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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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    ἐχθρῶν ἄδωρα δῶρα. In do-
    na hostium.[1]

    The gifts of enemies are no gifts. On the gifts of enemies.

    CXIII.

    Bellorum cepisse ferunt monumenta vicissim
    Scutiferum Aiacem Hectoraque Iliacum.
    Balthea Priamides, rigidum Telamonius ensem,
    Instrumenta suae cepit uterque necis.
    Ensis enim Aiacem confecit, at Hectora functum
    Traxere Aemoniis cingula nexa rotis.
    Sic titulo obsequii quae mittunt hostibus hostes
    Munera, venturi praescia fata ferunt.[2]

    The story tells that shield-bearing Ajax and Hector of Troy exchanged souvenirs of battle. Priam’s son took the sword-belt, Telamon’s descendant the rigid sword, each accepting the instrument of his own death. For the sword destroyed Ajax, and the belt, attached to Thessalian wheels, dragged the dead Hector. So the gifts which enemies give to enemies, seemingly doing honour, knowing what is to come, bring doom.

    COMMENTARIA.

    Fertur Aiacem (qui inter Graecorum Du-
    ces post Achillem omnium fortissimus exti-
    tit, de quo etiam plura supr in Embl. 38.[3] di-
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [m6v p188]citur autem scutiferus quia scutum seu cly-
    peum habuit septem boum coriis tectum, ut
    testatur Ovidius lib. 13. Metamorphoseon in principio
    inquiens, Surgit ad hos clypei dominus se-
    ptemplicis Aiax.) & Hectorem Troianorum
    principem praestantissimum, mutu bellica
    dona dedisse, hic ensem egregium, ille ver
    cingulum militare ornatissimum exhibuit, &
    uterque suae mortis instrumentum accepit.
    Aiax enim gladio semetipsum interemit, ut
    apud Ovidium in dicto lib. 13. Metamorphoseon Hector
    ver ab Achille superatus, cingulo illo ad
    currum religatus ac circa urbis moenia tra-
    ctus, misereque laceratus fuit. de quo Homerus
    & Vergilius lib. 1. Aeneidos. Ter circum Iliacos
    raptaverat Hectora muros. & prolixius haec
    supr Emblem. 57.[4] Sic plerunque mune-
    ra, quae licet sub specie obsequio-
    rum hosti ab hoste missa,
    futuras calamita-
    tes praesa-
    giunt.
    FINIS LIBRI PRIMI.

    Notes:

    1. The gifts of enemies are no gifts. See Sophocles, Ajax 665, where Ajax so speaks of the ill-fated sword he had received from Hector.

    2. See Homer Iliad 7.299, for the occasion in the Trojan War when Hector (the Trojan hero, son of Priam) and Ajax (Telamon’s descendant, one of the best fighters on the Greek side) met in single combat and afterwards, the honours being even, exchanged gifts. (Ajax was carrying the vast shield for which he was famed). Later, he committed suicide by falling on the sword he received from Hector ([A56a038] notes and [A56a223] notes). Hector was later killed in single combat by Achilles (prince of Thessaly, the Greek champion), who desecrated the body by tying it behind his chariot (it is suggested here that he used the sword-belt Hector had received from Ajax) and dragging it about before the eyes of the Trojans. See [A56a057].

    3. See [A56a038]

    4. See [A56a057]


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