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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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    In mortem praeproperam.

    Untimely death

    CXII.

    Qui teneras forma allicuit[1] torsitque puellas,
    Pulchrior & tota nobilis urbe puer,
    Occidit ante diem, nulli mage flendus Aresti
    Qum tibi, cui casto iunctus amore fuit.
    Ergo illi tumulum tanti monumenta doloris
    Astruis, & querulis vocibus astra feris.
    Me sine abis dilecte? neque amplis ibimus un?
    Nec mecm in studiis otia grata teres?
    Sed te terra teget, sed fati Gorgonis ora,
    Delphinesque tui signa dolenda dabunt.

    That handsome lad, famed throughout all the city, who attracted and tormented tender-hearted girls with his beauty, has perished before his time, mourned by no one more than you, Arestius, to whom he was joined in chaste affection. Therefore you build him a tomb as a memorial of such great love and assail the heavens with cries of grief: Beloved, are you gone away without me? Shall we never be together again? Will you never again spend happy leisure hours with me in study? But the earth will cover you, a Gorgon’s head and dolphins shall provide doleful symbols of your fate.

    COMMENTARIA.

    Lamentatur mortem praematuram nobilis
    euiusdam pulcherrimique iuvenis, qui Aresti
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [m5v p186]syncero amore, singularique amicitia coniun-
    ctus fuerat. ideoque tum floridam eius aeta-
    tem, tum etiam unicam dilectionem amar
    luget, & in signum ingentis doloris tumulum
    sibi extruit. Exclamans qud non solm ille
    verm etiam Gorgonis ora & Delphines mi-
    serabile eius fatum deflebunt, fuere autem
    Gorgones, sorores pulcherrimae puellae filiae
    Phorci, insulas Dorcadas in Oceano Aethio-
    pico
    inhabitantes, quarum una Medusa solo
    aspectu homines in lapides permutasse fer-
    tur, quod propter eius summam pulchritudi-
    nem fictum est, de qua Ovidius lib. 4. Metamorphoseon.
    Delphines autem pueros mirum in modum
    adamasse, eorumque interitum (ob desiderium)
    dolenda moestitia deplorasse. Autor est Plinius
    lib. 9. cap. 8. Mors omnia aequat, absque aliquo
    respectu, iuvenesque senesque speciosos atque
    deformes rapit, ut venust Ovidius in consola-
    tione ad Liviam de morte Drusii,

    Fortuna arbitriis tempus dispensat ubique
    Illa rapit iuvenes, sustulit illa senes.
    Quaque ruit furibunda ruit totumque per orbem
    Fulminat & caecis caeca triumphat equis.

    Notes:

    1. Textual variant: allexit.


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