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40. And yet, even if we grant you that this is the case, that is, even if the narratives give utterance to one thing in words, but mean45274527    Lit., “say.” something else, after the manner of raving seers, do you not observe in this case, do you not see how dishonouring, how insulting to the gods, this is which is said to be done?45284528    Lit., “with what shame and insult of the gods this is said to be done.” or can any greater wrong be devised than to term and call the earth and rain, or anything else,—for it does not matter what change is made in the interpretation,—the intercourse of Jupiter and Ceres? and to signify the descent of rain from the sky, and the moistening of the earth, by charges against the gods? Can anything be either thought or believed more impious than that the rape of Proserpine speaks of seeds buried in the earth, or anything else,—for in like manner it is of no importance,—and that it speaks of the pursuit of agriculture to45294529    Lit., “with.” the dishonour of father Dis? 505Is it not a thousand times more desirable to become mute and speechless, and to lose that flow of words and noisy and45304530    Lit., “din of.” unseemly loquacity, than to call the basest things by the names of the gods; nay, more, to signify commonplace things by the base actions of the gods?


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