Vergil’s 2nd Eclogue

Corydon the shepherd used to be burning for hand-
some Alexis, & was missing what he wanted; so he kept heading
out again among the crowding beech-trees, the shaded mountain-
tops. Right there & then did he toss off these disorderly words,
by himself, to the hills and woods of an empty zeal:
“Oh heartless Alex, do you care not at all for my songs?
You have no pity on me? Then you’re going to make me die!
Now the sheep also seize the shadows and chills; now
the thorn bushes also abscond the chartreuse lizards;
Thestylis, too, in the sweltering heat — given the reapers[10
at rest — she mixes in thyme with other savory herbs.
But along with me under the burning sunlight, while I
illuminate your signs, do the trees resound with cicadas.
Was it not enough to suffer the wrath of sad Amaryllis and
the condescending compliments, wasn’t it Menalcas, to
want that boy as black as you are pale? Dear shapely
young man, don’t put too much faith in color’s shade!
The white privets fade, with dark hyacinths picked.
You/I hate you, me! — not who you want, Alexis, for
being rich in flocks, loaded with snowy white milk. A[20
thousand of my lambs do wander about in the Sicilian high-
lands; my milk is not bitter in summer, nor lacking in cold;
I recite what I’m accustomed to sing: since indeed he called
to the herd, Amphion of Dirce at Attic Aracynthus. It’s not
like I’m so misshapen: I saw myself in a pool recently,
since the sea came gentle on the breeze; I’m not afraid of
you sitting in judgment, Daphnis, if the image never errs.
Oh, how should it please you, along with me, to live in
shabby country abode and lowly houses, and strike stags,
and force the flock of lambs to pallid marshmallow plants![30

Do make like Pan singing together with me among the trees.
Pan was the first to invent how to unite a bunch of reeds
with wax; Pan, who takes care of the sheep and lords of the
flock. Don’t let it bother you, chafing your lip on a
pipe: so you may know the same things, why wasn’t Amyntas
doing them? I have a pipe composed of seven fretted flutes that
Damoetas gave to me some time ago: his dying words were,
‘Now that kind of woman currently holds you secondary.’
Damoetas said it; struck dumb, Amyntas gave him evil eye.
What’s more, two goats which I discovered in a less than safe[40
valley, with pelts still speckled white even now, they have
been dry of udder two days yet; I am tending them for you:
actually, Thestylis is now saying that I had abducted them;
and he will make good on it, since you find my services un-
tidy. Here you are, you shapely young man: the Nymphs,
just look!, bear lilies for you in loaded baskets; fair Nais,
your girl, plucking the pale violets and lofty poppies, does
combine narcissus flower and that of sweetly smelling anise;
then, weaving mezereon with other soft-scented shrubbery,
does tender hyacinth embroider the tawny hued marigold.[50

Myself, I shall pick apples gleaming with soft, light down, and
chestnuts, the ones my dear Amaryllis used to adore; I’ll
supplement it with plums light as beeswax: this fruit will be
a badge of honor too: and I’ll pluck you, oh you laurels, and you
too, neighboring myrtle blossom, since you mingle odors so
sweet. You’re a country bumpkin, Corydon: Alexis likes not your
offerings, & Iollas yields one’s place not, if you disagree about
our positions. Oh no!, what did I want for my pathetic state?
Lost, I launched the wind into flowers, boar to foaming springs.
Whom do you run from, crazyass? The gods dwell in the forest[60
too, as does Paris from Troy. Let Athena abide by those citadels
which she established; the woods please us better than every, all.
The golden lioness is pursuing the wolf; the wolf itself follows
the she-goat; the naughty lamb goes after the flowering clover;
Corydon’s after you, Alexis: one’s own pleasure pulls each a way.
Look here, plows do bear the yoke lifted over the young cow,
as the sun, when departing, mirrors the crescendo of shadows;
nonetheless love cinges me: now what way is there for love?

‘Oh Corydon, Don-Cory, what madness seized control of you!’

Half-pruned, a leafy stalk is upon the elm tree; weren’t you[70
at least getting ready rather to uncover something of those
practicality requires, with branches green and soft rushes?
You’ll find another man, if he looks down on you, Alex.”

Vergil’s 5th Eclogue

MENALCAS—MOPSVS

Menalcas
Why don’t we both, Mopsus, be right on, since we got together —
you, by blowing on your light reed-flute, while I recite
lines: shall we sit here among the elms mixed with hazels?

Mopsus
You are the greater, elder: it’s your job to make me equal to the task,
Menalcas, whether we come under the west winds as they stir up
uncertain shadows, or rather head to a cave: look at how the wild vine,
in the woodlands, scatters scant bunches of grapes about the cavern.

Menalcas
Amyntas is the only man to challenge you among our mountain peaks.

