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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E7r f39r]

Lascivia.

Wantonness

Delitias, & molliciem mus creditur albus
Arguere, at ratio non sat aperta mihi est.[1]
An quòd ei natura salax, & multa libido est?
Ornat Romanas an quia pelle nurus?
Sarmaticum murem vocitant plerique zibellum,[2]
Et celebris suavi est unguine muscus arabs.[3]

The white mouse is supposed to represent self-indulgence and licentiousness, but the reason is not very clear to me. Is it because it is highly sexed and has strong sexual appetities? Or because it adorns Roman women with its fur? Many people call the civet-cat the Sarmatian mouse, and famous for its sweet oil is the Arabian musk.

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

3.  murem...muscus, ‘mouse...musk’. 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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Lasciveté.

LXXII.

Je ne voy point pourquoy la marthe subeline[1]
De mignarde mollesse aux humains soit le signe.
Est-ce pource qu’elle est de soy voluptueuse?
Ou pource qu’elle rend la femme plus pompeuse?
Le Sarmatique rat civette on veut nommer,[2]
Mais le musc Arabic se fait fort renommer.[3]

Commentaires.

Tout parfum sent la luxure, & est de mauvais
presage, principalement à l’endroict des femmes. Cel-
le là est de bonne odeur, qui n’en a point du tout.
Le musc, & semblables parfums font voir que ceux
qui en usent ont le coeur mol, & addonné à luxure.
Ce qui s’appelle rat Sarmatic, les autres l’appellent
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P3v p230] chat. Or & le chat & le rat sont animaux fort lu-
xurieux.

Notes:

1.  zibeline, ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes.

2.  Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

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



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