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Ovid XV Chapter 12: 453-478 Pythagoras' Teachings:The Sanctity of Life
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'Now (lest I [Note 1] stray too far off course, my horses forgetting to aim towards their goal), the heavens, and whatever is under them, change their form, and the earth, and whatever is within it. We, as well, who are a part of the universe, because we are not merely flesh, but in truth, winged spirits, and can enter into the family of wild creatures, and be imprisoned in the minds of animals. We should allow those beings to live in safety, and honour, that the spirits of our parents, or brothers, or those joined to us by some other bond, certainly human, might have inhabited: and not fill our bellies as if at a Thyestean feast! What evil they contrive, how impiously they prepare to shed human blood itself, who rip at a calf's throat with the knife, and listen unmoved to its bleating, or can kill a kid to eat, that cries like a child, or feed on a bird, that they themselves have fed! How far does that fall short of actual murder? Where does the way lead on from there? Let the ox plough, or owe his death to old age: let the sheep yield wool, to protect against the chill north wind: let the she-goats give you full udders for milking! Have done with nets and traps, snares and the arts of deception! Do not trick the birds with limed twigs, or imprison the deer, scaring them with barbed feathered ropes, or hide hooks in treacherous bait. Kill them, if they harm you, but even then let killing be enough. Let your mouth be free of their blood, enjoy milder food!' |
Note 1: I = Pythagoras
'Ne tamen oblitis ad metam tendere longe |
exspatiemur equis, caelum et quodcumque sub illo est,
inmutat formas, tellusque et quicquid in illa est.
nos quoque, pars mundi, quoniam non corpora solum,
verum etiam volucres animae sumus, inque ferinas
possumus ire domos pecudumque in pectora condi,
corpora, quae possint animas habuisse parentum
aut fratrum aut aliquo iunctorum foedere nobis
aut hominum certe, tuta esse et honesta sinamus
neve Thyesteis cumulemus viscera mensis!
quam male consuescit, quem se parat ille cruori
inpius humano, vituli qui guttura ferro
rumpit et inmotas praebet mugitibus aures,
aut qui vagitus similes puerilibus haedum
edentem iugulare potest aut alite vesci,
cui dedit ipse cibos! quantum est, quod desit in istis
ad plenum facinus? quo transitus inde paratur?
bos aret aut mortem senioribus inputet annis,
horriferum contra borean ovis arma ministret,
ubera dent saturae manibus pressanda capellae!
retia cum pedicis laqueosque artesque dolosas
tollite! nec volucrem viscata fallite virga
nec formidatis cervos includite pinnis
nec celate cibis uncos fallacibus hamos;
perdite siqua nocent, verum haec quoque perdite tantum:
ora cruore vacent alimentaque mitia carpant!'