ECLOGA III ECLOGUE 3
Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) trans. Tim Chilcott
MENALCAS / DAMOETAS / PALAEMON

MENALCAS
Dic mihi, Damoeta, cuium pecus, an Meliboei?

DAMOETAS
Non, verum Aegonis; nuper mihi tradidit Aegon.

MENALCAS
Infelix o semper, oves, pecus, ipse Neaeram
dum fovet, ac ne me sibi praeferat illa veretur,
hic alienus ovis custos bis mulget in hora,
et sucus pecori et lac subducitur agnis.

DAMOETAS
Parcius ista viris tamen obicienda memento:
novimus et qui te, transversa tuentibus hircis,
et quo - sed faciles Nymphae risere - sacello.

MENALCAS
Tum, credo, cum me arbustum videre Miconis
atque mala vitis incidere falce novellas.

DAMOETAS
Aut hic ad veteres fagos cum Daphnidis arcum
fregisti et calamos quae tu, perverse Menalca,
et cum vidisti puero donata, dolebas,
et si non aliqua nocuisses, mortuus esses.

MENALCAS
Quid domini faciant, audent cum talia fures!
non ego te vidi Damonis, pessime, caprum
excipere insidiis, multum latrante Lycisca?
et cum clamarem: 'Quo nunc se proripit ille?
Tityre, coge pecus,' tu post carecta latebas.

DAMOETAS
An mihi cantando victus non redderet ille
quem mea carminibus meruisset fistula caprum?
Si nescis, meus ille caper fuit; et mihi Damon
ipse fatebatur, sed reddere posse negabat.

MENALCAS
Cantando tu illum, aut umquam tibi fistula cera
iuncta fait? Non tu in triviis, indocte, solebas

stridenti miserum stipula disperdere carmen?

DAMOETAS
Vis ergo inter nos quid possit uterque vicissim
experiamur? Ego hanc vitulam - ne forte recuses,
bis venit ad mulctram, binos alit ubere fetus -
depono: tu dic, mecum quo pignore certes.

MENALCAS
De grege non ausim quicquam deponere tecum.
Est mihi namque domi pater, est iniusta noverca;
bisque die numerant ambo pecus, alter et haedos.
Verum, id quod multo tute ipse fatebere maius,
insanire libet quoniam tibi, pocula ponam
fagina, caelatum divini opus Alcimedontis;
lenta quibus torno facili superaddita vitis
diffusos hedera vestit pallente corymbos:
in medio duo signa, Conon, et - quis fuit alter,
descripsit radio totum qui gentibus orbem,
tempora quae messor, quae curvus arator haberet?
Necdum illis labra admovi, sed condita servo.

DAMOETAS
Et nobis idem Alcimedon duo pocula fecit,
et molli circum est ansas amplexus acantho,
Orpheaque in medio posuit silvasque sequentis.
Necdum illis labra admovi, sed condita servo:
si ad vitulam spectas, nihil est quod pocula laudes.

MENALCAS
Numquam hodie effugies; veniam, quocumque vocaris.
audiat haec tantum - vel qui venit ecce Palaemon
efficiam posthac ne quemquam voce lacessas.

DAMOETAS
Quin age, si quid habes, in me mora non erit ulla,
nec quemquam fugio: tantum, vicine Palaemon,
sensibus haec imis, res est non parva, reponas.

PALAEMON
Dicite, quandoquidem in molli consedimus herba:
et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
nunc frondent silvae, nunc formosissimus annus.
Incipe, Darmoeta; tu deinde sequere Menalca:
alternis dicetis; amant alterna Camenae.

DAMOETAS
Ab Ioue principium Musae; Iouis omnia plena:
ille colit terras, illi mea carmina curae.

MENALCAS
Et me Phoebus amat; Phoebo sua semper apud me
munera sunt, lauri et suave rubens hyacinthus.

DAMOETAS
Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella,
et fugit ad salices, et se cupit ante videri.

MENALCAS
At mihi sese offert ultro, meus ignis, Amyntas,
notior ut iam sit canibus non Delia nostris.

