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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A7v p14]

MATRIMONII TYPUS.

A FIGURE OF MATRIMONY

Corpore sit duplicis formae Hermaphroditus in uno
Unáque sit facies foeminae, & una viri.
Oscula dein, gemino velut ore reciproca dentur:
Quae blando alternae sunt in amore vices.
Hinc utrunque Sophos carnem unam dicat: at inde
(Dum pugnant:) Satyrus rideat esse duos.
Carne quòd esse duos cornutus Hebraeus[1] in una
Iusserit: hoc corpus denotat Androgynon.
At quòd non deceant divisos iurgia sponsos:
Id Satyrus μῶρος qui reprehendat: adest.
Casibus adversis solatia utrinque ferendis,
Sintque decussatim[2] brachia iuncta cruce.
Sic ut dactylion dextro super ubere laeva,
Corque sinistro habeat dextra manus latere,
Ille fidem sponsam, vivacem hoc signat amorem.
Unà ut conveniant hinc amor, inde fides.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [A8r p15]Tum laqueus cingens (ὃς δεσμὸς ἐκούσιος ἐστὶ)
A capite usque pedes pendeat implicitus.
Sic tamen ut velet nodo coëunte pudenda.
Et notam sexus non sinat esse notam
Nempe maritalis, nodusque uxorius: ambo
Dum coëunt: tecto membra pudore ligant.
Folliculusque iugo super impositus caput ornet.
Tum quia suave iugum: tum leve quòd sit onus.
Porrò, frugiferis iuxtà stet frondibus arbos:
In cuius ramis plurima sidat avis.
Rostra insertantes, atque oribus ora columbi.
Et satis ex una, Turture Turtur habens.
Proque suo foetu plumis spoliata Palumbis.
Concordi Cornix in grege semper agens.
Pellicanus item transfigens pectora, vitam
Qui pullis proprio sanguine restituit.
Arbor stirpe ferens fructum genitalibus arvis,
Connubium est: pulchro germine prolificum.
Morigerum officium misto notat ore Columbus.
At Turtur fidi signa pudoris habet.
Inque suos pietas deplume notata palumbe est.
Concordes cornix signat amicitias.
Tum Pellicanus cor rodens, cura parentum est.
Qua se pro natis (quos genuere) necant.
Denique Fit campo procul apparente πάρεργον
Σὺν τὲ δὺ’ ἐρχομένω bubsequa bobus arans.[3]
Isque, sit aequalis munus commune laboris.
Compar & augendae sollicitudo rei.
Haec est coniugii bene convenientis imago
Signum in legitimo connubiale thoro.

Let there be a Hermaphrodite of double shape in a single body; and let one face be a woman’s, the other a man’s. Let kisses then be given and taken as if with a twin mouth: which are the shared exchanges of sweet love. Let, on the one side, the Sage say that both are one flesh; but on the other (when they fight), let the satyr laugh that they are two. For the horned Jew commanded that they be two in a single flesh; this body is what the Androgyne expresses. But since it is not right that wedded folk should quarrel, the silly satyr is there to find fault with this. And because they show consolation to each other in bad times, let their arms be linked in a ten-shaped cross, so that the left hand’s ring be over the right breast, and the right cover the heart on the left side. The one means true-pledged faith, the other long-lived love, so that the two, from one side faith, from the other love, might meet. Then let a rope bound tight about hang down from head to foot entangled - voluntary this bond - but so as to cover the pubes with entwined knot. And let not it (the husband’s knot and the wife’s) allow a sign of sex to be a sign: when the two have intercourse they bind their limbs together, but cover their shame. And let a sack placed above the yoke adorn the head; first, for the yoke is pleasureful; then, for the burden is light. Then, let a fruitful TREE stand near, in whose branches many a bird shall sit: doves kissing with their beaks and faces, each turtle finding satisfaction in her turtle dove, and the wood-pigeon, stripped of feathers for his young, and the crow, who lives always in a peaceful crowd. Next, a pelican stabbing his breast, who with his own blood restored his little one to life. The tree, bearing on its trunk the fruits of the mothering earth is marriage, prolific with fair offspring. The he-dove expresses the duty of obedience with melded mouth, but the turtle dove is a mark of true chastity. And the featherless wood pigeon is a mark of care for those we love, while the crow signifies harmonious friendships. The pelican, chewing on his heart, is parental care, for they kill themselves for the children they have engendered. FINALLY in the field far behind, a second scene takes place, a herdsman ploughing with two oxen. He does the equal work of shared labour and a like concern for making wealth grow. This is an apt symbol for well-grounded marriage in a wedding-bed blessed by law.

Notes:

1.  ‘the horned Jew’: the image of Moses based on the mis-translation of the Hebrew word for ‘rays’ lingered on long after Humanist scholars had pointed out the error (Exodus 34:29-35).

2.  decussatim: lit. ‘like a Roman ten’ (X).

3.  The sentence is in fact completely ungrammatical: the Greek dual cannot be integrated into the Latin; the Greek words are in the nominative, the latin in the ablative. The Greek tag is from Homer, Iliad, 10.224; cf. Plato, Symposium, 174d2.



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