From Virgil's Works, The Aeneid, Eclogues, Georgics translated by J. W. Mackail, Introduction by Charles L. Durham, Ph.D., New York: the Modern Library; 1934; pp. 323-337.
Mixed Metal Sculpture by Serena Thirkell, great granddaughter of J. W. Mackail.
© Serena Thirkell
(Image used with permission).
[1-33]THEE also, mighty Pales, and thee will we sing, O renowned shepherd of Amphrysus, and you, Lycaean woods and rivers. All else that might have held idle minds fast in song is staled by usage now: who knows not cruel Eurystheus or accursed Busiris’ altars? to whom is untold the boy Hylas, and Latona in Delos, and Hippodame, or the hero of the ivory shoulder, the keen horseman Pelops? A path must be adventured where I too may rise from earth and fly triumphing on the lips of men. First will I lead home with me, if life but last, the Muses from their Aonian hills; first, my Mantua, bring thee back the palms of Idume, and build a shrine of marble on the green meadow by the waterside, where broad Mincius wanders in slow windings, and borders his banks with delicate reed. In the midst shall Caesar be my temple’s habitant; to him will I, splendid in Tyrian scarlet, drive in triumph by the river an hundred chariots fourfold-yoked; for me all Greece, leaving Alpheus and the groves of Molorchus, shall contend in the foot-race or with the raw hide boxing-glove. Myself, chapleted with stripped leaves of olive, I will bear offerings: even now is it good to lead the fitly ordered processions to the shrines and see the oxen sacrificed, or the stage opening as the scenes swing round, and the inwoven Britons rising on the crimson curtains. On the doors I will fashion in gold and solid ivory the tribes of the Ganges in battle and Quirinus’ conquering arms, and here Nile surging in war with swollen flood, and columns rising decked with the bronze of ships; and beside them, vanquished Asian cities and Niphates driven in rout, and the Parthian confident in flight and in his arrows shot backward, and the double trophy torn in fight from a diverse foe, and the nations twice triumphed over from either shore. There too shall stand breathing images in Parian stone, the 324[34-72] brood of Assaracus and the names of the nation of Jove’s descent, and Tros their ancestor, and the Cynthian founder of Troy: and wretched Envy shall fear the Furies and Cocytus’ relentless river, the twisted serpents of Ixion, the awful wheel and the stone that never may scale the steep. Meanwhile follow we the woodland ways and fresh lawns of the wood-nymphs; thine, Maecenas, are no light commands. Without thee my spirit never springs aloft; lo, up! break off dull delay! with ringing cries Cithaeron summons, and Taygetus with his hounds and Epidaurus trainer of steeds, and the call echoes back redoubled from the applauding woods. Yet soon will I gird myself to tell of Caesar’s fiery battles, and carry his name’s renown through as many years as separate Caesar from Tithonus’ primal birth.
Whoso either breeds horses for the wondered prize of Olympian palm, or strong bullocks for the plough, let his foremost choice be of the mothers of the herd. The best cow is ugly-shapen; her head coarse, her neck of the largest, with dewlaps hanging down from chin to leg; and to her length of flank there is no limit; large of limb and of foot, and with shaggy ears under inward-curving horns. Nor would I quarrel with one marked with spots of white, or one reluctant to the yoke and sometimes hasty with her horn, and almost like a bull to view, and tall all her length, with a tail that sweeps her footprints below her as she moves. The age for just marriage and travail of birth ceases before the tenth, begins after the fourth year. Beyond these, she is neither fit for breeding nor strong for the plough; between them, while the lusty youth of thy flock endures, let loose the males, put thy herds early to breeding, and generation by generation keep up the succession of thy stock. In this poor mortal life the fairest day is ever the first to fly; sickness and melancholy age advance, and toil and hard death’s pitilessness sweep us away. Ever will there be some stock that thou wouldst exchange: then ever replace them, and that thou miss not the lost, be beforehand in selecting the young of the herd year by year.
