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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F5r p89]



Ad Volfgangum Lazium polyhistorem.[1]

For the very-learned Volfgangus Lazius.

Quae cernis Medici referunt insignia veri.
Noctua, cum baculo serpens, dextraque salutis
Effigies, pullus, prolixa & barba, galerus.
Haec Asclepiadi tribuebat docta vetustas.
Vim medicinarum teneat, moderetur & arte.
Sitque valetudo ante oculos, non sordida lucra,
Hinc vigil & norit casus praedicere morbi.
Est sacra gallina, ut victum praescribat amicum,
Et succo tenerum, vires ut conferat aegro.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [F5v p90]Γλαὺξ monet & fieri graviores nocte dolores.
Ac licčt imberbi fingatur Apolline natus,
Ipse gerat barbam, iuvenis nunquam ausit adire
Suscipere aegroti aut curam, ne laedat ineptč.
Dicitur imberbi natus quoque barbiger, ortum
Ut subita morbum credat mutarier hora.
Ergo provideat, fugiat ne occasio segnem,
Currit enim haec praeceps, momento & perdidit aegrum.
Pileus insignis[2] quia morte eliberat atra.
Haec sciat Hippocrati cupiens iurare magistro.
Haec adeň Lazi custodis,[3] clara Vienna
Artis Apollineae decus ut te praedicet,[4] ornet,
Et sese tanto securum iactet alumno.

The things you see, they say, are the signs of a true doctor: the owl, the stick with a snake, the auspicious form of Health, the hen, the long beard, and the cap. Ancient learning used to assign these symbols to Asclepius. Let him hold in his hand the force of medicines, and temper it with skill, and let him have health rather than vile gain in his sight; he should be ever awake and know how to predict the chances of disease. The sacred hen is there so that he should prescribe helpful food, tender with juice, to give strength to the sufferer. The owl (glaux) warns that the more painful attacks of illness occur at night. And although they imagine that he is the son of beardless Apollo, he himself can wear a beard, and should never as a youth dare to approach or undertake to heal a sufferer, so as not to make mistakes of incompetence. They say that he, born as well of a beardless father, wears a beard, so that he should believe the disease, once born, will change with sudden hour. So let him plan, so as not to miss his chance through slowness, for occasion runs with mad swiftness, and destroys the sufferer in a moment. The famous cap [he wears], because he frees us from black death. Let, then, the man who wishes to swear on Master Hippocrates know these things, and the guardian of Lazus, so that famous Vienna should praise and decorate you as the glory of the Apolline art, and boast that it is safe by dint of a son so great.


1.  Wolfgang Lazius (or Laz): versatile humanist at the Imperial court in Vienna, physician to Ferdinand I, historian and cartographer; d. 1565. See reference to him in Paradin, 1557 ([FPAb044]).

2.  Pileus, a pointed felt cap worn by Roman freedmen-to-be in the ceremony of manumission.

3.  This seems to be a reference to Lazius’ hometown, possibly the village of Lázi in northwest Hungary?

4.  alumnus: a boy raised by a wet-nurse, in this case, the city of Vienna.

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