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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. 263-292.

Color photograph of a statue of a Trojan Horse made out of Brass and other metal by Serena Thirkell, great granddaughter of J. W. Mackail, used with permission.

Trojan Horse
Mixed Metal Sculpture by Serena Thirkell, great granddaughter of J. W. Mackail.
© Serena Thirkell
(Image used with permission).




By Publius Vergilius Maro [264]




[1-28]M. — Tityrus, thou where thou liest under the covert of spreading beech, broodest on thy slim pipe over the Muse of the woodland: we leave our native borders and pleasant fields; we fly our native land, while thou, Tityrus, at ease in the shade, teachest the woods to echo fair Amaryllis.

T. — O Meiboeus, a god brought us this peace: for a god ever will he be to me: his altar a tender lamb from our sheepfolds shall often stain. He granted that my oxen might stray as thou descriest, and myself play what I would on the rustic reed.

M. — I envy not, I, rather I wonder, so is all the countryside being routed out. See, I myself wearily drive forth my she-goats; and this one, Tityrus, I just drag along: for here among the hazel thickets she has borne twins, the hope of the flock, and left them, alas! on the naked flints. Often, had a mind not infatuate been mine, I remember how lightning-scathed oaks presaged this woe of ours. But yet vouchsafe to us, Tityrus, who is this god of thine.

T. — The city they call Rome, O Meliboeus, I fancied in my foolishness like ours here, whither we shepherds are often wont to drive the tender weanlings of the sheep. Thus I knew the likeness of puppies to dogs, of kids to their mothers: thus would I compare great things with small. But she bears her head as high among all other cities as any cypress will do among trailing hedgerow shoots.

M. — And why might nothing less serve thee than seeing Rome?

T. — For freedom: she at last in spite of all turned her face upon a slothful servant, when now the beard was sprinkled with white that fell under the razor: in spite of all she turned 266[29-67] her face and came after long delay, since Amaryllis holds us and Galatea has let us go. For I will confess it, while Galatea kept me, there was no hope of freedom, no thrift of savings: though many a victim went out from my pens, and rich cheese from my presses for the thankless town, never once did my hand come money-laden home.

M. — I wondered, Amaryllis, why thou calledst sadly on the gods, for whom thine apples were left hanging on the tree: Tityrus was away. The very pines, O Tityrus, the very springs and orchards here cried for thee.

T. — What was I to do? Neither might I free myself from service, nor elsewhere know gods so potent to help. Here I saw the prince, O Meliboeus, to whom yearly for twice six days the steam rises from our altars: here he gave present reply to my prayer: Pasture your oxen as of old, my children, rear your bulls.

M. — Happy in thine old age! so thy fields will remain thine, and ample enough for thee, although all the pastures be covered with bare stone or muddy rush of the fen. No strange fodder will try the breeding ewes, or touch of evil hurt them from any neighbour’s flock. Happy in thine old age! here, amid familiar streams and holy springs thou wilt woo the coolness of the shade: here the hedge that ever keeps thy neighbour’s boundary, where bees of Hybla feed their fill on the willow-blossom, shall often with light murmuring lull thee into sleep: here under the lofty rock shall rise the leaf-gatherer’s song: nor all the while shall the hoarse wood-pigeons, thy delight, or the turtle on the elm’s aëry top cease to moan.

T. — Therefore sooner shall light stags feed in the sky and the sea-channels leave the fishes naked on the beach; sooner, over-wandering both their boundaries, shall the exiled Parthian drink of Arar, or German of Tigris, than his countenance shall fade from our heart.

M. — But we! some shall pass hence to thirsty Africa, some reach Scythia and Oaxes’ clay-laden torrent, and the Britons wholly sundered from all the world. Lo, shall I ever, long in 267[68-83] time to come, again in my native borders marvel as I see my realm sunk to a poor cabin with turf-heaped roof behind a handful of corn? Shall a lawless soldier possess these trim fallows? a barbarian these cornfields? lo, to what wretched pass has civil discord brought us! lo, for whose profit we have sown our fields! Engraft thy pear trees now, Meliboeus, set thy vines arow! Go, my she-goats, go, once happy flock: never hereafter shall I, stretched in a green cave, see you afar hanging from the tufted rock: no songs shall I sing: not in my herding shall you, my she-goats, crop the flowering cytisus and bitter willows.

T. — Yet here for to-night thou mightst rest with me on green boughs: we have mellow apples and soft chestnuts, and curdled milk in abundance; and already afar the farm roofs smoke, and the shadows fall larger from the high hills.



[1-35]THE shepherd Corydon burned for fair Alexis, his master’s darling, and found no hope: only among the thick shady-topped beeches he would continually come, and there alone utter in idle passion these artless words to the hills and woods.

