Vergil’s Occasional Verse for Octavian

These were the verses I was singing, right over the rightful observance at
th’ altar of sacrifice, and over about the trees, as Octavian Caesar, a great figure
on the deep, struck the Euphrates valley at war like a thunderbolt, and as conqueror
grants rule of law to willing peoples, and fixes his pathway to Mt. Olympus.

That famèd lord did assist me, at a moment in time when I was in full flower
about the zealous studies of the siren’s song, rather less than noble at leisure,
by stanzas for shepherds which I do perform — & what a daring youth am I — dear
Tityrus, as I recite poetic verses on you, beneath the cover of branching oak.

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Vergil’s 9th Eclogue

LYCIDAS—MOERIS

L: Feet got you going, Moeris? How does the way take you, into town?

M: Well Lycidas, we made it through alive, so that a stranger trying
(which is never cause for concern to me) to master my field, should’ve
said: ‘These things are my stuff; move abroad, you old settlers!’
Now do we get these flocks going, in our defeat, humbled — which
might not go so well — because Fate causes all things to turn.

L: Really, I heard for sure — where the hills start to turn to rolling,
and send the mountain-ridge off at a soft slope, on to the water
front and old time beech (now breaking at peaks) trees — that
your boy Menalcas plays by the rules in his compositions.

M: You heard it here, & it was famed: but our tunes do so well,
Lycidas, among the arms of Mars, as well as what people
do call doves from Chaon, with the eagle arriving. As the crow
was warning me from the evergreen oak not to fall, in any way,
into clever legalese before the hung jury, so neither will
Moeris, nor even Menalcas himself, let you live off of here. . . .

L: Oh no! Did such an evil deed happen to anyone? Too bad! Were
your comforts taken from us nearly right off with you, Menalcas?
So that someone might set the Nymphs to singing? Who would sprinkle
flowering plants on the earth, or bring shade from the verdant source
of the stream? Or your poems which I recently had a peek at,
should you take them with you to my own favorite Amaryllis?
“Tityrus, please put the lambs to pasture (It’s a short way.) while I’m on my
way back; once fed, take them to stream, Tityrus, and watch out for the
boar (which does go wild in the glen) in the midst of heading to meet one.”

M: Alright, & what Varo was singing, albeit unfinished, goes: “Varo,
only our native Mantua should surpass your own name,
poor Mantua too close to lowly Cremona, as singing
swans head to the heavens in sublime fashion.”

L: Just as your flocks flee from the Corsican yew, as the pastured
herd of cattle, when fed on clover, does swell at the udder,
so begin, if you have any starting point. And the Muses made me
a poet; the songs are mine too: the shepherds, they also
call me a prophetic seer, but I don’t buy it from them — for neither
did I seem so to Varius yet, nor to say things appropriate for Cinna,
rather as the goose resounding among conspicuous, the swans.

M: Really, that’s what I’m doing, and considering such to myself in
silence, whether or not I can even remember; it’s not such an unpopular
song: “Here you are, oh Galatea — now what kind of game is upon
the waves’ deep? Now shining spring-time, now the very earth pour
diverse flowers about the stream; here the brilliant poplar impends
over a cave, & the light vines do intertwine with shaded alcoves.
There you are — let the crazy rushing waters rage along the shore.”

L: Why, what poems did I hear you singing alone under the naked
night? I remember the tune, if I still have the words right: “Daphnis,
why don’t you respect the age-old origin of symbols? Look, at
the morning star of Caesar’s love goddess, the star in which
the crops rejoice with flowering plants, and by which the vine
deploys its coloring upon sun-drenched ridges. Plant the
pear trees, Daphnis: your young ones are picking the apples.”

M: Summer’s age moves everything, including the mind — I recall
how often I kept watch over lengthening sunshine days as a boy chanting:
so many of my songs are forgotten already that even one’s voice now retreats
from Moeris: the vanguard of wolves are looking at Moeris. But
still, Menalcas should’ve offered you these answers often enough.

L: You’re leading my desirable loves a long way off, making excuses.
And currently every level field lies open to you in silence, & look,
all the wind-swept airs of heaven have landed with a mild roar.
That’s why our way is so far in between, since it started to make its
appearance with Bion’s memorial marker. Here, where the farmers
put the crowding branches and bushes together, right here, Moeris,
do we sing: leave the kids here all the same — we’re still going to town.
Or, if we’re afraid that night-time may muster a rainstorm beforehand,
then let’s go sing verses as long as one can (The shorter way’s a pain.)
get away with it: to go singing as we go, I’ll relieve you by this torch.

M: No more, young man, do cease what we are doing that’s coming up now.
Let us recite verses even better in song, when the poet will have arrived!

