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10. What say you, ye holy and pure guardians of religion? Have the gods, then, sexes; and are they disfigured by those parts, the very mention of whose names by modest lips is disgraceful? What, then, now remains, but to believe that they, as unclean beasts, are transported with violent passions, rush with maddened desires into mutual embraces, and at last, with shattered and ruined bodies, are enfeebled by their sensuality? And since some things are peculiar to the female sex, we must believe that the goddesses, too, submit to these conditions at the proper time, conceive and become pregnant with loathing, miscarry, carry the full time, and sometimes are prematurely delivered. O divinity, pure, holy, free from and unstained by any dishonourable blot! The mind longs39563956    The ms., followed by Hild., reads habet et animum—“has it a mind to, and does it,” etc.; for which Gelenius, followed by later edd., reads, as above, avet animus. and burns to see, in the great halls and palaces of heaven, gods and goddesses, with bodies uncovered and bare, the full-breasted Ceres nursing Iacchus,39573957    Cererem ab Iaccho, either as above, or “loved by Iacchus.” Cf. Lucret. iv. 1160: At tumida et mammosa Ceres est ipsa ab Iaccho. as the muse of Lucretius sings, the Hellespontian Priapus bearing about among the goddesses, virgin and matron, those parts39583958    Sensu obscæno. ever prepared for encounter. It longs, I say, to see goddesses pregnant, goddesses with child, and, as they daily increase in size, faltering in their steps, through the irksomeness of the burden they bear about with them; others, after long delay, bringing to birth, and seeking the midwife’s aid; others, shrieking as they are attacked by keen pangs and grievous pains, tormented,39593959    The first five edd. read hortari—“exhorted,” for which LB, followed by later edd., received tortari; as above,—a conjecture of Canterus. and, under all these influences, imploring the aid of Juno Lucina. Is it not much better to abuse, revile, and otherwise insult the gods, than, with pious pretence, unworthily to entertain such monstrous beliefs about them?


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