A51a076]), for the effect of Circe’s poisoned cup. Cf. Erasmus, De Copia (Loeb edition, 1.91 D), where moly is interpreted as wisdom rather than eloquence. Cf. Coustau, ‘In herbam Moly, ex Homero’ ([FCPb073]).


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P4r p231]

Eloquence difficile.[1]

L’herbe bailla Mercure à Ulysses,
Contrepoison aulx breuvages Circes.[2]
Moly s’appelle, & ha noire racine,
Fleur blanche, & rouge, à trouver bien insigne.
Pure eloquence, est d’attraction pleine,
Mais à plusieurs est oeuvre de grand peine.

Par l’herbe Moly en Homere de noire racine, fleur blanche,
& purpurine, tresdifficile à trouver: est entendue eloquence, au
commencement obscure, puys florissante, claire, & honorée.
Mais difficile à acquerir, sinon aulx bons espritz laquelle sur-
monte toute malice, & obtient grand grace à celluy qui l’ha.

Notes:

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

2.  See Homer, Odyssey, 10.270ff. for the story of the encounter of Ulysses and his crew with the sorceress Circe on the island of Aeaea. The plant moly is described ibid, 302-6. See Emblem 70 ([A58a070]), for the effect of Circe’s poisoned cup. Cf. Erasmus, De Copia (Loeb edition, 1.91 D), where moly is interpreted as wisdom rather than eloquence. Cf. Coustau, ‘In herbam Moly, ex Homero’ ([FCPb073]).


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