Book I, Chapter 2, p. 12

The Significations of the Colours used in Arms.

    20. THE Signification, and Names by which each Colour is distinguished, is first by Mettle or Colour; the second by precious Stones: And thirdly, by Celestial Planets; as the Examples following will demonstrate.

    LXVI. Is the colour White, which is termed in Blazon Argent; derived from the Latin Word Argentum, Silver; And by the precious Stone, is understood by Pearl; And by the Planet, Luna. The colour White, resembleth the Light, and is by Scribonius thus defined, Albedo est color Simplex, &c. White is a simple colour, and subject to every stain except great care be taken of those that wear or bear the same; for in Blazoning it betokeneth Innocency, Cleanness of Life, and Chastity.

    LXVII. Is the colour Red, and is termed Gules: By the precious Stone, Ruby: And by the Planet, Mars. This colour Vermilion, or Red is the chief amongst colours, forasmuch as it representeth the Fire which of all other Elements is the most lightsome, and approacheth nearest to the quality of the Sun: In regard whereof it was ordered, that none should bear this colour but Persons of noble Birth and Rank, and Men of special Desert; for it signifyeth Dignity.

    LXVII. Is the colour Blew, and is termed Azure; By the precious Stone, Saphire: And by the Planet, Jupiter. This colour Blew doth represent the Sky in a clear Sun-shining Day, when all Clouds are exiled. Job speaking to the busy Searchers of Godís Misteries, saith, Job ii.17. That then shall the residue of their Lioves, be as clearl as the Noon-day.  Which to the Judgment of Men (through the pureness of the Air) is of an Azure colour, or light Blew: And signifyeth Piety, and Sincerity.

    LXIX. Is the colour Black, and is termed in Blazon by the Word, Sable; and is derived of the Latin Word Sabulum, which signifieth gross Sand, or Gravel, in respect of its heavy and earthy substance: The Blazon by precious Stones, is Diamond: And the Planet, Saturn. This colour Black, is contrary to White, having no participation with Light: And is by Scribonius thus defined. Nigrido est color in corpore &c For what thing soever there is, that hath either Life, Light, or Heat, if the same be once extinct, the thing it self forthwith becometh Black.  This is said to be the colour of Horrour and Destruction; in which respect Mourning Garments are made of this colour, which signifieth and represents to us the horrour of Death and Corruption: As also Counsel and Antiquity.

    LXX. Is the colour Green, and is termed by the Word Vert, of Veridis, which signifies fresh and Green: By the precious Stone Emyrald: And the Planet, Venus. This colour Green, consisteth of Yellow and Blew, and is the first and principal of those mixt colours used in Herauldry. Which colour Gwilliam Terms, colores medii not being colours of themselves, but mixt of two Simples. It signifieth Felicity and Pleasure.

    LXXI. Is the colour Purpure, or Purple, and is termed in Blazon, Purpure: By the precious Stone Amethist:
And by the Planet, Mercury. The Purple colour is another mixt colour and consisteth of much red and a small quantity of black. Cassaneus saith, that these six colours White, Black, Red, Yellow, Blew and Gree; being compounded and mixt together according to art and proportion, doth make good Purple colour. This Colour is by Ferne termed Plumby, (but this, and the two colours next nominated, being Murrey or Sanguine, and Tawny; are not in use in English Coats, but much used by the Dutch and French Gentry) it is, and in ancient time was, of that precious deem, that none but Kings and Princes, and their Favourites, might be admitted to wear the same: As we may see, Dan. 5.16. 1 Mac. 10.20. For it signifieth Honour and Dignity.

    21. Sanguine or Murrey is a colour termed in Blazon, Sanguine.  By the precious Stone, Sard nyx: And the Star, Dragons Tail. It is a colour compounded of Red and Blew, a Princely colour, is high esteenm amongst Men of great degree; and by some old Heraulds is termed Synamer. (As Sir F. Ferne, Glo. 147. saith) But being a colour not in use with us in England, I forbear to put it in the Plate.

    22. Tawny or Orange colour, is in Blazon termed, Tenne: by the precious Stone Jacynthe: And by the Star, Dragons Head. This is a colour of worship (and is in Glo. 147) termed by some old Heraulds Bruske: Being compounded of two bright colours, v.z. much Yellow, and a little Red. This colour is much in use by the Dutch and German People, but being out of use with us, I do not set it down in the Plate.

    LXXII. Is the colour Yellow, or Gold colour, and is termed by the Mettle, Or; derived from the Latin word Aurem, Gold: By the precious Stone, Topaze: And the Planet, Sol. Because this excellent Mettle doth represent the colour of the glorious Sun; the possession thereof (as the Wiseman faith, Eccl. 20.29.) inchanteth the Heart of Fools, and blindeth the Eyes of the Wife. And therefore such is the worthyness of this colour, which doth resemble Gold, that (as Christine de Price saith) none ought to bear the same in Arms, but Emperours and Kings, and such as be of the Blood-Royal: Though now it is of more common use.

    23. These are the colours (being six in number) whereof Fields ought to be made; but as for the Charges in the Fields, their colours may be sixty times six: For every thing that is born in a Coat of Arms, may be figured out in its proper and natural colour, which may be many and divers. And because for them we are allowed no terms o~ Blazon., therefore they are all comprehended under the word, Proper: As painted in its natural and proper colour.