Boniface Riddle 15: Luxuria ait


Date: Wed 28 Jul 2021
Original text:
Limpida sum, fateor, saeva sed fraude maligna,
Usibus humanis dulcis ceu nectaris haustus.
Xristicolas passim perdens per tetra venena,
Omnia pertemptabo ardendo viscera febre.
5  Ruricolam rarum quemquam sine vulnere linquo;
Ignibus internis animas ad Tartara duco,
Aurea luciferi ut non tranent culmina caeli.
Ars mea escarum et vini nutrimine crescit.
Infelix mortale genus, quod bestia talis
10  Tetrica mulcendo tradit per Tartara mortis!
Heu miseri, talem, mortales, spernite gypsam,
Quae mares matresque simul disperdere temptat.
Parcite sumptuosos victus et sumere potus,
Quo solet antiquus serpens nutrimine pasci!
15  Qui Sodomae princeps quondam dum regna vigebant,
Igniferum rapuit dum cives sulphur ab ethra.
I am bright, I confess, but also evil in violent deception,
just as a drink of nectar is sweet in human experience.
I destroy Christians everywhere with foul poisons
and I will test all stomachs with a burning torment.
5  I rarely leave any earth-dweller unharmed;
when flames burn within, I lead souls to Tartarus,
so that they do not fly to the golden heights of illuminated heaven.
My art grows with the nourishment of food and wine.
Unlucky mortal race, whom such a beast
10  flatters and then gives over to gloomy, Tartarian death!
Oh wretched mortals, reject such a serpent,
who strives to destroy both men and women.
Refrain from taking sumptuous food and drink,
upon which nourishment the ancient serpent usually feeds.
15  He was prince of Sodom once, when the kingdom prospered,
until fiery sulphur from heaven killed the citizens.
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This edition is based on Ernst Dümmler, (ed.). Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, Volume 1. Berlin, MGH/Weidmann, 1881. Pages 1-15. Available online here.

Note that this riddle appears as No. 7 (De vitiis) in Glorie’s edition and 17 in Orchard’s edition.