O cruel Alexis, carest thou naught for my songs? hast no pity on us? thou wilt be my death at the last. Now even the cattle woo the shade and coolness, now even the green lizards hide in the thorn brakes; and Thestylis is bruising garlic and wild thyme, strong-smelling herbs for the mowers wearied with the fierce heat: but for all my company, as I trace the footsteps, the copses ring with crickets jarring under the blazing sun. Was it not better to bear Amaryllis with all her sour displeasures and haughty scorns? or Menalcas, though he were dark, though thou wert white? O fair boy, trust not overmuch to colour; creamy privet-blossoms fall, dark hyacinths are gathered. I am scorned of thee, nor dost thou ask what I am, Alexis, how rich in flocks, how abounding in snowy milk. A thousand lambs of mine wander on Sicilian hills: fresh milk fails me not at midsummer nor in the frost. I sing as he was wont when he called his oxen home, Amphion of Dirce in Actaean Aracynthus. Neither am I so foul to view: of late I saw myself on the shore, when the sea stood in windless calm; I will not fear Daphnis in thy judgment, if the mirror cannot lie. Ah that thou wouldst but care to be with me in the rough country, to dwell in low cots, to shoot the deer, or drive a flock of kids to the green mallow bed. With me in the woods together thou shalt copy Pan in singing; Pan first taught to join with wax the row of reeds: Pan is guardian of the sheep and of the shepherds. Nor let it repent thee to run thy tender lip along the reeds: to know this same art what did Amyntas leave undone? I have a pipe joined of 269[36-73] seven unequal hemlock-stalks, a gift that Damoetas once gave me, and said as he died: Now hath it thee for second master. Damoetas said it: stupid Amyntas was jealous. Furthermore two fawns, and in a perilous ravine I found them, with skin even yet white-dappled, drain a ewe’s udders twice a day; and I keep them for thee. This long time Thestylis begs them to take away from me, and she shall, since our gifts are graceless in thine eyes. Come hither, O fair boy; for thee lo! the Nymphs bring baskets full of lilies; for thee the white Naiad plucks pale violets and poppy heads, and adds the narcissus and the fragrant anise-flower, and entwining them with casia and other sweet-scented herbs, spangles soft hyacinth-posies with yellow marigold. Myself will gather quinces with delicate silver bloom, and the chestnuts that my Amaryllis loved, and waxen plums withal: this fruit likewise shall have his honour: and you will I pluck, O laurels, and thee, bordering myrtle, since so set you mingle your fragrant sweets. Thou art a country boor, O Corydon! nor does Alexis heed thy gifts: nor if the contest be of gifts may Iollas yield to thee. Alas, alas, what have I brought on my luckless head? I have loosed the tempest on my blossoms, woe’s me, and the wild boars on my crystal springs. From whom fliest thou, ah infatuate? Gods likewise have dwelt in the woodland, and Paris of Dardania. Pallas may keep by herself the fortresses that she built: us before all else let the woodland satisfy. The grim lioness pursues the wolf, the wolf in turn the she-goat; the wanton she-goat pursues the flowering cytisus; as Corydon does thee, O Alexis, each drawn by his own delight. See, the bullocks return with the ploughs tilted from the yoke, and the sinking sun doubles the lengthening shadows: yet me love burns; for what bound may be set to love? Ah, Corydon, Corydon, what madness has caught thee? thy vine hangs half unpruned on her leaf-laden elm. Nay but rather at least something of all that daily work needs, set thou to weave of osiers or soft rushes: if he disdains thee, thou wilt find another Alexis.




[1-27]M. — Tell me, Damoetas, who is the flock’s master? Meliboeus?

D. — No, but Aegon; Aegon gave it of late to my keeping.

M. — Poor sheep, ever a luckless flock! while the master clings by Neaera and dreads lest she prefer me before him, this hireling shepherd milks the sheep twice an hour: the juice is stolen from the flock, the milk from the lambs.

D. — Yet remember to be more sparing in thy jeers at men. We know by whom thou, while the he-goats peered sideways — and in what shrine, though the easy Nymphs laughed.

M. — Then, I think, when they saw me slashing Micon’s orchard and nursery vines with jealous hedgebill.

D. — Yes, or here by the old beeches, where thou brakest Daphnis’ bow and reeds: for thou didst grieve, wicked Menalcas, when thou sawest them given to the boy, and it was death to thee if thou couldst not somehow have done him harm.

M. — What can the masters do, when the knaves make so free? Did I not see thee, villain, catching Damon’s goat from ambush while the sheep-dog barked aloud? and when I cried: Where is he running off to now? Tityrus, gather the flock! thou didst hide behind the sedges.

D. — Was not he whom I conquered n singing to yield the goat that my tuneful pipe had won? If thou must be told, the goat was mine, as Damon himself confessed to me, but said he could not give it up.

M. — Thou him in singing? or hadst thou ever a waxen-bound pipe? Wert not wont in the cross-roads, blockhead, to mangle a wretched tune on a grating straw?

D. — Wilt thou then we put to proof between us in turn 271[28-63] what each can do? I stake this heifer — lest haply thou draw back, she comes twice to the milking pail and withal feeds two calves from her udder — say thou what thou wilt stake with me in the strife.

M. — Of the flock I dare not stake aught with thee: for I have a father at home, and a wicked stepmother, and twice a day both count the flock, and one of them the kids. But, what thyself wilt confess far excels it, since be mad thou wilt — I will stake cups of beechwood, carved work of the divine Alcimedon, where a clinging vine raised by his light graver enfolds pale ivy with her scattered berries. In the middle are two figures. Conon, and who was that other whose compass marked out, on all the peopled globe, what seasons the reaper, what the bending ploughman should keep? nor yet have I put lip to them, but keep them laid by.

D. — And for us too Alcimedon made two cups, and wreathed the handles round with soft acanthus; and in the middle set Orpheus and the following woods: nor yet have I put lip to them, but keep them laid by. If thou lookest to the heifer in comparison, small praise is in the cups.

