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Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan's tomb

Emblema lxxiiii.

Quis tumulus? cuia urna? Ephyraeae est Laidos,[1] ah: non
Erubuit tantum perdere Parca[2] decus?
Nulla fuit tum forma. illam iam carpserat aetas;
Iam speculum Veneri cauta dicarat[3] anus.
Quid scalptus sibi vult aries[4] quem parte leaena
Unguibus apprehensum posteriore tenet?
Non aliter captos qud & ipsa teneret amantes:
Vir gregis est aries, clune tenetur amans.

What tomb, whose urn is this? - It belongs to Lais of Ephyre. - Ah, was not the goddess of Fate ashamed to destroy such loveliness? - She had no beauty then. Age had already worn it away. She had become an old woman and had already wisely dedicated her mirror to Venus. - What’s the meaning of the ram carved there, which a lioness holds tight, gripping its hind-quarters with her claws? - It is there because she too would hold her captive lovers in just this way. The male of the flock is the ram. The lover is held by the buttocks.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [L9r f105r]

SEpulchro Ladis, scorti nobilissimi, leaena est
efficta partibus posterioribus arietem complexa:
quod procacitatem petulantimque meretricis in-
dicabat. Aries enim, animal stolidissimum ita scal-
ptum Leaena, repraesentat amatorem fatuum &
stolidum, qui blandae & dolosae dominae subserviat,
quque suam servitutem qum sit misera, non sen-
tiat. Leaena meretricena arguit.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [L9v f105v]

Sur la sepulture
d’une paillarde.

Dialogisme.

D. A Qui est ce tombeau? R. A Las de Corinthe,
La mort a t’elle os assaillir de sa poincte
Une si grand beaut, & de si grand renom?
R. Elle estoit ja trop vieille, & n’avoit que le nom,
Si qu’en fin comme acorte & fine, fut contrainte
Consacrer son miroir Venus sa grand’ Saincte.
D. Mais que veut ce Belier escorch, qu’au derriere
De ses pates retient une Lyonne fiere?
R. C’est que Las ainsi traittoit les amoureux
Tirez en ses filets captifs & langoureux.
Aussi dans le troupeau, le Belier est le masle:
Et l’amant retenu par l’endroit le plus sale.

SUr le sepulchre de Las, courtisanne fort
renommee, fut depeinte une Lyonne, qui
tenoit un belier par le derriere: ce que repre
sentoit la faon de faire effrontee & mali-
cieuse de ceste putain. Car le mouton qui
est une fort sotte beste, estant ainsi gratt par
la Lionne, signifie l’amoureux fat & niais,
qui se captive au joug d’une maistresse blan-
dissante & plene de piperies, & qui ne sent
combien telle servitude est miserable. La
Lyonne est prinse pour la paillarde.

Notes:

1. ‘Lais of Ephyre’. Ephyre is an old name for Corinth, the home of several famous courtesans called Lais.

2. One of the Parcae or Fates, here presumably Atropos, the Fate who cut off the thread of the individual’s life.

3. As a symbol of retirement, the tools of one’s trade were dedicated to the presiding deity. For Lais dedicating her mirror to Venus, see Anthologia graeca 6.1 and 18.

4. Scalptus...aries, ‘the ram carved there’. Pausanias Periegesis 2.2.4 describes such a tomb of Lais at Corinth.


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