Friday 9 February 2024

Winter Riddle

Pedro Ruiz de Moros (1515-1571), ‘Aenigma.’

Gentibus optatus media inter frigora nascor;
Ore parens patulo me concipit edit et alvo
Centum uteris distincta, alvusque illaesa superstat.
Non fert longa novem mater fastidia menses.
Angustis horae spatiis conceptus in auras
Prodeo sublimis, consurgensque undique pello
Vitae hostem; succedo loco reddoque salutem
Omnibus optatam et tenui solatia plebi.
Me populi patresque colunt, regesque superbi,
Plebs tenuis mihi se et natos debere fatetur.
Vita brevis; septem vivo longaevus in horas;
Est totum vixisse diem longissima vita.   
‘A Riddle.’
I am born in cold weather when all nations desire me;
With an mouth open, my parent conceives me and brings me forth from the womb,
I am divided for a hundred wombs and her womb stands uninjured,
My mother does not endure long nausea for nine months.
Conceived in the narrow space of an hour, I come forth
In lofty airs, and rising everywhere I banish
The enemy of life; I advance into the room and restore health,
Which is desired by all and I am a solace for humble people.
The people and their fathers and proud kings honour me,
Humble people acknowledge that they themselves and their children are indebted to me.
My life is brief: I am ancient if I live for seven hours;
To have lived through an entire day is the greatest extent of life for me.
Pedro Ruiz de Moros, Petri Royzii Maurei Alcagnicensis carmina, ed. by Bronisław Kruczkiewicz, 2 vols (Kraków: Sumptibus Academiae Litterarum Cracoviensis, 1903), II, p. 488. My translation.

[To see the answer, highlight the text below here.]
**Fornax vel fornacis calor [A furnace or the heat of a furnace].