Sunday, June 19, 2011

amor ille penitus insitus

   From their father may your children learn peaceful ways and from their grandfather may they learn generosity, and from them both eagerness for glorious virtue.
–Statius, to Julius Menecrates

   He was mine, mine. I saw him lying upon the ground, a new-born baby, and I welcomed him with a natal poem as he was washed and anointed. When he demanded air for his new life with trembling cries, I set him in Life's roll.

   From your very moment of birth I bound you to me and made you mine. I taught you sounds and words, I comforted you and soothed your hidden hurts. When you crawled on the ground, I lifted you up and kissed you, and rocked you to sleep myself and summoned sweet dreams for you.
–Statius, Silvae (5.5, extracts)

Image: A Roman boy before his father practicing rhetoric (note the boy's scroll and hand gesture.) Detail from a sarcophagus. Mid 2nd century. Louvre, Paris.

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