M. — Not to-day shalt thou escape me: I will come anywhere to thy challenge. Let one but hear us now — even he who approaches, lo! Palaemon. I will make thy voice henceforth cease from troubling.

D. — Nay come with what thou hast, there shall be no delay with me: nor do I shrink from any one: only, neighbour Palaemon, this is no small matter, lay it well to heart.

P. — Say on; since we are seated on soft grass, and now all the field, now all the tree is burgeoning, now the woodland is leafy, now is the fairest of the year. Begin, Damoetas: thou shalt follow on, Menalcas: you shall sing turn by turn as the Muses love.

D. — From Jove is the Muse’s beginning: all things are full of Jove. He keeps the world; he gives ear to my songs.

M. — And me Phoebus loves: Phoebus’ own gifts are ever by me, bays and the sweet flushed hyacinth.


D. — Galatea, playful maid, throws and apple at me, and runs to the willows, and desires that she first be seen.

M. — But my flame Amyntas comes to me unbidden: insomuch that now our dogs know not Delia better.

D. — Gifts are got for my love: for myself have marked the spot where the wood-pigeons have built aloft.

M. — What I could I have sent to the boy, ten golden apples plucked from the woodland tree; to-morrow I will send as many more.

D. — O the times and the words that Galatea has spoken to us! carry but a little thereof, ye winds, to the gods’ ears.

M. — What boots it that thou scorn me not in thine heart, Amyntas, if while thou huntest the boar I am keeper of the nets?

D. — Send me my Phyllis: it is my birthday, O Iollas: when I shall make offering of a young heifer for the crops, come thyself.

M. — I love Phyllis before all women: for she wept at my going, and cried, My fair one, good-bye and a long good-bye, O Iollas.

D. — A sad thing is the wolf among the pens, rains on ripe cornfields, the winds in the trees, as Amaryllis’ anger to us.

M. — A sweet thing is moisture to the crops, arbutus to weanling kids, the pliant willow to the breeding herd, as Amyntas alone to me.

D. — Pollio loves our Muse, rustic though she be: maids of Pieria, feed a heifer for your reader.

M. — Pollio himself too makes new songs: feed a bull, soon to strike with his horn and scatter the sand with his feet.

D. — Let him who loves thee, Pollio, come where thou too takest delight: let honey flow for him, and the rough briar yield him spice.

M. — Who hates not Bavius, let him love thy songs, O Maevius, and withal yoke foxes and milk he-goats.

D. — Gatherers of flowers and ground-strawberries, fly hence, O children, a cold snake lurks in the grass.


M. — Stay, my sheep, from too far advance: ill is it to trust the bank: the lordly ram even now dries his fleece.

D. — Tityrus, put back the grazing kids from the river: myself, when the time comes, will wash them all in the spring.

M. — Fold the sheep, children: if the heat steals the milk, as of late, vainly shall we squeeze the udders in our hands.

D. — Alas, alas, how lean is my bull among the juicy tares: the same love is death to herd and to herdsman.

M. — These assuredly (nor is love to blame) hardly keep their bones together: some evil eye is cast on my tender lambs.

D. — Tell me in what lands (and thou shalt be to me as great Apollo) the open space of Sky is three yards and no more.

M. — Tell in what lands flowers are born engraven with names of kings, and have Phyllis for thine alone.

P. — Us it skills not to determine this strife between you: both thou and he are worthy of the heifer, and whosoever shrinks not from Love’s sweetness shall not taste his bitterness. Shut off the rivulets now, my children: the meadows have drunk their fill.



[The “Messianic” Eclogue]

[1-33]MUSES of Sicily, sing we a somewhat ampler strain: not all men’s delight is in coppices and lowly tamarisks: if we sing of the woods, let them be woods worthy of a Consul.

Now is come the last age of the Cumaean prophecy: the great cycle of periods is born anew. Now returns the Maid, returns the reign of Saturn: now from high heaven a new generation comes down. Yet do thou at that boy’s birth, in whom the iron race shall begin to cease, and the golden to arise over all the world, holy Lucina, be gracious; now thine own Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate, in thine, O Pollio, shall this glorious age enter, and the great months begin their march: under thy rule what traces of our guilt yet remain, vanishing shall free earth for ever from alarm. He shall grow in the life of gods, and shall see gods and heroes mingled, and himself be seen by them, and shall rule the world that his fathers’ virtues have set at peace. But on thee, O boy, untilled shall Earth first pour childish gifts, wandering ivy-tendrils and foxglove, and colocasia mingled with the laughing acanthus: untended shall the she-goats bring home their milk-swoln udders, nor shall huge lions alarm the herds: unbidden thy cradle shall break into wooing blossom. The snake too shall die, and die the treacherous poison-plant: Assyrian spice shall grow all up and down. But when once thou shalt be able now to read the glories of heroes and thy father’s deeds, and to know Virtue as she is, slowly the plain shall grow golden with the soft corn-spike, and the reddening grape trail from the wild briar, and hard oaks shall drip dew of honey. Nevertheless there shall linger some few traces of ancient wrong, to bid ships tempt the sea and towns be girt with walls and the earth cloven in furrows. Then shall a second Tiphys be, and a second Argo to sail with chosen 275[34-63] heroes: now wars too shall arise, and again a mighty Achilles be sent to Troy. Thereafter, when now strengthening age hath wrought thee into man, the very voyager shall cease out of the sea, nor the sailing pine exchange her merchandise: all lands shall bear all things, the ground shall not suffer the mattock, nor the vine the pruning-hook; now likewise the strong ploughman shall loose his bulls from the yoke. Neither shall wool learn to counterfeit changing hues, but the ram in the meadow himself shall dye his fleece now with soft glowing sea-purple, now with yellow saffron; native scarlet shall clothe the lambs at their pasturage. Run even thus, O ages, said the harmonious Fates to their spindles, by the steadfast ordinance of doom. Draw nigh to thy high honours (even now will the time be come) O dear offspring of gods, mighty germ of Jove! Behold the world swaying her orbed mass, lands and spaces of sea and depth of sky; behold how all things rejoice in the age to come. Ah may the latter end of a long life then yet be mine, and such breath as shall suffice to tell thy deeds! Not Orpheus of Thrace nor Linus shall surpass me in song, though he have his mother and he his father to aid, Orpheus Calliope, Linus beautiful Apollo. If even Pan before his Arcady contend with me, even Pan before his Arcady shall declare himself conquered. Begin, O little boy, to know and smile upon thy mother, thy mother on whom ten months have brought weary longings. Begin O little boy: of them who have not smiled on a parent, never was one honoured at a god’s board or on a goddess’ couch.

