Virgo

Lorenzo Maitani, God neemt Adams rib (kathedraal van Orvieto), ca. 1310-1330
Lorenzo Maitani, façade of Orvieto cathedral

Nam posset et illam
pulvere de simili Princeps formare puellam,
sed quo plenus amor toto de corde veniret,
noscere in uxorem voluit sua membra maritum.
dividitur contexta cutis, subducitur una
sensim costa viro, sed mox reditura marito.
nam iuvenis de parte brevi formatur adulta
virgo decora, rudis, matura tumentibus annis,
coniugii subolisque capax quo nata probatur,
et sine lacte pio fit mox infantia pubes.
excutitur somno iuvenis, videt ipse puellam
ante oculos astare suos, pater, inde maritus,
non tamen ex coitu genitor, sed coniugis auctor.
somnus erat partus, conceptus semine nullo;
materiem fecunda quies produxit amoris
affectusque novos blandi genuere sopores.
constitit ante oculos nullo velamine tecta,
corpore nuda simul niveo quasi nympha profundi:
caesaries intonsa comis, gena pulchra rubore,
omnia pulchra gerens, oculos, os, colla manusque,
vel qualem possent digiti formare Tonantis.
(Dracontius, De Laudibus Dei 1.377-397)

God could have created this young woman too from the same dust, but He wanted the man to recognize his own body in her, so that he might love her fully and with all his heart. He slices the tissue of the man’s skin and cautiously removes one of his ribs—a rib that will soon be returned to him, as a husband. From this small part of the young man’s body a full-grown maiden is created, beautiful, unexperienced, yet mature and with a woman’s curves, ripe for marriage and for motherhood, the things for which she clearly is born. Even unfed by lovely (mother’s) milk, her infancy at once turns into adolescence. The young man is roused from sleep and sees her standing there in front of him. Just now he was her father, soon he will be her husband. He hasn’t begotten her in intercourse, and yet he is the maker of his bride. Sleep has given birth to her; conception took place without any seed. A fertile doze has produced this object of love; soft slumber has given rise to new passions. She stood there before his eyes, not covered by any veil, but naked, her body milky-white, like a nymph from the deep. Her long hair is beautiful, her blushing cheeks are charming. Everything about her is charming: her eyes, her mouth, her neck, her hands—such as the fingers of the Lord of Thunder might have fashioned. (tr. David Bauwens)

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