Eclogues and Georgics

Eclogues and Georgics

by Vergil
     
 

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With the Eclogues, Virgil established his reputation as a major poet, and with the Georgics, he created a masterpiece of Latin poetry. Virgil drew upon the tradition of Greek pastoral poetry, importing it into an Italian setting and providing in these two works the model for subsequent European interpretations of the genre.
The Eclogues…  See more details below

Overview


With the Eclogues, Virgil established his reputation as a major poet, and with the Georgics, he created a masterpiece of Latin poetry. Virgil drew upon the tradition of Greek pastoral poetry, importing it into an Italian setting and providing in these two works the model for subsequent European interpretations of the genre.
The Eclogues unfolds in an idyllic landscape, under less-than-tranquil circumstances. Its shepherds tend their flocks amid not only the inner turmoil of unrequited love but also the external pressures of the civil war that followed Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C. Forced from their homes, the dispossessed shepherds voice a heartfelt longing for peace.
Dryden declared the Georgics "the best poem by the best poet," and through the ages, it has been much admired and imitated. A paean to Italy and the country's natural beauty, it rejoices in the values of rustic piety, the pleasures of family life, and the vitality of the Italian people.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486153827
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
08/24/2012
Series:
Dover Thrift Editions
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
1,033,097
File size:
674 KB

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Eclogues and Georgics


By Virgil, James Rhoades, SUSAN L. RATTINER

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15382-7



CHAPTER 1

MELIBOEUS. TITYRUS.

M.

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.

T.

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.

M.

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.

T.

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.

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

T.

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.

M.

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.

T.

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."

M.

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.

T.

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.

M.

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.

T.

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!

CHAPTER 2

ALEXIS.

The shepherd Corydon with love was fired
For fair Alexis, his own master's joy:
No room for hope had he, yet, none the less,
The thick-leaved shadowy-soaring beech-tree grove
Still would he haunt, and there alone, as thus,
To woods and hills pour forth his artless strains.
"Cruel Alexis, heed you naught my songs?
Have you no pity? you'll drive me to my death.
Now even the cattle court the cooling shade
And the green lizard hides him in the thorn:
Now for tired mowers, with the fierce heat spent,
Pounds Thestilis her mess of savoury herbs,
Wild thyme and garlic. I, with none beside,
Save hoarse cicalas shrilling through the brake,
Still track your footprints 'neath the broiling sun.
Better have borne the petulant proud disdain
Of Amaryllis, or Menalcas wooed,
Albeit he was so dark, and you so fair!
Trust not too much to colour, beauteous boy;
White privets fall, dark hyacinths are culled.
You scorn me, Alexis, who or what I am
Care not to ask—how rich in flocks, or how
In snow-white milk abounding: yet for me
Roam on Sicilian hills a thousand lambs;
Summer or winter, still my milk-pails brim.
I sing as erst Amphion of Circe sang,
What time he went to call his cattle home
On Attic Aracynthus. Nor am I
So ill to look on: lately on the beach
I saw myself, when winds had stilled the sea,
And, if that mirror lie not, would not fear
Daphnis to challenge, though yourself were judge.
Ah! were you but content with me to dwell.
Some lowly cot in the rough fields our home,
Shoot down the stags, or with green osier-wand
Round up the straggling flock! There you with me
In silvan strains will learn to rival Pan.
Pan first with wax taught reed with reed to join;
For sheep alike and shepherd Pan hath care.
Nor with the reed's edge fear you to make rough
Your dainty lip; such arts as these to learn
What did Amyntas do?—what did he not?
A pipe have I, of hemlock-stalks compact
In lessening lengths, Damoetas' dying-gift:
'Mine once,' quoth he, 'now yours, as heir to own.'
Foolish Amyntas heard and envied me.
Ay, and two fawns, I risked my neck to find
In a steep glen, with coats white-dappled still,
From a sheep's udders suckled twice a day—
These still I keep for you; which Thestilis
Implores me oft to let her lead away;
And she shall have them, since my gifts you spurn.
Come hither, beauteous boy; for you the Nymphs
Bring baskets, see, with lilies brimmed; for you,
Plucking pale violets and poppy-heads,
Now the fair Naiad, of narcissus flower
And fragrant fennel, doth one posy twine—
With cassia then, and other scented herbs,
Blends them, and sets the tender hyacinth off
With yellow marigold. I too will pick
Quinces all silvered-o'er with hoary down,
Chestnuts, which Amaryllis wont to love,
And waxen plums withal: this fruit no less
Shall have its meed of honour; and I will pluck
You too, ye laurels, and you, ye myrtles, near,
For so your sweets ye mingle. Corydon,
You are a boor, nor heeds a whit your gifts
Alexis; no, nor would Iollas yield,
Should gifts decide the day. Alack! alack!
What misery have I brought upon my head!—
Loosed on the flowers Siroces to my bane,
And the wild boar upon my crystal springs!
Whom do you fly, infatuate? gods ere now,
And Dardan Paris, have made the woods their home.
Let Pallas keep the towers her hand hath built,
Us before all things let the woods delight.
The grim-eyed lioness pursues the wolf,
The wolf the she-goat, the she-goat herself
In wanton sport the flowering cytisus,
And Corydon Alexis, each led on
By their own longing. See, the ox comes home
With plough up-tilted, and the shadows grow
To twice their length with the departing sun,
Yet me love burns, for who can limit love?
Ah! Corydon, Corydon, what hath crazed your wit?
Your vine half-pruned hangs on the leafy elm;
Why haste you not to weave what need requires
Of pliant rush or osier? Scorned by this,
Elsewhere some new Alexis you will find."

