VIRGIL, ECLOGUES
 

VIRGIL was a Latin poet who flourished in Rome in the C1st BC during the reign of the Emperor Augustus. His works include the Aeneid, an twelve book epic describing the founding of Latium by the Trojan hero Aeneas, and two pastoral poems - the Eclogues and Georgics.

Virgil. Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid. Translated by Fairclough, H R. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 63 & 64. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. 1916.

Revised versions of these two volumes are available new from Amazon.com (click on image right for details). In addition to the translation of Virgil's three poems, the book contains recent text revisions by G. P. Goold, source Latin texts, Fairclough's footnotes and an index of proper names.

These, as well as several other more recent translations and academic commentaries, appear in the booklist (right).


VIRGIL INDEX

ECLOGUES

Eclogue 1
Eclogue 2
Eclogue 3
Eclogue 4
Eclogue 5
Eclogue 6
Eclogue 7
Eclogue 8
Eclogue 9
Eclogue 10

GEORGICS 1 - 2

Book 1
Book 2

GEORGICS 3 - 4

Book 3
Book 4

AENEID BOOK 1

AENEID BOOK 2

AENEID BOOK 3

AENEID BOOK 4

AENEID BOOK 5

AENEID BOOK 6

AENEID BOOKS 7 - 12

ECLOGUES, TRANSLATED BY H. R. FAIRCLOUGH

ECLOGUE 1

MELIBOEUS
[1] You, Tityrus, lie under the canopy of a spreading beech, wooing the woodland Muse on slender reed, but we are leaving our country’s bounds and sweet fields. We are outcasts from our country; you, Tityrus, at ease beneath the shade, teach the woods to re-echo “fair Amaryllis.”

TITYRUS
[6] O Melibeous, it is a god who gave us this peace – for a god he shall ever be to me; often shall a tender lamb from our folds stain his altar. Of his grace my kine roam, as you see, and I, their master, play what I will on my rustic pipe.

MELIBOEUS
[11] Well, I grudge you not – rather I marvel; such unrest is there on all sides in the land. See, heartsick, I myself am driving my goats along, and here, Tityrus, is one I scarce can lead. For here just now amid the thick hazels, after hard travail, she dropped twins, the hope of the flock, alas! On the naked flint. Often, I mind, this mishap was foretold me, had not my wits been dull, by the oaks struck from heaven. But still tell me, Tityrus, who is this god of yours?

TITYRUS
[19] The city they call Rome, Meliboeus, I, foolish one! though was like this of ours, whither we shepherds are wont to drive the tender younglings of our flocks. Thus I knew puppies were like dogs, and kids like their dams; thus I used to compare great things with small. But this one had reared her head as high among all other cities as cypresses oft do among the bending osiers.

MELIBOEUS
[26] And what was the great occasion of your seeing Rome?

TITYRUS
[27] Freedom, who, though late, yet cast her eyes upon me in my sloth, when my beard began to whiten as it fell beneath the scissors. Yet she did cast her eyes on me, and came after a long time – after Amaryllis began her sway and Galatea left me. For – yes, I must confess – while Galatea ruled me, I had neither hope of freedom nor though of savings. Though many a victim left my stalls, and many a rich cheese was pressed for the thankless town, never would my hand come home money-laden.

MELIBOEUS
[36] I used to wonder, Amaryllis, why so sadly you called on the gods, and for whom you let the apples hang on their native trees. Tityrus was gone from home. The very pines, Tityrus, the very springs, the very orchards were calling for you!

TITYRUS
[40] What was I to do? I could not quit my slavery nor elsewhere find my gods so readily to aid. Here, Meliboeus, I saw the youth for whom our altars smoke twice six days a year. Here he was the first to give my plea an answer: “Feed, swains, your oxen as of old; rear your bulls.”

MELIBOEUS
[46] Happy old man! So these lands will still be yours, and large enough for you, though bare stones cover all, and the marsh chokes your pastures with slimy rushes. Still, no strange herbage shall try your breeding ewes, no baneful infection from a neighbour’s flock shall harm them. Happy old man! Here, amid familiar streams and sacred springs, you shall enjoy the cooling shade. On this side, as of old, on your neighbour’s border, the hedge whose willow blossoms are sipped by Hybla’s bees shall often with its gentle hum soothe you to slumber; on that, under the towering rock, the woodman’s song shall fill the air; while still the cooing wood pigeons, your pets, and the turtle dove shall cease not their moaning from the elm tops.

TITYRUS
[59] Sooner, then, shall the nimble stag graze in air, and the seas leave their fish bare on the strand – sooner, each wandering over the other’s frontiers, shall the Parthian in exile drink the Arar, and Germany the Tigris, than that look of his shall fade from my heart.

MELIBOEUS
[64] But we must go hence – some to the thirsty Africans, some to reach Scythia and the chalk-rolling Oaxes, and the Britons, wholly sundered from the world. Ah, shall I ever, long years hence, look again on my country’s bounds, on my humble cottage with its turf-clad roof – shall I, long years hence, look amazed on a few ears of corn, once my kingdom? Is a godless soldier to hold these well-tilled fallows? a barbarian these crops? See where strife has brought our unhappy citizens! For these have we sown our fields! Now, Meliboeus, graft your pears, plant your vines in rows! Away, my goats! Away, once happy flock! No more, stretched in some mossy grot, shall I watch you in the distance hanging from a bushy crag; no more songs shall I sing; no more, my goats, under my tending, shall you crop flowering lucerne and bitter willows!

TITYRUS
[79] Yet this night you might have rested here with me on the green leafage. We have ripe apples, mealy chestnuts, and a wealth of pressed cheeses. Even now the housetops yonder are smoking and longer shadows fall from the mountain heights.


