Egon Schiele, Sitzender männlicher Akt, 1910
Egon Schiele, Sitzender männlicher Akt (1910)

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

‘Mentula, festorum cultrix operosa dierum,
quondam deliciae divitiaeque meae,
quo te deiectam lacrimarum gurgite plangam,
quae de tot meritis carmina digna feram?
tu mihi flagranti succurrere saepe solebas
atque aestus animi ludificare mei.
tu mihi per totam custos gratissima noctem
consors laetitiae tristitiaeque meae,
conscia secreti semper fidissima nostri,
astans internis pervigil obsequiis:
quo tibi fervor abit per quem feritura placebas,
quo tibi cristatum vulnificumque caput?
nempe iaces nullo, ut quondam, perfusa rubore,
pallida demisso vertice nempe iaces.
nil tibi blandities, nil dulcia carmina prosunt,
non quicquid mentem sollicitare solet.
hic velut exposito meritam te funere plango:
occidit, assueto quod caret officio.’
hanc ego cum lacrimis deducta voce canentem
irridens dictis talibus increpui:
‘dum defles nostri languorem, femina, membri,
ostendis morbo te graviore premi.’
illa furens: ‘nescis, ut cerno, perfide, nescis:
non fleo privatum, set generale chaos.
haec genus humanum, pecudum, volucrumque, ferarum
et quicquid toto spirat in orbe, creat.
hac sine diversi nulla est concordia sexus,
hac sine coniugii gratia summa perit.
haec geminas tanto constringit foedere mentes,
unius ut faciat corporis esse duo.
pulcra licet pretium, si desit, femina perdit,
et si defuerit, vir quoque turpis erit.
haec si gemma micans rutilum non conferat aurum
aeternum fallax mortiferumque genus.
tecum pura fides secretaque certa loquuntur,
o vere nostrum fructiferumque bonum!’
(Maximianus, El. 5.88-122)

“Prick, busy celebrator of the holidays,
and old delight and treasure that was mine,
with what fierce flood of tears should I lament your fall?
What songs worth such great service should I bring?
You often were inclined to help me while aroused
and tease me for my spirit’s sultriness.
You were my dearest guardian all through the night,
and partner in my happiness and sadness,
always most trustworthy when privy to our secrets,
standing tall on watch in private rites.
Where did the heat, by which you pleased in foreplay, go?
Where is your crested, wound-inflicting head?
Of course, no longer do you lie engorged with red.
Of course, you lie pale with your drooping crown.
No flattery, no charming songs encourage you,
nothing that tends to stimulate the mind.
I mourn for you here as befits a laid-out corpse;
what lacks its customary use has died.”
As she was singing this in tears, her voice subdued,
I mockingly derided her with these words:
“Woman, while you lament the slackness of my prick,
you show you suffer from a worse disease.”
She raged, “You’re clueless, traitor! Clueless, as I see it!
I mourn a public, not a private, hell.
It makes the human race, the herds, the birds, the beasts
and everything that breathes throughout the world.
Without it there’s no union of the different sexes;
the highest grace of marriage dies without it.
It brings together coupled minds with its strong bond
so that the pair combine to be one flesh.
Though pretty, if it goes, a woman loses value,
and, if it’s gone, a man will be grotesque too.
If this bright gem does not embellish ruddy gold,
a birth is fake and moribund forever.
With you, pure vows and trusted secrets are declared,
O truly fruitful benefit of mine!”
(tr. A.M. Juster)

2 thoughts on “Increpui”

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