Even in like wise must the breed of horses be chosen: 325[73-112] only do thou, on such as thou purposest to nurture for the hope of the race, lavish from infancy onward thy foremost pains. From the first a well-bred foal in the fields lifts a higher pace and plants a lighter limb; he dares to advance in front and to try the threatening torrent, and trust the unknown bridge, and starts not at vain noises: his are a high crest and fine head, a short belly and fleshy back, and a breast rippling in proud slopes of muscle. Bays and greys are proper, the worst coloured are white and dun. Moreover, if haply armour clashes near, he may not stand still, he pricks his ears and quivers in all his limbs, and rolls from his nostrils a gathered volume of fiery breath. His mane is thick, and when flung up falls back on the right shoulder: a double ridge runs between his loins, and his hoof of solid horn prints the sod with heavy clatter. Such was that Cyllarus who obeyed Amyclean Pollux’ rein, and the two-yoked steeds of Mars chronicled of Grecian poets, and mighty Achilles’ team: such too tireless Saturn’s self when, shaking the horse-mane free over his neck at his consort’s coming, he filled high Pelion with his shrill neighing as he fled.
Even him, when failing either from weight of sickness or dulness of growing years, house out of sight and be not over-tender with the faults of age. Age is cold to love, and vainly drags on the ungrateful task, and when the battle is come, as it were a fire blazing without strength among stubble, he rages to no avail. Therefore spirit and youth thou wilt mark beyond all; then his other merits, his parents’ breeding, and his own grief at defeat and exultation in victory. Seest thou not when in headlong contest chariots shoot into the racecourse and pour streaming from the barrier, when the young drivers’ hopes are at height, and throbbing fear drains their riotous hearts? they ply the curling lash and stoop loose over the rein; the glowing axle flies fiercely on; and now they sink, and now rising high they seem to bound through empty air and mount into the wind: no slackening nor stay; the sand rises in a yellow cloud, and they are wetted by the foam and breath of the pursuers; so great is desire of honour, so great 326[113-150] their care for victory. First Erichthonius dared to yoke four steeds to the chariot and stand triumphant rushing above the wheels; the Pelethronian Lapithae mounted on horseback and bequeathed the bridle and the ring, and taught the armed rider to spurn the sod and gather his feet proudly in the canter. For both the task is alike, alike the trainer searches out one in his prime, hot of spirit and fleet of pace, how often soever another have driven the flying foe in rout, and boast Epirus or valiant Mycenae for his country, and trace his line from Neptune’s own ancestry.
Which things regarded, they are busier as the time draws near, and lavish all their care to fill out with firm fat him whom they have chosen leader and named bridegroom of the herd; and mow flowering grass and supply river-water and corn, lest he fail of mastery in the delicious toil, and ill-fed fathers have their record in weakling sons. The brood mares moreover they purposely starve into leanness, and when the foreknown pleasure stirs them first to union, deny them the boughs and fence them from the fountain, and often shake them with galloping and tire them in the sun, while the threshing-floor groans daily under the corn-flail, and while the empty chaff flutters to the freshening west wind. This they do, that the fruitful field be not dulled for use and the sluggish furrows choked by overabundant ease, but thirstily swallow the seed and hide it deeper within.
Again the care of the sires begins to drop and of the dams to follow in turn. When the breeding mares wander at the months’ fulfilment, let no one allow them to draw heavy wagon-yokes, nor clear the road at a leap and dart over the meadows in violent speed or swim in rushing rivers. On clear lawns they feed them and beside brimming streams, where moss grows and the grass is greenest on the bank, by sheltering caves and jutting shadow of cliffs. About the groves of Silarus and Alburnus evergreen with ilex there swarms a fly whose Roman name is asilus, oestrus the Greeks render it in their speech, fierce, shrill of note, that scatters whole herds distracted through the forest: their bellowings madden the 327[151-190] shaken air and the woods and the parched Tanager’s bank. With this plague Juno of old wreaked the terrors of her wrath and counselled woe on the heifer-daughter of Inachus: this likewise, for it attacks more fiercely in the burning noons, thou shalt ward off from the breeding flock, and pasture thy herds when the sun is newly risen or the stars usher in the night.
