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The Cypress


Indicat effigies metae, nomenque Cupressi,
Tractandos parili conditione suos.[1]
Funesta est arbor, procerum monumenta Cupressus,
Quale apium plebis, comere fronde solet.[2]
Pulchra coma est, pulchro digestaeque ordine frondes;
Sed fructus nullos haec coma pulchra gerit.[3]

The cone-shaped form and the name ‘cypress’ indicate that one’s people should be dealt with on equal terms.
The cypress is a funereal tree. Its branches usually adorn the memorials of leading men as parsley-stems adorn those of humble people.
The foliage is beautiful, and the leaves all arranged in neat order, but this beautiful foliage bears no fruit.


1.  This refers to the supposed etymology, Greek κύειν and πάρισος ‘bear’,‘equal’.

2.  See Pliny, Natural History, 20.44.113 for the use of parsley at funeral meals.

3.  See Erasmus, Adagia, 4210 (Cyparissi fructus).

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