Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Hanc hedera intexit ditem fallacibus ulnis,In Thomas Sprat's translation:
Blanditiisque malis Arboricida necat.
Her treacherously the Ivy does embrace,Here is Cowley's own note, with my translation:
And kills the Tree with Kindness in her Face.
Arboricida. Verbum fictitium, sed satis ex analogia aliorum.See Otto Gradenwitz, Laterculi vocum Latinarum: voces Latinas et a fronte et a tergo ordinandas (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1904), pp. 282-283, for a list of Latin words ending in -cida, one of which is lignicida, and p. 330 for a list of words ending in -cidium.
Arboricida. A made-up word, but sufficiently analogous to others.
Agennius Urbicus, in Brian Campbell, The Writings of the Roman Land Surveyors: Introduction, Text, Translation and Commentary (London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 2000), pp. 70 (Latin) and 71 (translation):
in Italia autem multi crescente religione sacratissima Christiana lucos profanos sive templorum loca occupaverunt et serunt.On Agennius Urbicus see Schanz-Hosius, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, 4. Teil, 2. Band = Die Literatur des fünften und sechsten Jahrhunderts (München: C.H. Beck, 1920; rpt. 1971), § 1138, pp. 302-304.
Now, in Italy, as the most holy Christian religion increases, many people have taken over pagan groves or sites attached to temples, and now sow them.
Gregory the Great (540-604), Dialogues 2.8, tr. by Hilary Costello and Eoin de Bhaldraithe in Gregory the Great, The Life of St. Benedict, tr. (Petersham: St. Bede's Publications, 1993; rpt. 2003), p. 64:
The stronghold called Casinum is situated on the side of a high mountain, where a broad shelf of land forms the site. Behind this the mountain rises steeply for a distance of three miles, as if to rear its summit to the skies. On the top there was a very old temple and there, according to ancient customs among the heathens, Apollo was worshipped by the poor foolish natives of the rustic population. Sacred groves dedicated to demons grew all around the temple where a horde of pagans still took great pains to offer their sacrilegious sacrifices.The Latin:
As soon as he arrived, the man of God smashed up the idol, overturned the altar and felled the sacred trees. In the temple of Apollo itself he built an oratory to Blessed Martin, and on the site of the altar to Apollo he built an oratory to St. John.
Castrum namque quod Cassinum dicitur, in excelsi montis latere situm est, qui videlicet mons distenso sinu hoc idem castrum recepit, sed per tria millia in altum se subrigens, velut ad aera cacumen tendit: ubi vetustissimum fanum fuit, in quo ex antiquorum more gentilium a stulto rusticorum populo Apollo colebatur. Circumquaque etiam in cultu daemonum luci succreverant, in quibus adhuc eodem tempore infidelium insana multitudo sacrificiis sacrilegis insudabat.
Illuc itaque vir Dei perveniens, contrivit idolum, subvertit aram, succidit lucos, atque in ipso templo Apollinis oraculum beati Martini, ubi vero ara eiusdem Apollinis, fuit oraculum sancti Ioannis construxit.