After birth all the care passes to the calves in turn; and immediately they brand the name and mark of race on such as they choose to rear for stock-breeding, or to keep sacred for the altar, or to cleave the soil and upturn the broken clods of the ridgy meadow. The rest of the herd are at pasture on the grassy green; such as thou wilt shape to pursuit and profit of husbandry, instruct while yet ungrown, and set on the road of training while their minds are light in youth and their age flexible. And first tie round their shoulders loose rings of light osier: next, when the free neck is grown used to bondage, yoke matched bullocks in pairs by these same collars, and make them step each with each; and now let empty carts be often drawn by them along the ground and score a light track on the dust: thereafter may the beechen axle creak to the strain of a weighty load, and the brazen shaft pull the harnessed wheels. Meanwhile for their unbroken youth thou shalt cut not grass alone nor thin willow-leaves and marsh sedge, but the corn sown by thine hand; nor shall the mother cows after ancient use fill the snowy milking-pails, but spend all their udders on their darling children.
But if thy desire be rather towards wars and fiery squadrons, or to roll charioted by Pisa’s Alphean streams and urge the flying team in the grove of Jupiter, the charger’s first task is to look on warriors in pride of arms and endure the bugle note, and stand the scream of the dragging wheel and hear the rattle of harness in the stall; then more and more to rejoice in a kind word of praise from the trainer and love the sound when his neck is patted. And venturing this even when just weaned from his mother, again in turn let him yield his mouth to the soft halter, while weak and yet unsteady and yet ignorant in youth. But when three summers are past and the fourth is 328[191-232] added, presently he may begin to pace the ring and mark time with clattering footfall, and bend his legs in alternating curves, and take the look of work; then, then let him race against the gale, and fling over open spaces, as though free from the rein, hardly lay his foot-prints on the soil’ surface: even as, when the gathered North wind swoops down from Hyperborean borders and scatters the wintry and waterless clouds of Scythia, the deep cornfields and floating plains shiver in light gusts, and the forest tops utter a cry and the long waves race to the beach; he wings his way, sweeping field and flood in his level flight. Hence shall he either sweat towards Elean goals over long spaces of the course with mouth spurting bloody foam, or his supple neck better bear on the Belgic car. Then at last when now they are broken, let their body fill out with coarse mash; for before breaking their pride will swell high, and they will refuse when taken in hand to endure the tough lash and obey the cruel curb.
But no diligence more confirms their strength than to keep love and the stings of blind passion aloof, whether profit of oxen or of horses be more to our mind. And therefore they banish the bull far into lonely pasturage, behind a mountain barrier and across broad streams, or keep him shut indoors by the rich farmyard; for the female gradually wastes his strength and consumes him in gazing and allows him not to remember woodland or meadow; yes and often her sweet allurements drive her proud lovers to let their horns decide the rivalry. On broad Sila gazes the shapely heifer: they join in violent battle and alternate the frequent wound; dark blood bathes their bodies and their crashing horns strain in confronting pressure, while forest and far-stretching sky echo back. Nor will the warriors herd together; but the conquered retires, and keeps exile afar in strange regions, making many a moan over his disgrace and the haughty conqueror’s blows and his love’s loss unavenged; and gazing on the stall he quits his ancestral realm. Therefore with all diligence he trains his strength and lies tireless on an unstrewn couch among flinty rocks, feeding on prickly leaves and sharp rushes; and tries 329[233-271] himself, and learns to throw his rage into his horns by butting at a tree trunk, and buffets the winds with blows, and scatters the sand in rehearsal of battle. Thereafter, in gathered might and strength renewed, he advances his standard and rushes headlong on his forgetful foe: as a billow beginning to whiten in mid ocean gathers a lengthening curve from the deep, and as rolling landward it thunders over the rocks and falls in very mountain mass, while the wave boils up eddying from the bottom and hurls the black shingle high up the beach.
