In Meliboea a youth took to his bed after being for a long time heated by drunkenness and sexual indulgence. He had shivering fits, nausea, sleeplessness, but no thirst. First day. Copious, solid stools passed in abundance of fluid, and on the following days the excreta were copious, watery and of a greenish yellow. Urine thin, scanty and of no colour; respiration rare and large with long intervals; tension, soft underneath, of the hypochondrium, extending out to either side; continual throbbing throughout of the epigastrium; urine oily. Tenth day. Delirious but quiet, for he was orderly and silent; skin dry and tense; stools either copious and thin or bilious and greasy. Fourteenth day. General exacerbation; delirious with much wandering talk. Twentieth day. Wildly out of his mind; much tossing; urine suppressed; slight quantities of drink were retained. Twenty-fourth day. Death. (tr. W.H.S. Jones)
Quis est autem habens uxorem, qui eo modo utatur uxore, ut non excedat legem liberos procreandi? ad hoc enim data est: convincunt te tabulae quae scribuntur in matrimonio. pactus es quemadmodum duceres: sonat tibi scriptura pactionis: liberorum procreandorum causa. non ergo accedas, si potes, nisi liberorum procreandorum causa. si modum excesseris, contra illas tabulas facies et contra pactum. nonne manifestum est? eris mendax, et pacti violator: et quaerit in te Deus integritatem templi sui et non invenit; non quia tua usus es, sed quia immoderate usus es. nam et vinum de apotheca tua bibis, et tamen si sic bibis, ut inebrieris, non quia re tua usus es, ideo non peccasti: donum enim Dei convertisti ad corruptionem tuam.
(Augustine, Serm. 278.9)
Who is there that has a wife, and that uses his wife in such a way that he does not go beyond the law of procreation? Because that’s why she is given: the contracts which were drawn up in marriage convict you. You have agreed on the manner of your marriage, and the writing of this contract rings clear: ‘for the sake of having children.’ So you shouldn’t touch her, if you can manage it, except for the sake of having children. If you pass this limit, you’ll be acting against this agreement and against that contract. Isn’t it obvious? You’ll be a liar and a contract-breaker: God looks for the integrity of His temple in you and He cannot find it – not because you have enjoyed her, but because you have enjoyed her without moderation. You see, you also drink the wine from your store-room, and yet, if you drink so much as to become inebriated, the fact that the wine you enjoyed was yours doesn’t mean you haven’t sinned, because you have abused God’s gift for your own corruption. (tr. David Bauwens)
Aut si evenerit, ut de secundo marito habeas filios, domestica pugna, intestinum proelium. non licebit tibi amare liberos nec aequis aspicere oculis, quos genuisti. clam porriges cibos, invidebit mortuo, et nisi oderis filios, adhuc eorum amare videberis patrem. quodsi de priore uxore habens sobolem te domum introduxerit, etiam si clementissima fueris, omnes comoediae et mimographi et communes rhetorum loci in novercam saevissimam declamabunt. si privignus languerit et condoluerit caput, infamaberis ut venefica. si non dederis cibos, crudelis, si dederis, malefica diceris.
(Jerome, Ep. 54.15)
Or if it should happen that you have sons by your second husband, domestic warfare and intestine feuds will be the result. You will not be allowed to love your own children, or to look kindly on those to whom you gave birth. You will hand them their food secretly; for he will be jealous of your dead husband, and unless you hate your sons he will think you still in love with their father. If he, for his part, has issue by a former wife, when he brings you into his house, then, even though you have a heart of gold, you will be the cruel stepmother, against whom every comedy, every mime-writer, and every dealer in rhetorical commonplaces raises his voice. If your stepson falls sick or has a headache, you will be maligned as a poisoner. If you refuse him food, you will be cruel; if you give it, you will be said to have bewitched him. (tr. Frederick Adam Wright)
Multas rerum natura mortis vias aperuit et multis itineribus fata decurrunt, et haec est condicio miserrima humani generis, quod nascimur uno modo, multis morimur: laqueus, gladius, praeceps locus, venenum, naufragium, mille aliae mortes insidiantur huic miserrimae animae. et hoc occidere vocatur, sed diutius.
(Seneca Maior, Contr. 7.1.9)
Nature has opened many routes to death, our fates hasten downwards along countless ways: and this is mankind’s wretched lot, that we have one way to be born – but many to die: the noose, the sword, a precipice, poison, ship-wreck and a thousand other deaths lie in wait for this wretched life. This too may be termed killing – but over a longer period. (tr. Michael Winterbottom)
Nunc si depositum non infitietur amicus,
si reddat veterem cum tota aerugine follem,
prodigiosa fides et Tuscis digna libellis
quaeque coronata lustrari debeat agna.
egregium sanctumque virum si cerno, bimembri
honc monstrum puero et miranti sub aratro
piscibus inventis et fetae comparo mulae,
sollicitus, tamquam lapides effuderit imber
examenque apium longa consederit uva
culmine delubri, tamquam in mare fluxerit amnis
gurgitibus miris et lactis vertice torrens.
(Juvenal, Sat. 13.60-70)
But these days, if a friend does not renege upon your financial arrangement, if he returns to you your ancient purse with all its rust, it’s a stupendous act of loyalty which calls for a consultation of the Etruscan books and atonement with the sacrifice of a garlanded lamb. If I get a glimpse of an outstanding, honest man, I rank this prodigy with a mutant baby, or the discovery of fish beneath a surprised plough, or a pregnant mule. I am as alarmed as if it had rained stones, or a swarm of bees had settled in a long cluster on the roof of a shrine, or as if a river had gushed a flood of milk with amazing eddies into the sea. (tr. Susanna Morton Braund)
And he who has once been fooled (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough)
Hoc exemplo significat numquam postea crediturum quem esse etiam vera dicenti ei, qui falsis rebus omnia fidei argumenta consumpserit. hinc etiam proverbium natum est “qui semel scurra, numquam pater familias.”
(Porphyrius, Comm. in Hor. Epist. 1.17.58)
By this example [Horace] shows that one will never be believed in the future, even if he is telling the truth, if he has wasted his credibility in telling lies. Hence the proverb has arisen: “Once a scurra*, never a pater familias.”
* A scurra is a fashionable city idler, a man-about-town.
In the middle of the night, while Dexianos was seated on the privy, there stood before him a demonic creature, wild and raving mad. As soon as he perceived it standing next to him – <he knew it was there> because, even though he was sitting in pitch black darkness, <he could see> it was panting, leering, and making insane noises – he was stupefied and trembled with fear, completely overwhelmed with dread and drenched with sweat. And because of his great fright, his head and his neck slipped from their normal base and position, and the vertebrae were no longer aligned and slipped out of joint with one another, his head trembled and was shifting all around. As a result, there was common grief among those who saw him <in this state>. (tr. Alice-Mary Talbot & Scott Fitzgerald Johnson)