succidit: succendit alii
Sermon of St. Eligius (588-660), Bishop of Noyon-Tournai, quoted in Dado (aka Audoen or Ouen or Owen), Life of St. Eligius 2.16, tr. Jo Ann McNamara:
Venerate no creature beyond God and his saints. Shun springs and arbors which they call sacred. You are forbidden to make the crook which they place on the crossroads and wherever you find one you should burn it with fire. For you must believe that you can be saved by no other art than the invocation and cross of Christ. For how will it be if groves where these miserable men make their devotions, are felled and the wood from them given to the furnace? See how foolish man is, to offer honor to insensible, dead trees and despise the precepts of God almighty.2.22:
Another day taking the road for necessary purposes, he came to a place not far from the royal estate at Compiègne. Weary from traveling, he turned into a certain colonus's field. There was an arbor of nut trees there, heavily laden with edible fruit. And when Eligius had rested a while, some of his servants went out and began to pick nuts from the trees for it was time for them to eat together. Rushing forward, the lord of the orchard loudly complained that his nuts were being stolen from him. Eligius called his men to him and softly and mildly soothed him saying: "Friend, don't be a nuisance to us because of this. If the boys took a little, there is much still remaining and I will give you money in satisfaction for anything that they have taken." But with swollen mind, spurning his mildness, he reviled him, taxing him closely with hard words. Thus Eligius with unruffled spirit, scolded his servants more harshly for what they had done and ordered them to give the man three gold pieces for the substance he had lost. Then, after the example of the Lord with the fig tree, he turned toward the orchard and ordered: "Since we were so attacked for you, nevermore till eternity shall you bear fruit." And, oh wonderful power of God, whose example was followed in this word, his virtue achieved the same effect. For after a little while the arbor dried up and remained permanently arid. So in this case he merited to follow the Lord's example, ordering the orchard with confidence, because he had put his whole faith in the Lord's words Who said, "He who believes in me, not only shall he do what I do but what is more it shall be done."Original Latin in Vita Eligii episcopi Noviomagensis, ed. B. Krutsch, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptorum Rerum Merovingicarum Tomus IV (Hanover: Hahn, 1902), pp.669-742 (2.16 at pp. 707-708):
Nulli creaturae praeter Deum et sanctis eius venerationem exhibeatis; fontes vel arbores quos sacrivos vocant succidite; pedum similitudines, quos per bivios ponunt, fieri vetate, et ubi inveneritis, igne cremate. Per nullam aliam artem salvari vos credatis nisi per invocationem et crucem Christi. Nam illud quale est, quod si arbores illae, ubi miseri homines vota reddunt, ceciderint, nec ex eis ligna ad focum sibi deferunt? Et videte, quanta stultitia est hominum, si arbori insensibili et mortuae honorem inpendunt et Dei omnipotentis praecepta contempnunt.2.22 (pp. 713-714):
Una autem dierum iter necessarium carpens, devenit ad quendam locum haud longe a Conpendio regali, optimum praedium, et fatigatus ex itinere, divertit in agrum cuiusdam coloni; erat autem illi arbor magna nucarii onusta fructu vescibili. Cumque Eligius in diversorium quiesceret, egressi quidam ex ministris eius coeperunt ex praefata arbuscula avellere nuces; erat enim tempus, quo congrue vesci poterant. Accurrens autem concite dominus arbustae, causabatur procaciter nuces sibi subripere; quo Eligius conperto vocat ad se virum, et blande ac leniter eum demulcens, ait: 'Noli, amice, huiuscemodi ob causam molestus nobis existere, et si pauca pueri praesumpserunt, plurima tibi adhuc supersunt; nam et hoc quod attigerunt ego, data pecunia, tibi gratifice satisfaciam'. At ille tumida mente lenitatem eius spernens, duris eum amaricabat verbis, eadem crebrius taxans. Tunc Eligius animo inmutatus famulos quidem pro rei facto durius obiurgavit, homini vero pro substantiae damno tres aureos dari iussit; ad arbustam tamen conversus, nimirum salvatoris ficulneae imperantis exemplo usus, ait: 'Quoniam tantopere pro te lacescimur, numquam ex te ex hoc iam fructus nascatur in aeternum'. Et, o mira Domini potentia! cuius exemplum secutus fuerat in verbo, eiusdem et virtus subsequitur in effectu; nam post non longum spatium arefacta arbusta, sicca demum permanet in aevum. Merito igitur in hoc opere dominicum secutus exemplum, arbustae cum fiducia imperavit, qui fide plenissimat dominicam tenebat sententiam, qua dicitur, quia qui credit in me, non solum faciet ea quae ego facio, sed et maiora, inquit, faciet.
Council of Nantes (7th or 9th century?), c. 18, in Jacques Sirmond, ed. Concilia Antiqua Galliae (Paris, 1629; rpt. Aalen: Scientia, 1970), vol. 3, p. 607 (my translation):
Bishops and their clergy ought to struggle with the greatest zeal to cut down and burn trees consecrated to demons, which the common people worship and hold in such veneration that they dare not cut branch or shoot from them.For bibliography on the disputed existence and date of the Council of Nantes, see Bernadette Filotas, Pagan Survivals, Superstitions and Popular Cultures in Early Medieval Pastoral Literature (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2005 = Studies and Texts, 151), p. 367.
Summo studio decertare debent episcopi et eorum ministri, ut arbores demonibus consecratae quas vulgus colit, et in tanta veneratione habet, ut nec ramum vel surculum inde audeat amputare, radicitus excidantur atque comburantur.