Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) trans. Tim Chilcott
Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexim,
delicias domini, nec quid speraret habebat;
tantum inter densas, umbrosa cacumina, fagos
adsidue veniebat. Ibi haec incondita solus
montibus et silvis studio iactabat inani:
.....'O crudelis Alexi, nihil mea carmina curas?
Nil nostri miserere? Mori me denique coges.
Nunc etiam pecudes umbras et frigora captant;
nunc viridis etiam occultant spineta lacertos,
Thestylis et rapido fessis messoribus aestu
alia serpyllumque herbas contundit olentis.
At mecum raucis, tua dum vestigia lustro,
sole sub ardenti resonant arbusta cicadis.
Nonne fuit satius tristis Amaryllidis iras
atque superba pati fastidia, nonne Menalcan,
quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses?
O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori!
Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinia nigra leguntur.'
.....'Despectus tibi sum, nec qui sim quaeris, Alexi,
quam dives pecoris, nivei quam lactis abundans.
Mille meae Siculis errant in montibus agnae;
lac mihi non aestate novum, non frigore defit;
canto quae solitus, si quando armenta vocabat,
Amphion Dircaeus in Actaeo Aracyntho.
Nec sum adeo informis: nuper me in litore vidi,
cum placidum ventis staret mare; non ego Daphnim
iudice te metuam, si numquam fallit imago.'
.....'O tantum libeat mecum tibi sordida rura
atque humilis habitare casas, et figere cervos,
haedorumque gregem viridi compellere hibisco!
Mecum una in silvis imitabere Pana canendo.
Pan primus calamos cera coniungere pluris
instituit; Pan curat ovis oviumque magistros.
Nec to paeniteat calamo trivisse labellum:
haec eadem ut sciret, quid non faciebat Amyntas?
Est mihi disparibus septem compacta cicutis
fistula, Damoetas dono mihi quam dedit olim,
et dixit moriens: "Te nunc habet ista secundum."
dixit Damoetas, invidit stultus Amyntas.
Praeterea duo, nec tuta mihi valle reperti,
capreoli, sparsis etiam nunc pellibus albo,
bina die siccant ovis ubera; quos tibi servo:
iam pridem a me illos abducere Thestylis orat;
et faciet, quoniam sordent tibi munera nostra.'
.....'Huc ades, O formose puer: tibi lilia plenis
ecce ferunt Nymphae calathis; tibi candida Nais,
pallelltis violas et summa papauera carpens,
narcissum et florem iungit bene olentis anethi;
tum casia atque aliis intexens suavibus herbis,
mollia luteola pingit vaccinia calta.
Ipse ego cana legam tenera lanugine mala,
castaneasque nuces, mea quas Amaryllis amabat;
addam cerea pruna: honos erit huic quoque pomo;
et vos, O lauri, carpam, et te, proxima myrte,
sic positae quoniam suavis miscetis odores.'
.....'Rusticus es, Corydon: nec munera curat Alexis,
nec, si muneribus certes, concedat Iollas.
Heu, heu, quid volui misero mihi! Floribus austrum
perditus et liquidis inmisi fontibus apros.

