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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O3v p214]

Οὐκ ἔστι μιάσματος γῆρας.

Sin does not age

Ad Petrum Ramum.[1]

Caelicolum Aeneas regi dum in littore mactat
Taurum, aras viridi fronde operitque Deo.
Vellit humo virgulta, sed haec, mirabile dictu,
Emittunt guttas sanguinis, omen habent.[2]
Thrëicii regis facinus, Polydore, sepulchrum,
Omnes quod latuit, detegiturque tuum.[3]
Quod scelus est unquam commissum, quae loca, tempus
Id reticent: tandem quin patefiat opus?
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [O4r p215]Si taceant cuncti, lapides, sylvaeque loquuntur:
En caedem in poenas virga cruore vocat.
Hospitium Macareus violarat caede sacerdos,
Poena sed in natos mox recidiva fuit.[4]
Ob scelus invisi, quos versat prava voluntas,
Et toties mutat, quid probitatis habent?
Horrenda insequitur furiarum & conscia poena,
Cocyti aeternum perluet unda leves.
Non iure, aut lingua cedet Minois acumen,
Ante precor lapsis mens tamen ut redeat.

As Aeneas sacrifices a bull to the king of the Olympians, and prepares an altar with green branches for the god. He tears bushes from the soil, but these, marvellous to report, emit small drops of blood: they are an omen. O Polydorus, the crime of the Thracian King, your sepulchre concealed from all, is found. What sin is ever committed that place and time will hide, so that the deed will not be finally known to all? If all men are silent, the stones and woods will speak: see, the branch with blood calls murder to punishment. Macareus, the priest, violated guest-friendship with murder, but the punishment, revived, was soon to fall instead on his children. Those men who made hateful by their sins and turned now this way, now that, by a wicked will, and transformed time and again: what know they of goodness? They are pursued by the ever-remembering, terrible punishments of the Furies, and the water of Cocytus washes their weightless souls forever. The sharp eye of Minos will not yield to law or tongue: I beg, my mind, turn back from error before it is too late!

Notes:

1.  Pierre de la Ramée: French humanist, logician and educational reformer, founder of Ramism (d. 1572).

2.  The story of the bleeding bush is from Vergil, Aeneid, book 3.

3.  Polymestor, King of the Thracians, was entrusted with the safety of Polydorus, son of Priam of Troy (and a large amount of treasure), but he killed him for the treasure, and threw his body into the sea. His body was afterwards washed upon the coast, where it was found and recognised by his mother Hecabe, who together with other Trojan captives took vengeance upon Polymestor by killing his two children, and putting out his eyes. (Euripides, Hecuba; Vergil, Aeneid, 3.49.

4.  Macareus the Mitylenian was a priest of Bacchus who was entrusted with a large amount of a stranger’s gold, only to murder him when the stranger returned, and buried him in the temple (hoping the gods wouldn’t see). His sons were then involved in a temple sacrifice accident, and killed, as the body of the stranger was revealed. Aelian, Varia historia, 13.2.



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