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OCNI EFFIGIES DE HIS QUI
meretricibus donant, quod in bonos usus
verti debeat.[1]

A representation of Ocnus. On those who give to whores what should be turned to good

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Impiger haud cessat funem contexere sparto,
Humidaque artifici iungere fila manu,
Sed quantum multis vix torquet strenuus horis,
Protinus ignavi ventris asella vorat.
Foemina iners animal, facili congesta marito,
Lucra rapit mundum prodigit inque suum.

Ocnus never stops busily plaiting rope from broom, joining the damp fibres with skilful hand. But what he manages to spin with great effort in many hours the she-ass, a beast with greedy guts, continuously consumes. - Woman, an idle creature, grabs the accumulated savings from her complaisant husband and squanders it on her own adornment.

Notes:

1.  The painting by Polygnotus depicting this scene is described in Pausanias, Periegesis 29.2. See also Propertius, Elegies 4.3.21; Erasmus, Adagia 383, Contorquet piger funiculum. Ocnus, idleness personified, was a proverbial example of wasted effort.


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