Quem fugis, ah, demens? Habitarunt di quoque silvas,
Dardaniusque Paris. Pallas, quas condidit arces,
ipsa colat; nobis placeant ante omnia silvae.
Torva leaena lupum sequitur; lupus ipse capellam;
florentem cytisum sequitur lasciva capella;
te Corydon, o Alexi: trahit sua quemque voluptas.
Aspice, aratra iugo referunt suspensa iuvenci,
et sol crescentis decedens duplicat umbras:
me tamen urit amor; quis enim modus adsit amori?
Ah, Corydon, Corydon, quae te dementia cepit!
Semiputata tibi frondosa vitis in ulmo est;
quin tu aliquid saltem potius, quorum indiget usus,
viminibus mollique paras detexere iunco?
Invenies alium, si te hic fastidit, Alexim.'
A shepherd, Corydon, had lost his heart to beautiful Alexis,
His master's darling boy, but knew he had no chance.
Day after day, he'd walk among the dense beech trees,
Their tops in shade. And there, alone, in empty longing,
He hurled his futile words at hills and woods:
'You are so cruel, Alexis. Don't you care now for my songs?
No pity for me, then? You'll be the death of me at last.
Even the cattle now are seeking out cool shade,
Even green lizards hide now in the thorny hedge,
And for the reapers wearied by the searing heat,
Thestylis pounds pungent herbs and garlic and wild thyme.
But I still trace your footsteps, beneath the burning sun,
While orchards ring with shrill cicada cries.
Better to have endured the moody rage of Amaryllis,
Her arrogant disdain. Better to have borne Melancas,
However dark he was - and you so blond and fair.
Oh, lovely boy, don't trust your beauty overmuch.
White privets fade, dark hyacinths are what are picked.'
.....'You look down on me, never asking who I am,
How large my herds, how rich I am in snow-white milk.
A thousand lambs of mine roam Sicily's hills.
Come summer or come winter, I never lack fresh milk.
I sing the songs that Amphion of Thebes once sang
When he called home his herds from Mount Aracynthus.
I'm not bad-looking. The other day upon the beach
I saw myself reflected in the wind-calmed sea.
If mirrors tell the truth, I'd not fear Daphnis, if you were judge.'
.....'Oh, if you'd only live with me in these rough fields
And in some humble farm. We could shoot fallow deer
And shepherd herds of goats with switches of hibiscus.
With me beside you in the woods, you'd learn to sing like Pan.
Pan taught us how to bind reeds close with wax,
And watches over sheep, and shepherds too.
And if the reeds should chafe your lips, you shouldn't mind.
What did Amyntas not do to master this same art?
I have a pipe made up from seven hemlock stalks
Of different lengths. Damoetas gave it to me long ago
As he lay dying. 'Now you're its second slave',
He said to me. Amyntas envied me, the fool.
What's more, I have two chamois kids, found
In a dangerous combe, coats spotted even now with white.
Twice a day, they suck the same ewe dry. And they're for you.
Thestylis keeps begging me to give her them;
And so she shall, since you regard my gifts so crude.'
.....'Ah, lovely boy, come here. Look how the Nymphs bring
Great basketfuls of lilies; for you the lovely Naiad
Plucks palest violets and poppy heads, and blends
Narcissus with them, and the flower of fragrant dill;
Then weaving in some cinnamon and other fragrant herbs,
Colours soft hyacinths with yellow marigold.
Myself I'll gather apples white with softest down
And the chestnuts that Amaryllis used to love.
I'll add some waxy plums (to honour this fruit, too),
And cut the laurels and the myrtle, both close by,
Because when they're together, they mingle sweetest smells.'
.....'Corydon, you are a clown. Alexis spurns your gifts.
And as for gifts, would Iollas give up victory to you?
Oh no, what have I wished on my sad self? Lost in my mind,
I've let the south wind dash my flowers, and wild boars muddy
...............................crystal springs.
You're mad to run away! Paris of Troy, the Gods themselves,
Have lived in woods. Let Pallas keep the cities she
Has built. But let the woods be our supreme delight.
Fierce lions pursue the wolf, the wolf the goat,
And frisking goats seek out the flowering clover.
And I seek you, Alexis. Yearning pulls us all.
Look, the oxen now bring home their ploughshares, hanging free.
The shadows double as the sun goes down;
But I still burn with love - and how can love know bounds?
Oh Corydon, oh Corydon, what madness seizes you?
You've left your vines half-pruned around a leafy elm.
Why not at least make something that you need,
And weave together osier-reeds and supple rushes.
If this Alexis spurns you, you'll find another boy.'

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Transl. copyright © Tim Chilcott 2006

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