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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B3v]

TUMULUS MERETRICIS.

The courtesan’s tomb

Quis tumulus? cuia urna? Ephyreae est Laidos,[1] & ni [=non]
Erubuit tantum perdere parca[2] decus?
Nulla fuit tum forma illam iam carpserat aetas,
Iam speculum Veneri cauta dicarat[3] anus.
Quid scalptus sibi vult Aries[4] quem parte leaena,
Unguibus apprensum posteriore tenet?
Non aliter captos quod & ipsa teneret amantes,
Vir gregis est aries clune tenetur amans.

What tomb, whose urn is this? - It belongs to Lais of Ephyre. - Ah, was not the goddess of Fate ashamed to destroy such loveliness? - She had no beauty then. Age had already worn it away. She had become an old woman and had already wisely dedicated her mirror to Venus. - What’s the meaning of the ram carved there, which a lioness holds tight, gripping its hind-quarters with her claws? - It is there because she too would hold her captive lovers in just this way. The male of the flock is the ram. The lover is held by the buttocks.

Notes:

1.  ‘Lais of Ephyre’. Ephyre is an old name for Corinth, the home of several famous courtesans called Lais.

2.  One of the Parcae or Fates, here presumably Atropos, the Fate who cut off the thread of the individual’s life.

3.  As a symbol of retirement, the tools of one’s trade were dedicated to the presiding deity. For Lais dedicating her mirror to Venus, see Anthologia graeca 6.1 and 18.

4.  Scalptus...aries, ‘the ram carved there’. Pausanias Periegesis 2.2.4 describes such a tomb of Lais at Corinth.


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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D3v p54]

Obdurandum adversus urgentia.

Stand firm against pressure.

EMBLEMA XXXVI.

Nititur in pondus palma, & consurgit in arcum;
Qụ magis & premitur, hoc mage tollit onus:[1]
Fert & odoratas, bellaria dulcia, glandes,[2]
Queis mensas inter primus habetur honos.
I puer, & reptans ramis has collige: mentis
Qui constantis erit, praemia digna feret.

The wood of the palm-tree counteracts a weight and rises up into an arch. The heavier the burden pressing it down, the more it lifts it up. The palm-tree also bears fragrant dates, sweet dainties much valued when served at table. Go, boy, edge your way along the branches and gather them. The man who shows a resolute spirit will receive an appropriate reward.

Notes:

1.  The reaction of palm to a heavy weight is mentioned in various ancient sources, e.g. Pliny, Natural History 16.81.223; Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 3.6. See also Erasmus, Parabolae p.263. It probably refers to a plank of palm-wood, rather than a branch of the living tree.

2.  See Erasmus, Parabolae p.241: ‘the palm-tree, having bark with knife-sharp edges, is difficult to climb, but it bears delicious fruit’.


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