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Commentary on Emblem 192This bizarre poem on love and marriage comes directly from, and is explained by, a passage in a homily by St Basil (Hexaemeron 7.5-6):
"Husbands, love your wives," even though external to each other, you came together into the union of marriage. May the bond of nature, may the yoke imposed by the blessing make as one those who were divided. A viper, the cruelest of reptiles, comes for marriage with the sea lamprey and, having announced its presence by hissing, summons it forth from the depths for the nuptial embrace. And the lamprey hearkens and is united with the venemous animal. What do my words mean? That, even if the husband is rough, even if he is fierce in his manners, the wife must endure and for no cause whatsoever permit herself to break the union. Is he a brawler? Nevertheless, he is your husband. Is he a drunkard? Nevertheless, he is united to you by nature. Is he savage and ill-tempered? Nevertheless, he is your member and the most honoured of your members.This emblem first appeared in the unauthorized edition of 1531. We give the illustration which first appeared on sig A5v. In the first authorized edition of 1534 the illustration appeared on page 14.
There is a French translation of this emblem by Lefevre, conventionally numbered 10 in the unpaged edition of Paris: Wechel, 1536 at the Glasgow University emblem site. You may compare the Latin and French in frames.
Last modified 3 February 1998