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DULCIA QUANDO-
que amara fieri.

Sweetness turns at times to bitterness

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Matre procul licta paulum secesserat infans,
Lydius[1], hunc dirae sed rapuistis apes.
Venerat hic ad vos placidas ratus esse volucres,
Cum nec ita imitis vipera saeva foret.
Que [=Quae] datis ah dulci stimulos pro munere mellis,
Proh dolor, heu sine te gratia nulla datur.[2]

A Lydian babe had strayed some way off, leaving his mother at a distance, but you made away with him, you dreadful bees. He had come to you, thinking you harmless winged creatures, yet a merciless viper would not be as savage as you. Instead of the sweet gift of honey, ah me, you give stings. Ah pain, without you, alas, no delight is granted.

Notes:

1.  This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.548 , where a baby, called Hermonax, is stung to death. See also Anthologia graeca 9.302 for another epigram treating the same incident.


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IN EUM QUI SIBI IPSI[1]
damnum apparat.

One who brings about his own downfall

Capra lupum non sponte meo nunc ubere lacto,
Quod male pastoris provida cura iubet.[2]
Creverit ille simul, mea me post ubera pascet,
Improbitas nullo flectitur obsequio.[3]

I am a goat giving suck against my will - to a wolf. The improvident kindness of the shepherd makes me do this. Once the wolf has grown, after feeding at my teats, he will then eat me. Wickedness is never deterred by services rendered.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: ‘ipsi’ omitted.

2.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.47. For the content cf. Aesop, Fables 313-5.

3.  ‘Wickedness is never deterred by services rendered’. See Erasmus, Adagia 1086, Ale luporum catulos.


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