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Instructio Amoris [37]


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Instructio Amoris.translation
Sap.11. Deutr.25. Cat.
ECce Absalonem, ecce misellum; qui tantope-
re in crinibus gloriabatur, crinibus suspendi-
tur. per quæ quis peccat, per hæc & torquetur. &
pro mensura peccati erit & plagarum modus. O
Anima, omnes quas mundus propinat voluptates
apibus non dissimiles esse, non immerito dixerim,
fronte blandiuntur, posticâ pungunt. de sese iu-
dicent alij, ad me quod attinet, non memini mihi
quidquam vnquam accidisse, cui voluptatis no-
men meritò tribuendum censeam. vnicus sanè
dolor corpus magis afficit, quam voluptates mil-
le. quid mirum? semper aliquis dolor voluptati,
dolori nulla voluptas inest. nullum mortalibus
gaudium purum est: tormentum autem, totum
tormentum est: & quod magis est, id quod nobis
iucunditatem, & gaudium adferebat, illud idem
ipsum confert dolorem & tristitiam, & in mem-
bris quibus peccauimus, in ijsdem & punimur. translation

-- --Vox qui peccastis in igne,
Mox dabitis rapido membra pianda foco.
Membra focus malesana coquat, luit ignis in igne,
Corpore non aliter gallica pestis abit. translation



Instruction de l'Amour.
Pauure Absalon, qui d'vn Amour follastre,
De ses cheueux se rendoit idolastre,
Et à leur culte estoit si empesché;
Las! le voila suspendu par ces tresses,
A qui iadis il fit tant de caresses:
Et son suplice esgal à son peché.

No se pierda el Amor cuerdo
Como lo hizo este neçio
Por cosas de poco preçio.

Nu siet / en leert uyt anders zeer/
Hier te voorcomen uwen keer.

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Facsimile Images

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Instruction of love.
Regard Absalom, look at the poor wretch: who was so proud of his hair, is hung by his hair. Through the sins one commits, through these one is also tormented. And the amount of beatings will also be commensurate with the sin committed. Dear soul, I might rightly say that all the pleasures the world has to offer are not unlike the bees: at the front they look nice, at the back they sting. Let others judge about themselves. As far as I am concerned, I do not remember anything ever happened to me, that I would judge to be deservedly named 'pleasure'. Indeed, one pain has more effect on the body than a thousand pleasures. No wonder! There is always some pain in pleasure, but there is no pleasure in pain. No joy is pure for mortals. Torment, however, is torment to the full. And what is more, that what used to bring us pleasure and joy, that very same thing inflicts pain and sadness, and in the same bodily parts with which we have sinned, in these also we are punished.
Voice in the fire: You who have sinned,
Soon you will give up your limbs to the raging furnace to be purified.
May the furnace roast the sickly limbs, fire cleanses in fire,
In no other way does the Gallic plague1 go away.

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    Sources and parallels

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    Sacred love shows Absalom hanging by his hair to the soul (N.B. This picture is from the 1628 edition, emblem 11. It is inserted here because our copy of the 1629 edition misses this picture.)

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    "Gallica pestis", the Gallic plague: usually 'syphilis', also known under a vast number of other names, mostly depending on where the speaker lived and what the neighbouring country was. Here the plague does not appear to be very specific, although, of course, venereal diseases are mainly spread by promiscuous sexual behaviour, to be counted without doubt as one of the 'worldly pleasures'.