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In Pudoris statuam.

A statue of Modesty


Penelope desponsa sequi cupiebat Ulyssem,
Ni secus Icarius mallet habere pater.[1]
Ille Ithacam, hic offert Sparten: manet anxia virgo;
Hinc pater, inde viri mutuus urget amor.
Ergo sedens velat vultus, obnubit ocellos:
Ista verecundi signa pudoris erant.
Queis sibi praelatum Icarius cognovit Ulyssem,
Hocque Pudori aram schemate constituit.[2]

When Penelope was betrothed, she wished to go with Ulysses, except that her father Icarius would have preferred to have it otherwise. Ulysses offers Ithaca, her father Sparta. The girl is distressed: on opposite sides her father and the mutual love between her and her man make their claims on her. So she sits and covers her face, veils her eyes - those were the signs of seemly modesty. By them Icarius knew that Ulysses was preferred to himself, and he set up an altar to Modesty in this form.


1.  Most editions have a variant reading, Ni secum Icarius ...; ‘except that Icarius would have preferred to have her with him’.

2.  See Pausanias, Periegesis, 3.20.10, for this statue and the story behind it.

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