Yes all on earth, the race of man and beast, the tribes of the sea, cattle and coloured birds break into fury and fire; in all love is the same. At none other season does the lioness forgetful of her whelps range fiercer on the plains, nor the clumsy bear deal so many a death and such widespread devastation through the forests. Then the wild boar is fierce, then the tigress most fell: ah, ill is it then to stray in the solitary Libyan land! Seest thou not the shudder that thrills the whole body of the horse, if only the familiar scent is wafted on the gale? and now neither reins nor cruel whips of men, not cliffs or caverned rocks delay him, nor barring rivers that unseat and whirl away mountains with their wave. The great Sabellian boar charges with whetted tusks, tramples the earth before him and chafes his flanks on a tree, and on this side and that hardens his shoulders against wounds. What of the youth, through whose frame unrelenting love darts his mastering fire? late in the blind night he swims the straits vexed by stormy gusts, and over him thunders the mighty gate of heaven, and the seas dash echoing on the crags; nor can his wretched parents call him back, nor the maiden left with cruel death for her doom. What of Bacchus’ dappled lynxes, and the fierce tribe of wolves and hounds? what of the battles fought by unwarlike deer? Doubtless before all the madness of mares is eminent, and Venus’ very self inspired them on the day when that Potnian chariot-team champed the limbs of Glaucus in their jaws. Across Gargarus and across the roaring Ascanis love leads them; they scale the mountain and swim the river. And all at once when their inward longing kindles 330[272-311] into flame, (in spring the rather, since in spring their vital heat returns,) they all wheel and stand facing the West on rocky heights, and snuff the light breezes, and often without bodily union, wind-impregned, wonderful to tell, over crag and cliff and deep-sunken vale they scatter in flight not to thy springs, O East, nor to the rising of the sun, but towards the north and northwest winds, or whence the South issues wrapped in gloom and saddens heaven with his chilly rains. Then that clammy fluid, rightly named hippomanes in shepherds’ language, oozes from their groin: the hippomanes that wicked stepmothers often gather, and mingle with herbs and baleful spells.
But time fleets meanwhile, fleets beyond recovery, while in loving enthralment we pass on and on. Enough now of cattle: half of our charge is left, the herding of fleecy flocks and rough she-goats. Here is work; hence look for praise, sturdy tillers of the soil. Nor am I of doubtful mind how hard it is to win all this in words, and crown things so slight with honour. But in fond desire I am rapt over Parnassus’ lonely steeps, fain to pass along the hill where the trace of no earlier wheel winds down the soft slope to Castaly.
Now, august Pales, now must sound an ampler tone. In the beginning I ordain that sheep crop their fodder in the soft pens while leafy summer lingers on his return, and that the hard ground be strewn beneath them with abundant straw and trusses of fern, lest chill frost hurt the tender flock, and bring mange or rotting feet. Thence I pass on and order for the goats store of arbute-sprays and supply of fresh river-water, and wind sheltered pens turned to the mid-day and facing the winter sun, even when chill Aquarius is now setting showerful upon the verge of the dying year. Them too must we guard with no lighter carefulness: nor will the profit be less, how great a price soever be exchanged for Milesian fleeces steeped in Tyrian crimsons: from them is a more numerous breed, from them wealth of abundant milk; the fuller the pails have foamed from their drained udders, the richer will drip the stream when the teats are squeezed anew. And no less withal men shear the beards and silvered chins of the Cinyphian he-goat, 331[312-350] and his hairy bristles, for service of the camp and sailcloth for hapless seafarers. Their pasture indeed is on Lycaean wood and hill-top, rough briars and brushwood clinging to the steep; and unherded they return heedfully home, leading their young, and hardly lift their heavy udders through the doorway. Therefore with all diligence, as their need of human care is the less, wilt thou guard them from frost and snowy winds, and cheerfully deal them sustenance and fodder of boughs, and keep thine hay-lofts unlocked all mid-winter. But indeed when western breezes call, and glad summer sends forth either flock into lawn and mead, with the glimmer of the morning star let us haste to the chilly countryside while morning is fresh and the grass frosty-white, and the dew on the tender herbage sweetest to the cattle. Thereafter, when the fourth hour in heaven has gathered thirst and the note of the shrill tree-crickets pierces the copses, by wells or by deep pools I will bid the flocks drink the wave that runs in troughs of ilex; but in the noonday heats seek some shady dell, where Jove’s great oak, massy and old, stretches his giant boughs, or where, dark with many an ilex, broods the sacred shadow of the grove: then once more offer them the thin runlets and feed them once more about set of sun, when cool evening allays the air and now the dewy moonlight revives the lawns, and the kingfisher is loud on the shore and the warbler in the thickets.
