Vergil’s 1st Eclogue


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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