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Fescennina

De Nuptiis Honorii Augusti

I. (XI.)

Princeps corusco sidere pulchrior, Parthis sagittas tendere doctior, eques Gelonis imperiosior, quae digna mentis laus erit arduae? 5quae digna formae laus erit igneae? te Leda mallet quam dare Castorem; praefert Achilli te proprio Thetis; victum fatetur Delos Apollinem; credit minorem Lydia Liberum. 10tu cum per altas impiger ilices praedo citatum cornipedem reges ludentque ventis instabiles comae, telis iacebunt sponte tuis ferae gaudensque sacris vulneribus leo 15admittet hastam morte superbior. Venus reversum spernit Adonidem, damnat reductum Cynthia Virbium.

Cum post labores sub platani voles virentis umbra vel gelido specu 20torrentiorem fallere Sirium et membra somno fessa resolveris: o quantus uret tum Dryadas calor! quot aestuantes ancipiti gradu furtiva carpent oscula Naides!

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Fescennine Verses

Fescennine Verses in Honour of the Marriage of the Emperor Honorius1

I (XI)

Prince, fairer than the day-star, who shootest thine arrows with an aim more sure than the Parthian’s, rider more daring than the Geloni, what praise shall match thy lofty mind, what praise thy brilliant beauty? Leda would rather have thee her son than Castor; Thetis counts thee dearer than her own Achilles; Delos’ isle admits thee Apollo’s victor; Lydia puts Bacchus second to thee. When in the heat of the chase thou guidest thy coursing steed amid the towering holm-oaks and thy tossing locks stream out upon the wind, the beasts of their own accord will fall before thine arrows and the lion, right gladly wounded by a prince’s sacred hand, will welcome thy spear and be proud so to die. Venus scorns Adonis returned from the dead, Diana disapproves Hippolytus recalled to life.

When after thy toils thou seekest the shade of a green plane-tree or shunnest Sirius’ extreme heat in some cool grot and freest thy wearied limbs in sleep, what a passion of love will inflame the Dryads’ hearts! how many a Naiad will steal up with trembling foot and snatch an unmarked kiss! Who,

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.claudian_claudianus-fescennine_verses_honour_marriage_emperor_honorius.1922