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Immune to Cupid’s dart

Ne dirus te vincat amor, neu foemina mentem
Diripiat magicis artibus ulla tuam.
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [B6v]Bacchica avis praesto tibi motacilla paretur,
Quam quadriradiam circuli in orbe loces.
Ore crucem & cauda, & geminis ut complicet alis,[1]
Tale amuletum carminis omnis erit.
Dicitur hoc Veneris signo Pegasaeus Iason,
Phasiacis laedi non potuisse dolis.[2]

To prevent merciless love overcoming you, to prevent any woman plundering your mind with magic arts, provide yourself with a wagtail, bird of Bacchus. Place it spread four ways within the sphere of a circle, so that it forms the arms of a cross with its beak, tail and paired wings. Such a thing will be an amulet against all magic spells. Through this figure, the gift of Venus, it is said that Jason of Pagasae became immune to the wiles of Phasis.


1.  These lines describe the rhombos, a device used in casting love-spells. The bird usually employed was a wryneck, associated with Bacchus, possibly because of its dappled markings. (Cf. the dappled fawns associated with the god.) The wagtail seems to have been confused with the wryneck in folk belief.

2.  Pagasa (or Pagasae) was the place in Thessaly where the ship Argo was built, in which the Argonauts, led by Jason, sailed to Colchis in the region round the river Phasis to fetch the Golden Fleece. In this and in other tasks imposed on them by the king of Phasis they were helped by the sorceress Medea, daughter of the king. Instructed by Venus, Jason used the rhombos to cause Medea to fall in love with him and so use her spells to help, not harm, him. See Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.216ff.

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