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

Vergil’s 1st Eclogue

MELIBŒVS—TITYRVS

M: Hey Tityrus, you, lying beneath the cover of branching oak,
do practice the woodland Muse on slender reed-pipe; we
are at the confines of our country, have left its fields of sweet-
ness: we are in exile from the republic; you do — Tityrus, lying there
in the shade — teach the woods to echo with sound of Amaryllis.

T: Well Meliboeus, some god produced for us this leisure time: and
so will he always be a god to me; many a time shall soft lamb
from our fold stain that noted one’s altar with sacrifice. He
did grant my cattle leeway to wander, as you notice, and
permitted me to play on my woodland reed flute like I want.

M: No envy for sure, rather am I amazed: there’s trouble on every
side all over the country, all the way on up to here, now: oh, I my-
self, sick at heart, am taking my sheep onward; I can hardly even lead
this one, Tityrus: here among the crowding pair of hazel-trees twin,
this lamb has lost all hope of the herd, oh my!, after giving birth
upon the uncovered rocks. Unless my mind was in left-field, I re-
member this apple to us often signified oak-trees that the sky touches:
like the crow often forewarns the sinister caves from the great oak.
But, Tityrus, who would he be, that god of yours — let us have it.

T: The city which its people call Rome, Meliboeus, looked to stupid
me to be just like ours, where often we shepherds are in the habit
of pasturing our tender nursing-sheep: so did I learn puppies are
like dogs, just like lambs and their mother, thus was I accustomed
to put great things up to small ones like so: but truly has this city
supported the other states to such extent that cypress trees
are customary habit, among the pliant way-faring trees.

M: And what reason was such cause of your going to view Rome?

T: Liberty was — freedom, which though late, still looked upon a
lazy man once more; the beard was falling a brighter silver for the one
trimming it after that; still Liberty looked back on me, and arrived
a good long time after Amaryllis had me, after Galatea left me:
in fact, well I’ll confess, as long as I was Galatea’s, there was no
hope of freedom, any liberty, no care concerned for the herds:
however many sacrifices will be proclaimed from my boundaries,
or rich cheese produced for the thankless city, she never did
return home weighed down with copper coins upon my right.

M: I’m amazed at how you would call on the gods, you poor woman,
wretched Amaryllis, whose apples you disclose upon the tree:
Tityrus was not present here. Tityrus, the very pine-trees themselves,
the very self-same rivers, these very woods do call out your name.

T: What couild I do? I wasn’t allowed to be freed of my servitude,
nor was anyone present to know the will of the gods otherwise. I
saw that famed young man, Meliboeus, at as many years as twelve
full on, for whom our civic altars do smoke with fumes by the day;
here it is, the answer that man first provided to me seeking response:
“Put your cattle to pasture as before, young men, do raise your steer.”

M: Oh lucky old man, so the plots of land will remain yours,
& be large enough for you, though uncovered stone and
swamp cover all over with mud-caked rushes! It’s not like
some unfamiliar fodder is weighing down th’ ewes with lamb,
no sickness from the neighboring flock to harm. You lucky
elder, here among the well-known streams and spiritual
rivers you’re going to long for the cool of the shade!
From this source shall that hedge from the neighboring path,
which has been swarmed upon at flower by Sicilian honey-
bees of the willow-grove, often urge you to sleep in a light
whispering; hence does the garden-tiller recite singing from the
lofty cliff; and yet meanwhile the doves are not, you being so concerned,
squawking — turtle-dove will cease not its cooing from the airy elm.

T: Sooner should swift, the stags forage into sea, and the Straits leave
the fish laid bare upon the shore — sooner would an exile drink from
either, given both parties’ boundaries having been so thoroughly traversed,
rather the Parthian meet Arar, or western Europe take the river Tigris,
before that famed one’s face should slip away from my our heart.

M: But surely from here we will go, one and another, to burning
Libya, one to Scythia, other to arrive at the flood of the Oaxes
at Crete, and to Britain, cut so far off from all the globe. Oh,
after a long time shall I wonder at the homeland’s borders, in awe
at the top of the poor shepherd’s cottage piled up to the roof —
will I marvel in view of my rule after so many harvests? Will
some defiled veteran take possession of so lush a field to till,
foreign soldier have these produce? Oh, how conflict does make
for miserable citizens! We have gotten these people used to the fields!
Now go cultivate the pear-trees, Meliboeus, put your vines in order.
Come on, she-goats, come along, you formerly fortunate flock. I
will not see see you after this, myself having been thrown away, in
a sea green cave, that you hang at a distance from the thorny cliff;
I won’t sing any songs; no, myself to put to feed, you lambs,
you will pluck flowering myrtle and bitter willows.

