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Ex pace ubertas.

Prosperity as the result of peace

EMBLEMA CLXXIX.

Grandibus ex spicis tenues contexe corollas,
Quas circum alterno palmite vitis eat.
His comptae Alcyones[1] tranquilli in marmoris unda
Nidificant, pullos involucresque fovent.
Laetus erit Cereri, Baccho quoque[2] fertilis annus,
AEquorei si rex alitis instar[3] erit.

From fat ears of corn weave supple garlands, and let the vine encircle them with alternating stems. Decked out with these the halcyon birds build their nests on the wave of the glassy sea, and cherish their unfledged chicks. - The year will be rich for Ceres and fertile for Bacchus too, if the king is the image of the bird of the sea.

Notes:

1. ‘halcyon birds’. For these see Aelian, De natura animalium 1.36; 9.17; Pliny, Natural History. 10.47.89-91; and for the legend of their transformation, Ovid, Metamorphoses 11, 410ff, esp. 728ff. Halcyons were supposed to build a nest and launch it on the sea at a time of calm peaceful weather provided for them about the time of the winter solstice. See Erasmus, Adagia 1552, Halcedonia sunt apud forum.

2. ‘for Ceres...and for Bacchus too’, i.e. rich with crops of corn and wine.

3. ‘is the image of the bird of the sea’, i.e. diffusing peace, love and concord. Before their metamorphosis into seabirds, Alcyone and her husband were a deeply loving royal couple ruling a peaceful country. This love persisted after the change, symbolised by the calm weather associated with their nesting.


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AMOR FILIORUM.

Love of one’s children

Ante diem vernam boreali cana palumbes,
Frigore nidificat, praecoqua & ova fovet.
Mollius & pulli ut iaceant sibi vellicat alas,
Ques nuda hyberno 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 offspring.

Notes:

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 [A50a070] notes for Procne, [A34a097] notes for Medea.


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