Inter legendas nuces cum puellis (n.d.)

There are no details on when this poem was composed, but the erotic subject matter of the poem (the gathering of nuts being a metaphor for romantic woodland liaisons) is highly reminiscent of Roman love elegy. Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Inter legendas nuces cum puellis

1Otia dum suadent virides me invisere sylvas,
itque comes festo plurima virgo die:
cœno haerent plantae, 1 dumis lacerantur amictus,
vixque arbos tenues fundit avara nuces 2 .
5Nucleus et fracto si forte putamine prodit,
vox raucet, costas tussis anhela quatit. 3
Circum igitur niveas dum conspicor undique Nymphas,
'vestri', inquam, 'hic faciem lucus amoris habet.
Plenus amor curis, curarum curta voluptas
10fit pretium: haec tristi clausa dolore gemit.'

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In the midst of gathering nuts with girls

When leisure persuades me to visit the verdant woods, and many a virgin goes as a companion on festal days: feet cling to the filth, and belts are torn by thorns, and the greedy trees scarcely let down their tender nuts. And if ever a kernel is propogated from a cracked shell, a voice rings out, a panting cough shakes the sides. Thus when I catch sight of the dazzling Nymphs all around, I say, 'this grove posseses the appearance of your love. Your love is pregnant with cares, a cut-short pleasure is the price for my love, a pleasure that cries, trapped by a miserable grief.'



1: 'Their feet mired in the filth' is the first hint that moral degredation is a theme of this poem. The phrase is adpated from Horace, Satires II.7.26-7, where the protagonst wishes to escape his life of debauchery, but is stuck in the filth: ' haeres / nequicquam caeno cupiens evellere plantam.'

2: As both Virgil and Pliny attest, walnuts are symbols of both fertility and marriage: 'sparge, marite, nuces', Virgil, Georgics III.496-7. Pliny's explanation suggests that procreation and progeny played a part in the use of nuts in this way: 'nuces iuglandes, quamquam et ipsae nuptialium Fescenninorum comites, multum pineis minores universitate eademque portione ampliores nucleo. nec non et honor iis naturae peculiaris gemino protectis operimento, pulvinati primum calycis, mox lignei putaminis; quae causa eas nuptiis fecit religiosas, tot modis fetu munito.' Pliny, Natural History XV.86. Regardless of the actual reason for walnuts' association with fertility and marriage, Rollock is clearly using the walnuts as a metaphor for sex and procreation.

3: Virgil, Georgics III.496-7