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26. If any one perchance thinks that we are speaking wicked calumnies, let him take the hooks of the Thracian soothsayer,44444444    Orpheus, under whose name there was current in the time of Arnobius an immense mass of literature freely used, and it is probable sometimes supplemented, by Christian writers. Cf. c. 19. which you speak of as of divine antiquity; and he will find that we are neither cunningly inventing anything, nor seeking means to bring the holiness of the gods into ridicule, and doing so: for we shall bring forward the very verses which the son of Calliope uttered in Greek,44454445    Lit, “put forth with Greek mouth.” and published abroad in his songs to the human race throughout all ages:—

“With these words she at the same time drew up her garments from the lowest hem,

And exposed to view formatas inguinibus res,

Which Baubo grasping44464446    Lit., “tossing.” with hollow hand, for

Their appearance was infantile, strikes, touches gently.

Then the goddess, fixing her orbs of august light,

Being softened, lays aside for a little the sadness of her mind;

Thereafter she takes the cup in her hand, and laughing,

Drinks off the whole draught of cyceon with gladness.”44474447    It may be well to observe that Arnobius differs from the Greek versions of these lines found in Clem. Alex. (vol. ii. p. 177) and Eusebius (Præpar. Evang. ii. 3), omitting all mention of Iacchus, who is made very prominent by them; and that he does not adhere strictly to metrical rules, probably, as Heraldus pointed out, because, like the poets of that age, he paid little heed to questions of quantity. Whether Arnobius has merely paraphrased the original as found in Clement and Eusebius, or had a different version of them before him, is a question which can only be discussed by means of a careful comparison between the Greek and Latin forms of the verses with the context in both cases.

500What say you, O wise sons of Erectheus?44484448    So LB., Hild., and Oehler, reading Erechthidæ O(inserted by Hild.) for the ms. erithideo. what, you citizens of Minerva?44494449    i.e., Athenians. The mind is eager to know with what words you will defend what it is so dangerous to maintain, or what arts you have by which to give safety to personages and causes wounded so mortally. This44504450    The ms., 1st ed., Hild., and Oehler read ita—“It is thus not,” etc.; the others as above, ista. is no false mistrust, nor are you assailed with lying accusations:44514451    Delatione calumniosa. [Conf. vol. ii. p. 175, col. 2.] the infamy of your Eleusinia is declared both by their base beginnings and by the records of ancient literature, by the very signs, in fine, which you use when questioned in receiving the sacred things,—“I have fasted, and drunk the draught;44524452    Cyceon. [P. 499, supra, and 503, infra.] I have taken out of the mystic cist,44534453    The ms. reads exci-ta, corrected as above, ex cista, in the margins of Ursinus. and put into the wicker-basket; I have received again, and transferred to the little chest.”44544454    [It is a pity that all this must be retailed anew after Clement, vol. ii. pp. 175, 177, notes.]

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