Elf.Ed Note

 *  For a verse translation of this, the so-called “Messianic Eclogue,” on this site, see: The Return of the Golden Age, translated by Sir Charles Bowen. Also see an imitation of it, A Sacred Eclogue in Imitation of Virgil’s ‘Pollio,’ by Alexander Pope.





[1-29]Me. — Why not, O Mopsus, since we are met so good a pair, thou to breathe in the slim reeds, I to utter the verses, sit down here among the mingled elms and hazels?

Mo. — Thou art the older: it is fit I should obey thee, Menalcas, whether where western breezes shift the flickering shadows or rather the cavern be our resting-place. See, how over the cavern the woodland wild vine scatters her thin clusters.

Me. — On our hills Amyntas alone contends with thee.

Mo. — What if he even contend to excel Phoebus in song?

Me. — Begin, O Mopsus, first, if thou hast aught of flames for Phyllis or praises of Alcon or flouts at Codrus. Begin: Tityrus will keep the grazing kids.

Mo. — Nay, the songs I have newly written down on green beech bark and marked the music between the lines, these will I essay: thou thereafter bid Amyntas enter the contest.

Me. — Even as the pliant osier yields to the grey olive, as the low scented reed to the crimson rose-plots, so far by our judgment Amyntas yields to thee.

Mo. — But cease thou further, O boy: we have reached the cavern.

Dead Daphnis cruelly slain the Nymphs wept; you, O hazels and rivers, were the Nymphs’ witnesses; while clasping her son’s wretched corse, his mother calls on gods and stars that pity not. None in those days, Daphnis, drove the pastured oxen to cool streams; no four-footed thing tasted the river nor touched the grassy sward. Daphnis, the wild hills and the woodlands repeat how even Punic lions bemoaned thy decease. Daphnis ordered the harnessing of Armenian tigresses to the car; Daphnis the processions of Bacchus’ revellers and 277[30-68] the soft leafage wound round their supple shafts. As the vine adorns her tree, as her grapes the vine; as bulls the herds, as corn the rich fields; so thou art all the ornament of thy people; since the fates reft thee, Pales and Apollo themselves have left the country desolate. In the furrows where we often have bestowed the large barley, fruitless darnel and barren wild oats spring; instead of soft violet and shining narcissus rises the thistle and the thorn with his keen spines. Strew the ground with leaves, train shade over the springs, O shepherds: Daphnis bids such remembrance be done to him; and pile a mound, and over the mound add a verse: I am Daphnis the forester, known from here even to the heavens, keeper of a fair flock, myself more fair than they.

Me. — Such is thy song unto us, O divine poet, as sleep to the weary on the grasss, as quenching of thirst in the heat from a gushing rivulet of sweet water. Nor on the reeds alone, but with voice too, thou equallest thy master: happy boy, thou shalt now be next to him. Yet we in turn will sing thee these songs of ours even as best we may, and raise thy Daphnis into the sky: we will ensky thy Daphnis, for us also Daphnis loved.

Mo. — And might aught be higher in our eyes than such a gift? Both the boy himself was worthy the singing, and these verses of thine Simicon long since commended to us.

Me. — Clad in light, Daphnis marvels at Heaven’s untrodden floor and sees the clouds and the stars beneath his feet. Therefore gay pleasure reigns in the forest, and all the countryside, among Pan and the shepherds and the Dryad maidens. Neither does the wolf plot ambushes to the flock nor any hunting-nets ensnarement of the deer: gentle Daphnis loves peace. The unshorn mountains themselves cast echoes of gladness to the skies; the very rocks, the very copses now resound in song: A god, a god is he, O Menalcas. Ah be gracious and prosperous to thine own: see, four altars, two, lo! Daphnis, to thee, two for altars of offering to Phoebus: double cups frothing with fresh milk yearly, and two bowls of the fatness of the olive will I lay before thee; and above all making the 278[69-90] banquet glad with much wine, before the hearth in the cold season, in harvest beneath the shade, I will pour from flagons the fresh nectar of Ariusian wine. Damoetas and Lyctian Aegon shall sing to me: Alphesiboeus shall mimic the leaping Satyrs. This shall ever be thine, both when we pay the Nymphs our accustomed vows and when we purify our fields. While the wild boar and the fish shall haunt mountain-ridge and river, while bees shall feed on thyme and grasshoppers on dew, ever shall thine honour, thy name and praise endure. As to the Wine-god and the Corn-goddess, so to thee shall the husbandmen make yearly vows; thou likewise shalt claim their payment.

