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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [X6r p331]

Intus vino, & extus oleo.

With wine on the inside, and oil on the outside.

Maximus archetypo quae concinit ore Machaon,[1]
Quotque Melampodius[2] dat monumenta liber:
Quotque soporatis serpens Epidaurius[3] herbis
Astruit, id totum cernitur in tabula.[4]
Ima frequens modico praecordia perlue vino,
Doctus abundantem vincere pituitam:
Et firma externos sub pollinctore meatus,
Hoc est vel medicis certius antidotis.

[All] the things of which great Machaon originally sang [lit. sang or prophesied with original mouth]; And all [lit. as many as] the prescriptions which the book of Melampus gives; And all that [lit. as many things as] the snake of Epidaurus ascribes to drowsy herbs: All this can be seen in the picture [i.e. the emblem engraving]. Wet the inmost parts of your breast with wine, frequently but in moderation, having learnt to overcome an excess of phlegm: And keep yourself outwardly lithe with a scrubbing-brush and oil [lit. strengthen the outward orifices (or movements) under an undertaker*]: This is altogether surer than any doctor’s cures.
* The literal translation appears prima facie so bizarre that one imagines that Coustau has got something wrong. A pollinctor was someone who cleaned up corpses to prepare them for the funeral, but perhaps the author has misunderstood and imagines it to be simply someone who washes one’s (live) body: in which case the presumed meaning might be ‘tone up the outside of your body with a scrubbing-cloth and oil’ (which would make sense). Meatus is another unexpected word: its original meaning is ‘a going’, hence ‘a path, passage’ or ‘orifice’; but perhaps Coustau means ‘strengthen your movements’, so ‘keep yourself outwardly lithe’.


1.  The great physician of the Greeks at Troy, son of Aesculapius. Whatever were the things he sang of, they are not recorded in the Iliad, where Machaon does not have a speaking role.

2.  Melampus: another legendary physician and seer.

3.  Where there was an important shrine to Aesculapius. The snake played an important part in the mythology of healing.

4.  Without the pictura woodcut, it is difficult to know whether the second quatrain is in contradiction or support of the first; the evidence of line 8 suggests contradiction.

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