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Reverentiam in matrimonio requiri.

Respect is required in marriage


Cum furit in Venerem, pelagi se in littore sistit
Vipera, & ab stomacho dira venena vomit:[1]
Muraenamque ciens ingentia sibila tollit,
At simul amplexus appetit illa viri.
Maxima debetur thalamo reverentia: coniux
Alternum debet coniugi & obsequium.[2]

When the viper is sexually aroused, it stations itself on the sea-shore and ejects the dread poisons from its gut. To summon the moray eel, it raises a loud hissing, but she at the same time desires the embrace of her mate. - Great reverence is owed to the marriage bed, and the partners owe each other mutual respect.


1.  For the mating of the viper with the moray eel, see Pliny, Natural History 9.39.76; Aelian, De natura animalium 1.50; 9.66. The viper spits out the poison in order to be gentle and safe for the union.

2.  Some editions give a variant reading Aeternum ... obsequium, ‘never-ending respect’.

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