T: Nonetheless you’re able stay here with me for tonight, over the verdant
greenery: there are soft ripe apples just for us, mildness of chestnuts,
and stores of milk already pressed; and now the fore-
most rooftops of the communities fume smoking — and the
greater darkness of larger shadows falls from mountaintops.

Vergil’s 10th Eclogue

Grant me, Arethusa, this final effort for a few verses must be
uttered for my dear Gallus, but ones which his Lycoris
herself might read. Who would refuse poems for Gallus?
Likewise, when the waves of commotion cause the ancient
Italians to slip away, let bitter Doris not stir her own wave up.
Do begin: let us speak of Gallus, his anxious loves, while
the snub-snouted lambs snip at the soft branches. We do not sing
verses to unwilling audience; the woods answer every reply.

And what forests or which woodland pasture will hold you, water
nymph girls, to be unworthiness when Gallus was perishing of love’s
loss? Because neither do Parnassus’s peaks, and neither do any
of Mt. Pindus, delay — not even Aganippa at Aonia either.

Even the laurel trees, even the tamarisks do not make him weep.
The pinecone-laden mountains of Arcadia, and the rocks of ice-
cold Lycaeus, make him weep lying under Mainalo’s lonely ridge.
And the sheep, they all stand about; they’re sorry because of us,
so don’t be sorry for them, you divinely inspired poet — and a
shapely sheep feeds by the streams of the river Adonis; and
the sheperd has come too; and the late swineherds have
come; sodden Menalcas, come for the winter chestnut.

They all ask, “That love of yours, from where?” Apollo arrives:
“Gallus, why are you being crazy?” He says, “Your care,
Lycoris, she followed another through the snows and awful
encampments.” Silvanus came decked in the honor of a leafy
brow, waving a rod flowering, and brandishing massive lilies.

Pan, woodland god of Arcadia has come, & we saw him ourselves —
he was blush-red with the bloody elderberries and dye of scarlet.

He said, “Shall there be any measure? Love does not care about
such things; cruel Love is not satisfied in tears, nor is the grass by
the streams, nor bees with clover — lambs, not by the foliage.”

And in sadness he says, “You’ll sing these poems all the same,
you Spartans on your mountains: Arcadian poets alone are well
versed in singing. O how softly then will my bones be at rest, if
your reed pipe should speak once of my feelings of love, loves!
But oh, to wish I had been one of your number, either as the
guardian of your flock, or the cultivator of the ripe grape’s vine!
It is for sure that whether Phyllis is mine, or whether it be Amyntas,
or whatever furor rage — something for certain if dark-skinned
Amyntas does; and the purple-black violets and bruised hue of
hyacinths — she’d sleep with me among willows under the clinging
vine; Phyllis would pick flowers for my garlands, Amyntas singing.
Here are frigid pools, here the soft meadows, dear Lycoris, the
wood here; right here could I spend up that very age with you.
Now craziness in love holds me back in the weapons of rigid Mars
into the very midst of the missiles and even enemies in opposition:
you, so far from your homeland (would not be so hard for me to
believe!), do see the Alpine snows, oh strong one, and cool chills
of the Rhein by yourself without me: oh let not cold airs beat you!
Aw, would that the rough ice not cut your soft branches trimmed!
I will go and, those poems of mine composed in style of Chalcedon —
I shall intone them on the rustic pipe of a Sicilian sheperd. It is a
sure thing in the woods, among the wild animals’ dens, to prefer
suffering, and cut my loves inscribed into the delicate trees;
those illustrious loves will grow, you shall grow, you desires.
Meanwhile I will make Mainalo shine with wood nymphs inter-
mingled, or I will hunt boar with sharp arms: there are no streams
that forbid me surrounding Mt. Parthenion’s woods with hounds.
Now I do believe I’m going throughout the rocks and wooded
groves uttering sounds; it pleases Pollio to hurl whirling Cretan
points in horn: as though this were cure for my raging, so that
noted god might learn to be light on men’s evil ills? Now
neither do the wood nymphs please us again, nor even our
songs themselves; the very woods, you must yield to them again.
Our efforts are unable to alter that, not even if we might drink
from the very middle of the chills of Mt. Hebron, and were to under-
go the watery snows of a Sithonian winter — not even if,
since perishing paper-thin bark is parched on the high elm,
we took Ethiopian sheep to pasture under the Crab’s star.
Love conquers everything; and let us give ourselves up to Love.”

