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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C7v p46]


Amoris ignis perpetuus.

The undying flame of love.

Hinc taedam ut suus ignis edat teretem, vide
Illinc ut rapido male liquitur ŕ rogo.
Visae tabet amans miser igne puellulae:
Absens tabifico haud minůs ulcere carpitur.

See how on the one side its own flame is consuming the smooth torch, And on the other how badly it is being melted by the fast-burning bonfire. The unhappy lover is consumed away by the fire of seeing the girl he loves: But when he’s parted from her he’s no less eaten up by wasting sickness [lit. sore].

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I1r p129]

Carmen est Aeolium, ŕ Sappho modis Aeoliis dele-
ctata, frequens in usu habitum, teste Terentiano
,[1] quale memorat istud:

Cordi quando fuisse sibi canit Atthida
Parvam, florea virginitas sua cům foret.[2]
Nemo est tam perfunctorič in poëtarum li-
bris versatus, cui non suboleat Amorem fingi ig-
nem esse quendam occultum, qui cor iecurve, pro-
priam illius sedem insideat, & praesens absensque
vitalia noctes ac dies depascat, unde illud est de
Didone dictum. Et caeco carpitur igni.[3] Et illud:
Est mollis flamma medullas. item illud: Quisquis
amat, uritur igne gravi. atque adeň Xenophon
ipso etiam igne flammaque torrentiorem illum fa
cit, utpote cům ignis tangentem solům urat &
vicina depopuletur: hic verň etiam in procul ob-
tuentes & longo terrarum tractu separatos, ar-
dentes suas sagittas acuat, quod inquit Horatius:
Itaque aptč faci comparatur, quam & sua flam-
ma depascitur; & vicinus ignis, cui imminet, con-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I1v p130]sumit. Pingatur fax cerea paulatim liquescens
vi ignis propinqui, & accenso ellychnio ab altera
parte sese consumens, cui si lubet addi potest Ita-
lum hendecasyllabum.
Ardo d’appresso, et da longe
mi struggo

The verse-form is an Aeolian, frequently made use of, according to Terentianus Maurus, by Sappho, who delighted in the Aeolian metres; he gives as an example: “When she sings that little Atthis was dear to her, when she shone in her maiden state.”
There is no-one so poorly versed in the works of the poets who is unaware that Love is represented as a sort of hidden fire, which takes possession of the heart or the liver as its own seat and [whether the loved one is] present or absent, gnaws on the inwards day night and day - hence the phrase about Dido: ‘And she was eaten away by a blind fire’; and also: ‘There is a soft flame in the marrow’; and again: ‘Whoever loves, is burnt by a harsh flame’. In addition Xenophon talks of a love that is more ablaze than this same fire and flame, so much so as to be like a conflagration that burns all the surrounding land and destroys the neighbourhood. Such a love in truth has sharp, burning arrows even for those who gaze afar off, and separated by great distances, as Horace says. Thus it may reasonably be compared to a torch, which is not only eaten away by its own flame, but a neighbouring fire, which is near it, consumes it as well. [p.130] A wax candle should be painted, melting bit by bit from the force of the fire that is nearby, while at the same time the lit wick means that it eats itself away too. If you please, you can add the Italian hendecasyllable: “When nearby, I burn, and at a distance, I suffer.”


1.  Grammarian of the 3rd century AD (or 2nd century), wrote a treatise on metre.

2.  Atthida (‘Little Atthis’) refers one of the female companions of Sappho, mentioned by name in several of the fragments of Sappho’s extant poems.

3.  Vergil, Aeneid, 4.2.

4.  The Italian derives from Petrarch, “da lunge mi struggo et da presso ardo”, Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, sonnet 194.14.

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