Organa pharmaciœ sunt organa fallaciœ/Organa publicanorum sunt organa diabolorum


New Member
Hello, I would be very grateful for suggestions for an elegant translation of two Latin puns in a French anecdote about pharmacists. I am pasting the whole text below. I am wondering whether the 'organa' in the first pun should be translated as 'instruments', or whether 'medicaments' would be a better reading given that these were mostly what pharmacy was about.

Also, I am unclear as to whether 'organa publicanorum' in the second pun refers to Maissac (who could more or less be described as an 'instrument of state' since he was attached to the law courts)? My first thought was that it might be linked to the press.

Claquenelle, apoticaire célèbre, ayant présenté ses parties à Maissac, ... greffier du Conseil, la femme duquel estoit morte d'une longue maladie, cet homme, qui n'estoit pas autrement affligé, luy dit en sousriant : «Organa pharmaciœ sunt organa fallaciœ.» Le pharmacopole luy respondit de mesme : «Organa publicanorum sunt organa diabolorum.» (Tallemant de Réaux, Les Historiettes, 3rd edn, VII: Paris: J. Techener, 1858, p. 350)

(Rough English trans:
When Claquenelle, the famous apothecary, presented his case to Maissac, ... clerk to the Conseil, whose wife had died after a long illness, the latter, who was not otherwise afflicted, said to him with a smile: 'Organa pharmaciae sunt organa fallaciae'. The pharmacist responded in the same vein: 'Organa publicanorum sunt organa diabolorum.')