Why pursue to thee in verse the shepherds of Libya, why their pastures and the scattered roofs of the huts that are their home? Often daylong and nightlong and the whole month unbroken the flock goes grazing for lonely leagues without a dwelling; so wide stretches the plain. The African herdsman carries with him all his wealth, his house and household god, his weapons and Amyclaean dog and Cretan quiver; even as the valiant Roman in his ancestral arms, when he speeds his march beneath a cruel burden, and the column halts and the camp is pitched beside the surprised foe.
But not so where the tribes of Scythia border the Maeotic wave and the yellow Danube rolls thick with sand, or where 332[351-392] outstretched Rhodope runs back under the mid pole. There they keep their herds shut in stall, and no grass shows on the plain or leaf on the tree; but earth lies featureless in mounded snow and deep fields of ice that rise to seven fathoms, under eternal winter and eternal breath of icy north-west winds. Nor ever does the sun pierce that pallid gloom, neither when he rides his horses up the steep of sky nor when he slakes his headlong chariot in Ocean’s ruddy floor. Sudden ice-flakes gather on the running stream, and even now the water bears iron-tired wheels on its back, and gives broad wagons the harbourage it gave to ships before. Brass vessels burst continually, and clothes stiffen on the body, and liquid wine is cut with hatchets; whole pools turn into solid ice, and the rough icicle congeals on the shaggy beard. Meanwhile all the air is a single drift of snow: the cattle die, the broad-backed oxen stand in a frosty shroud, and the deer huddle in troops, benumbed by the fresh masses that their antler tips barely outreach. On them men slip not the hounds, hunt them not with any nets or the terror of crimson-feathered toils; but while they vainly push against the breasting hill, slay them steel in hand and cut them down deep-braying and with merry clamour carry them home. Themselves in caverns deep sunken under earth they fleet their careless leisure, and roll to the hearth oak from the wood-pile and whole elms to feed the fire. Here they pass the night in games, and with beer and bitter meaths joyously counterfeit draughts of the vine. Such is the wild race of men that lies under the seven stars of the utmost North, buffeted by Rhipaean gales and wrapped in the tawny fur of beasts.
If wool-growing be thy care, first keep far from brushwood, from bur and briar; shun rank pasturage; and choose from the beginning a white and soft-fleeced flock. The ram moreover, be he else silvery as may be, if only his tongue is black under the moist palate, reject thou, or he will darken the lamb’s fleeces with dusky spots, and choose another from the flock that fills the meadow. With such snowy wool for dower, if belief be deigned, Pan the god of Arcady ensnared thee, O 333[393-430] Moon, in his treachery, when he called thee into the depth of woodland and thou didst not scorn his call.
But whoso sets his heart on milk, let him with his own hand carry store of lucerne and lotus, and salted grass to the pens: so they desire water the more, and the more swell their udders, and give back in the milk an undertaste of salt. Many too take the new-born kids from their mothers, and fix iron-spiked muzzles on their baby mouths. What they milk at dayspring or in the daylight hours, they let curdle at night; what at gathering dusk and with the settling sun, they pack off in frails at dawn and the shepherd trudges to the town; or sprinkle it sparingly with salt and store it up for winter.
