Jacobi Sadoleti Carmen de Statua Laocoontis  

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Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen.
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Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Et paene audimus gemitus/we almost hear the groans

"Jacobi Sadoleti Carmen de Statua Laocoontis" is a poem by Jacopo Sadoleto.

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Ecce alto terrae e cumulo, ingentisque ruinae
Visceribus, iterum reducem longinqua reduxit
Laocoonta dies; aulis regalibus olim
Qui stetit, atque tuos ornabat, Tite, penates.
Divinae simulacrum artis, nec docta vetustas
Nobilius spectabat opus, nunc celsa revisit
Exemptum tenebris redivivae moenia Romae.
Quid primum summumve loquar? miserumne parentem
Et prolem geminam? an sinuatos flexibus angues
Terribili aspectu? caudasque irasque draconum
Vulneraque et veros, saxo moriente, dolores?
Horret ad haec animus, mutaque ab imagine pulsat
Pectora non parvo pietas commixta tremori.
Prolixum bini spiris glomerantur in orbem
Ardentes colubri, et sinuosis orbibus errant
Ternaque multiplici constringunt corpora nexu.
Vix oculi sufferre valent, crudele tuendo
Exitium, casusque feros: micat alter, et ipsum
Laocoonta petit, totumque infraque supraque
Implicat er rabido tandem ferit ilia morsu.
Connexum refugit corpus, torquentia sese
Membra, latusque retro sinuatum a vulnere cernas
Ille dolore acri, et laniatu impulsus acerbo,
Dat gemitum ingentem, crudosque evellere dentes
Connixus, laevam impatiens ad terga Chelydri
Objicit: intendunt nervi, collectaque ab omni
Corpore vis frustra summis conatibus instat.
Ferre nequit rabiem, et de vulnere murmur anhelum est.
At serpens lapsu crebro redeunte subintrat
Lubricus, intortoque ligat genua infima nodo.
Absistunt surae, spirisque prementibus arctum
Crus tumet, obsepto turgent vitalia pulsu,
Liventesque atro distendunt sanguine venas.
Nec minus in natos eadem vis effera saevit
Implexuque angit rapido, miserandaque membra
Dilacerat: jamque alterius depasta cruentum
Pectus, suprema genitorem voce cientis,
Circumjectu orbis, validoque volumine fulcit.
Alter adhuc nullo violatus corpora morsu,
Dum parat adducta caudam divellere planta,
Horret ad adspectum miseri patris, haeret in illo,
Er jam jam ingentes fletus, lacrimasque cadentes
Anceps in dubio retinet timor. Ergo perenni
Qui tantum statuistis opus jam laude nitentes,
Artifices magni (quanquam et melioribus actis
Quaeritur aeternum nomen, multoque licebat
Clarius ingenium venturae tradere famae)
Attamen ad laudem quaecunque oblata facultas
Egregium hanc rapere, et summa ad fastigia niti.
Vos rigidum lapidem vivis animare figuris
Eximii, et vivos spiranti in marmore sensus
Inserere, aspicimus motumque iramque doloremque,
Et paene audimus gemitus: vos extulit olim
Clara Rhodos, vestrac jacuerunt artis honores
Tempore ab immenso, quos rursum in luce secunda
Roma videt, celebratque frequens: operisque vetusti
Gratia parta recens. Quanto praestantius ergo est
Ingenio, aut quovis extendere fata labore,
Quam fastus et opes et inanem extendere luxum.


Unidentified English translation

Lo, rising from the bosom of the tomb, Dragged from the ruins of devoted Kome, LaocoSn lives, who once adorn'd the hearth, Whence the good Titus rul'd and bless'd the earth. Model of Art — the choicest genius gave To swell Rome's glory, or to deck ber grave. What tongue the wonders of the work can tell, The serpents, vast, voluminous and fell, Their monstrous size, their giant strength display, Their rage, their triumph, as they crush their prey, The fathers' sufferings, the childreus' cries. And all the dying marble's agonies ? Shock'd by the sight, in vain we chide the tear, Yet while we melt in pity, start for fear. Scarce can our eyes the cruel scene sustain, Support their struggles, or endure their pain. Look ! how these ministers of wrath divine In iron volumes round their victims twine, See this in fury to the father glide, Curl round his arms, and rend his bleeding side. Observe his body bending ft om the foe, Writhing and shrinking to avoid the blow, That piteous look to heaven despairing thrown, And the keen anguish of that harrowing groan, Hasting to tear the reeking fangs away, He grasps the monster's throat with frantick sway, Their utmost force his nerves convulsive strain, Struggling with all their strength — but all in vain.

The other Serpent in relentless folds, Fixed to the spot, the victim prophet holds ;



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