ECLOGUE II

[1] Corydon, the shepherd, was aflame for the fair Alexis, his master’s pet, nor knew he what to hope. As his one solace, he would day by day come among the thick beeches with their shady summits, and there alone in unavailing passion fling these artless strains to the hills and woods:

[6] “O cruel Alexis, care you naught for my songs? Have you no pity for me? You will drive me at last to death. Now even the cattle court the cool shade; now even the green lizards hide in the brakes, and Thestylis pounds for the reapers, spent with the scorching heat, her savoury herbs of garlic and thyme. But as I track your footprints, the copses under the burning sun echo my voice with that of the shrill cicadas. Was it not better to brook Amaryllis’ sullen rage and scornful disdain? or Menalcas, though e was dark and you are fair? Ah, lovely boy, trust not too much to your bloom! The white privets fall, the dark hyacinths are culled!

[19] “You scorn me, Alexis, and ask not what I am – how rich in cattle, how wealthy in snow-white milk! A thousand lambs of mine roam over the Sicilian hills; new milk fails me not, summer or winter. I sing as Amphion of Dirce used to sing, when calling home the herds on Attic Aracynthus. Nor am I so unsightly; on the shore the other day I looked at myself, when, by grace of the winds, the sea was at peace and still. With you for judge, I should fear not Daphnis, if the mirror never lies!

[28] “O if you would but live with me in our rude fields and lowly cots, shooting the deer and driving the flock of kids with a green hibiscus switch! With me in the woods you shall rival Pan in song. Pan it was who first taught man to make many reeds one with wax; Pan cares for the sheep and the shepherds of the sheep. Nor would you be sorry to have chafed your lip with a reed; to learn this same art, what did not Amyntas do? I have a pipe formed of seven uneven hemlock stalks, a gift Damoetas once gave me and said, as he lay a-dying, ‘Now it claims you as its second master.’ So said Damoetas; Amyntas, foolish one, felt envious. Nay more, two roes – I found them in a dangerous valley – their hides still sprinkled with white, drain a ewe’s udders twice a day. These I keep for you. Thestylis has long been begging to get them from me – and so she shall, as in your eyes my gifts are mean.

[45] “Come hither, lovely boy! See, for you the Nymphs bring lilies in heaped-up baskets; for you the fair Naiad, plucking pale violets and poppy heads, blends narcissus and sweet-scented fennel flower; then, twining them with cassia and other sweet herbs, sets off the delicate hyacinth with the golden marigold. My own hands will gather quinces, pale with tender down, and chestnuts, which my Amaryllis loved. Waxen plums I will add – this fruit, too, shall have its honour. You too, O laurels, I will pluck, and you, their neighbour myrtle, for so placed you blend sweet fragrance.

[56] “Corydon, you are a clown! Alexis cares naught for gifts, nor if with gifts you were to vie, would Iollas yield. Alas, alas! What hope, poor fool, has been mine? Madman, I have let in the south wind to my flowers, and boars to my crystal springs! Ah, idiot, who do you flee? Even the gods have dwelt in the woods, and Dardan Paris. Let Pallas dwell by herself in the cities she has built; but let my chief delight be the woods! The grim lioness follows the wolf, the wolf himself the goat, the wanton goat the flowering clover, and Corydon follows you, Alexis. Each is led by his liking. See, the bullocks drag home by the yoke the hanging plough, and the retiring sun doubles the lengthening shadows. Yet love still burns in me; for what bound can be set to love? Ah, Corydon, Corydon, what madness has gripped you? Your vine is but half-pruned on the leafy elm. Nay, why not at least set about plaiting some thing your need calls for, with twigs and pliant rushes? You will find another Alexis, if this one scorns you.”


ECLOGUE III

MENALCAS
[1] Tell me, Damoetas, who owns the flock? Is it Meliboeus?

DAMOETAS
[2] No, but Aegon. Aegon the other day turned it over to me.

MENALCAS
[3] Poor sheep, unlucky all the time! While your master fondles Neaera, and is afraid that she prefers me to him, this hired keeper milks his ewes twice an hour, and the flock are robbed of their strength and the lambs of their milk.

DAMOETAS
[7] Think twice before you utter these complaints against a man. I know who was with you while the goats looked askance, and in what shrine – but the complacent Nymphs just laughed.

MENALCAS
[10] That day, methinks, when they saw me hacking Micon’s trees and tender vine shoots with a malicious pruning knife.

DAMOETAS
[12] Or was it when, by these old beeches, you broke Daphnis’ bow and arrows; for you were vexed, spiteful Menalcas, when you saw them given to the boy, and if you hadn’t hurt him somehow, you’d have died.

MENALCAS
[16] What can owners do, when thieves are so daring ? Didn’t I see you, rascal, trapping Damon’s goat, while his mongrel barked madly? And when I shouted: “Where is that fellow off to? Tityrus, mind your flock!” you were skulking behind the rushes.

DAMOETAS
[21] Didn’t I beat him in singing, and wasn’t he to pay me the goat my pipe had won by its songs? If you must know, that goat was mine; Damon himself admitted it, but said he could not pay.

MENALCAS
[25] You beat him in singing ? Why, did you ever own a wax-jointed pipe? Wasn’t it you, you dunce, that at the crossroads used to murder a sorry tune on a scrannel straw?

DAMOETAS
[28] Well, what do you say to us trying together, turn by turn, what each can do ? I’ll stake this cow. Now don’t say no! She comes twice a day to the milking pail, and suckles two calves. Now tell me what stake you will put on our match.