Neither be the care of thy dogs the last-deferred; but feed together on fattening whey the puppies of the fleet Spartan and the keen Molossian: never in their guard shalt thou dread thief by night in thy pens or inroad of wolves or restless Iberians behind thee; often likewise wilt thou urge the chase of the shy wild ass, and course hare or fallow deer with thy hounds, often rout the boar startled with their baying from his woodland wallowing-pool, and high among the hills drive the lordly stag with shouts into thy nets.
Learn also to burn scented cedar in the stalls, and clear out noisome scaled snakes with fumes of gum. Often under sheds long unmoved the dangerous viper lurks and shrinks fearfully out of the daylight; or that sore plague of oxen, wont to glide under the shadow of the roof and dart his venom at the flock, the snake lodges in the round. Snatch up sticks and stones, O shepherd, and as he rises threatening and puffs out his hissing throat, strike him down! and now he hides his head deep in fearful flight, while his coiling body and the last folds of his tail unwind, and he slowly trails the utmost curve of his rings. Likewise there is that malign serpent of Calabrian lawns that rolls along with uplifted breast, scaly-backed and marked with large spots down the length of his belly; who while streams yet gush from their fountain-heads, and while earth is wet with moist spring and southern rains, lives in ponds and housing on river banks, there greedily fills his 334[431-472] black gorge with fish and chattering frogs; after the marsh is burnt up and the earth cracks in the blazing sun, he darts out over the dry land and rages in the fields, rolling his fiery eyes, exasperate in thirst and frantic with heat. May I not then be tempted to take soft sleep beneath the sky, or lie along the grass on the forest ridge, when fresh from his cast slough and glittering in youth he glides forth stately in the sunlight, leaving his young or his eggs at home, and his mouth flickers with triple-forked tongue.
Likewise will I instruct thee of diseases in their sources and signs. Rotting mange attacks sheep when icy rains and the hoar frost of rough mid-winter sink deep in their live flesh, or when, after shearing, the sweat clots unwashed and tangled briars cut their body. Therefore the keepers bathe all the flock in fresh running water, and the ram is plunged in the pool and sent floating down stream with drenched fleece: or they smear the shorn bodies with bitter olive-lees, and mingle scum of silver and virgin sulphur, pitch of Ida and wax ointment, and squills and strong-smelling hellebore and black asphalt. Yet no device helps the trouble more, than when one can cut away the festering surface with steel; the sore is fed into life by concealment while the shepherd refuses to lay healing hands to the wound and sits idly praying to his gods for better fortune. Nay, and when raging pains run deep in the bleating ones and parching fever preys on their limbs, it is found of service to allay the burning heat and strike a vein where it throbs with blood between the hoofs: as is the wonted manner of Bisaltae, or of the fierce Gelonian in retreat to Rhodope and Getan solitudes, whose drink is milk curdled with blood of mares. If from far thou seest one passing oftener into the languid shade, or more listlessly cropping the tops of grass and following behind the rest, or lying down in mid-pasture of the meadow and retiring alone before deepening night, straightway check the evil with thy knife ere the terrible infection spread through the heedless multitude. Not so heavy comes the rush of rain when a squall sweeps over the sea as diseases multiply in the flock: neither do ailments seize 335[473-512] them singly, but whole summer-pastures at a stroke, the flock and the flock’s hope together, and all the race root and branch; as any may know who sees even now so long afterward, by soaring Alps and Noric hill-forts and fields of Iapydian Timavus, the deserted pastoral realm and far-stretching lawns left desolate.
