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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G3v p102]

Mignardise.

PROBLEME.

Pourquoy dict on que l’Hermine, ou Musaigne
De mignardise, & delice est enseigne?[1]
Est ce pourtant quelle est chaulde en nature,
Et de sa peau donne aulx Dames vesture?
Rat Sarmatic, est Zebelin nommé[2]
Musc Arabic,[3] est parfum renommé.

Par la Musaigne, ou Hermine, & la Martre Sebeline,
& le Musc Arabic, de Civette qui sont bestes chaul
des & odorantes tant vives en chair, que mortes en
peau, est denotée la delicieuse mignardise, des dames
en vestemens, & senteurs.

Notes:

1.  The white mouse was a proverbial example of the effeminate and the promiscuous. See the Suda s.v. mus, and Apostolius, Proverbs, 11,87, who also reports its sexual proclivities.

2.  ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes. Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

3.  The words ‘mouse’ and ‘musk’ (late Latin muscus) are connected, from the mouse-shaped sac of the male animals which produce musk. Some plants have a musky smell. Muscus also means ‘moss’ - Arabia was famous for plants which produced aromatic gums (e.g. incense and nard).



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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n6r p203]

    Nupta contagioso.

    A woman married to a diseased man

    L.

    Dii meliora piis,[1] Mezenti. cur agè sic me
    Compellas?[2] emptus quòd tibi dote gener,
    Gallica quem scabies,[3] dira & mentagra perurit.
    Hoc est quidnam aliud, dic mihi saeve pater,
    Corpora corporibus quàm iungere mortua vivis,
    Efferaque Etrusci facta novare ducis?[4]

    O Mezentius, God grant a better fate to the dutiful! - Now why do you address me by that name? - Because with a dowry you have purchased a son-in-law seared by the Gallic scab and the dreaded sore on the face. What else is this - o tell me, cruel father - but to join corpses to living bodies and repeat the savage deeds of the Etruscan leader?

    Notes:

    1.  Vergil, Georgics, 3.513.

    2.  sic me compellas, ‘address me by that name’, i.e. Mezentius. This is explained below, note 4.

    3.  Gallica...scabies, ‘the Gallic scab’: Osseous lesions caused by syphilis, which was epidemic in Europe following Charles VIII’s first Italian war. Spreading to the French army following its occupation of Naples (February 1495), it became known to the French as “the Neapolitan sickness”, to the Italians as “the French sickness.” It acquired its modern name from a mythological Latin poem on the subject by Girolamo Fracastoro, “Syphilis sive morbus gallicus”, a popular favourite first published in 1530. Fracastoro later used the name Syphilus (a mythical shepherd) when he contributed to the scientific literature on the disease (Liber I de sympathia et antipathia rerum, de contagione et contagiosis morbis, 1550). Note that here the French uses ‘un villain Podagre’ instead, which Cotgrave lists as the gout. Of the two corresponding emblems with this one, the 1549 edition uses verolle (pox), and 1615 uses podagre in the title and verolle in the verse.

    4.  See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.483-88, for the crimes of Mezentius, the Etruscan king who opposed Aeneas on his arrival in Italy. He inflicted a dreadful fate on his victims by tying them face to face with a corpse and leaving them to die.



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