Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001142, Fri, 31 May 1996 08:52:59 -0700

Lalage (fwd)
There is one more possible source for the name Lalage.
In Richard Payne Knight's 1786 _A Discourse on the Worship of
Priapus_we find a citation to the collection of Latin poetry about

Carmina ludicra Romanorum. Pervigilium Veneris, Priapea.
Edidit Egnatius Cazzaniga


"In an ancient poem we find the lady of the name of Lalage presenting
the pictures of the "Elephantis" to him(Priapus) and gravely
requesting that she might enjoy the pleasures over which he
particularly presided, in all the attitudes described in that
celebrated treatise."2

2 The Elephantis was written by one Philaenis, and seems to have been
of the same kind with _Puttana Errante_ of Aretin.

The poem, according to Knight, represents the the sacrifice of the
lady to a god of nature who by this time had become somewhat
degraded and entirely phallic, cousin to Pan and later the Christian

Suellen Stringer-Hye
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
Vanderbilt University