Takomai

pederastic_scene

Χρῆν μὲν κατὰ καιρὸν ἐρώ-
των δρέπεσθαι, θυμέ, σὺν ἁλικίᾳ·
τὰς δὲ Θεοξένου ἀκτῖνας πρὸς ὄσσων
μαρμαρυζοίσας δρακείς
ὃς μὴ πόθῳ κυμαίνεται, ἐξ ἀδάμαντος
ἢ σιδάρου κεχάλκευται μέλαιναν καρδίαν

ψυχρᾷ φλογί, πρὸς δ’ Ἀφροδί-
τας ἀτιμασθεὶς ἑλικογλεφάρου
ἢ περὶ χρήμασι μοχθίζει βιαίως
ἢ γυναικείῳ θράσει
†ψυχρὰν† φορεῖται πᾶσαν ὁδὸν θεραπεύων.
ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ τᾶς ἕκατι κηρὸς ὣς δαχθεὶς ἕλᾳ

ἱρᾶν μελισσᾶν τάκομαι, εὖτ’ ἂν ἴδω
παίδων νεόγυιον ἐς ἥβαν·
ἐν δ’ ἄρα καὶ Τενέδῳ
Πειθώ τ’ ἔναιεν καὶ Χάρις
υἱὸν Ἁγησίλα.
(Pindar, fr. 123)

One should pluck the fruits of love at the right time, my heart, in youth. But whoever has seen the rays flashing from Theoxenus’ eyes and is not overwhelmed by desire has a black heart forged from adamant or steel with a cold flame, dishonoured by bright-eyed Aphrodite, or struggles compulsively for wealth, or through a woman’s daring is borne along serving a totally cold path (?). As for me, because of her [sc. Aphrodite] I melt like the sun-bitten wax of holy bees, whenever I look upon the young-limbed youth of boys. Truly even in Tenedos Persuasion and Grace inhabit the son of Hagesilas. (tr. Richard Rawles)

Seraphim

Saint_Francis_of_Assisi_Receiving_the_Stigmata_(Turin)_Seraph-Christ

Faciente ipso moram in eremitorio, quod a loco in quo positum est Alverna nominatur, duobus annis antequam animam redderet caelo, vidit in visione Dei virum unum, quasi Seraphim sex alas habentem, stantem supra se, manibus extensis ac pedibus coniunctis, cruci affixum. duae alae supra caput elevabantur, duae ad volandum extendebantur, duae denique totum velabant corpus. cumque ista videret beatus servus Altissimi, admiratione permaxima replebatur, sed quid sibi vellet haec visio advertere nesciebat. gaudebat quoque plurimum et vehementius laetabatur in benigno et gratioso respectu, quo a Seraphim conspici se videbat, cuius pulchritudo inaestimabilis erat nimis, sed omnino ipsum crucis affixio et passionis illius acerbitas deterrebat. sicque surrexit, ut ita dicatur, tristis et laetus, et gaudium atque maeror suas in ipso alternabant vices. cogitabat sollicitus, quid posset haec visio designare, et ad capiendum ex ea intelligentiae sensum anxiabatur plurimum spiritus eius. cumque liquido ex ea intellectu aliquid non perciperet et multum eius cordi visionis huius novitas insideret, coeperunt in manibus eius et pedibus apparere signa clavorum, quemadmodum paulo ante virum supra se viderat crucifixum. manus et pedes eius in ipso medio clavis confixae videbantur, clavorum capitibus in interiore parte manuum et superiore pedum apparentibus, et eorum acuminibus exsistentibus ex adverso. erant enim signa illa rotunda interius in manibus, exterius autem oblonga, et caruncula quaedam apparebat quasi summitas clavorum retorta et repercussa, quae carnem reliquam excedebat. sic et in pedibus impressa erant signa clavorum et a carne reliqua elevata. dextrum quoque latus quasi lancea transfixum, cicatrice obducta, erat, quod saepe sanguinem emittebat, ita ut tunica eius cum femoralibus multoties respergeretur sanguine sacro.
(Thomas of Celano, Vita Prima S. Francisci 94.1-95.4)