CHAPTER 3

MENALCAS. DAMOETAS. PALAEMON.

M. Who owns the flock, Damoetas? Meliboeus?

D.

Nay, they are Aegon's sheep, of late by him Committed to my care.

M.

O every way Unhappy sheep, unhappy flock! while he
Still courts Neaera, fearing lest her choice
Should fall on me, this hireling shepherd here
Wrings hourly twice their udders, from the flock
Filching the life-juice, from the lambs their milk.

D.

Hold! not so ready with your jeers at men! We know who once, and in what shrine with you—
The he-goats looked aside—the light nymphs laughed—

M.

Ay, then, I warrant, when they saw me slash Micon's young vines and trees with spiteful hook.

D.

Or here by these old beeches, when you broke The bow and arrows of Damon; for you chafed
When first you saw them given to the boy,
Cross-grained Menalcas, ay, and had you not
Done him some mischief, would have chafed to death.

M.

With thieves so daring, what can masters do? Did I not see you, rogue, in ambush lie
For Damon's goat, while loud Lycisca barked?
And when I cried, "Where is he off to now?
Gather your flock together, Tityrus,"
You hid behind the sedges.

D.

Well, was he Whom I had conquered still to keep the goat.
Which in the piping-match my pipe had won!
You may not know it, but the goat was mine.

M.

You out-pipe him? when had you ever pipe Wax-welded? in the cross-ways used you not
On grating straw some miserable tune
To mangle?

D.

Well, then, shall we try our skill Each against each in turn? Lest you be loth,
I pledge this heifer; every day she comes
Twice to the milking-pail, and feeds withal
Two young ones at her udder: say you now
What you will stake upon the match with me.

M.

Naught from the flock I'll venture, for at home I have a father and a step-dame harsh,
And twice a day both reckon up the flock,
And one withal the kids. But I will stake,
Seeing you are so mad, what you yourself
Will own more priceless far—two beechen cups
By the divine art of Alcimedon
Wrought and embossed, whereon a limber vine,
Wreathed round them by the graver's facile tool,
Twines over clustering ivy-berries pale.
Two figures, one Conon, in the midst he set,
And one—how call you him, who with his wand
Marked out for all men the whole round of heaven,
That they who reap, or stoop behind the plough,
Might know their several seasons? Nor as yet
Have I set lip to them, but lay them by.

D.