MENALCAS
[32] From the herd I dare not wager anything with you. I’ve a father at home, and a harsh stepmother; and twice a day both cont the flock, and one of them the kids as well. But (and here’s what even you will admit is far more), seeing that you are bent on follow, I will stake a pair of beechwood cups, the embossed work of divine Alcimedon. On them a pliant vine, laid on by the graver’s skill, is entwined with spreading clusters of pale ivy. In the middle are two figures, Conon and – who was the other, who marked out with his rod the whole heavens for man, what seasons the reaper should claim and what the stooping ploughman? Not yet have I touched them with my lips, but keep them safely stored.

DAMOETAS
[44] I also have two cups, made by the same Alcimedon, and he has clasped their handles with twining acanthus, and in the centre placed Orpheus with the woods following him. Not yet have I touched them with my lips, but keep them safely stored. If you but look at the cow, you will have no praise for the cups.

MENALCAS
[49] This time you won’t get away! Wherever you challenge me, I’ll be there. Only let the one to hear us be – why, let is be who’s coming now , Palaemon. I’ll see to it that after today you challenge nobody to sing.

DAMOETAS
[52] Well, come, if you have any song; with me there’ll be no delay; I’ll not shrink from any judge. Only, neighbour Palaemon, give this your best attention; it is no trifling matter.

PALAEMON
[55] Sing on, now that we are seated on the soft grass. Every field, every tree is now budding; now the woods are green, now the year is at its lovelies. Begin, Damoetas; then you, Menalcas, must follow. You must sing alternately; the Muses love alternate verses.

DAMOETAS
[60] With Jove my song beings; of Jove all things are full. He makes the earth fruitful; he cares for my verses.

MENALCAS
[62] And me Phoebus loves; Phoebus always finds with me the presents he loves, laurels and sweet-blushing hyacinths.

DAMOETAS
[64] Galatea, saucy girl, pelts me with an apple, then runs off to the willows – and hopes I saw her first.

MENALCAS
[66] But my boyfriend Amyntas comes to me unasked, so that now not Delia is better known to my dogs.

DAMOETAS
[68] I have found gifts for my darling; for I have myself marked where the wood pigeons have been nesting high in the sky.

MENALCAS
[70] I have sent my boy – ‘twas all I could – ten golden apples, picked from a tree in the wood. Tomorrow I will send a second ten.

DAMOETAS
[72] O how many and how sweet the things that Galatea has whispered to me! Waft some part of them to the gods, ye winds.

MENALCAS
[74] What good is it, Amyntas, that you scorn me not in heart, if while you pursue the boars. I am left to look after the nets?

DAMOETAS
[76] Send Phyllis to me; it is my birthday, Iollas. When I sacrifice a heifer for the harvest, come yourself.

MENALCAS
[78] I love Phyllis most of all ; for she wept that I was leaving, and in halting accents cried, Iollas: “Farewell, farewell, my lovely!”

DAMOETAS
[80] Terrible is the wolf to the folds, the rains to the ripened crop, to the trees the gales, and to me the anger of Amaryllis !

MENALCAS
[82] Sweet are the showers to the corn, the arbute to the new-weaned kids, to the breeding flock the bending willow, and to me none but Amyntas !

DAMOETAS
[84] Pollio loves my Muse, homely though she be: Pierian maids, feed fat a calf or your reader.

MENALCAS
[86] Pollio makes new songs himself : feed fat a bull that butts already and spurns the sand with his hooves.

DAMOETAS
[88] May he who loves you, Pollio, come where he rejoices that you, too have come ! For him may honey flow and the bramble bear spices!

MENALCAS
[90] Let him who hates not Bavius love your songs, Mevius ; and let him also yoike foxes and milk he-goats !

DAMOETAS
[92] You lads who cull flowers and strawberries that grow so low, begone from here; a chill snake lurks in the grass.

MENALCAS
[94] Venture not too far, my sheep; it is dangerous to trust the bank. Even now the ram is drying his fleece.

DAMOETAS
[96] Tityrus, turn back from the stream the grazing goats; when the time comes, I’ll wash them all in the spring myself.

MENALCAS
[98] Round up the sheep, lads; if the heat of the day dries up their milk, as it did of late, in vain will our fingers press the teats.

DAMOETAS
[100] Alas, alas ! How lean is my bull on taht fat vetch ! The same love is fatal to the herd and to the master of the herd.

MENALCAS
[102]With mine at least – and love is not to blame – their skin scarce clings to the bones. Some evil eye bewitches my tender lambs.

DAMOETAS
[104] Tell me in what lands – and to me be great Apollo – heaven’s vault is but three ells wide.

MENALCAS
[106] Tell me in what lands grow flowers inscribed with royal names – and have Phyllis for yourself.

PALAEMON
[108] It is not for me to settle so close a contest between you. You deserve the heifer, and so does he – and whoever shall fear the sweets or taste the bitters of love. Shut off the springs now, lads; the meadows have drunk enough.


ECLOGUE IV

[1] Sicilian Muses, let us sing a somewhat loftier strain. Not everyone do orchards and the lowly tamarisks delight. If your song is of the woodland, let the woods be worthy of a consul.

[5] Now is come the last age of Cumaean song; the great line of the centuries begins anew. Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns; now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only do you, pure Lucina, smile on the birth of the child, under whom the iron brood shall at last cease and a golden race spring up throughout the world! Your own Apollo now is king!

[11] And in your consulship, Pollio, yes, yours, shall this glorious age begin, and the mighty months commence their march; under your sway any lingering traces of our guilt shall become void and release the earth from its continual dread. He shall have the gift of divine life, shall see heroes mingled with gods, and shall himself be seen by them, and shall rule the world to which his father’s prowess brought peace.