While he dwelt in the hermitage which, from the place in which it is situate, is called Alverna, two years before he gave back his soul to Heaven, he saw in a vision of God a man like a seraph having six wings, standing over him with hands outstretched and feet joined together, fixed to a cross. Two wings were raised above his head, two were spread out for flight, and two veiled the whole body. Now, when the blessed servant of the Most High saw this, he was filled with exceeding great wonder, but he could not understand what this vision might mean. Yet he rejoiced greatly and was filled with vehement delight at the benign and gracious look wherewith he saw that he was regarded by the seraph, whose beauty far exceeded all estimation ; but the crucifixion, and the bitterness of the seraph’s suffering smote him altogether with fear. Thus he arose, so to speak, sorrowful and glad; and joy and grief alternated in him. He anxiously pondered what this vision might portend, and his spirit laboured sore to come at the understanding of it. And while he continued without any clear perception of its meaning, and the strangeness of the vision was perplexing his heart, marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, such as he had seen a little while before in the Man crucified who had stood over him. His hands and feet seemed pierced in the midst by nails, the heads of the nails appearing in the inner part of the hands and in the upper part of the feet, and their points over against them. Now those marks were round in the inner side of the hands and elongated on the outer side, and certain small pieces of flesh were seen like the ends of nails bent and driven back, projecting from the rest of the flesh. So also the marks of nails were imprinted in his feet, and raised above the rest of the flesh. Moreover his right side, as it had been pierced by a lance, was overlaid with a scar, and often shed forth blood, so that his tunic and drawers were many times sprinkled with the sacred blood. (tr. Alan George Ferrers Howell)

Excrucior

Xu6YmHUCcDVl

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
(Catullus 85)

I hate and love. You wonder, perhaps, why I’d do that?
I have no idea. I just feel it. I am crucified.
(tr. Peter Green)

Purior

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purior hic campis aër Phoebusque sereno
lumine purpureum reserat iam sudus Olympum;
nec iam consertis per mutua vincula ramis
quaeritur exclusum viridi caligine caelum;
sed liquidum iubar et rutilam visentibus aethram
libera perspicui non invidet aura diei.
in speciem tum me patriae cultumque nitentis
Burdigalae blando pepulerunt omnia visu:
culmina villarum pendentibus edita ripis
Et virides Baccho colles et amoena fluenta
subter labentis tacito rumore Mosellae.
(Ausonius, Mosella 12-22)

In these plains the air is purer, and Phoebus, now cloudless, opens glittering Olympus with his untroubled light. The heavens are no longer shut out by a green gloom and to be sought in the tangle of intertwining branches; and the free air of bright day does not begrudge to the beholder a clear radiance and a dazzling sky. Everything moved me in this charming scene by its resemblance to the splendour of shining Burdigala (Bordeaux), my native land: the tops of the villas standing out above the overhanging banks, the hills green with vines, and the pleasant waters of the Mosella flowing beneath with a muted murmur. (tr. Frank Stewart Flint)

Kuniskos

untitled.bmp

Ἦν τίς ποθ’ ἡμῖν ἐν πόλει θηλυδρίας,
Αἰγύπτιον φάντασμα, λυσσῶδες κακόν,
κύων, κυνίσκος, ἀμφόδων ὑπηρέτης,
ἄρις, ἄφωνον πῆμα, κητῶδες τέρας,
ξανθὸς μελάνθριξ, οὖλος ἁπλοῦς τὴν τρίχα—
τὰ μὲν παλαιά, τὰ δ’ ἀρτίως εὑρημένα·
τέχνη γάρ ἐστι δημιουργὸς δευτέρα.
πλεῖστον γυναικῶν ἔργον, εἴτ’ οὖν ἀρρένων,
χρυσοῦν, ἑλίσσειν τὴν φιλόσοφον σισόην.
τὰ τῶν γυναικῶν ἐν προσώποις φάρμακα
σοφοὶ φερόντων· εἰς τί γὰρ μόναι σοφαί
τὴν ἀπρεπῆ τε καὶ κακὴν εὐμορφίαν,
ἣ πρόγραμμ’ ἐστὶ καὶ σιωπῶν τοῦ τρόπου,
ὡς οὐκ ἐχόντων Μαξίμους καὶ ἀρρένων;
ἡ κουρὰ τοῦτ’ ἔδειξε λανθάνον τέως.
τοιαῦτα θαύμαθ’ ἡμὶν ἐκ τῶν νῦν σοφῶν,
διπλοῦν τιν’ εἶναι τὴν φύσιν τὸ σχῆμά τε
ἀμφοῖν μερίζειν τοῖν γενοῖν τρισαθλίως,
κόμην γυναιξίν, ἀνδράσιν βακτηρίαν.
ἐξ ὧν ἐκόμπαζ’ ὥς τι τῇ πόλει δοκῶν,
ὤμους σκιάζων βοστρύχοις ἀεὶ φίλοις,
πέμπων λογισμοὺς σφενδονωμέναις κόμαις,
πᾶσαν φέρων παίδευσιν ἐν τῷ σώματι.
(Gregory of Nazianzus, Poëm. 2.1.1.750-772)

