Ovid, Nux

LCL 232: 294-295

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The Walnut-Tree

The Walnut-Tree

I, a walnut tree, hard by the roadside, though my life be blameless, yet am pelted with stones by the passing folk. ’Tis flagrant sinners that doom is wont to overwhelm, when the people’s wrath brooks not slow delay: in naught have I sinned, unless it is taught that to render yearly fruit to the husbandman is a sin. But of old, when times were better, trees vied in fruitfulness; then were the mindful owners wont, as the fruit waxed ripe, to adorn with garlands the farmer-gods; often, therefore, O Liber, didst thou marvel at thy grapes, oft did Minerva marvel at her olives, and the apples would have hurt the mother tree, had not a long fork placed beneath the labouring bough brought succour: nay, by our example did women give birth, and none in those times was not a mother. But since more plenteous honour has come to planes that yield a sterile shade, than to any tree, we fruit-bearers also (if as a nut tree I am counted among them) have begun to luxuriate in spreading foliage. Now apples grow not every year, and injured grapes and injured berries are brought home: now she that would seem beautiful harms her womb, and rare in these days is she who would be a parent. Certainly I should be safer had I never borne; worthy of Clytemnestra was that complaint.1 Should the vine

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-walnut_tree.1929