Here once the air sickened and a woful season came, that kindling with the gathered heat of autumn dealt death on all the tribes of cattle and wild beasts, and poisoned the rotting pools and putrid fodder. Nor was the march of death straightforward: but when fiery thirst, coursing in all the veins had shrunk the aching limbs, again the watery humours flooded out and all the bones dissolving under the disease melted into them piecemeal. Often amid divine sacrifice the victim standing by the altar, while the snowy-ribboned fillet of wool was being twined about it, fell dying among the tardy ministrants. Or had the priestly steel slain in time, no flame rises from those filaments when laid upon the altar, nor can the soothsayer return counsel or reply: hardly is the knife at the throat stained by the blood or the sand’s surface darkened by the thin gore. Next calves lie dying all over the luxuriant grass, and yield up their sweet life by the full manger: next madness comes on the kindly dogs, and a hard rattling cough and choking swelling of the throat on the sickened swine. Joyless in his exercises and heedless of the grass the victor steed pines, and turns away from the fountain, and beats the earth with impatient foot: his ears droop, and by them sweat comes and goes, and that cold and betokening death: his skin is dry and hard when stroked, and resists the touch. Such are the signs that for the first days foreshadow the end; but as the sickness begins to advance and gather violence, then indeed their eyes burn and their breath is fetched deep, heavy with broken moans, their flanks below heave with long-drawn sobs, black blood oozes from their nostrils, and their throat is blocked by their rough and swollen tongue. It helped to thrust in a horn and pour down it juice of the winepress; that seemed the one restorative for the dying: in short space 336[513-551] the very cure was fatal; reviving they maddened in fever, and even in mortal weakness (the gods send better things to the righteous and that bewilderment on our foes!) they tore and mangled their own limbs with naked teeth. And lo, smoking under the iron share the bull drops down, spurts from his mouth mingled blood and foam, and heaves a last groan: sadly the ploughman advancing unyokes the bullock mourning his brother’s death and leaves the plough stuck fast in mid-furrow. Not shades of stately groves, not soft meadows can stir his sense, not the river that curls brighter than amber over his rocks to seek the plain; but his deep flanks relax, his dull eyes are weighed down in stupor, and his neck sinks drooping heavily to earth. What avails his toil or services? what that his ploughshare has upturned the ponderous clods? And yet no Massic bounty of the vine, no crowding banquets have done harm to these; they feed on leaves and simple pasture of grass, their cups are clear springs and racing rivers, nor does care break their healthful sleep. Then as never before they say that in that countryside oxen were to seek for Juno’s rites, and chariots were drawn by ill-matched buffaloes to the high votive shrines. Therefore they wearily furrow earth with mattocks, and cover in the seed-corn with their own nails, and with straining necks drag their creaking wagons over the hill heights. No more does the wolf prowl in ambush round the sheepfolds nor pace nightlong nigh the flocks; a fiercer care makes him tame. Shy fallow deer and timid stags now stray among the dogs and about the houses. Nay the brood of the infinite sea and all the tribe of swimming creatures lie on the verge of the strand like shipwrecked corpses in the wash of the wave, and seals take unwonted refuge in the river: and in the vain defence of her winding recesses the viper perishes, and the snake with scales stiffened in dismay: to the very birds the air is cruel, and they drop, leaving their life high under the clouds. Furthermore, no change of food is now aught of avail, and arts are sought but for harm; Chiron son of Phillyra and Amythaonian Melampus give up their mastery. Loosed into daylight from Stygian 337[552-566] gloom wan Tisiphone maddens, and drives plague and panic before her, and day by day towers insatiate with higher uplifted head; river and parched bank and couchant hill echo with incessant lowings and bleatings of flocks. And now she deals destruction in battalions, and heaps the very folds with carcases rotting in foul decay, till men learn to cover them with earth and hide them out of sight in pits. For neither might the hides be used nor can any one dissolve or consume the flesh in water or flame: not even can they shear the fleeces, eaten through by corruption of the pestilence, nor set hand to the rotten web: nay, even if any had braved so abhorred a garment burning pustules and foul-smelling seat overran his limbs, and in no long space of delay thereafter the fatal fire devoured his infected frame.
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