There was amongst us in the city at that time an effeminate creature,
a phantom from Egypt, a pestilential fanatic,
a dog*, a puppy, a street-walker,
a disaster with no sense of smell, no bark, a great hulking monster,
a raven-haired blond, his hair both straight and curled,
(the one his original state, the other recently acquired,
for art is a second creator).
To dye the philosopher’s curls gold and curl them
is usually women’s work, but now it became men’s.
Let these wise men wear women’s cosmetics
on their faces, for why should wise women alone
possess this unseemly and foul beauty
(which offers a silent indication of their character),
as if men did not have their Maximuses too?
This was revealed by his curls, hitherto concealed.
Such are the wonders we owe to our present-day sages—
that a person is ambiguous as to nature and shape,
having thrice-wretchedly a share of both sexes,
in hairstyle like women but like men in carrying a staff**.
He liked to show these things off, as if he were of some importance in the city,
with his darling curls falling over his shoulders,
shooting forth his clever ideas with swinging locks
and wearing all his learning on his body.

* This term of abuse is also a reference to Maximus’ Cynic beliefs, for the term Cynic was derived from this adjective meaning ‘dog-like’. In the following passage Gregory plays constantly with this double meaning.
** This was one of the marks of a Cynic.

(tr. Caroline Whitte)

Discrimina

800px-Bébé_Ex-voto_gallo-romain_Musée_Saint-Remi_120208

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

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)

Distenditur

130262

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

At cum longa decem tulerint fastidia menses,
perfectoque gravis fetu distenditur alvus,
semina quae patris fuerant, haec pondera matri
infligunt duros utero turgente dolores.
nam cum luctato solvuntur viscera partu,
una luit, tanto carnis discrimine pendens,
quod coiere duo. spes palpat forte dolentem,
editus in lucem si vivat filius; atqui
contingit plerumque, gemens ut mortua fundat.
saepe etiam soboli nec mortis tempore natae
dant geminum matris commortua membra sepulcrum.
illud iam levius quotiens intervenit, ipsa
ut pereat tum sola parens, ac pondere fuso
emittat cum prole animam? quid forte levatum
nutritumque diu rapitur si funere pignus,
unica quod crebro spes respicit, et perit omne
quod sibi conceptis spondebant gaudia votis?
(Avitus of Vienne, De Virginitate 173-189)

When ten months have brought continuous sickness
And her stomach is heavy, swollen with the fully-formed foetus,
The seeds which came from the father become a burden to the mother
Inflicting unbearable pains as the uterus swells.
For when, in the struggle of giving birth, the womb contracts,
The woman alone pays the price, with such great physical danger,
For what the two of them created together; perhaps hope alleviates the pain,
If the son that is born lives; and yet it very often happens
That with her groans she brings forth a dead child.
Often the mother also dies at the same time, providing a double tomb
For the child that was not even born at the time of its death.
How often does this slightly less terrible event occur,
That the mother alone dies in childbirth? As she brings forth her burden
When the child leaves her, so does her soul. What if the child
Raised and fed for a long time is snatched away by death,
The child viewed as the sole hope, and she loses everything
That her joy promised, all that she was looking forward to?
(tr. Carolinne White)