“Thou wast not born for aye…”

Lorenzo Lotto's "Venus and Cupid" was just too racy.

Lorenzo Lotto’s “Venus and Cupid” was just too racy. But it might have been inspired by this poem.

Quonam hic usque sopor vacuique modestia lecti,

o mihi Laurentes inter dilecta puellas?

quis morum fideique modus? numquamne virili

summittere iugo? veniet iam tristior aetas.

eerce formam et fugientibus utere donis.

non ideo tibi tale decus vultusque superbos

meque dedi viduos ut transmittare per annos

ceu non cara mihi. satis o nimiumque priores

despexisse procos!

Statius, Silvae 1.2.162–170

How far this sleep and modest empty bed,

O lass beloved of Roman girls to me?

What end for marriage vows? Will you not ever

Submit to a husband? A sadder age will come.

Use up your looks and use your fleeting gifts.

I gave you not such comeliness and face,

—Myself!—so you could live through widowed years

As if not dear to me. Enough! too much!

To have spurned the other suitors!

Statius, Silvae, 1.2.162–170


Venus, addressing Violentilla, in Statius’s epithalamium on the occasion of the marriage of Lucius Arruntius Stella and Violentilla.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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