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Ninth Century Veronese Cleric


This is a song by a clericus to a boy who a rival had taken from him

O admirabile Veneris ydolum
Cuius materiae nichil est frivolum
Archos te protegat, qui stellas et solum.
Furis ingenio non sentias dolum;
Cloto te diligat, quae baiulat colum.
Saluto puerum no per ypothesim,
Sed firma pectore deprecor Lachesim
Sororem Atropos, ne curet habeas et Thetim,
Cum vectus fueris per fluvium Athesim.
Quo fugis amabo, cum te dilexerim?
Miser quid faciam. Cum te non viderum
Dura materies ex matris ossibus
Creavit homines iactis lapidibus.
Ex quibus unus est iste puerulus
Qui lacrimabilis non curat gemitus
Cum tristis fuero, gaudebit emulus:
Ut cerva rugio, cun fugit hinnulus
O thou eidolon of Venus adorable
Perfect thy body and nowhere deplorable!
The sun and the starts and the see and the firmament
Theses are like thee, and the Lord made them permanent
Treacherous death shall not injure on hair of thee,
Clotho the thread spinner, she shall take care of thee.
Heartily, lad, I implore her and prayerfully
Ask that Lachesis shall treasure thee carefully,
Sister of Atropos - let her love cover thee,
Neptune companion, and Thetis watch over thee.
When on the rive thou sailest forgetting me!
How cants thou fly without ever regretting me?
Me that for sight of my lover and fretting me?
Stones from the substance of hard earth maternal, he
Thre o'er his shoulder who made man supernally;
One of these stones is that boy who disdainfully
Scorns the sntreaties I utter, ah, painfully!
Joy that was mine is my rival's tomorrow.
While I for my fawn like a striken deer sorrow!

from P.S. Allen, The Romanesque Lyris, trans by Howard Mumford Jones. The poem was first published in 1829 by G.B. Niehbur, who ascribed it to late antiquity. Gregorovius saw it as a lament of a Romam bidding farewll to his favorite statute. - Re-edited, with commentary by Ludwig Traube in O Roma Nobilis, (1891), 301. Ff. Reprinted in E.R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, (New York: Pantheon, 1953), 114-115