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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [n6r p203]

Nupta contagioso.

A woman married to a diseased man

L.

Dii meliora piis,[1] Mezenti. cur agè sic me
Compellas?[2] emptus quòd tibi dote gener,
Gallica quem scabies,[3] dira & mentagra perurit.
Hoc est quidnam aliud, dic mihi saeve pater,
Corpora corporibus quàm iungere mortua vivis,
Efferaque Etrusci facta novare ducis?[4]

O Mezentius, God grant a better fate to the dutiful! - Now why do you address me by that name? - Because with a dowry you have purchased a son-in-law seared by the Gallic scab and the dreaded sore on the face. What else is this - o tell me, cruel father - but to join corpses to living bodies and repeat the savage deeds of the Etruscan leader?

Notes:

1.  Vergil, Georgics, 3.513.

2.  sic me compellas, ‘address me by that name’, i.e. Mezentius. This is explained below, note 4.

3.  Gallica...scabies, ‘the Gallic scab’: Osseous lesions caused by syphilis, which was epidemic in Europe following Charles VIII’s first Italian war. Spreading to the French army following its occupation of Naples (February 1495), it became known to the French as “the Neapolitan sickness”, to the Italians as “the French sickness.” It acquired its modern name from a mythological Latin poem on the subject by Girolamo Fracastoro, “Syphilis sive morbus gallicus”, a popular favourite first published in 1530. Fracastoro later used the name Syphilus (a mythical shepherd) when he contributed to the scientific literature on the disease (Liber I de sympathia et antipathia rerum, de contagione et contagiosis morbis, 1550). Note that here the French uses ‘un villain Podagre’ instead, which Cotgrave lists as the gout. Of the two corresponding emblems with this one, the 1549 edition uses verolle (pox), and 1615 uses podagre in the title and verolle in the verse.

4.  See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.483-88, for the crimes of Mezentius, the Etruscan king who opposed Aeneas on his arrival in Italy. He inflicted a dreadful fate on his victims by tying them face to face with a corpse and leaving them to die.


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    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q4r p247]

    La Mariée au contagieux.

    APOSTROPHE.

    Dieu doint aulx bons mieulx qu’a toy (O Mezence[1]),
    Qui achepté has gendre à grand despense:
    Vieulx, verollé, villain, plein d’impropere,
    Qu’est ce aultre chose (Or me dy cruel pere)
    Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [Q4v p248]Sinon corps vifz joindre aulx corps morts infectz
    Renouvellant du Duc Touscan les faictz.[2]

    Mezence Duc de Touscane par in-
    humaine cruaulté, faisoit lyer les hom
    mes vifz avec les corps morts & puans,
    & la languir jusque à la mort, telle-
    ment que le mort tuoit le vif. Laquelle
    inhumanite encore aujourdhuy exer-
    cent plusieurs peres, meres, & parens,
    qui marient inseparablement leurs filles
    belles saines, & entieres, à gens verol-
    léz, corrompuz, ladres, puans, podagres,
    & vivantes charoignes, sans povoir,
    ne espoir de se separer, mais à neces-
    sité de la languir jusqu’à la mort. De
    laquelle cruaulté des Peres & Meres
    envers leurs enfans: n’en est point de
    plus grande, toutesfois dequoy on
    tienne moins de compte. Sur quoy
    Erasme ha faict le beau dialogue.
    ΑΓΑΜΟΣ ΓΑΜΟΣ.

    Notes:

    1.  Vergil, Georgics, 3.513.

    2.  See Vergil, Aeneid, 8.483-88, for the crimes of Mezentius, the Etruscan king who opposed Aeneas on his arrival in Italy. He inflicted a dreadful fate on his victims by tying them face to face with a corpse and leaving them to die.


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