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Publius Vergilius Maro

Eclogue 4: Pollio

POLLIO

Muses of Sicily, essay we now
A somewhat loftier task! Not all men love
Coppice or lowly tamarisk: sing we woods,
Woods worthy of a Consul let them be.

Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own
Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate,
This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin,
And the months enter on their mighty march.
Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain
Of our old wickedness, once done away,

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Eclogue 9: Lycidas Moeris

LYCIDAS
Say whither, Moeris?- Make you for the town,
Or on what errand bent?

MOERIS

O Lycidas,
We have lived to see, what never yet we feared,
An interloper own our little farm,
And say, 'Be off, you former husbandmen!
These fields are mine.' Now, cowed and out of heart,
Since Fortune turns the whole world upside down,
We are taking him- ill luck go with the same!-'
These kids you see.

LYCIDAS

But surely I had heard
That where the hills first draw from off the plain,
And the high ridge with gentle slope descends,

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Eclogue 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.

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Eclogue 7: Meliboeus Corydon Thrysis

Daphnis beneath a rustling ilex-tree
Had sat him down; Thyrsis and Corydon
Had gathered in the flock, Thyrsis the sheep,
And Corydon the she-goats swollen with milk-
Both in the flower of age, Arcadians both,
Ready to sing, and in like strain reply.
Hither had strayed, while from the frost I fend
My tender myrtles, the he-goat himself,
Lord of the flock; when Daphnis I espy!
Soon as he saw me, 'Hither haste,' he cried,
'O Meliboeus! goat and kids are safe;
And, if you have an idle hour to spare,
Rest here beneath the shade. Hither the steers
Will through the meadows, of their own free will,
Untended come to drink. Here Mincius hath
With tender rushes rimmed his verdant banks,
And from yon sacred oak with busy hum
The bees are swarming.' What was I to do?
No Phyllis or Alcippe left at home
Had I, to shelter my new-weaned lambs,

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Eclogue 10: 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

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Eclogue 1: 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,

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Eclogue 6: To Varus

First my Thalia stooped in sportive mood
To Syracusan strains, nor blushed within
The woods to house her. When I sought to tell
Of battles and of kings, the Cynthian god
Plucked at mine ear and warned me: 'Tityrus,
Beseems a shepherd-wight to feed fat sheep,
But sing a slender song.' Now, Varus, I-
For lack there will not who would laud thy deeds,
And treat of dolorous wars- will rather tune
To the slim oaten reed my silvan lay.
I sing but as vouchsafed me; yet even this
If, if but one with ravished eyes should read,
Of thee, O Varus, shall our tamarisks
And all the woodland ring; nor can there be
A page more dear to Phoebus, than the page
Where, foremost writ, the name of Varus stands.

Speed ye, Pierian Maids! Within a cave
Young Chromis and Mnasyllos chanced to see
Silenus sleeping, flushed, as was his wont,

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Eclogue 5: Menalcas Mopsus

MENALCAS
Why, Mopsus, being both together met,
You skilled to breathe upon the slender reeds,
I to sing ditties, do we not sit down
Here where the elm-trees and the hazels blend?

MOPSUS
You are the elder, 'tis for me to bide
Your choice, Menalcas, whether now we seek
Yon shade that quivers to the changeful breeze,
Or the cave's shelter. Look you how the cave
Is with the wild vine's clusters over-laced!

MENALCAS
None but Amyntas on these hills of ours
Can vie with you.

MOPSUS

What if he also strive

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Eclogue 8: To Pollio Damon Alphesiboeus

Of Damon and Alphesiboeus now,
Those shepherd-singers at whose rival strains
The heifer wondering forgot to graze,
The lynx stood awe-struck, and the flowing streams,
Unwonted loiterers, stayed their course to hear-
How Damon and Alphesiboeus sang
Their pastoral ditties, will I tell the tale.

Thou, whether broad Timavus' rocky banks
Thou now art passing, or dost skirt the shore
Of the Illyrian main,- will ever dawn
That day when I thy deeds may celebrate,
Ever that day when through the whole wide world
I may renown thy verse- that verse alone
Of Sophoclean buskin worthy found?
With thee began, to thee shall end, the strain.
Take thou these songs that owe their birth to thee,
And deign around thy temples to let creep
This ivy-chaplet 'twixt the conquering bays.

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Eclogue 3: Menalcas Daemoetas Palaemon

MENALCAS
Who owns the flock, Damoetas? Meliboeus?

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

MENALCAS

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.

DAMOETAS
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-

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