Mo. — How, how may I repay the gift of such a song? for neither the whisper of the gathering South nor the wave breaking on the beach so delight me, nor streams that race down amid rocky dells.

Me. — First shall this brittle hemlock-pipe be our gift to thee: the pipe that taught us Corydon burned for fair Alexis, and withal Who is the flock’s master? Meliboeus?

Mo. — But take thou the crook that, often as he besought it, Antigenes got not of me, and then he was worth loving, beautiful with ranged studs of brass, O Menalcas.



[1-32]FIRST our Thalia deigned to dally with the verse of Syracuse, nor blushed to dwell in the woodland. When I was singing of kings and battles, the Cynthian twitched my ear and counselled me: A shepherd, Tityrus, should feed fat sheep but utter a slender song. Now will I — for thou wilt have many who long to utter thy praises, Varus, and to chronicle dreadful wars — brook on my slim pipe for the Muse of the country. Yet if one, if one there be to read this also for love of it, of thee, O Varus, our tamarisks, of thee all the forest shall sing; nor is any page dearer to Phoebus than that which writes in front of it Varus’ name.

Proceed, maidens of Pieria. The boys Chromis and Mnasylos saw Silenus lying asleep in a cavern, his veins swollen as ever with the wine of yesterday: just apart lay the garlands slid from his head, and the heavy wine-jar hung by its worn handle. Falling on him, for often the old man had mocked them both with expectation of a song, they fetter him in his own garlands. Aegle joins company and reinforces their faint courage, Aegle fairest of the Naiads; and, now his eyes are open, stains his brow and temples with blood-red mulberries. He, laughing at their wiles, cries, Why tie these bonds? release me, boys: enough that you fancied you were so strong. Mark the songs you desire; for you songs, for her shall be another payment. And with that he begins. Then indeed thou mightest see Fauns and wild creatures sporting in measure, then massy oaks swaying their tops: nor so much does the Parnassian cliff rejoice in Phoebus nor so much Rhodope and Ismarus marvel at Orpheus.

For he sang how throughout the vast void were gathered together the seeds of earth and air and sea, and withal of fluid fire; how from these originals all the beginnings of 280[33-74] things and the young orbed world itself grew together; then began to harden its floor and set ocean-bars to Nereus and gradually take shape in things: while now earth in amaze sees the new-born sun rise shining higher, and the rains fall as the clouds uplift; when the forests first begin to spring, and when live creatures roam thinly over the unknowing hills. Next he tells of the stones cast by Pyrrha, of the realm of Saturn, and the birds of Caucasus and the theft of Prometheus; thereto he adds how the sailors called on Hylas left at the fountain till Hylas! Hylas! echoed from all the shore: and consoles Pasiphaë (happy, had herds but never been!) with the love of her snowy steer. Ah hapless maiden, what frenzy hath hold of thee? Proetus’ daughters tilled the fields with counterfeited lowings, but yet none of them pursued such inhuman and shameful union, though her neck had shuddered as from the plough and she often had sought for horns on her smooth forehead. Ah hapless maiden, thou now wanderest on the hills: he, resting his snowy side on soft hyachinth blooms, under a back ilex munches his pale grass, or follows one among the vast herd. Bar, O Nymphs, Nymphs of Crete, bar now the forest glades, if haply that steer’s wandering footprints may somewhere meet our eyes; peradventure he, either lured by green herbage or following the herbs, may come home on the cows’ track to the yards of Gortyna. Then he sings of the maiden’s marvel at the apples of the Hesperides; then enrings Phaethon’s sisters with moss on bitter bark, and makes them spring tall in alder from the ground. Then he sings how as Gallus strayed by the streams of Permessus, one of the sisterhood led him to Aonian hills, and how before him all the choir of Phoebus rose up; how Linus the divine shepherd-singer, with blossoms and bitter parsley twined in his hair, spoke thus to him: These pipes, see, take them! the Muses give thee, the same they once gave the old man of Ascra; wherewith he was wont, singing, to draw down stubborn ash trees from the hills. On these be told by thee the birth of the Grynean forest, that there be no grove in which Apollo shall pride himself more. Why should I tell this tale either of Nisus’ Scylla, whose 281[75-86] after story is that girt with barking monsters round her white loins she harried the ships of Dulichium, and deep in her whirlpool, ah! tore their shivering crews with her sea-hounds? or of the changed limbs of Tereus; of that feast, that gift Philomela made ready for him; of her flight to desolate places, and of the wings on which she wretchedly hovered high in front of her home?

All that long ago happy Eurotas heard from brooding Phoebus and bade his laurels learn by heart, he sings: the smitten vales echo it to the day: till bidding him gather the sheep to their cotes and tell their tale, the evening star came out in the unwilling heaven.




