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A MATRIMONIO ABSIT SUSPICIO.

MARRIAGE SHOULD BE FREE FROM SUSPICION

Zelotypo uxorem Cephalo pulcherrima Procrin
Suspectam facies fecit adulterii.
Zelotypae uxori Cephalus suspectus adulter:
Aurae saepe vocant lene refrigerium.[1]
Hcque fidem uxoris pertentans munere, sensit
Venalem donis esse pudicitiam.
Et dum quaereret id, quod non reperire volebat:
Perdidit uxorem per nemora alta vagam.
Illa virum observans, dum post carecta lateret:
Quod dederat telo concidit icta suo.
Hic ratus esse feram torsit telum, illa recepit.
Hos habuit fines suspiciosus Amor.
Ergo quod Caio perhibetur Caesare dictum:
Esto legitimi lex rata connubii.
Coniugium foelix inquit non crimine solum:
Criminis ast etiam suspicione vacet.[2]

To the jealous husband Cephalus the lovely face of his wife Procris put her under suspicion of adultery. To the jealous wife, Cephalus was a potential cheat: the winds often call forth a soft cooling. He, putting the chastity of his wife to trial with gifts, found that her honesty could be bought with presents, and as he searched for the very thing he wished not to find, he killed his wife as she wandered in the deep forest. She was spying on her husband, hidden in in a thicket; she fell, wounded by the dart he shot. He shot his bolt, thinking she was a wild animal, and she caught it: this is the end of jealous Love. So - as Gaius Caesar is supposed to have said - let this be the accepted law of legal wedlock: LET HAPPY MARRIAGE (he said) BE FREE NOT ONLY OF CRIME, BUT EVEN OF THE MERE SUSPICION OF CRIME.

Notes:

1. Cephalus, King of Athens, was married to Procris. In most versions of their tragic tale, he has an affair with Aurora (Eos), not Aura, the breeze. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.690-865. Perhaps vocat (line 4) would be better reading than vocant: ‘For he calls often upon the soft cooling of Aura’.

2. Another allusion to the “Caesar’s wife” story, see Aneau’s emblem ‘Imitatio Captatrix’ ([FANa022]).



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