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Gratiae.

The Graces

VI.

Tres Charites Veneri assistunt, dominamque sequuntur.
Hincque voluptates, atque alimenta parant.
Laetitiam Euphrosyne, speciosum Aglaia nitorem.
Suadela est Pithus, blandus & ore lepos.[1]
Cur nudae? mentis quoniam candore venustas
Constat, & eximia simplicitate placet.
An quia nihil referunt ingrati atque arcula inanis,[2]
Est Charitum? qui dat munera, nudus eget.
Addita cur nuper pedibus talaria? bis dat
Qui cito dat,[3] minimi gratia tarda pretii est.
Implicitis ulnis cur vertitur altera? gratus
Foenerat, huic remanent una abeunte duae.[4]
Iuppiter iis genitor, coeli de semine divas
Omnibus acceptas edidit Eurynome.

The three Graces are attendant on Venus and follow their mistress. So they provide pleasures and pleasure’s nourishment. Euphrosyne brings gladness, Aglaia bright beauty; persuasion belongs to Peitho with winsome charm in speech. Why are they naked? Because loveliness consists in innocence of mind and commends itself by great simplicity. Or is it because the ungrateful make no return and the Graces’ treasure-chest is empty? He who gives gifts is stripped and needy. Why are there wings newly fastened to their feet? He gives twice who gives quickly. A favour granted late is of little value. Why does the second one link arms but turn her back to us? The man who shows gratitude gets more than he lays out; as one goes, two remain for him. Jupiter was their begetter; and Eurynome bore them, the divine offspring of the heavenly seed, goddesses loved by all mankind.

Notes:

1. The Latin words laetitia (gladness), nitor (beauty) and suadela (persuasion) are translations of the Greek names of the Graces, Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Peitho.

2. arcula inanis, ‘treasure-chest is empty’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 1812 (Simonidis cantilenae).

3. bis dat / Qui cito dat ‘He gives twice who gives quickly’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 791 (Bis dat qui cito dat).

4. Lines 9-12 express common sentiments, found e.g. in Seneca, De Beneficiis, passim. For the Graces especially, see Ibid., 1.3-4. See also Erasmus, Adagia, 1650 (Nudae Gratiae), where Erasmus associates the Graces with both friendship and ingratitude.


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    Foedera.

    Alliances.

    II.

    Hanc citharam, lembi quae forma halieutica[1] fertur,
    Vendicat & propriam Musa latina sibi,
    Accipe Dux, placeat nostrum hoc tibi tempore munus,
    Quo nova cum sociis foedera: inire paras.
    Difficile est, nisi docto homini, tot tendere chordas,
    Unaque si fuerit non bene tenta fides,
    Ruptave (quod facile est) perit omnis gratia conchae,
    Illeque praecellens cantus, ineptus erit.
    Sic Itali count proceres in foedera: concors,
    Nil est quod timeas, si tibi constet amor.
    At si aliquis desciscat (uti plerunque videmus)
    In nihilum illa omnis solvitur harmonia.

    This lute, which from its boat shape is called “halieutica”, my Latin Muse now claims for her own service. Receive it, O Duke. May this offering of mine be pleasing to you at this moment when you are preparing to enter into fresh agreements with your allies. It is difficult, except for a man of skill, to tune so many strings, and if one string is out of tune or broken, which so easily happens, all the music of the instrument is lost and its lovely song disjointed. In like manner the leaders of Italy are now forming alliances. There is nothing for you to fear if affection lasts for you and stays in concord. But if any one should slide away, which we often see, that harmony is all dissolved into nothing.

    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [B3r p21]

    Bundsgenossen.

    II.

    So du Furst yetz zu diser zeyt
    Machst newe bundnu, schenck ich dier
    Ein lautten, merck was die bedeyt,
    Und nim sy gnediklich von mier.
    Ein lautte hallt mit grosser zier,
    Soll nicht wo nur ein saytt abschnolt:
    Ein steter bund schreckt alle thier
    Gilt nicht, wo nur ein bundgno folt.

    Notes:

    1. A Greek word meaning ‘fishing’ (boat).


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