[18] But for you, child, the earth untilled will pour forth its first pretty gifts, gadding ivy with foxglove everywhere, and the Egyptian bean blended with the laughing briar; unbidden it will pour forth for you a cradle of smiling flowers. Unbidden, the goats will bring home their udders swollen with milk, and the cattle will not fear huge lions. The serpent, too, will perish, and perish will the plant that hides its poison; Assyrian spice will spring up on every soil.

[26] But as soon as you can read of the glories of heroes and your father’s deeds, and can know what valour is, slowly will the plains yellow with the waving corn, on wild brambles the purple grape will hang, and the stubborn oak distil dewy honey.

[31] Yet will a few traces of old-time sin live on, to bid men tempt the sea in ships, girdle towns with walls, and cleave the earth with furrows. A second Tiphys will then arise, and a second Argo to carry chosen heroes; a second war will be fought, and great Achilles be sent again to Troy.

[37] Next, when now the strength of years has made you a man, even the trader will quit the sea, nor will the ship of pine exchange wares; every land will bear all fruits. Earth will not suffer the harrow, nor the vine the pruning hook; the sturdy ploughman, too, will now loose his oxen from the yoke. No more will wool be taught to put on varied hues, but of himself the ram in the meadows will change his fleece, now to sweetly blushing purple, now to a saffron yellow; and scarlet shall clothe the grazing lambs at will.

[46] “Ages so blessed, glide on!” cried the Fates to their spindles, voicing in unison the fixed will of Destiny.

[48] O enter upon your high honours – the hour will soon be here – dear offspring of the gods, mighty seed of a Jupiter to be! See how the world bows with its massive dome – earth and expanse of sea and heaven’s depth! See how all things rejoice in the age that is at hand!

[53] I pray that the twilight of a long life may then be vouchsafed me, and inspiration enough to hymn your deeds! Then shall neither Thracian Orpheus nor Linus vanquish me in song, though mother give aid to the one and father to the other, Calliope to Orpheus, to Linus fair Apollo. Even were Pan to compete with me and Arcady be judge, then even Pan, with Arcady for judge, would own himself defeated.

[60] Begin, baby boy, to recognize your mother with a smile: ten months have brought your mother long travail. Begin, baby boy! The child who has not won a smile from his parents, no god ever honoured with his table, no goddess with her bed!


ECLOGUE V

MENALCUS
[1] Mopsus, now that we have met, good men both, you at blowing on the slender reeds, I at singing verses – why don’t we sit together here, where hazels mix with elms?

MOPSUS
[4] You are the older, Menalcas: it is right for me to defer to you, whether we pass beneath the shadows that shift at the Zephyr’s stirring, or rather into the cave. See how the wild vine with its stray clusters has overrun the cave.

MENALCAS
[8] Among our hills your only rival is Amyntas.

MOPSUS
[9] He might just as well compete with Apollo in song.

MENALCAS
[10] Begin first, Mopsus, if you have any love songs for Phyllis, or aught in praise of Alcon, or any gibes at Codrus. Begin. Tityrus will tend the grazing kids.

MOPSUS
[13] No, I will try these verses, which the other day I carved on the green beech-bark and set to music, marking words and tune in turn. Then you can bid Amyntas compete with me!

MENALCAS
[16] As far as the lithe willow yields to the pale olive, as far as the lowly Celtic reed yields to crimson rose beds, so far, to my mind, does Amyntas yield to you. Nay, say no more, lad; we have passed into the cave.

MOPSUS
[20] “For Daphnis, cut off by a cruel death, the Nymphs wept – you hazels and rivers bear witness to the Nymphs – when, clasping her son’s piteous corpse, his mother cried out on the cruelty of both gods and stars. On those days, Daphnis, none drove the pastured kine to the cool streams; no four-footed beast tasted the brook or touched a blade of grass. Daphnis, the wild mountains and woods tell us that even African lions moaned over your death.
[29] “Daphnis it was that taught men to yoke Armenian tigers beneath the car, to lead on the dances of Bacchus and entwine in soft leaves the tough spears. As the vine gives glory to its trees, as the grape to the vines, as the bull to the herd, as the corn to rich fields, you alone give glory to your people. Since the Fates bore you off, even Pales has left our fields, and even Apollo. Often in the furrows, to which we entrusted the big barley grains, luckless darnel springs up and barren oat straws. Instead of the soft violet, instead of the gleaming narcissus, the thistle rises up and the sharp-spiked thorn. Strew the turf with leaves, shepherds, curtain the springs with shade – such honours Daphnis charges you to pay him. And build a tomb, and on the tomb place, too, this verse: ‘Daphnis was I amid the woods, known from here even to the stars. Fair was my flock, but fairer I, their shepherd.’”

MENALCAS
[45] Your lay, heavenly bard, is to me even as sleep on the grass to the weary, as in summer heat the slaking of thirst in a dancing rill of sweet water. Not with the pipe alone, but in voice do you match your master. Happy lad! now you will be next after him. Still I will sing you in turn, poorly it may be, this strain of mine, and exalt your Daphnis to the stars. Daphnis I will exalt to the stars; me, too, Daphnis loved.

MOPSUS
[53] Could any boon be greater in my eyes than this? Not only was the boy himself worthy to be sung, but long ago Stimichon praised to me those strains of yours.

