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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D6v p60]

Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan’s tomb

XXV.

Quis tumulus? cuia urna? Ephyraeae est Laidos:[1] & non
Erubuit tantum perdere Parca[2] decus?
Nulla fuit tum forma, illam iam carpserat aetas,
Iam speculum Veneri cauta dicarat[3] anus.
Quid scalptus sibi vult aries[4], quem parte leaena
Unguibus apprensum posteriore tenet?
Non aliter captos quòd & ipsa teneret amantes,
Vir gregis est aries, clune tenetur amans.

What tomb, whose urn is this? - It belongs to Lais of Ephyre. - Ah, was not the goddess of Fate ashamed to destroy such loveliness? - She had no beauty then. Age had already worn it away. She had become an old woman and had already wisely dedicated her mirror to Venus. - What’s the meaning of the ram carved there, which a lioness holds tight, gripping its hind-quarters with her claws? - It is there because she too would hold her captive lovers in just this way. The male of the flock is the ram. The lover is held by the buttocks.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7r p61]

Le sepulchre d’une paillarde.

XXV.

Ou Lays estoit enterrée,
L’on fit ung mouton en paincture,
Ayant au cul pate serrée
Du Lyon, aspre a la pasture:
Et designe tel pourtraicture,
Que ung amoreux est pris par leine:
Comme telle simple creature,
Prise est au derrier par sa laine.

Notes:

1.  ‘Lais of Ephyre’. Ephyre is an old name for Corinth, the home of several famous courtesans called Lais.

2.  One of the Parcae or Fates, here presumably Atropos, the Fate who cut off the thread of the individual’s life.

3.  As a symbol of retirement, the tools of one’s trade were dedicated to the presiding deity. For Lais dedicating her mirror to Venus, see Anthologia graeca 6.1 and 18.

4.  Scalptus...aries, ‘the ram carved there’. Pausanias Periegesis 2.2.4 describes such a tomb of Lais at Corinth.


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