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EMBLEMA LXXV.

Custodiendas virgines.

Girls must be guarded

Vera haec effigies[1] innuptae est Palladis: eius
Hic Draco, qui dominae constitit ante pedes.
Cur divae comes hoc animal? Custodia rerum,
Huic data: sic lucos, sacraque templa colit.[2]
Innuptas opus est cura asservare puellas
Pervigili, laqueos undique tendit amor.[3]

This is the true image of virgin Pallas. Her snake is here, positioned at his mistress’s feet. Why does this creature accompany the goddess? The task of guarding things was entrusted to it, and so it looks after groves and sacred temples. It is necessary to guard unmarried girls with ever-watchful care - Love lays his snares on every side.

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Das LXXV.

Jungfrauwen sol man bewaren.

Diß ist das Bild abconterfeyt
Der Göttin Pallas ongefreyt
Diß ist der Drach so allzeit stat
Vor seiner Frauwen Füsse trat
Warumb wirt dieses Thier gegebn
Der Göttin zu eim gferten ebn?
Diß Göttin ist ubers gut gsetzt
Also bewohnts Kirchn und dWeld stets
Mit grossem fleiß und stäter hut
Mann hüten sol der Meidlin gut
So noch seind Jungfrauwen ungefreit
Dann die Lieb legt in strick allzeit.

Notes:

1.  ‘Image of virgin Pallas’. Pallas Athene, virgin goddess and protectress of the city of Athens, represented with helmet, spear and aegis. Pallas Athene was equated with Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. Pausanias, Periegesis 1.24.7 mentions such a statue with a snake.

2.  See Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.20.3: ‘the snake with its keen and ever-watchful sight has assigned to it the custodianship of temples, shrines, oracles and treasures.’ Ancient Greek holy sites often housed a snake.

3.  ‘Love lays his snares on every side’ - a proverbial saying.


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