MENALCAS
[56] “Daphnis, in radiant beauty, marvels at Heaven’s unfamiliar threshold, and beneath his feet beholds the clouds and stars. Therefore frolic glee seizes the woods and all the countryside, and Pan, and the shepherds, and the Dryad maids. The wolf plans no ambush for the flock, and nets no snare for the stag; kindly Daphnis loves peace. The very mountains, with woods unshorn, joyously fling their voices starward; the very rocks, the very groves ring out the song: ‘A god is he, a god, Menalcas!’ Be kind and gracious to your own! Lo here are four altars – two, see, for you, Daphnis; two for Phoebus! Two cups, foaming with fresh milk, will I year by year set up for you, and two bowls of rich olive oil; and, for my chief care, making the feast merry with wine – in winter, before the hearth; in harvest time, in the shade – I will pour from goblets fresh nectar of Chian wine. Damoetas and Lyctian Aegon shall sing for me, and Alphesiboeus mimic the dance of Satyrs.
[74] “These rites shall be yours for ever, both when we pay our yearly vows to the Nymphs, and when we purify our fields. So long as the boar loves the mountaintops, and the fish the streams; so long as the bees feed on thyme and the cicadas on dew – so long shall your honour, name, and glory abide. As to Bacchus and Ceres, so to you, year after year, shall the husbandmen pay their vows; you, too, shall hold them to their vows.”

MOPSUS
[81] What gifts can I give in return for a song such as yours? Sweeter is it to me than the sound of the South Wind sighing, or the rollers thundering on the beach, or the splash of rivulets tumbling down through rocky glens.

MENALCAS
[85] First let me give you this delicate reed. This taught me “Corydon was aflame for the fair Alexis” and also “Who owns the flock? Is it Meliboeus?”

MOPSUS
[88] And do you take this crook, Menalcas, which Antigenes won not, often as he begged it of me – and in those days he was worthy of my love – a goodly crook, with even knots and ring of bronze.


ECLOGUE VI

[1] My Muse first deigned to sport in Sicilian strains, and blushed not to dwell in the woods. When I was fain to sing of kings and battles, the Cynthian plucked my ear and warned me: “A shepherd, Tityrus, should feed sheep that are fat, but sing a lay fine-spun.” And now – bards in plenty will you find eager to sing your praises. Varus, and build the story of grim war – now will I woo the rustic Muse on slender reed. Unbidden strains I sing not; still if any there be to read even these my lays – any whom love of the theme has won – ‘tis of you, Varus, our tamarisks shall sing, of you all our groves. To Phoebus no page is more welcome than that which bears on its front the name of Varus.

[13] Proceed, Pierian maids! The lads Chromis and Mnasyllos saw Silenus lying asleep in a cave, his veins swollen, as ever, with the wine of yesterday. Hard by lay the garlands, just fallen from his head, and his heavy tankard was hanging by its well-worn handle. Falling on him – for oft the aged one had cheated both of a promised song – they cast him into fetters made from his own garlands. Aegle joins their company and seconds the timid pair – Aegle, fairest of the Naiads – and, as now his eyes open, paints his face and brows with crimson mulberries. Smiling at the trick, he cries: “Why fetter me? Loose me, lads; enough that you have shown your power. Hear the songs you crave; you shall have your songs, she another kind of reward.” Therewith the sage begins. Then indeed you might see Fauns and fierce beasts sporting in measured dance, and unbending oaks nodding their crests. Not so does the rock of Parnassus rejoice in Phoebus; not so do Rhodope and Ismarus marvel at their Orpheus.

[31] For he sang how, through the vast void, the seeds of earth, and air, and sea, and liquid fire withal were gathered together; how from these elements nascent things, yes all, and even the young globe of the world grew together; how the earth began to harden, to shut off the Sea god in the deep, and little by little to assume the shape of things; how next the lands are astounded at the new sun shining and how rains fall as the clouds are lifted higher, when first woods begin to arise and here and there living creatures move over mountains that know them not.

[41] Then he tells of the stones that Pyrrha threw, of Saturn’s reign, of Caucasian eagles, and the theft of Prometheus. To these he adds the tale of the spring where Hylas was left, and how the seamen called on him, till the whole shore echoes “Hylas! Hylas!” Now he consoles Pasiphaë – happy one, if herds had never been! – with her passion for the snowy bull. Ah, unhappy, girl, what a madness has gripped you! The daughters of Proetus filled the fields with feigned lowings, yet not one was led by so foul a love for beasts, though each had feared to find the yoke on her neck and often looked for horns on her smooth brow. Ah! unhappy girl, now you roam the hills; he, pillowing his snowy side on soft hyacinths, under a dark ilex chews the pale grass, or courts some heifer in the populous herd. “Close, Nymphs, Nymphs of Dicte, close now the forest glades, if so, perchance, the bull’s truant footsteps may meet my eyes; it may be that, tempted by a green meadow or following the herd, he will be led home by some cows to our Cretan stalls.”

[61] Then he sings of the maid [Atalanta] who marvelled at the apples of the Hesperides; then he encircles Phaëthon’s sisters in moss of bitter bark, and raises them from the ground as lofty alders. Then he sings of Gallus, wandering by the streams of Permessus – how one of the sisterhood [the Muses] led him to the Aonian hills, and how all the choir of Phoebus rose to do him honour; how Linus, a shepherd of immortal song, his locks crowned with flowers and bitter parsley, cried to him thus: “These reeds – see, take them – the Muses give you – even those they once gave the old Ascraean [Hesiod], wherewith, as he sang, he would draw the unyielding ash trees down the mountain sides. With these do you tell of the birth of the Grynean wood, that there may be no grove wherein Apollo glories more.”

[74] Why tell how he sang of Scylla, daughter of Nisus, of whom is still told the story that, with howling monsters girt about her waist, she harried the Ithacan barques, and in the swirling depths, alas! tore asunder the trembling sailors with her sea dogs? Or how he told of Tereus’ changed form, what feast, what gifts Philomela made ready for him, on what wise she sped to the desert, and with what wings, luckless one! she first hovered above her home?

