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Bestia noxia sus, quae spes intercipit anni:[1]
Viva nocet tantým mortua tota iuvat.
Ergo ubi mactatur brumali mense Decembri:
Purpureamque animam guttura secta vomunt:
Vir Mulier, Pueri impexi innuptaeque Puellae
Conveniunt, gaudent, Laetaque flamma micat.
Dividitur corpus membratim, Otaria, Pernae,
Cauda, caput, xenio distribuenda novo.
Flatilis in partem vesica venit puerorum.
Caetera proficuis exta parata cibis.
Sic ubi quis periit Epicuri[2] de grege porcus:
Cui Deus est venter: pro sale cui anima:
Omnia qui vivus vertit sursum, atque dťorsum:
Congereret ventri quo malŤ versa suo:
Plauditur. & cunctis eius gratissima mors est:
Qui vixit coeno deditus, atque gulae.
Nam multi pascuntur eo, quo pinguit unus.
Cým corpus multis unius interiit
Incipit & prodesse simul, cým desinit esse
Ignavus vivens, mortuus utilior.

The BEAST is a dangerous sow who cuts off the hope of the year: alive, she only harms; while dead, she helps with every part. So, once she’s cut down in the solstitial month of December and her throat pours out life’s scarlet frothy breath, man and wife, uncombed boys and unmarried girls come together, rejoice, and the auspicious flame leaps high. Her body is butchered limb by limb; her ears, hams, tail,and head are to be distributed anew as presents. Her inflated bladder goes to the children; the rest of her innards are made into healthy food. SO THUS, whenever any man of Epicurus’ sty should pass away - a man whose god is his stomach, and for whom life and breath are as salt - who while alive turns everything topsy-turvy to pile it all bottoms-up in his belly, applause breaks out, and his death is very welcome to all and sundry, for he devotes himself to filth and the gullet. For many men live off what goes to fatten one, when the body of one perishes for the many. He begins to help when he ceases to be: slothful in life, more useful when he’s dead.


1.i.e., the harvest; cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.113.

2.Epicurus: moral and natural philosopher (4th century BC), stressed materialism, pleasure and anti-superstition.

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