[1-33]LIGHTLY had Daphnis sate down beneath a whispering ilex, and Corydon and Thyrsis had driven their flocks together, Thyrsis his sheep, Corydon his milk-swoln she-goats; both in the blossom of age, both Arcadians, ready to sing and answer verse for verse. Hither, while I covered my delicate myrtles from the frost, my he-goat, lord of the flock, had wandered down: and I espy Daphnis; seeing me in turn, Quick, he cries, come hither, Meliboeus! thy goat and kids are safe; and, if thou canst take holiday, rest under the shade: hither come the bullocks unherded across the meadows to drink; here Mincius lines his green banks with a fringe of soft rushes, and the swarming bees murmur out of the holy oak.

What was I to do? I had no Alcippe, no Phyllis to shut in the weanling lambs at home; and Corydon against Thyrsis was a brave match. However, I put aside my business for their pleasure. So both began their contest, in alternate verses, since such the Muses willed them to remember. These Corydon, those Thyrsis uttered in his turn.

Co. — Nymphs of Libethrus, our delight, either grant me such a song as my Codrus’ own: his come next to the verses Phoebus makes; or if we cannot all of us attain, this shrill pipe shall hang from your holy pine.

Th. — Shepherds of Arcady, deck with ivy your rising poet, that Codrus may burst his gall with envy; or, if he praise beyond my need, bind my brows with foxglove, lest an evil tongue harm the bard to be.

Co. — This bristling boar’s head to thee, maid of Delos, and the branching antlers of a long-lived stag little Micon offers. If this thy grace abide, all in smooth marble thou shalt stand, the crimson buskin laced round thine ankles.

Th. — A bowl of milk and these cakes, O Priapus, yearly is enough for thee to claim; thou art keeper of a scanty garden. 283[34-70] Now we have fashioned thee in marble for the time: but do thou, if lambing-time fill up the flock, be there in gold.

Co. — Sea-Nymph Galatea, sweeter to me than thyme of Hybla, whiter than the swan, lovelier than pale ivy, so soon as the pastured bulls seek the yard again, if thou carest aught at all for thy Corydon, come!

Th. — Nay, but may I seem to thee bitterer than herbage of Sardinia, rougher than the spiky broom, more worthless than stranded seaweed, if to-day is not longer already to me than a whole year: go home from pasture, for very shame go, my cattle.

Co. — Mossed springs and grass softer than sleep, and green arbutus that covers you with thin shade, shielded the midsummer from the flock; now parching summer is coming, now the buds swell on the tough vine-shoot.

Th. — Here is the hearth and resinous billets; here the fire ever burns high and the doorposts are black with constant soot: here we care as much for the freezing North as the wolf for the flock’s multitude, or rivers in flood for their banks.

Co. — Junipers and shaggy chestnuts tower up; under each tree lie strewn her fallen apples. All now smiles; but if fair Alexis be absent from the hills, thou wilt see even the rivers dry.

Th. — The field is parched, the dying grass thirsts in the distempered air; the wine-god denies the slopes the vine-tendrils’ shade: at our Phyllis’ coming all the woodland will be green, and heaven descend in glad and abundant showers.

Co. — Alcides takes most delight in the poplar, Iacchus in the vine, fair Venus in the myrtle, Phoebus in his own bay-tree: Phyllis loves hazels: while Phyllis loves them neither shall myrtle excel the hazels, nor Phoebus’ bay.

Th. — The ash is most beautiful in the forest, the pine in the garden, the poplar by the river, the fir on the mountain heights: but if thou come back yet again to me, O fair Lycidas, the forest ash, the garden pine shall yield to thee.

These songs I remember, and how Thyrsis strove for victory in vain: henceforth Corydon, Corydon is ours.




[1-28]THE Muse of the Shepherds Damon and Alphesiboeus, at whose strife the wondering heifer forgot the grass, at whose song the lynx stood breathless and the streams changed their current and were still, the Muse of Damon and Alphesiboeus we will tell.

Thou, my friend, whether thou climbest now great Timavus’ rocks or dost skirt the coast of the Illyrian sea, ah shall ever the day come when I may tell of thy deeds? ah shall it come that I may blason over all the world thy strains that alone challenge the buskin of Sophocles? From thee I began; for thee will I end: take the songs that were essayed at thy commands, and let this ivy curl among the conqueror’s laurel around thy brows.

The chill shadow of night had hardly retreated from the sky, when the dew on the tender grass is sweetest to the flock: Damon, leaning on his smooth olive-staff, thus began:

Rise, Morning Star, and herald in the gracious day, while, beguiled by Love’s tyranny, I complain over Nisa the bride, and though it has availed me nothing that the gods were witnesses, yet in this utmost hour call on them as I die.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus. Maenalus ever keeps his vocal forest and talking pines: ever he hears the loves of shepherds, and Pan who of yore would not let the reeds lie idle.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Mopsus gets Nisa: what may we lovers not look for? now will gryphons couple with horses, and in following time shy fallow deer come with the hounds to drink.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Mopsus, cut fresh torches: for thee a wife is led home. Scatter 285[29-65] nuts, O bridegroom: for thee the Evening Star leaves Oeta forlorn.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

O wedded to thy mate! while thou scornest all the world, and while my pipe and while my she-goats annoy thee, and my shaggy eyebrows and untrimmed beard, nor fanciest thou that any god cares for human things.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

In our orchard-close I saw thee, a little girl with her mother — I guided you both — gathering apples wet with dew: the next year after eleven had just received me: I could just reach the brittle branches from the ground. As I saw, how I perished, how the fatal craze swept me away!

