Omnibus his illud gravius, si forte carentem
caelesti lavacro tenerum mors invida natum
praeripiat dura generatum sorte gehennae.
quique, genitricis cessat cum filius esse,
perditionis erit; tristes tunc edita nolint,
quae flammis tantum genuerunt, membra parentes.
quis memorare queat tanti discrimina casus,
in quae pertrahitur dilectae gloria carnis?
at late longeque tuam discernere sortem
libertas cum lege potest, qua necteris, ut te
impia fallentis non stringant vincula mundi.
tu Mariam sequeris, dono cui contigit alto
virginis et matris gemina gaudere corona,
conciperet cum carne Deum, caelique creator
intraret clausum reserans mysteria ventrem.
(Avitus of Vienne, De Virginitate 190-204)
Much more serious than all these things is if envious death by chance
Snatches the young child away prematurely, before it has been washed
In the heavenly waters, born only for the harsh fate of hell.
Such a child, when he ceases to be the son of his mother
Will be the son of perdition; then the grieving parents regret
Giving birth to this body which they brought forth only for the flames.
Who could recount the risks of such a terrible event,
Dangers to which pride in the beloved body is exposed?
But under the law by which you are now bound
Your extensive freedom can offer you a different fate
So that the wicked chains of this treacherous world do not bind you.
You are following in Mary’s footsteps to whom the Almighty granted
That she should rejoice in the double crown of virgin and mother
When she conceived God in the flesh, and the Creator of heaven
Entered the womb through closed doors, unlocking the mysteries.
(tr. Carolinne White)