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IN DEO LAETANDUM.

Joy is to be found in God

Aspice ut egregium[1] puerum Iovis alite pictor
Fecerit, Iliacum[2] summa per astra vehi.
Quis ne Iovem tactum puerili credat amore?
Dic haec Maeonius[3] finxerit unde senex?
Consilium mens atque dei cui gaudia praestant,
Creditur is summo raptus adesse Iovis.

See how the illustrator has shown the illustrious Trojan boy being carried through the highest heavens by the eagle of Jove. Can anyone believe that Jove felt passion for a boy? Explain how the aged poet of Maeonia came to imagine such a thing. It is the man who finds satisfaction in the counsel, wisdom and joys of God who is thought to be caught up into the presence of mighty Jove.

Notes:

1. In later editions the adjective is applied to the painter rather than Ganymede.

2. ‘The Trojan boy’, i.e. Ganymede, son of the Trojan prince, Tros, snatched away by the gods to be Jove’s cup-bearer. See Homer, Iliad 20.232ff, though the eagle is a post-Homeric addition. The Greek motto in the accompanying illustration, gannusthai medesi, means ‘to delight in counsels’, referring to a supposed etymology of the name Ganymedes, for which see Xenophon, Symposium 8.30.

3. ‘The aged poet of Maeonia’, i.e Homer. His place of activity is disputed. Chios or Smyrna is most likely - these are places in the central coastal area of Asia Minor, known as Lydia or Maeonia.


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Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan’s tomb

XXV.

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 apprensum 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.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E2r p67]

Einer huren begrebnu.

XXV.

Lais die schoen huer von Corinth
Ligt hie begraben in der gstalt,
Wie si in lieb all welt macht blind,
Also stet hye ein widder gmalt,
Den bey dem ar ein Lewin halt:
Der widder ist der gantzen hert
Ein man, und wie im gschicht gewalt,
Ist manchem schad von huern beschert.

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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