Virgil poems

Virgil(70-19 BCE / Andes / Cisalpine Gaul)
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Eclogue X

- by Virgil 104

GALLUS

This now, the very latest of my toils,
Vouchsafe me, Arethusa! needs must I
Sing a brief song to Gallus- brief, but yet
Such as Lycoris' self may fitly read.
Who would not sing for Gallus? So, when thou
Beneath Sicanian billows glidest on,
May Doris blend no bitter wave with thine,
Begin! The love of Gallus be our theme,
And the shrewd pangs he suffered, while, hard by,
The flat-nosed she-goats browse the tender brush.
We sing not to deaf ears; no word of ours
But the woods echo it. What groves or lawns
Held you, ye Dryad-maidens, when for love-
Love all unworthy of a loss so dear-
Gallus lay dying? for neither did the slopes
Of Pindus or Parnassus stay you then,
No, nor Aonian Aganippe. Him
Even the laurels and the tamarisks wept;
For him, outstretched beneath a lonely rock,
Wept pine-clad Maenalus, and the flinty crags
Of cold Lycaeus. The sheep too stood around-
Of us they feel no shame, poet divine;
Nor of the flock be thou ashamed: even fair
Adonis by the rivers fed his sheep-
Came shepherd too, and swine-herd footing slow,
And, from the winter-acorns dripping-wet
Menalcas. All with one accord exclaim:
'From whence this love of thine?' Apollo came;
'Gallus, art mad?' he cried, 'thy bosom's care
Another love is following.'Therewithal
Silvanus came, with rural honours crowned;
The flowering fennels and tall lilies shook
Before him. Yea, and our own eyes beheld
Pan, god of Arcady, with blood-red juice
Of the elder-berry, and with vermilion, dyed.
'Wilt ever make an end?' quoth he, 'behold
Love recks not aught of it: his heart no more
With tears is sated than with streams the grass,
Bees with the cytisus, or goats with leaves.'
'Yet will ye sing, Arcadians, of my woes
Upon your mountains,' sadly he replied-
'Arcadians, that alone have skill to sing.
O then how softly would my ashes rest,
If of my love, one day, your flutes should tell!
And would that I, of your own fellowship,
Or dresser of the ripening grape had been,
Or guardian of the flock! for surely then,
Let Phyllis, or Amyntas, or who else,
Bewitch me- what if swart Amyntas be?
Dark is the violet, dark the hyacinth-
Among the willows, 'neath the limber vine,
Reclining would my love have lain with me,
Phyllis plucked garlands, or Amyntas sung.
Here are cool springs, soft mead and grove, Lycoris;
Here might our lives with time have worn away.
But me mad love of the stern war-god holds
Armed amid weapons and opposing foes.
Whilst thou- Ah! might I but believe it not!-
Alone without me, and from home afar,
Look'st upon Alpine snows and frozen Rhine.
Ah! may the frost not hurt thee, may the sharp
And jagged ice not wound thy tender feet!
I will depart, re-tune the songs I framed
In verse Chalcidian to the oaten reed
Of the Sicilian swain. Resolved am I
In the woods, rather, with wild beasts to couch,
And bear my doom, and character my love
Upon the tender tree-trunks: they will grow,
And you, my love, grow with them. And meanwhile
I with the Nymphs will haunt Mount Maenalus,
Or hunt the keen wild boar. No frost so cold
But I will hem with hounds thy forest-glades,
Parthenius. Even now, methinks, I range
O'er rocks, through echoing groves, and joy to launch
Cydonian arrows from a Parthian bow.-
As if my madness could find healing thus,
Or that god soften at a mortal's grief!
Now neither Hamadryads, no, nor songs
Delight me more: ye woods, away with you!
No pangs of ours can change him; not though we
In the mid-frost should drink of Hebrus' stream,
And in wet winters face Sithonian snows,
Or, when the bark of the tall elm-tree bole
Of drought is dying, should, under Cancer's Sign,
In Aethiopian deserts drive our flocks.
Love conquers all things; yield we too to love!'
These songs, Pierian Maids, shall it suffice
Your poet to have sung, the while he sat,
And of slim mallow wove a basket fine:
To Gallus ye will magnify their worth,
Gallus, for whom my love grows hour by hour,
As the green alder shoots in early Spring.
Come, let us rise: the shade is wont to be
Baneful to singers; baneful is the shade
Cast by the juniper, crops sicken too
In shade. Now homeward, having fed your fill-
Eve's star is rising-go, my she-goats, go

Ecologue I

- by Virgil 59

MELIBOEUS, TITYRUS

Meliboeus.
You, Tityrus, 'neath a broad beech-canopy
Reclining, on the slender oat rehearse
Your silvan ditties: I from my sweet fields,
And home's familiar bounds, even now depart.
Exiled from home am I; while, Tityrus, you
Sit careless in the shade, and, at your call,
'Fair Amaryllis' bid the woods resound.

