Stephen thinks, of the sea, "diebus ac noctibus iniurias patiens ingemiscit": "by days and nights it patiently groans over wrongs." He is recalling Saint Ambrose's commentary on Romans 8:22, which reads: "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now." In many translations of Paul's words, the creation suffers the pains of childbirth, waiting for the manifestation of God the way a pregnant woman waits for delivery. Stephen seems to be aware of this conflation of metaphysical expectation with sexual generation.

JH 2015

Saint Ambrose of Milan, in an early mossaic that may be a portrait from life. Source: Wikimedia Commons.