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Fer simile ex Theocrito.[1]

Something more or less the same from Theocritus

XC

Alveolis dum mella legit, percussit Amorem
Furacem mala apes, & summis spicula liquit
In digitis, tumido gemit at puer anxius ungue,
Et quatit errabundus humum, Venerique dolorem
Indicat, & graviter queritur qud apicula parvum
Ipsa inferre animal tam noxia vulnera possit.
Cui ridens Venus, Hanc imitaris tu quoque dixit
Nate feram, qui das tot noxia vulnera parvus.

While he was taking honey from the hives, a vicious bee stung thieving Amor, and left its sting in the end of his finger. The boy in distress cried out as his finger-end swelled up. He ran about, stamping his foot, showed his hurt to Venus, and complained bitterly that a little bee, that tiny creature, could inflict such grievous wounds. Venus smiled at him and said, ‘You are like this creature, my son; small as you are you deal many a grievous wound’.

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COMMENTARIA.

Amor parvulus puer ad apes fort accesse-
rat, mites eas aviculas esse credens, mella fura-
turus, mox autem ab una in summo digitulo,
acerbissimo ictu laesus, ille dolorem graviter fe-
rens, gemit, decurrit, furit: ad Matrem denique plo
rans revertitur, inflatum digitum ostendens deque
acerbissimo ictu aviculae ade pusillae con-
queritur. Cui Venus subridens respondit, hanc
etiam tu fili mi aviculam imitaris, qui parvulus
es, noxia tamen & crudelia vulnera homini-
bus infers. Amor etsi parvus videatur ingen-
tia tamen haud rar mala excitat.

Notes:

1. 3rd-century BC bucolic poet, who may or may not have wrriten the Idylls (19, The Honey Stealer), of which this is a fairly close translation, in dactylic hexameters, as in the Greek original.


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Dulcia quandoque amara
fieri.

Sweetness turns at times to bitterness

LXXXIX.

Matre procul licta paulm secesserat infans
Lydius[1], hunc dirae sed rapuistis apes.
Venerat hic ad vos placidas ratus esse volucres,
Cm nec ita immitis vipera saeva foret.
Quae datis ah dulci stimulos pro munere mellis,
Proh dolor, heu sine te gratia nulla datur.[2]

A Lydian babe had strayed some way off, leaving his mother at a distance, but you made away with him, you dreadful bees. He had come to you, thinking you harmless winged creatures, yet a merciless viper would not be as savage as you. Instead of the sweet gift of honey, ah me, you give stings. Ah pain, without you, alas, no delight is granted.

COMMENTARIA.

Lydius infans, id est, Amor Cupido in Ly-
dia
natus (Lydos autem mortalium omnium
mollissimus & effoeminatissimos fuisse, refert
Leonicus, ex Clearcho lib. 3. cap. 95. de varia
historia) Cm paul longius Venere Matre
eius secessisset, ad apes venit, quae, dum mella
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [k2r p147] colligere vult, illum gravissimis ictibus inva-
dunt, ipseque fugiens pro dulci melle amaros
stimulos ad matrem revertens attulit. Doce-
mur vix unquam iucundi aliquid, absque dolo-
re sive molestia aliqua contingere, hinc vul-
go adagio dicitur, Ne quaere mollia ne dura
feras. apud Erasmum.

Notes:

1. This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.548 , where a baby, called Hermonax, is stung to death. See also Anthologia graeca 9.302 for another epigram treating the same incident.


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