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Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 5

Human wisdom is folly before the Lord

What should I say? How should I address by name this biform monster, which is not man, and not a snake? Rather a man without feet, a snake without upper parts, he can be called a snake-footed man and man-headed snake. The man farts out a snake; and the snake has belched a man. There is no end to the man, and no beginning to the beast. Thus at one time Cecrops reigned in learned Athens; thus Mother Earth brought forth the giants. This image signifies a cunning man, but one lacking in religion, and one who cares only for earthly things.