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Now I know what Love is: on iron flints of Tmaros or Rhodope or the utmost Garamants is he born, no child of our kin or blood.

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Fierce Love taught the mother to dabble her hands with her children’s blood: cruel thou too, O mother! Crueller the mother or the boy insatiate? insatiate the boy; cruel thou too, O mother!

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Now even let the wolf flee unchased before the sheep; let gnarled oaks bear apples of gold: let the alder flower into narcissus, and rich amber ooze from tamarisk bark: yes, let screech-owls vie with swans, let Tityrus be Orpheus, Orpheus in the forest, Arion among the dolphin shoals —

Begin with me, my flute, the verses of Maenalus.

Even let mid-ocean cover all. Farewell, O woodlands! from my watchtower aloft on the hill I will plunge headlong into the waves: keep thou this my last gift as I die.

Cease, O flute, cease now the verses of Maenalus.

Thus Damon: you, maidens of Pieria, tell of Alphesiboeus’ reply: we cannot all do everything.

Fetch water forth, and twine the altars here with the soft fillet, and burn resinous twigs and male frankincense, that I 286[66-101] may try by magic rites to turn my lover’s sense from sanity: nothing is wanting now but the songs.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

Songs have might even to draw down the moon from heaven: with songs Circe transformed the crew of Ulysses: by singing the cold snake is burst asunder in the meadows.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

Threefold first I twine about thee these diverse triple-hued threads, and thrice round these altars I draw thine image: an odd number is god’s delight.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

Tie the threefold colours in three knots, Amaryllis, tie them then: and say, ‘I tie Venus’ bands.’

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

As this clay stiffens and as this wax softens in one and the selfsame fire, so let Daphnis do for love of me. Sprinkle barley-meal, and kindle the brittle bay-twigs with bitumen. Cruel Daphnis burns me: I burn this bay at Daphnis.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

So may Daphnis love, as when the heifer, weary with seeking the steer through woodland and high grove, sinks on the green sedge by a water brook, in misery, and recks not to retire before the falling night: so may love hold him, nor may I care to heal.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

This dress he wore of old the traitor left me, dear pledges of himself; which now I even in the doorway, O earth, commit to thee: for these pledges Daphnis is the debt.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

These herbs, and these poisons gathered in Pontus, Moeris himself gave me; in Pontus they grow thickest. By their might I have often seen Moeris become a wolf and plunge into the forest, often seen him call up souls from their deep graves, and transplant the harvest to where they were not sown.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

Fetch ashes, Amaryllis, out of doors, and fling them across thy head into the running brook: and look not back. With 287[102-109] these I will assail Daphnis: nothing cares he for gods, nothing for songs.

Draw from the city, my songs, draw Daphnis home.

See! the embers on the altar have caught with a flickering flame, themselves, of their own accord, while I delay to fetch them. Be it for good! something there is for sure; and Hylax barks in the doorway. May we believe? or do lovers fashion dreams of their own?

Forbear: from the city, forbear now, my songs, Daphnis comes.




[1-29]L. — Whither footest thou, Moeris? leads thy way townward?

M. — O Lycidas, we live ot have come to this, what we never feared, that an intruder in our little fields should say, These are mine; hence with you, old freeholders! Now crushed and sorrowing, since all goes with fortune’s wheel, these kids (small joy may he have thereof!) we are sending to him.

L. — Surely I had heard that, where the hills begin to retire and lower their ridge in a soft slope, even to the waterside and the old beeches that now moulder atop, your Menalcas had saved all the land by his songs.

M. — You had; and so rumour ran. But songs of ours, Lycidas, have no more power among warring arms than Chaonian doves, as they say, when the eagle comes. Had not a raven from the hollow ilex on my left forewarned me to cut short my young suit as best I could, neither thy Moeris nor Menalcas himself were alive and here.

L. — Alas! can such wickedness come over any one? alas for thee and our comfort in thee, Menalcas, so nearly lost to us! Who would sing the nymphs? who strew the ground with blossoming plants, or train green shade over the springs? or those songs I caught of late from thee on thy way to our darling Amaryllis: Tityrus, while return, (short is the way,) feed the she-goats; and drive them full-fed to drink, Tityrus; and amid the work, take heed of crossing the he-goat; he strikes with his horn.

M. — Nay these rather, which yet unfinished he sang to Varus: Varus, thy name, if but our Mantua survive, Mantua, ah too near a neighbour to unhappy Cremona,* singing swans shall bear aloft to the stars.

L. — So may thy swarms shun yews of Corsica, so may 289[30-67] cytisus pasture swell the udders of thy kine, begin with what thou hast. Me also the maidens of Pieria have made a poet: I also have songs: even me the shepherds call a singer; but I believe them not. For, I think, I utter as yet nothing worthy of Varius or of Cinna, a cackling goose among these swans of song.

M. — So I do, Lycidas, and am thinking over silently with myself if I may avail to remember; and it is no mean song:

Come hither, O Galatea: what sport is among the waves? Here spring glows, here round the streams the ground breaks into many a flower; here the silver-white poplar leans over the cavern and trailing vines weave a covert of shade. Come hither; leave the mad billows to beat on the shore.

