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Le meurier.

XLIIII.

Jamais durant le froid le meurier ne bourgeonne:[1]
Sage il est, quoy qu’à tort nom de fol on luy donne.[2]

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [N6v p204]

Commentaires.

On baille diverses etymologies au meurier. Les
uns le derivent d’un mot Latin, qui signifie retarde-
ment: les autres d’un mot Grec qui signifie noir: &
autres encor d’un autre mot Grec, qui signifie fol: &
ce par antiphrase: car c’est le plus sage de tous les ar-
bres. Pline & autres en parlent en ceste façon: Le
meurier verdoye le dernier de tous les arbres de la
ville: car il attend que tout le froid soit passé: & pour-
ce est-il appellé le plus sage de tous les arbres. Mais
quand il commence à pousser, il acheve tout en une
nuict, & se fait mesme ouïr. On l’employe pour sym-
bole de la prudence: car il attend l’occasion du temps
& de la saison, de peur que l’injure de l’air ne l’en-
dommage. Ainsi l’homme prudent dilaye tout expres
ses affaires d’importance, & tous ses conseils, ne les
voulant point executer avant le temps, ains attendant
une occasionmeure , ou il les puisse exploiter sans
dommage & sans danger.

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.  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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    Populus alba.

    The white poplar

    EMBLEMA CCXI.

    Herculeos crines bicolor quòd populus ornet,[1]
    Temporis alternat noxque diesque vices.[2]

    The two-coloured poplar wreathes the locks of Hercules - and so its dark and light show time’s alternating changes.

    Notes:

    1.  The white poplar was dedicated to Hercules. According to Pausanias, Periegesis, 5.14.2, Hercules introduced it to Greece. According to another story, Hercules on his way back from the Underworld garlanded his head with stems from a white poplar growing beside the Acheron, a memorial of the nymph Leuke (White) carried off by Pluto.

    2.  noxque diesque, ‘its dark and light’ (lit. night and day), a reference to the dark green surface and white underside of the white poplar leaf. According to Pliny, Natural History, 16.36.87, the leaves of the white poplar turn over at the summer solstice. Hercules was equated with the sun: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.6 and 10.


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