[82] All the songs that of old Phoebus rehearsed, while happy Eurotas listened and bade his laurels learn by heart – these Silenus sings. The re-echoing valleys fling them again to the stars, till Vesper gave the word to fold the flocks and tell their tale, as he set forth over an unwilling sky.


ECLOGUE VII

MELIBOEUS
[1] Daphnis, it chanced had made his seat beneath a whispering ilex, while Corydon and Thyrsis had driven their flocks together – Thyrsis his sheep, Corydon his goats swollen with milk – both in the bloom of life, Arcadians both, ready in a singing match to start, ready to make reply. To this place, while I sheltered my tender myrtles from the frost, my he-goat, the lord of the flock himself, had strayed; and I catch sight of Daphnis. As he in turn saw me, “Quick,” he cries, “come hither, Meliboeus; your goat and kids are safe, and if you can idle awhile, pray rest beneath the shade. Hither your steers will of themselves come over the meadows to drink; here Mincius fringes his green banks with waving reeds, and from the hallowed oak swarm humming bees.”
[14] What could I do? I had no Alcippe or Phyllis to pen my new-weaned lambs at home; and the match – Corydon against Thyrsis – was a mighty one. Still, I counted their sport above my work. So in alternate verses the pair began to compete: alternate verses the Muses chose to recall. These Corydon, those Thyrsis sang in turn.

CORYDON
[21] Ye Nymphs of Libethra, my delight, either grant me such a strain as ye granted my Codrus – his verses come nearest to Apollo’s – or, if such power is not for us all, here on the sacred pine shall hang my tuneful pipe.

THYRSIS
[25] Shepherds of Arcady, crown with ivy your rising bard, that Codrus’ sides may burst with envy; or, should he praise me unduly, wreathe my brow with foxglove, lest his evil tongue harm the bard that is to be.

CORYDON
[29] Lady of Delos, young Micon offers you this head of a bristling boar and the branching antlers of a longlived stag. If this fortune still abides, you shall stand full length in polished marble, your ankles bound high with purple buskins.

THYRSIS
[33] A bowl of milk, Priapus, and these cakes once a year, are all you can expect from me; the garden you watch is poor. Now we have made you of marble for the time; but if births make full the flock, then you shall be of gold.

CORYDON
[37] Galatea, child of Nereus, sweeter to me than Hybla’s thyme, whiter than the swan, lovelier than pale ivy, as soon as the bulls come back from pasture to the stalls, if you have any love for your Corydon, come to me!

THYRSIS
[41] Nay, let me seem to you more bitter than Sardinian herbs, more rough than gorse, viler than upcast seaweed, if even now I find not this day longer than a whole year. Go home, my well-fed steers, for very shame, go home!

CORYDON
[45] You mossy springs, and lawns softer than sleep, and the green arbute that shields you with scanty shade, ward the noontide heat from my flock. Now comes the summer’s parching, now the buds swell on the pliant tendril.

THYRSIS
[49] With me you will find a hearth and pitchy brands; with me a good fire ever blazing and doorposts black with many a layer of soot. Here we care as much for the chill blasts of Boreas as the wolf for the number of sheep or rushing torrents for their banks.

CORYDON
[53] Here stand junipers and shaggy chestnuts; strewn beneath each tree lies its native fruit; now all nature smiles; but if fair Alexis should quit these hills you would see the very rivers dry.

THYRSIS
[57] The field is parched; the grass is athirst, dying in the tainted air; Bacchus has grudged the hills the shade of his vines: but at the coming of my Phyllis all the woodland will be green, and Jupiter, in his fullness, shall descend in gladsome showers.

CORYDON
[61] Dearest is the poplar to Alcides, the vine to Bacchus, the myrtle to lovely Venus, and his own laurel to Phoebus. Phyllis loves hazels, and while Phyllis loves them, neither myrtle nor laurel of Phoebus shall outvie the hazels.

THYRSIS
[65] Fairest is the ash in the woodlands, the pine in the gardens, the poplar by rivers, the fir on mountaintops; but if you, lovely Lycidas, come often to me, the ash in the woodlands and the pine in the gardens would yield to you.

MELIBOEUS
[69] So much I remember, and how Thyrsis strove in vain against defeat. From that day Corydon is the one and only Corydon for us.


ECLOGUE VIII

[1] The pastoral Muse of Damon and Alphesiboeus, at whose rivalry the heifer marvelled and forgot to graze, at whose song lynxes stood spellbound, and rivers were changed and stayed their current – the Muse of Damon and Alphesiboeus I will sing.

[6] But you [Virgil’s patron Pollio], whether you are already sailing past the rocks of great Timavus or coasting the shore of the Illyrian sea – say, will that day ever dawn when I may tell your deeds? Shall I be ever free to spread your songs throughout the world, that alone are worthy of the buskin of Sophocles? From you is my beginning; in your honour shall I end. Accept the songs essayed at your bidding, and grant that, amid the conqueror’s laurels, this ivy may creep about your brows.

[14] Scarce had night’s cool shade left the sky, what time the dew on the tender grass is sweetest to the flock, when, leaning on his shapely olive staff, Damon thus began:

DAMON
[17] “Rise, O morning star, heralding genial day, while I, cheated in the love which my promised Nysa spurned, make lament, and, though their witnessing has availed me naught, yet, as I die, I call on the gods in this my latest hour.

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[22] Maenalus has ever tuneful groves and speaking pines; ever does he listen to shepherds’ loves and to Pan, who first awoke the idle reeds.

