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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [n2v p196]

Facundia difficilis.

Eloquence is hard

XXII.

Antidotum Aeaeae medicata in pocula Circes
Mercurium hoc Ithaco fama dedisse fuit.[1]
Moly vocant. id vix radice evellitur atra,
Purpureus sed flos, lactis & instar habet.
Eloquii candor facundiaque allicit omnes,
Sed multi res est tanta laboris opus.

According to the story, Mercury gave to the man from Ithaca this antidote to the poisoned cup of Aeaean Circe. They call it moly. It is hard to pull up by its black root. The plant is dark, but its flower is white as milk. The brilliance of eloquence and readiness of speech attracts all men, but this mighty thing is a work of much labour.

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 216 ([A56a216]), 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 [M5v p186]

    Le glaive d’un furieux.

    XXIII.

    Ajax estant parmi son troupeau porte soye,
    Estime, en les tuant, tuer Grecs par la voye:[1]
    Ainsi les porcs souffroyent, comme hostie empruntee,
    Au lieu d’Ulysse, & des principaux de l’armee.
    La fureur l’empeschoit de nuire ses haineux,
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [] Si qu’il tue & abbat ses porceaux au lieu d’eux.

    Commentaires.

    Advisons sur tout, que la cholere ne nous emporte,
    & ne nous laissons point surmonter icelle: car en
    fin la cholere devient fureur & rage, laquelle ayant
    pris place en nos coeurs, en chasse la raison, qui apres,
    grand’ peine y peut jamais rentrer. Ajax ayant
    est meschamment & tort condamn au plaid des
    armes d’Achilles, estant enflamm de rage, tue ses
    propres porceaux, pensant tuer Agamemnon, Ulysse,
    & les autres Grecs.

    Notes:

    1. See [FALd038] for Ajax’ madness and suicide. In his madness, he slaughtered a herd of sheep, thinking them to be the Greeks. The two largest rams he took to be Agamemnon and Menelaus. See Zenobius, Proverbs, 1.43; Horace, Satires, 2.3.197-8; Erasmus, Adagia, 646 (Aiacis risus) - Erasmus makes the animals pigs, which Alciato here follows.


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