DAMOETAS
Parta meae Veneri sunt munera: namque notavi
ipse locum, aeriae quo congessere palumbes.

MENALCAS
Quod potui, puero silvestri ex arbore lecta
aurea mala decem misi; cras altera mittam.

DAMOETAS
O quotiens et quae nobis Galatea locuta est!
partem aliquam, venti, divum referatis ad auris!

MENALCAS
Quid prodest, quod me ipse animo non spernis, Amynta,
si, dum tu sectaris apros, ego retia servo?

DAMOETAS
Phyllida mitte mihi: meus est natalis, Iolla;
cum faciam vitula pro frugibus, ipse venito.

MENALCAS
Phyllida amo ante alias; nam me discedere flevit,
et longum 'formose, vale, vale,' inquit, 'Iolla.'

DAMOETAS
Triste lupus stabulis, maturis frugibus imbres.
arboribus venti, nobis Amaryllidis irae.

MENALCAS
Dulce satis umor, depulsis arbutus haedis,

lenta salix feto pecori, mihi solus Amyntas.


DAMOETAS
Pollio amat nostram, quamuis est rustica, Musam:
Pierrides vitulam lectori pascite vestro.

MENALCAS
Pollio et ipse facit nova carmina: pascite taurum,
iam cornu petat et pedibus qui spargat arenam.

DAMOETAS
Qui te, Pollio, amat, veniat quo te quoque gaudet:
mella fluant illi, ferat et rubus asper amomum.

MENALCAS
Qui Bavium non odit, amet tua carmina, Maeui,
atque idem iungat vulpes et mulgeat hircos.

DAMOETAS
Qui legitis flores et humi nascentia fraga,
frigidus, O pueri, fugite hinc, latet anguis in herba.

MENALCAS
Parcite, oves, nimium procedere; non bene ripae
creditur; ipse aries etiam nunc vellera siccat.

DAMOETAS
Tityre, pascentes a flumine reice capellas:
ipse ubi tempus erit, omnis in fonte lavabo.

MENALCAS
Cogite ovis, pueri; si lac praeceperit aestus,
ut nuper, frustra pressabimus ubera palmis.

DAMOETAS
Heu, heu, quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in ervo!
Idem amor exitium est pecori pecorisque magistro.

MENALCAS
His certe neque amor causa est; vix ossibus haerent.
nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.

DAMOETAS
Dic, quibus in terris - et eris mihi magnus Apollo -
tris pateat caeli spatium non amplius ulnas.

MENALCAS
Dic, quibus in terris inscripti nomina regum
nascantur flores, et Phyllida solus habeto.

PALAEMON
Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites.
Et vitula to dignus, et hic, et quisquis amores
aut metuet dulces, aut experietur amaros.
Claudite iam rivos, pueri, sat prata biberunt.
MENALCAS / DAMOETAS / PALAEMON

MENALCAS
Tell me, Damoetas, whose flock is that? Meliboeus'?

DAMOETAS
No, they're Aegon's. He's just left me in charge of them.

MENALCAS
Poor sheep. They always have bad luck. While Aegon
Fondles Neaera - afraid she favours me, not him -
This hired keeper milks his ewes dry twice an hour,
Robbing the flock of all their strength, and lambs of milk.

DAMOETAS
Think twice before you bring up that against a man.
We all know what you did - even the male goats looked askance -
And in a shrine as well (though the easy Nymphs just laughed).

MENALCAS
Just like the day, no doubt, they saw me take a vicious
Knife and hack at Micon's trees and growing vines.

DAMOETAS
Or here beside the old beech trees, when you smashed up
Daphnis' bow, his arrows too. When you saw the boy
Given them, it riled your twisted mind.
If you hadn't hurt him somehow, you'd have died.

MENALCAS
What can masters do, when thieves are so bare-faced?
Didn't I see you lie in wait, you scum, and snatch away
That goat of Damon's -while Damon's dog barked and barked.
And when I shouted, 'Where's he running to? Tityrus,
Watch your flock', you skulked and hid there in the sedge.

