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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[N5v p202]

Morus.

The mulberry

XLIIII.

Serior at Morus nunquam nisi frigore lapso
Germinat,[1] & sapiens nomina falsa[2] gerit.

On the other hand, the mulberry is late, and never until the frost is past does it shoot; though wise, it bears a false name.

Notes:

1.See Pliny, Natural History, 16.25.102: “the mulberry is the last of domesticated trees to shoot, and only does so when the frosts are over; for that reason it is called the wisest of trees”.

2.nomina falsa, ‘a false name’, reference to a supposed ‘etymology by opposites’: Latin morus ‘mulberry’ was equated with Greek μῶρος ‘fool’, but the tree was considered wise: see note 1.


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    Single Emblem View

    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O6v p220]

    Littera occÓdit, spiritus vivificat.[1]

    The letter kills but the spirit gives life

    EMBLEMA CLXXXV.

    Vipereos Cadmus dentes ut credidit arvis,
    Sevit & Aonio semina dira solo:
    TerrigenŻm clypeata cohors exorta virorum est,
    Hostili inter se qui cecidere manu.
    Evasere quibus monitu Tritonidos armis
    Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[O7r p221]Abiectis data pax, dextraque iuncta fuit.[2]
    Primus Agenorides[3] elementa, notasque magistris
    Tradidit, iis suavem iunxit & harmoniam.[4]
    Quorum discipulos contraria plurima vexant,
    Non nisi Palladia quae dirimuntur ope.

    When Cadmus entrusted the dragon’s teeth to the furrows and sowed the dread seed in Aonian [Theban] soil, there sprang up a shield-bearing band of earth-born men, who fell by fighting among themselves. Those escaped who at Tritonia’s [Athena’s] command threw down their arms, granted peace and joined right hands. Agenor’s son first gave to teachers letters and symbols and also put together for them sweet musical concord. Many adversities assail those who follow these disciplines, adversities which are resolved only by Pallas Athena’s aid.

    Notes:

    1.II Corinthians 3:6.

    2.For the story of Cadmus, founder of Thebes (in Aonia, or less correctly in the French, in Thessaly), and the dragon’s teeth, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.99ff. Athena, goddess of wisdom - here called Tritonia, from the place of her birth in North Africa - brought the internecine struggle between the earth-born warriors to an end.

    3.Agenorides, ‘Agenor’s son’, i.e. Cadmus, who supposedly introduced writing to Greece. The scattering of the dragon’s teeth was interpreted as the invention of the alphabet.

    4.harmoniam, ‘musical concord’. Cadmus’ wife was called Harmonia.


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