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Garrulitas.

Garrulity.

LXXIII [=74] .

Quid matutinos Progne mihi garrula somnos
Rumpis,[1] & obstrepero Daulias ore canis?
Dignus epops Tereus, qui maluit ense putare
Qum linguam immodicam stirpitus eruere.[2]

Procne, why do you disturb my morning slumbers with your chattering? Why, bird of Daulis, sing with never-ceasing voice? Tereus deserved to become a hoopoe, for he preferred to lop off with a sword your unrestrained tongue, rather than tear it out by the roots.

Notes:

1. garrula somnos rumpis, ‘disturb my...slumbers with your chattering’. See Aelian, De natura animalium, 9.17: “the swallow, an uninvited guest, saddening the dawn with her chattering and interrupting the sweetest part of our slumbers.”

2. Procne and Philomela were daughters of Pandion, king of Athens. Tereus, king of Daulis (town in Phocis) married Procne and had a son (Itys) by her. He raped her sister Philomela and cut out her tongue to prevent her telling of his misdeeds. She managed however to send a message to her sister Procne (through weaving it into a tapestry), who took her revenge by cooking Itys and serving him up as a meal to his father. When Tereus pursued them with a sword, Philomela was turned into a swallow, Procne into a nightingale and Tereus into a hoopoe. In Latin writers the names are often reversed, with Procne becoming a swallow (as here), Philomela a nightingale. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 6.424ff, especially 555-7.


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    • song-birds: swallow [25F32(SWALLOW)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Prolixity, Verbosity, Loquacity; 'Loquacità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [52D4(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
    • Philomela, Procne and Tereus changed into nightingale, swallow, hoopoe (or hawk): Tereus seeks to kill Philomela and Procne for having slain his son; in their flight the two sisters are changed into a nightingale and a swallow; Tereus is changed into a ho [97DD23(+0)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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    Lascivia.

    Wantonness

    LXXI [=72] .

    Delicias, & mollitiem mus creditur albus
    Arguere, at ratio non sat aperta mihi est.[1]
    An qud ei natura salax, & multa libido est?
    Ornat Romanas an quia pelle nurus?
    Sarmaticum murem vocitant plerique zibellum,[2]
    Et celebris suavi est unguine muscus Arabae.[3]

    The white mouse is supposed to represent self-indulgence and licentiousness, but the reason is not very clear to me. Is it because it is highly sexed and has strong sexual appetities? Or because it adorns Roman women with its fur? Many people call the civet-cat the Sarmatian mouse, and famous for its sweet oil is the Arabian musk.

    Notes:

    1. The white mouse was a proverbial example of the effeminate and the promiscuous. See the Suda s.v. mus, and Apostolius, Proverbs, 11,87, who also reports its sexual proclivities.

    2. zibellum, ‘civet cat’, one source of musk, an ingredient in many perfumes. Sarmatia was the region north of the Black Sea.

    3. murem...muscus, ‘mouse...musk’. The words ‘mouse’ and ‘musk’ (late Latin muscus) are connected, from the mouse-shaped sac of the male animals which produce musk. Some plants have a musky smell. Muscus also means ‘moss’ - Arabia was famous for plants which produced aromatic gums (e.g. incense and nard).


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