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Amicitia etiam post mortem

Friendship lasting even beyond death

Arentem senio, nudam quoque frondibus ulmum,
Complexa est viridi vitis opaca coma.[2]
Agnoscitque vices naturae, & grata parenti
Officii reddit mutua iura suo.
Exemploque monet, tales nos quaerere amicos,
Quos neque disiungat foedere summa dies.

A vine shady with green foliage embraced an elm tree that was dried up with age and bare of leaves. The vine recognises the changes wrought by nature and, ever grateful, renders to the one that reared it the duty it owes in return. By the example it offers, the vine tells us to seek friends of such a sort that not even our final day will uncouple them from the bond of friendship.

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Amytie durant apres mort.

Au temps que jeune estoit la vigne
Elle fut soustenue de lorme,
(Qui destre ayme se rend bien digne)
A quoy la vigne fut conforme:
Car au temps quil devint disforme,
Voire mort, sa vigne lembrasse:
Cherchez donc amy de tel forme,
Dont lamour pour mort ne sefface.


1.See Erasmus’ famous variations on this theme in De copia (CWE 24. pp. 354-64).

2.In ancient Italy young vines were often supported by elm trees. See Vergil, Georgics 1.2.

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