November 25, 2006

Nemo ex amoris vulnere sanus abit

In English: No one walks away unscathed from the wound of love.

I thought this proverb would be a good follow-up to yesterday's proverb about health and wholeness, this time transferred from the sphere of medicine to the sphere of lovesickness instead. Love has its wounds, and as this proverb tells us, even if you recover from the wound you are never quite sanus, "healthy" (or "sane"!) again afterwards.

This saying is adapted from the Roman poet Propertius, whose elegies chronicle the story of his love for a certain "Cynthia" (although it is not clear if Cynthia is a real person or a product of Propertius's poetic imagination). The poems are in couplets, with a dactylic hexamter line followed by a pentameter: nec quisquam ex illo vulnere sanus abit, "And no one from that wound walks away unscathed." If you mark the line for meter, it would look something like this: nec quis~qu(am) ex il~lo = vulnere ~ sanus a~bit.

Here's the larger context of the poem, where Propertius is exploring the implications of the depiction of the Roman "Cupid" as a winged boy wielding arrows:
et merito hamatis manus est armata sagittis,
et pharetra ex umero Cnosia utroque iacet:
ante ferit quoniam, tuti quam cernimus hostem,
nec quisquam ex illo vulnere sanus abit.
in me tela manent, manet et puerilis imago:
sed certe pennas perdidit ille suas;
evolat heu nostro quoniam de pectore nusquam,
assiduusque meo sanguine bella gerit.


and rightfully his hand is armed with barbed arrows, and a Cretan quiver lies across his two shoulders, because he wounds us before we can safely see our enemy, and no one walks away unscathed from that wound. The barbs remain in me, as does the boy's image: but clearly he has lost his wings since, alas, he never flies out of my heart and ceaselessly wages war in my blood.
In other words: OUCH. Love is a war, and lovers are its walking wounded. That's why another Roman poet, Ovid, had to write a book of "Remedies for Love," Remedia Amoris, hoping to offer a cure for lovesickness and its pangs.

Meanwhile, here is today's proverb read out loud:

2243. Nemo ex amoris vulnere sanus abit.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

in : poemspedia.com
More than 5000 Love Poems in a very user friendly interface with little ads