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)
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)
This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.
Non orbata gemes fecundae pignora vitae,
nec viduam sponso metues superesse perenni,
expers ipsa mali; nec te sententia tanget
qua prolis mortisque parens percellitur Eva,
occisam pariens subolem vivente reatu.
quae subiecta viro dominum passura cubilis,
Servit in obsceno tolerans conubia lecto.
sic captiva tori, cum portet nomen inane
coniugis et vana dicatur imagine consors,
sola iugo premitur non aequam ducere sortem.
(Avitus of Vienne, De Virginitate 163-172)
You will not grieve for the loss of your children, the proofs of your fruitfulness,
Nor will you fear to survive as a widow the husband you thought would live for ever:
You will be free from misfortune and will not be affected by the sentence
Imposed on Eve, the mother of offspring and of death,
Who brought forth a child that was killed*, while the punishment lived on.
A woman subject to her husband has to bear him as master of their marriage:
Enduring wedlock she is just a slave in a disgusting bed;
She is but a captive of the bed, bearing the empty name of wife,
And called her husband’s consort in a hollow charade,
Oppressed by the yoke, forced to bear an unequal burden on her own.
* Avitus is referring to Eve’s son Abel: Genesis 4:8.
(tr. Carolinne White, with her note)