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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M5v p186]

Eloquence s’acquiert avec diffi-
culté.

XXII.

Pour Ulysse sauver de l’enchanté bruvage
Mercure luy donna l’herbe moly sauvage,[1]
Ayant noire racine, & fleur blanche & pourprine,
Difficile à trouver, & à tirer de terre.
L’eloquence est aussi malaisee à acquerre:
Mais elle attrait chacun par sa douceur divine.

Commentaires.

Ciceron dit que l’eloquence est difficile à acquerir
sur toutes autres possessions: car pour y parvenir, il
faut avoir appris beaucoup de belles choses. L’herbe,
appellee moly, est fort malaisee à trouver, & plus mal-
aisee encor à arracher de terre. Sa fleur est belle &
aggreable. Ainsi il faut tuer & travailler beaucoup
pour acquerir eloquence: mais en fin elle rend des
fruicts fort plaisans & de bon goust.

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 16 ([FALe016]), 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  [P4v p232]

    Les Antiquitez sont controuvées.[1]

    Apologie. Dialogisme.

    D. Vieillard Proteu[2], qui has forme muable:
    Homme par fois, puys beste dissemblable:
    Quelle raison toute espece en toy mue:
    Tant que tu n’has figure de tenue?
    R. Je represente antique Poësie,
    De qui chascun songe à sa phantasie.

    Des choses anciennes, & mises hors de toute memoire: cha-
    scun en songe, & en divine à sa phantasie: tellement que les au-
    theurs ne s’ac
    cordans, font une monstrueuse histoire ou fable
    de variables formes, tel que les Poëtes faignent estre Proteus
    dieu marin, fort vieulx, & muable en toutes formes.

    Notes:

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

    2.  Proteus was ‘the Old Man of the Sea’, who evaded capture by constantly changing his shape. See e.g. Homer, Odyssey, 4.400ff.; Vergil, Georgics, 4. 405-10, 440-2; Erasmus, Adagia, 1174 (Proteo mutabilior). Vergil (Georgics, 4.391) describes him living near the headland of Pallene (on the Macedonian coast). The idea of Proteus as a gifted actor or mime-artist is taken from Lucian, Saltatio, 19.


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