Oh goddesses of Pieria, this nymph will be enough to sing your
poet in verse, while she sits and weaves a little basket with
marshmallow branches; you shall all do the greatest things to Gallus —
Gallus, for whom love does grow as greatly by the hours,
as alderwood to the truly new youth of the verdant green.
Let us arise: a heavy shadow is customary for ones reciting,
the juniper’s shadow weighty; and shades, they harm the crops.
Go home with belly full — Evening is coming — go on, you goats.

Vergil’s 7th Eclogue

Ecloga VII
MELIBOEUS—CORYDON—THYRSIS

Melibœus
By chance beneath well-known, the elm had Daphnis taken
a sit; Corydon and Thyrsus gathered their flocks into a group —
Thyrsis his sheep, Corydon the goats swelling with milk:
both in the flowering of youth, both youths from Arcadia be
matched equal, ready to recite poetry, in call & response.

A he-goat, one of the flock, wandered off to me as I was guard-
ing the soft myrtle branches from the frost; and I looked upon
Daphnis. When he saw me in return, he says: “The quicker you get
here, Meliboeus, the goat and his kid will be kept safe for you.
And if you can stop a while, take a rest beneath the shade.
They are going to come here through the cattle-fields to drink;
Here Mincius did cover the fresh green banks with a light
reed flute, so equally does a multitude echo with holy oak-tree.”
What could I do? I had not Alcippe, held not Phyllis either —
none to pen the lambs who were weaned off of milk at home:
it was a competition, Corydon along with Thyrsus, huge contest.

Yet have I come to write off my serious words as a game of
theirs: they therefore both began to have it out in trading
verses; the Muses wanted them to remember to take turns.
Corydon requites these lines, Thyrsis those ones, after another.

Corydon
Adjudicating nymphs of Mt. Helicon, our dear love, either per-
mit me a song like my dear Codrus (He does make poetic verses
closest to those of Apollo.), or if we cannot all do so, right here
will the reed-flute hang off the pine, tree disclosed as sacred.

Thyrsis
You shepherds of Arcadia, give the laureate coming into his own
one’s due, so that Codrus’s enviously wanted waist may be broken;
or if pleasing praise will have been further made, wrap your brow
in ivy wreath, so a wicked tongue trouble not a coming prophet.

Corydon
Little Micon said this head of a scruffy boar be for you, my Delia,
and yours are the woodland antlers of the lively deer. If this
would have been one’s own proper, entirely — all of sleek marble —
shall you stand, wrapped about the calf with sandal laced.

Thyrsis
It is enough that you wait, Priapus, for a bowl of milk and these
cakes the year-long through: you are guardian of the paltry garden.
Now we have already made you a marble self for a time; but if
the fodder’s going to fully fill up the herd, you must be golden.

Corydon
Nereus’s daughter, Galatea — you who are sweeter than Sicilian
thyme, brighter shining than the swans, better looking than a
white lamb — when first pastured the bulls do seek once more their
pen, come here, if any care for your Corydon concerns you.

Thyrsis
Really, I will seem to you lovelier than Persian Buttercups, more
wild than lagomilia, more low-down than beached sea-
weed, if this light is still not more enduring for me than a year.
Come home, cows who’ve grazed, come, if you be not shameless.

Corydon
Mossy stream sources and grass rather softer than slumber,
and the occasional shade of a green tree touch you: do watch
out for your flock during the summer solstice; now is the hot
season coming, now buds in the pliant palm grow to swelling.

Thyrsis
Here are the rich hearth and resinous torches, here the great big
flame forever, and doors with their continual soot of blackness;
here we are as concerned about the chills of the South wind as
a wolf cares for the flock’s tally, or roaring streams to the shore.

Corydon
The juniper trees stand tall too, and the chestnut foliage; the
apples lie strewn about the place beneath their tree; everything
is pleasing as laugher now: but if fine-looking Alexis goes off,
away from these mountains, you’d also see the streams dry.

Thyrsis
The countryside’s parched; the grass is thirsty, dying for the
weather’s fault; Bacchus envies leafy vine shadows upon hills.
At the arrival of my girl Phyllis, all the wood green will be:
& Juppiter is going to descend joyously in a shower of rain.

Corydon
The poplar of Hercules, Bacchus’s vine, the myrtle of shapely
Venus, his own laurel tree — they’re most welcome to Phoebus;
Phyllis is in love with the hazel: while she adores the trees,
neither the myrtle nor Apollo’s bay leaf will beat out hazels.

Thyrsis
The ash is prettiest in the forest, pine loveliest in the gardens,
poplar tree finest among streams, fir fairest on high mountains:
but if you come back fairly often to see me, beautiful Lycida,
let the ash-tree yield to you in the woods, the pine in the gardens.

Melibœus
These, the things I remember, and that Thyrsis, the loser, in vain
did compete: from that point on, Corydon is the Corydon for us!