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Love of one’s children

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


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, [A31a097] notes for Medea.

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