Boniface Riddle 6: Misericordia ait


Date: Mon 26 Jul 2021
Original text:
Moribus en geminae variis et iure sorores
Instamus domini cunctis in callibus una.
Sed soror in tenebras mortales mergeret atras,
Et poenas Herebi lustrent per devia Ditis,
5  Regmina si saecli tenuisset sola per orbem.
Illius adversas vires infrangere nitor,
Clamans atque “soror,” dicens, “charissima, parce.”
O genus est superum felix, me virgine nacta:
Regmine nempe meo perdono piacula terris.
  Do vitae tempus, superis do lumen Olympi,
Ingenti mundi variis cum floribus arvo,
Aurea gens hominum scandat quod culmina caeli.
Ast tamen altithroni non sacris finibus absum,
Impetrans miseris veniam mortalibus aevi,
15  Tranando iugiter Christi per saecla ministro.
Behold! Twin sisters with different customs and law,
we step together on every path of the Lord.
But my sister would plunge mortals into the terrible darkness,
and the punishments of Erebus would spread across the winding roads of Dis,
5  if she alone ruled the entire world.
I try to break her hostile powers,
saying and calling, “Dearest sister, have mercy!”
Oh, the earthly race is lucky that I—a virgin—have been born.
Indeed, I forgive sins on earth by my rule.
10  I give the time of life, and I give the light of highest Olympus
to the vast, many-flowered plains of the world,
so that the golden race of men might ascend the heights of heaven.
Nevertheless, I am not distant from the holy boundaries of the high-throned one,
obtaining mercy for the wretched mortals of the earth,
15  and constantly crossing the world as Christ’s servant.
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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. 4 (De virtutibus) in Glorie’s edition and 4 in Orchard’s edition.