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Section: MATRIMONIUM (Marriage). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[N7v p206]

Reverentiam in matrimonio

Respect is required in marriage

Cým furit in Venerem: pelagi se in littore sistit
Vipera: & ab stomacho dira venena vomit.[1]
Muraenamque ciens, ingentia sibila tollit,
At subitÚ amplexus appetit illa viri.[2]
Maxima debetur thalamo reverentia, coniunx
Alternum debet coniugi & obsequium.[3]

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, and suddenly she comes to 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.There is a variant reading, At simul amplexum, ‘but she at the same time desires the embrace ...’.

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

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