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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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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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