> I've been unable to find a gloss on Sidney's phrase "Herculea proles" at
> the end of the Defense of Poesy that explains the source of the phrase.
> Does anyone know where Sidney got it? I've also been unable to locate a
> reason for it in the Hercules myth(s). Why would a nobleman who supports
> poetry be described as a descendent of Hercules?
Hercules Gallicus: see e.g. Alciato 181:
Alciati Emblematum liber
Eloquentia fortitudine praestantior
Arcum laeva tenet, rigidam fert dextera clavam,
Contegit et Nemees corpora nuda leo.
Herculis haec igitur facies? Non convenit illud
Quod vetus, et senio tempora cana gerit.
Quid quod lingua illi levibus traiecta catenis,
Queis fissa facile is allicit aure viros?
Anne quod Alciden lingua, non robore Galli
Praestantem populis iura dedisse ferunt?
Cedunt arma togae, et quamvis durissima corda
Eloquio pollens ad sua vota trahit.
[His left hand holds a bow, his right carries a rough club, and the
Nemean lion cloaks his naked body. Is this therefore the likeness of
Hercules? That he is old and his temples hoary with age suggests
otherwise. What of his tongue, pierced with light chains, by which
he cleaves the ears of men and draws them to him without
difficulty? Don't the Gauls say that with his tongue, not with his
might, Alcides excelled in providing nations with laws? Arms yield
to the toga, and he who is powerful in speech draws to his wishes
even the most resistant hearts. ]
All this from Alciato online at Memorial University, Newfoundland:
> Is it simply the poet's power to immortalize a patron as if the patron were
> a Herculean hero?
> Many thanks!
> -John Buchtel
> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
> John A. Buchtel Curator of Collections
> University of Virginia Rare Book School
> Department of English W Phone: 434/924-8851
> H Phone: 434/973-5742 www.rarebookschool.org
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