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CONCORDIA.

Concord

Cornicum mira inter se concordia vitae est
Inque vicem nunquam contaminata fides.[1]
Hinc volucres has[2] sceptra gerunt quod scilicet omnes.
Consensu populi stantque caduntque duces
Quem si de medio tollas discordia praeceps
Advolat & secum regia fata trahit.

Marvellous is the unanimity between crows as they live together, and their loyalty to each other, never dishonoured! For this reason the sceptre carries these birds. Assuredly all leaders stand and fall by the consent of the people. If you take away consent, tumultuous discord comes flying in and drags kings down in its wake.

Notes:

1. See Aelian, De natura animalium 3.9. on the mutual love and loyalty of crows.

2. Textual variant: haec.


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Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan’s tomb

Quis tumulus? cuia urna? Ephyraeae est Laidos,[1] & 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 appraensum posteriore tenet?
Non aliter captos qud & 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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