Tityrus.
O Meliboeus, 'twas a god vouchsafed
This ease to us, for him a god will I
Deem ever, and from my folds a tender lamb
Oft with its life-blood shall his altar stain.
His gift it is that, as your eyes may see,
My kine may roam at large, and I myself
Play on my shepherd's pipe what songs I will.

Meliboeus.
I grudge you not the boon, but marvel more,
Such wide confusion fills the country-side.
See, sick at heart I drive my she-goats on,
And this one, O my Tityrus, scarce can lead:
For 'mid the hazel-thicket here but now
She dropped her new-yeaned twins on the bare flint,
Hope of the flock- an ill, I mind me well,
Which many a time, but for my blinded sense,
The thunder-stricken oak foretold, oft too
From hollow trunk the raven's ominous cry.
But who this god of yours? Come, Tityrus, tell.

Tityrus.
The city, Meliboeus, they call Rome,
I, simpleton, deemed like this town of ours,
Whereto we shepherds oft are wont to drive
The younglings of the flock: so too I knew
Whelps to resemble dogs, and kids their dams,
Comparing small with great; but this as far
Above all other cities rears her head
As cypress above pliant osier towers.

Meliboeus.
And what so potent cause took you to Rome?

Tityrus.
Freedom, which, though belated, cast at length
Her eyes upon the sluggard, when my beard
'Gan whiter fall beneath the barber's blade-
Cast eyes, I say, and, though long tarrying, came,
Now when, from Galatea's yoke released,
I serve but Amaryllis: for I will own,
While Galatea reigned over me, I had
No hope of freedom, and no thought to save.
Though many a victim from my folds went forth,
Or rich cheese pressed for the unthankful town,
Never with laden hands returned I home.

Meliboeus.
I used to wonder, Amaryllis, why
You cried to heaven so sadly, and for whom
You left the apples hanging on the trees;
'Twas Tityrus was away. Why, Tityrus,
The very pines, the very water-springs,
The very vineyards, cried aloud for you.

Tityrus.
What could I do? how else from bonds be freed,
Or otherwhere find gods so nigh to aid?
There, Meliboeus, I saw that youth to whom
Yearly for twice six days my altars smoke.
There instant answer gave he to my suit,
'Feed, as before, your kine, boys, rear your bulls.'

Meliboeus.
So in old age, you happy man, your fields
Will still be yours, and ample for your need!
Though, with bare stones o'erspread, the pastures all
Be choked with rushy mire, your ewes with young
By no strange fodder will be tried, nor hurt
Through taint contagious of a neighbouring flock.
Happy old man, who 'mid familiar streams
And hallowed springs, will court the cooling shade!
Here, as of old, your neighbour's bordering hedge,
That feasts with willow-flower the Hybla bees,
Shall oft with gentle murmur lull to sleep,
While the leaf-dresser beneath some tall rock
Uplifts his song, nor cease their cooings hoarse
The wood-pigeons that are your heart's delight,
Nor doves their moaning in the elm-tree top.

Tityrus.
Sooner shall light stags, therefore, feed in air,
The seas their fish leave naked on the strand,
Germans and Parthians shift their natural bounds,
And these the Arar, those the Tigris drink,
Than from my heart his face and memory fade.

Meliboeus.
But we far hence, to burning Libya some,
Some to the Scythian steppes, or thy swift flood,
Cretan Oaxes, now must wend our way,
Or Britain, from the whole world sundered far.
Ah! shall I ever in aftertime behold
My native bounds- see many a harvest hence
With ravished eyes the lowly turf-roofed cot
Where I was king? These fallows, trimmed so fair,
Some brutal soldier will possess these fields
An alien master. Ah! to what a pass
Has civil discord brought our hapless folk!
For such as these, then, were our furrows sown!
Now, Meliboeus, graft your pears, now set
Your vines in order! Go, once happy flock,
My she-goats, go. Never again shall I,
Stretched in green cave, behold you from afar
Hang from the bushy rock; my songs are sung;
Never again will you, with me to tend,
On clover-flower, or bitter willows, browse.

Tityrus.
Yet here, this night, you might repose with me,
On green leaves pillowed: apples ripe have I,
Soft chestnuts, and of curdled milk enow.
And, see, the farm-roof chimneys smoke afar,
And from the hills the shadows lengthening fall!

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