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REVERENTIAM IN MATRIMO
NIO REQUIRI .

Respect is required in marriage

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Cum furit in Venerem, pelagi se in littore sistit,
Vipera, & ab stomacho dira venena vomit.
Murenamque ciens ingentia sybila tollit,
At subito amplexus appetit illa viri.[1]
Maxima debetur thalamo reverentia, coniunx,
Alterum debet coniugi & obsequium.

When the viper is sexually aroused, it stations itself on the seashore and ejects the dread poisons from its gut. To summon the moray eel, it raises a loud hissing, and suddenly she comes to the embrace of her mate. - Great reverence is owed to the marriage bed, and the partners owe each other mutual respect.

Notes:

1.  For the mating of the viper with the moray eel, see Pliny, Natural History 9.39.76; Aelian, De natura animalium 1.50; 9.66. The viper spits out the poison in order to be gentle and safe for the union.


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AMICITIA ETIAM POST
mortem durans.[1]

Friendship lasting even beyond death

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Arentem senio, nudam quoque frondibus ulmum,
Complexa est viridi vitis opaca coma.[2]
Agnoscitque vices naturae & grata parenti,
Officii reddit mutua iura suo,
Exemploque monet, tales nos quaerere amicos,
Quos neque disiungat foedere summa dies.

A vine shady with green foliage embraced an elm tree that was dried up with age and bare of leaves. The vine recognises the changes wrought by nature and, ever grateful, renders to the one that reared it the duty it owes in return. By the example it offers, the vine tells us to seek friends of such a sort that not even our final day will uncouple them from the bond of friendship.

Notes:

1.  See Erasmus’ famous variations on this theme in De copia (CWE 24. pp. 354-64).

2.  In ancient Italy young vines were often supported by elm trees. See Vergil, Georgics 1.2.


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