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[26] To Mopsus is Nysa given! For what may we lovers not look? Griffings now shall mate with mares, and, in the age to come, the timid deer shall come with hounds to drink. Mopsus, cut new torches! For you they bring the bride! Scatter the nuts, bridegroom! For you the evening star quits Oeta!

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[32] O wedded to a worthy lord! Even while you scorn all men, and while you hate my pipe and my goats, my shaggy eyebrows and unkempt beard, and think that no god recks aught of the deeds of men!

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[37] Within our garden hedge I saw you – I was guide for both – a little child with your mother, gathering dewy apples. My eleventh year ended, the next had just greeted me; from the ground I could now reach the frail boughs, In the moment I saw you I lost my heart, and a fatal frenzy swept me away.

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[43] Now I know what Love is; on naked rock Tmarus bore him – or Rhodope, or the farthest Garamantes – a child not of our race or blood!

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[47] Ruthless Love taught a mother [Medea] to stain her hands in her children’s blood; cruel, too, were you, O mother. Who was the more cruel, the mother or that wicked boy? It was that wicked boy. Yet you too, mother, were cruel.

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[52] Now let the wolf even flee before the sheep, let rugged oaks bear golden apples, let alders bloom with daffodils, let tamarisks distil rich amber from their bark, let owls, too, vie with swans, let Tityrus be an Orpheus – an Orpheus in the woods, an Arion among the dolphins!

Begin with me, my flute, a song of Maenalus!

[58] Nay, let all become mid-ocean! Farewell, ye woods! Headlong from some towering mountain peak I will throw myself into the waves; take this as my last dying gift!

Cease, my flute, now cease the song of Maenalus!”

[62] Thus Damon, Tell, Pierian maids, the answer of Alphesiboeus; we cannot all do everything.

ALPHESIBOEUS
[64] “Bring out water, and wind soft wool round this altar; and burn rich herbs and male frankincense, that I may try with magic rites to turn to fire my lover’s coldness of mood. Naught is lacking here save songs.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[69] Songs can even draw the moon down from heaven; by songs Circe transformed the comrades of Ulysses; with song the cold snake in the meadows is burst asunder.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[73] Three threads here I first tie round you, marked with three different hues, and three times round this altar I draw your image. In an uneven number heaven delights. Weave, Amaryllis, three hues in three knots; weave them, Amaryllis, I beg, and say, ‘Chains of love I weave!’

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[80] As this clay hardens and as this wax melts in one and the same flame, so may Daphnis melt with love for me! Sprinkle meal, and kindle the crackling bays with pitch. Me cruel Daphnis burns; for Daphnis burn I this laurel.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[85] May such longing seize Daphnis as when a heifer, jaded with the search for her mate amid woods and deep groves, sinks down by a brook in the green sedge all forlorn, nor thinks to withdraw before night’s late hour – may such longing seize him, and may I care not to heal it!

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[91] These relics that traitor once left me, dear pledges for himself. Now, on my very threshold, I commit them, earth, to you. These pledges make Daphnis my due.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[95] These herbs and these poisons, culled in Pontus, Moeris himself gave me – they grow plenteously in Pontus. By their aid I have oft seen Moeris turn wolf and hide in the woods, oft call spirits from the depth of the grave, and charm sown corn away to other fields.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[101] Carry forth the embers, Amaryllis, and toss them over your head into a running brook; and look not back. With their aid I will assail Daphnis; he recks naught of gods or songs.

Bring Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!

[105] ‘Look! the ash itself, while I delay to carry it forth, has of its own accord caught the shrines with quivering flames. Be the omen good!’ ‘Tis something surely, and Hylax is barking at the gate. Can I trust my eyes? Or do lovers fashion their own dreams!

Cease! Daphnis home from town, bring him, my songs!


ECLOGUE IX

LYCIDAS
[1] Whither afoot, Moeris? Is it, where the path leads, to town?

MOERIS
[2] O Lycidas, we have lived to see the day – an evil never dreamed – when a stranger, holder of our little farm, could say: “This is mine; begone, old tenants!” Now, beaten and cowed, since Chance rules all, we send him these kids – our curse go with them!

LYCIDAS
[7] Yet surely I had heard that, from where the hills begin to rise, then sink their ridge in a gentle slope, down to the water and the old beeches with their now shattered tops, your Menalcas had with his songs saved all.

MOERIS
[11] You had heard, and so the story ran. But amid the weapons of war, Lycidas, our songs avail as much as, they say, Dodona’s doves when the eagle comes. So, had not a raven on the left first warned me from the hollow oak to cut short, as best I might, this new dispute, neither your Moeris here nor Menalcas himself would be alive.

LYCIDAS
[17] Alas! can any may be guilty of such a crime? Alas! was the solace of your songs, Menalcas, almost torn from us, along with yourself? Who would sing the Nymphs? Who would strew the tuft with flowery herbage, or curtain the springs with green shade? Or those songs I slyly caught from you the other day, when you were off to our darling Amaryllis? “Tityrus, till I return – the way is short – feed my goats; and when fed, drive them, Tityrus, to water, and in driving, have a care not to get in the he-goat’s way – he butts with his horn.”

MOERIS
[26] Why not these lines, still unfinished, which he sang to Varus: “Varus, your name, let but Mantua be spared us – Mantua, alas! too near ill-fated Cremona – singing swans shall bear aloft to the stars.”

LYCIDAS
[30] As you would have your swarms shun the yews of Corsica, and your heifers browse on clover and swell their udders, being, if you have aught to sing. Me, too, the Pierian maids have made a poet; I, too, have songs; me also the shepherds call a bard, but I trust them not. For as yet, methinks, I sing nothing worthy of a Varius or a Cinna, but cackle as a goose among melodious swans.

