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Commentary on Emblem 11

The poem is a longer version of an epigram in The Greek Anthology 10.98. Normally silence was associated with the school of Pythagoras.

The "Pharian Harpocrates" is the god Harpocrates from Pharos (or Alexandria) in Egypt. Harpocrates or Arpocrates was a form of Horus, the sun-god, and was traditionally represented as boy with his finger held to his lips (Augustine, City of God 18.5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.692; Varro On the Latin Language 5.57). In Catullus 102, the speaker claims that he can be trusted to keep his friend Cornelius' secrets, as a "very Harpocrates." Erasmus took the phrase "he imitates Harpocrates" as one of his Adages (Reddidit Harpocratem 4.1.52).

This emblem first appeared in the unauthorized edition of 1531. We give the illustration which first appeared on sig A3r. In the first authorized edition of 1534 the illustration appeared on page 7.

There is a French translation of this emblem by Lefevre, conventionally numbered 3 in the unpaged edition of Paris: Wechel, 1536 at the Glasgow University emblem site. You may compare the Latin and French in frames.

Geffrey Whitney's Choice of Emblemes (1586) has an English imitation at page 60. You may compare the Latin and Whitney's English in frames.

Last modified 23 November 1997