L. — How of what I once heard thee singing alone under the clear night? I remember the notes, had I the words sure:

Daphnis, why gaze upward on the ancient risings of the signs? Io the star of Caesar, Dione’s child, has advanced, the star whereunder fields should rejoice in corn and the grape gather colour on sunny hills. Engraft thy pear-trees, Daphnis; thy children’s children shall pluck their fruit.

M. — Time wastes all things, the mind too: often I remember how in boyhood I outwore long sunlit days in singing: now I have forgotten so many a song: Moeris is losing his voice too; wolves have caught first sight of Moeris; but yet Menalcas will repeat them to thee oft enough.

L. — Thy talking prolongs our desire: and now, see, all the mere is smooth and still, and all the windy murmur of the breeze, look, is sunk away. Just from this point is half our road, for Bianor’s tomb begins to show: here, where rustics strip the thick-leaved sprays, here, Moeris, let us sing; here set down thy kids; for all that, we shall reach the town. Or if we fear lest night ere then gaher to rain,, we may go singing all the way; so the road wearies the less: that we may go singing, I will lighten thee of this bundle.

M. — Cease thou further, O boy, and let us do our present business: when he is come himself, we will sing his songs better then.

Elf.Ed Note

 *  This passage was used to create a popular joke in the 18th century, see: Jest 105, Joe Miller’s Jests: or, the Wit’s Vade Mecum.



[1-36]THIS last labour, Arethusa, grant to me: verses must be sung for my Gallus, few, yet such as Lycoris’ self may read: who would deny verses to Gallus? So, when thou slidest under Sicilian waters, may bitter Doris not mingle her wave with thine. Begin; let us tell of Gallus’ weary loves, while the flat-nosed she-goats crop the tender bushes. We sing not to deaf ears; the forests repeat all.

What woods or what lawns held you, Naiad girls, while Gallus pined in love’s tyranny? for not on Parnassus, for not on Pindus’ slopes did you linger, nor by Aonian Aganipe. Him even laurels, even tamarisks wept: him, as he lay beneath a lonely cliff, even Maenalus with his crown of pines wept, and the rocks of chill Lycaeus. The sheep too stand round; nor are they ashamed of us, nor be thou ashamed of thy flock, O divine poet: even fair Adonis pastured sheep by the river. Came too the keeper of the sheep: slow-pacing came the swineherds: dripping from the winter acorns Menalcus came. All ask, Whence this love of thine? Apollo came: Gallus, why this madness? he said: thy love Lycoris amid the snows and amid the rough camp has followed another. Came too Silvanus with rustic bravery on his head, shaking his blossomed fennels and large lilies. Pan, god of Arcady came, whom our eyes have seen, red with blood-stained elderberries and vermilion. Shall there be a limit? he said: Love recks not aught of this. Neither is cruel Love satiated with tears, nor the grasses with the rills, nor bees with cytisus, nor she-goats with leafage. But sadly he: Yet you will be singing, O Arcadians, to your hills of this; alone Arcadians are skilled to sing. Ah how softly then may my ashes rest, if your pipe once may tell of my loves. And would God I had been one of you, and yours been the flock I kept or the ripe grapes of my vintage! surely Phyllis, were it so, or Amyntas, or whosoever 291[37-77] were my passion (what then, if Amyntas be swarthy? violets too are dark and dark are hyacinths) would lie with me among the osiers beneath a trailing vine: Phyllis would pluck me coronals, Amyntas would sing. Here are chill springs, here soft meadows, O Lycoris: here the woodland: here with wasting time I too at thy side would waste away. Now a mad passion holds thee down among the hard War-god’s arms, encircled by weapons and confronting foes. Thou, far from home (let me not quite believe it!) alone, without me, ah cruel, lookest on Alpine snows and the frosts of the Rhine. Ah may the frosts not hurt thee! Ah may the rough ice not cut thy delicate feet! I will be gone, and the songs I fashioned in Chalcidian verse I will set to the Sicilian shepherd’s reed: resolved in the woods among the wild beasts’ dens, to embrace endurance and to cut my loves on the tender trees; with their growth you, O loves, will grow. Meanwhile I will range Maenalus amid the rout of Nymphs, or hunt the keen wild boar; no rigour of cold shall forbid me to encircle Parthenian glades with my hounds. Even now I think I pass among rocks and echoing groves, and delight to speed the Cydonian arrows from a Parthian bow: as if this could be healing of our madness, or that God could learn to soften at mortal griefs! Now neither Hamadryads once more nor songs themselves delight us: once more, O forests, yourselves retire. Him toils of ours cannot change; neither if in the mid-frosts we drink of Hebrus and abide the rainy winter among Sithonian snows; nor if while the dying bark scorches on the lofty elm, we guide Aethiopian sheep beneath the tropic. Love conquers all: let us too yield to Love.

This shall suffice, goddesses of Pieria, that your poet has sung while he sate and wove a basket of slim mallow shoots: you will make this precious for Gallus: for Gallus, love of whom grows in me as fast every hour as the green alder shoots up when spring is young. Let us arise; the shade is wont to be heavy on singers: the juniper shade is heavy: shade too hurts the corn. Go home full-fed, the Evening Star comes, go, my she-goats.


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