For me too wrought the same Alcimedon A pair of cups, and round the handles wreathed
Pliant acanthus, Orpheus in the midst,
The forests following in his wake; nor yet
Have I set lip to them, but lay them by.
Matched with a heifer, who would prate of cups?

M.

You shall not balk me now; where'er you bid, I shall be with you; only let us have
For auditor—or see, to serve our turn,
Yonder Palaemon comes! In singing-bouts
I'll see you play the challenger no more.

D.

Out then with what you have; I shall not shrink, Nor budge for any man: only do you,
Neighbour Palaemon, with your whole heart's skill—
For it is no slight matter—play your part.

P.

Say on then, since on the green sward we sit, And now is burgeoning both field and tree;
Now is the forest green, and now the year
At fairest. Do you first, Damoetas, sing,
Then you, Menalcas, in alternate strain:
Alternate strains are to the Muses dear.

D.

"From Jove the Muse began; Jove filleth all, Makes the earth fruitful, for my songs hath care."

M.

"Me Phoebus loves; for Phoebus his own gifts, Bays and sweet-blushing hyacinths, I keep."

D.

"Gay Galatea throws an apple at me, Then hies to the willows, hoping to be seen."

M.

"My dear Amyntas comes unasked to me; Not Delia to my dogs is better known."

D.

"Gifts for my love I've found; mine eyes have marked Where the wood-pigeons build their airy nests."

M.

"Ten golden apples have I sent my boy, All that I could, to-morrow as many more."

D.

"What words to me, and uttered O how oft, Hath Galatea spoke! waft some of them,
Ye winds, I pray you, for the gods to hear."

M.

"It profiteth me naught, Amyntas mine, That in your very heart you spurn me not,
If, while you hunt the boar, I guard the nets."

D.

"Prithee, Iollas, for my birthday guest Send me your Phyllis; when for the young crops
I slay my heifer, you yourself shall come."

M.

"I am all hers; she wept to see me go, And, lingering on the word, 'farewell' she said,
'My beautiful Iollas, fare you well.'"

D.

"Fell as the wolf is to the folded flock, Rain to ripe corn, Sirocco to the trees,
The wrath of Amaryllis is to me."

M.

"As moisture to the corn, to ewes with young Lithe willow, as arbute to the yeanling kids,
So sweet Amyntas, and none else, to me."

D.

"My Muse, although she be but country-bred, Is loved by Pollio: O Pierian Maids,
Pray you, a heifer for your reader feed!"

M.

"Pollio himself too doth new verses make: Feed ye a bull now ripe to butt with horn,
And scatter with his hooves the flying sand."

D.

"Who loves thee, Pollio, may he thither come Where thee he joys beholding; ay, for him
Let honey flow, the thorn-bush spices bear."

M.

"Who hates not Bavius, let him also love Thy songs, O Maevius, ay, and therewithal
Yoke foxes to his car, and he-goats milk."

D.

"You, picking flowers and strawberries that grow So near the ground, fly hence, boys, get you gone!
There's a cold adder lurking in the grass."

M.

"Forbear, my sheep, to tread too near the brink; Yon bank is ill to trust to; even now
The ram himself, see, dries his dripping fleece!"

D.

"Back with the she-goats, Tityrus, grazing there So near the river! I, when time shall serve,
Will take them all, and wash them in the pool."

M. "Boys, get your sheep together; if the heat, As late it did, forestall us with the milk,
Vainly the dried-up udders shall we wring."

D.

"How lean my bull amid the fattening vetch! Alack! alack! for herdsman and for herd!
It is the self-same love that wastes us both."

M.

"These truly—nor is even love the cause—Scarce have the flesh to keep their bones together
Some evil eye my lambkins hath bewitched."

D.

"Say in what clime—and you shall be withal My great Apollo—the whole breadth of heaven
Opens no wider than three ells to view."

M.

"Say in what country grow such flowers as bear The names of kings upon their petals writ,
And you shall have fair Phyllis for your own."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Eclogues and Georgics by Virgil, James Rhoades, SUSAN L. RATTINER. Copyright © 2005 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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