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Love of one’s children

Emblema. 192.

Ante diem bernam [=vernam] boreali cana palumbes
Frigore nidificat, praecoqua & ova fovet.
Mollius & pulli ut iaceant, sibi vellicat alas,
Queis nuda hiberno deficit ipsa gelu.[1]
Ecquid Colchi pudet, vel te Procne improba? mortem
Cum volucris propriae prolis amore subit?[2]

Before the day of spring, the wood-pigeon, all white with winter snow, builds her nest and cherishes her premature eggs. To make her chicks lie more softly, she plucks her own wing-feathers, and stripped of them, she herself perishes from the wintry frost. Woman of Colchis, do you feel any shame? Or you, heartless Procne? - when a bird submits to death out of love for her own off-spring.


1.  This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.95.

2.  Both Medea (the woman of Colchis) and Procne killed their own children. They are the legendary infamous child-killers. See [A15a070] n. for Procne, [A15a054] n. for Medea.

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