But Nicander the Colophonian, in the second part of his Dictionary, says that the lettuce is called βρένθις by the Cyprians. And it was towards a plant of this kind that Adonis was flying when he was slain by the boar. Amphis in his Ialemus says—
Curse upon all these lettuces (θριδάκιναι)!And Callimachus says that Venus hid Adonis under a lettuce, which is an allegorical statement of the poet's, intended to [p. 115] show that those who are much addicted to the use of lettuces are very little adapted for pleasures of love. And Eubulus says in his Astuti—
For if a man not threescore years should eat them,
And then betake himself to see his mistress,
He'll toss the whole night through, and won't be equal
To her expectations or his own.
Do not put lettuces before me, wife,Cratinus also says that Venus when in love with Phaon hid him also in the leaves of the lettuce: but the younger Marsyas says that she hid him amid the grass of barley. Pamphilus in his book on Languages says, that Hipponax called the lettuce τετρακίνη: but Clitarchus says that it is the Phrygians who give it this name. Ibycus the Pythagorean says that the lettuce is at its first beginning a plant with a broad leaf, smooth, without any stalk, and is called by the Pythagoreans the eunuch, and by the women ἄστυτις; for that it makes the men diuretic and powerless for the calls of love: but it is exceedingly pleasant to the taste.
Upon the table; or the blame is yours.
For once upon a time, as goes the tale,
Venus conceal'd the sadly slain Adonis;
Beneath the shade of this same vegetable;
So that it is the food of dead men, or of those
Who scarcely are superior to the dead.