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Senex puellam amans.

An old man in love with a girl


Dum Sophocles (quamvis affecta aetate) puellam
A questu Archippen ad sua vota trahit,
Allicit & pretio, tulit aegrè insana iuventus
Ob Zelum, & tali carmine utrumque notat:
Noctua ut in tumulis, super utque cadavera bubo;
Talis apud Sophoclem nostra puella sedet.[1]

When Sophocles, in spite of his advanced years, induced the courtesan [Aganippe] to fulfil his desires, winning her over by the reward he offered, Archippus [her lover, the comic poet] was filled with indignation. Mad with jealousy, he lampooned both of them with this verse: As a night owl perches on a tomb, as an eagle owl on corpses, so my girl sits with Sophocles.


1.  A story taken from Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 13.592b. Sophocles is the great tragic poet, of whom several such tales were told. He made Aganippe the beneficiary under his will. But Alciato (and so his translators) confuse Aganippe (the courtesan) with Archippus (the comic poet).

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View emblem in Mason Tung: Variorum Edition of Alciato. (PDF)

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