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Dulcia quandoque amara fieri.

Sweetness turns at times to bitterness

Matre procul licta paulum secesserat infans
Lydius[1], hunc dirae sed rapuistis apes.
Venerat hic ad vos placidas ratus esse volucres,
Cm nec ita immitis vipera saeva foret.
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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REMEDIA IN ARDUO MALA.
in prono esse.

Remedies are hard, damage is easy

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Aetheriis postquam deiecit sedibus Aten,
Iupiter[1] heu vexat qum mala noxa viros.
Evolat haec pedibus celer & pernicibus alis,
Intactumque nihil casibus esse sinit.
Ergo litae proles Iovis hanc comitantur euntem,[2]
Sarcturae quicquid fecerit illa mali.
Sed quia segnipedes strabae[3] lassaeque senecta,
Nil nisi post longo tempore restituunt.[4]

Once Jupiter had cast Ate down from the heavenly abode, what an evil bane thereafter assailed poor man! Ate flies out fleet of foot with fast-beating wing and leaves nothing untouched by mishap. So Jove’s daughters, the Litae, accompany her as she goes, to mend whatever ill she has brought about. But they are slow-footed, poor of sight and weary with age, and so they restore nothing until later, after long passage of time.

Notes:

1. ‘Jupiter had cast Ate down’. See Homer, Iliad 19. 125ff.

2. ‘the Litae accompany her’. See Homer, Iliad 9.502ff. Ate means ‘Mischief’, Litae, ‘Prayers’. Ate was cast out of Olympus to bring harm to mankind, a personification of humans being led astray. The Litae were a personification of prayers offered in repentance.

3. Textual variant: luscae.

4. The woodcut is puzzling. Possibly the monster is supposed to represent Ate; in later editions she appears as a harpy-like figure. The Litae feature, in later editions, as old women. The old man presumably represents the suffering of mankind.


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  • walking - AA - female human figure [31AA2711] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Slow Motion (+ emblematical representation of concept) [51MM1(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Viciousness, Naughtiness (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA6(+4):54D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Revenge, Requital, Retaliation; 'Vendetta' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [57AA741(+4):54DD4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Jupiter seizes Ate by her hair and hurls her down from Olympus, possibly because of the delayed birth of Hercules (+ variant) [92B143(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • other lesser deities of Heaven ~ destiny, fate, adversity: Litae [92G7(LITAE)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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