MOERIS
[37] That’s what I’m about, Lycidas, silently turning it over in my mind, in case I can recall it. And no mean song it is. “Come to me, Galatea! What pleasure lives in waves? Here is rosy spring; here, by the streams, Earth scatters her flowers of a thousand hues; here the white poplar bends over the cave, and the clinging vines weave shady bowers. Come to me; leave the wild waves to lash the shore.”

LYCIDAS
[44] What of the lines I heard you singing alone beneath the cloudless night? The tune I remember, could I but keep the words. “Daphnis, why are you gazing at the old constellations rising? See! the star [comet] of Caesar, seed of Dione, ahs gone forth – the star to make the fields glad with corn, and the grape deepen its hue on the sunny hills. Graft you pears, Daphnis; your children’s children shall gather the fruits you have sown.”

MOERIS
[51] Time robs us of all, even of memory; oft as a boy I recall that with song I would lay the long summer days to rest. Now I have forgotten all my songs. Even voice itself now fails Moeris; the wolves have seen Moeris first. Still Menalcas will repeat you your songs. Often as you will.

LYCIDAS
[56] Your pleas merely increase my longing. Now the whole sea plain lies hushed to hear you, and lo! every breath of the murmuring breeze is dead. Just from here lies half our journey, for Bianor’s tomb is coming into view. Here, where the farmers are lopping the thick leaves – here, Moeris, let us sing. Here put down the kids – we shall reach the town all the same. Or if we fear that night may first bring on rain, we may yet go singing on our way – it makes the road less irksome. So that we may go singing on our way, I will relieve you of this burden.

MOERIS
[66] Say, no more, lad; let us to the task in hand. Our songs we shall sing the better, when the master himself has come.


ECLOGUE X

[1] My last task this – vouchsafe me it, Arethusa! A few verses I must sing for my Gallus, yet such as Lycoris herself may read! Who would refuse verses to Gallus! If, when you glide beneath Sicilian waves, you would not have briny Doris blend her stream with yours, begin! Let us tell of Gallus’ anxious loves, while the blunt-nosed goats crop the tender shrubs. We sing to no deaf ears; the woods echo every note.

[9] What groves, what glades where your abode, you virgin Naiads, when Gallus was pining with unrequited love? For no heights of Parnassus or of Pindus, no Aonian Aganippe made you tarry. For him even the laurels, even the tamarisks wept. For him, as he lay beneath a loney rock, even pine-crowned Maenalus wept, and the crags of cold Lycaeus. The sheep, too, stand around – they think no shame of us, and think you no shame of the flock, heavenly poet; even fair Adonis fed sheep beside the streams. The shepherd came, too; slowly the swineherds came; Menalcas came, dripping, from the winter’s mast. All ask: “Whence this love of yours?”Apollo came. “Gallus,” he said, “what madness this? Your sweetheart Lycoris has followed another amid snows and amid rugged camps.” Silvanus came, with rustic glories on his brow, waving his fennel flower and tall lilies. Pan came, Arcady’s god, and we ourselves saw him, crimsoned with vermilion and blood-red elderberries. “Will there be no end?” he cried. “Love recks naught of this: neither is cruel Love sated with tears, nor the grass with the rills, nor bees with the clover, nor goats with leaves.”

[31] But sadly Gallus replied: “Yet you, Arcadians, will sing this tail to your mountains; Arcadians only know how to sing. How softly then would my bones repose, if in other days your pipes should tell my love! And oh that I had been one of you, the shepherd of a flock of yours, or the dresser of your ripened grapes! Surely, my darling, whether it were Phyllis or Amyntas, or whoever it were – and what if Amyntas be dark? violets, too, are black and black are hyacinths – my darling would be lying at my side among the willows, and under the creeping vine above – Phyllis plucking me flowers for a garland, Amyntas singing me songs. Here are cold springs, Lycoris, here soft meadows, here woodland; here with you, only the passage of time would wear me away. But now a mad passion for the stern god of war keeps me in arms, amid clashing steel and fronting foes; while you, far from your native soil – O that I could but disbelieve such a tale! – gaze, heartless one, on Alpine snows and the frozen Rhine, apart from me, all alone. Ah, may the frosts not harm you! Ah, may the jagged ice not cut your tender feet!

[50] “I will be gone, and the strains I composed in Chalcidian verse I will play on a Sicilian shepherd’s pipe. Well I know that in the woods, amid wild beasts’ dens, it is better to suffer and carve my love on the young trees. They will grow, and you, my love, will grow with them. Meanwhile, I will roam with the Nymphs on Maenalus, or hunt fierce boars. No frosts will stay me from surrounding with my hounds the glades of Parthenius. Already I see myself traversing rocks and echoing groves; it is a joy to shoot the Cretan shaft from my Parthian bow! Once more Hamadryads and even songs have lost their charms for me; once more farewell, even ye woods! No toils of ours can change that god, not though amide the keenest frosts we drink the Hebrus and brave the Thracian snows and wintry sleet, not though, when the dying bark withers on the lofty elm, we drive to and fro the Ethiopians’ sheep beneath the star of Cancer! Love conquers all; let us, too, yield to Love!”

[70] These strains, Muses divine, it will be enough for your bard to have sung, as he sits and waves a basket of slender willow. These strains ye shall make of highest worth in Gallus’ eyes – Gallus, for whom my love grows from hour to hour as fast as the green alder shoots up when spring is young. Let us arise. The shade is oft perilous to the singer – perilous the juniper’s shade, hurtful the shade even to the crops. Get home, my full-fed goats, get home – the Evening Star draws on.

THE END

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