Mopsus
Why, what if he should overcome Phoebus Apollo in singing verses?!

Menalcas
Start first, Mopsus, if you have the fires of Phyllis, or[10
praise of Alco, or a rivalry with Codrus:
begin, ‘Tityrus will tend to the kids feeding…’

Mopsus
Actually, I jotted down these songs upon verdant bark of the
beech-tree recently, and did note this in changing the tune —
as I tried, so must you demand that Amyntas should compete.

Menalcas
As pliant willow yields to the pale olive tree,
as humble Asarum to purplish roses, is how much
Amyntas gives way to you, in my judgment.
You must give a lot up, boy; we’ve come to the cave.

Mopsus
The nymphs were bewailing Daphnis, snuffed out by a heart-[20
less death; you are a witness to the hazel and with respect
to the nymphs’ streams: for taking hold the pitiable
body of her own son, does fierce mother swear on the gods,
by the stars. Not a cow to take, oh Daphnis, along the
chilled streams for pasturing these days, no beasts of burden
have sipped the river, none to touch the growing blades.
Daphnis, the wild woods and savage peaks declare that
even the lions of Carthage bewailed your passing.
Daphnis made it a custom to drive Turkish tigers at chariot;
Daphnis did institute the ceremonial wands of Bachhus,[30
and wind slender spear with soft ivy green. As the
vine is glory to trees, as grapes grace the vines —
like the bulls with the flocks, just as crops for anointed altars,
so are you a guiding light to your own. After the fates took you,
did Pales the goddess and Apollo himself abandon the fields.
The barley by which we are fed is often plenty enough in the garden —
unfortunate darnel and infertile oats are produced: instead of
soft violet flower, rather than indigo narcissus,
the thistle and Christ’s thorn do arise of prickly spines.
Water the soil with foliage, go introduce your shadow to the springs,[40
you shepherds, should Daphnis command such affairs for his own
self — and build up a burial mound, & add this verse to the grave:
“I, Daphnis, will have been noted henceforth in the woods, on up
to the stars: oneself, a lovelier guardian for fine-looking flock.”

Menalcas
Such a song in verse as yours, oh holy poet, is
like slumber in the grass for the exhausted, like
the rushing of tasty waters to quench one’s thirst
through undulating stream: and you are not up to the task
on a reed-flute alone, but with the voice of masters.
Lucky young man, now you will be second only to that[50
famed poet. All the same will we recite these poems of ours
in whatever manner are yours, and raise your dear
Daphnis on up to the stars; we shall take him
even to stars: Daphnis was well-loved by me too.

Mopsus
Well if we found anything greater than such an offering,
then the young lad was worthy for singing, as well did
Stimicho praise those poems of ours some time ago.

Menalcas
The resplendent man marvels at the unfamiliar gate of Olympus,
with Daphnis up from the threshold looking at clouds and stars.
So a vivacious pleasure does cling to the forest’s trees, and
other country matters, as well as Pan and the shepherds, and the
wood-nymph girls; neither is the wolf considering plots for a flock,[60
nor do any hunting nets plot a stratagem for the deer: kind Daphnis is
in love with leisure. The rustic mountains themselves, they do
toss voices to the heavens in happiness; now do the very caves sing
verses, bristly trees resound: “God, the famed god, Menalcas!”
Oh, be noble and found lucky of your own. There are four altars, see:
look, two for you, Daphnis, with paired altars dedicated to Phoebus.
I dedicate twin goblets dripping with fresh milk the year-long, and
double fine jugs for your olive oil, & with a great rush right from
the start, delighting the revels for Bacchus, — right before the
hearth if it’s cold, and if summer, in the shade — will I offer[70
divine wine from Chios, poured from mixing bowls. Damoetas
and Aegon of Crete will recite lyrics for me; Alphesiboeus,
to make like the two-stepping satyrs. These things will
always be like this for you, both when return we pious offerings
sacred to the Nymphs, and when we shall the fields cleanse.
As long as the boar tends to hill-top peaks, long as the fish still
loves the deep, and while bees do feed upon thyme, as the cicadas
at murmur, will your your fame and name and compliments endure;
as with Bacchus and Ceres, so too will the farmers make you
annual offerings: you also shall condemn such by vows.[80

Mopsus
What’s it to you, that I should requite such a performance with presents?
For neither will the bluster of the south wind rushing in please me,
nor the shores battered by billowing wave help me so, no
streams rushing here & there from stony valleys.

Menalcas
We will dedicate this precious pipe to you beforehand:
this one taught us, “Corydon was burning for hand-
some Alex,” and also, “Whose flock, is it Meliboeus?”

Mopsus
Well then take your shepherd’s crook, which Antigenes did not get, even
though he often asked me for it (& he had reason for being bitter.), a
lovely looking staff with fine handles and bronze to match, Menalcas.[90