8.02.2009

life’s pleasure is mixed with pain

Cupid complains to Venus of being stung by bees when stealing a honeycomb. This is to be taken as moral commentary.

Signed on the stone bottom right with Cranach's device. Inscribed, top right: dvm pver alveo (lo) f (vratvr me)lla cvpido/fvranti digitvm cv(spide) f(ixit) apis/sic etiam nobis brevis et (peri)tvra volvptas/qvam petimvs tri (s)t(i) (m)ixta dolore n(o)cet.
Cupid complains to Venus of being stung by bees when stealing a honeycomb. This is to be taken as a moral commentary; as the inscription observes: 'life's pleasure is mixed with pain.'

The subject derives (but the last two lines of the inscription do not) from Theocritus' 'Idyll' 19 (The Honeycomb Stealer). Two Latin translations of 1522 and 1528 by German scholars are known. Johann Hess, a humanist, made, in his copy of one of them, the manuscript note 'Tabella Luce', which means 'Picture by Lucus', perhaps referring to this work by Cranach.

Few sounds bring as much joy to my heart as the song of the Winter Wren, with its exuberant, cascading warble ringing out in the springtime forest. As ornithologist Stanley Cramp (1988) wrote, it sings "as if [the] bird [were] trying to burst [its] lungs. "
The Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes from the Greek meaning "one who creeps into holes") is one of fifty-nine species of wrens.
This seems strange until one realizes that ancient Greek "troglodytes" translates to "cave dweller," which describes well the wren's love of dark and concealed places.

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