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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B6r p27]

MULIEREM TANGERE, MALUM.

TOUCH A WOMAN AND REGRET IT

Rusticus algentem boreali frigore Faunum
In sua deduxit tecta, laremque foci.
Montano Satyro (quem nunquam viderat) ignu [=ignis]
Pulcher, & aspectu visus amabilis est.
Viderat hic Solem: similem esse videbat & ignem
Soli: quo quid habet Mundus amabilius?
Ergo ratus Solem media fornace camini
Illapsum domui, semiferus Satyrus:
Protinus amplecti voluit, dare & oscula flammae.
Rusticus at cohibens, hunc ita corripuit.
Parce. nisi abstineas tibi barba cremabitur, Hirce.
Quodque vides pulchrum: noveris esse nocens.
Namque videre procul iuvat: at propè tangere laedit.
Contactu abstineas: intuitu fruere.[1]
Haec adolescentes lascivos fabula, pulchrae
A Veneris flammis admonet abstineant.
Pulchram etenim formam, sub qua muliebre venenum est:
Ut vidisse placet: sic tetigisse nocet.

A peasant led Faunus, suffering from the North Wind’s chill, to his hut and the altar of his hearth. To the mountain satyr the fire (which he had never seen) was fair and lovely to look upon. He had seen the sun; he thought the fire, too, was like the sun; for what is lovelier in the world than that? So, thinking that the sun had come down to the middle of the hearth-oven, the half-wild satyr instantly wanted to embrace it and kiss the flame. But the peasant seized him and held him back. “Hold off, Billy-goat! Unless you stop now, your beard will burn! Now you see it as fair, but you’ll know it’s dangerous. It’s good to look at from afar, but hurts you if you touch it. Hold off from touching, and enjoy with looking.” This fable warns lustful young men to avoid the flames of fair Venus. For a lovely shape, concealing female poison beneath, is pleasing to see, but pain to touch.

Notes:

1.  This story seems very resonent of Aesop’s The Satyr and his Guest, but in that story it is the human who is lost in a wintry forest, and the human’s ability to both warm thing up and cool things down with his breath that startles the satyr (Avianus version, no. 29, ‘de viatore et fauno’).



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