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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[C7v f23v]

Salix.

The willow

QuÚd frugisperdam salicem vocitarit Homerus,[1]
Clitoriis homines moribus adsimulat.[2]

When Homer called the willow ‘seed-loser’, he made it like men with Clitorian habits.

Notes:

1.Homer, Odyssey, 10.510. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.46.110: the willow drops its seed before it is absolutely ripe, and for that reason was called by Homer ‘seed-loser’.

2.The waters of Lake Clitorius in Arcadia generated an aversion to wine in those who drank of them. See Pliny, Natural History, 31.13.16; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.322ff. The combination of the two images here may symbolise minds and characters gone to the bad and producing nothing of value. See Erasmus, Parabolae, p. 268: “As willow-seed, shed before it ripens, is not only itself barren but when used as a drug causes barrenness in women by preventing conception, so the words of those who teach before they have truly learnt sense not only make them no better in themselves, but corrupt their audience and render it unteachable”; and p. 230: “Those who have drunk of the Clitorian Lake develop a distaste for wine, and those who have once tasted poetry reject the counsels of philosophy, or the other way round. Equally, those who gorge themselves with fashionable pleasures reject those satisfactions which are honourable and genuine.”


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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O5r p217]

Insignia PoŽtarum.

Insignia of poets

EMBLEMA CLXXXIII.

Gentiles clypeos sunt qui in Iovis alite gestant,
Sunt quibus aut serpens, aut leo, signa ferunt:
Dira sed haec vatum fugiant animalia ceras,
Doctaque sustineat stemmata pulcher Olor.
Hic Phoebo sacer[1], & nostrae regionis alumnus:
Rex olim[2], veteres servat adhuc titulos.

Some have a family crest distinguished by the bird of Jove, for others the serpent or the lion provides the sign. But let these dread beasts flee from poets’ images; let the lovely swan support their learned clan. This bird is sacred to Phoebus and is a nursling of my homeland. A king once, it still preserves its ancient titles.

Notes:

1.‘sacred to Phoebus’, i.e. to the god of music and poetry (Apollo).

2.‘a king once’. See Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.367ff. for the story of Cycnus, king of Liguria, turned into a swan and inhabiting the marshes and lakes of the plain of the Po (Alciato’s homeland).


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