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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I6r f57r]


Tumulus meretricis.

The courtesan’s tomb.


In dialogue form.

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 apprehendum [=apprehensum] posteriore tenet?
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I6v f57v]Non aliter captos quod & 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.


Huren Grab, In frag und antwort.

Wes ist das Grab? Wes ist der Stein?
Der Laidis von Ephyrein
Darff aber der todt also graß
Angreiffen die schön und zierlich was?
Sie war nimmer so schön gstalt
Sonder war wordn von jaren alt
Und hat schon auffgeopffert ebn
Den Spiegel Veneri und gebn
Was bedeut aber der Wider?
Dem die Löwin nacheilet sehr?
Und helt in also fest beim Schwantz?
Dhinden das er nit außreiß gantz?
Also hat sie gehalten im bandt
Die gegen ir waren entbrandt
Gleich wie die Löwin halten thut
Iren Bulen den Wider gut.


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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