DAMOETAS
I'd beaten him at singing. So shouldn't he
Have given me the goat my songs had earned.
In case you didn't know, that goat was mine. Damon himself
Admitted it to me, but said he couldn't pay.

MENALCAS
You beat him at singing! Have you ever owned a set
Of pan-pipes joined with wax? Weren't you the clown by the
..............................crossroads
Who murdered wretched songs upon a squeaking straw?

DAMOETAS
So how about a contest then? We'll test each other's skills
In turns. I stake this heifer (now don't say no - she comes
To the milk-pail twice a day, suckles twin calves).
Just tell me what you're betting on the match.

MENALCAS
I daren't bet any of my flock with you. I have
A father and harsh stepmother at home; and twice a day
Both count the flock, and one the kids as well.
But since you're set on this mad game, I'll stake what even you'll
Admit is worth far more: these beechwood cups
Which Alcimedon, the master-craftsman, made.
A spreading vine, carved with a master's ease,
Wreathes in pale ivy clusters richly spread.
Two central figures: Conon and - who was the other? - the one
Who mapped out with his rod the skies for humankind,
And taught us when to reap, and when to bend behind the plough.
My lips have never touched the cups. They're stored away.

DAMOETAS
Alcimedon made two cups for me as well.
He draped their handles round with soft acanthus leaves,
And in between put Orpheus, and the woods that followed him.
But ... 'My lips have never touched the cups. They're stored away.'
Just one look at my heifer, and you won't be praising cups.

MENALCAS
No wriggling out of this. You challenge, I'll be there.
We need a judge - and look, here's Palaemon coming.
I'll make quite sure you challenge no one after this.

DAMOETAS
Then come on, if you've anything to sing. I won't hold back,
or run away from anything. But neighbour Palaemon,
Now listen carefully to our songs - it's no small thing.

PALAEMON
Then sing away. We sit together here on softest grass,
And every field now, every tree, is blossoming with life.
The woods are all in leaf, at this most lovely time of year.
You begin, Damoetas. And then, Menalcas, follow.
Sing turn and turn about. That's what the Muses love.

DAMOETAS
Muses, my song begins with Jove. The world is full of Jove.
He cultivates the fields; my songs are dear to him.

MENALCAS
And I am dear to Phoebus. For Phoebus I have gifts
At home: laurel and sweet blushing hyacinth.

DAMOETAS
Galatea - saucy girl - pelts me with apples,
Runs to the willow-trees, and hopes that she's been seen.

MENALCAS
My flame Amyntas gives himself to me unasked;
Not even Delia's more familiar to my dogs.

DAMOETAS
I have a present for my love. For I have marked
The spot, high up, where the doves have made their nest.

MENALCAS
I've sent my lad the best I could - ten golden apples
Picked from woodland trees. Tomorrow, I will send ten more.

DAMOETAS
How often Galatea speaks to me! And the things she says!
Whisper a few of them, you winds, to heaven's ear.

MENALCAS
What good is it, Amyntas, that you don't scorn me
If I am left to mind the nets while you chase boar?

DAMOETAS
Iollas, it's my birthday; send me Phyllis now.
And when I kill the harvest calf, you come yourself.

MENALCAS
Iollas, I love Phyllis most of all. And when I left,
She wept and said, "Good bye, my lovely boy, good bye."

DAMOETAS
Wolves are an evil to a flock, and rain to ripened crops,
Gales to the trees, and Amaryllis' cruelty to me.

MENALCAS
A shower is sweet to growing crops, arbutus to the kid that's
..............................weaned,
The bending willow to the pregnant goats, but only Amyntas is
..............................sweet to me.

DAMOETAS
Pollio loves my Muse, for all her country ways.
Pierides, fatten a heifer for your readers.

MENALCAS
Pollio makes new songs himself. Fatten a bull
That's old enough to toss his horns and paw the sand.

DAMOETAS
May he who loves you, Pollio, share your paradise;
May honey flow for him, and prickly thorns bear spice.

MENALCAS
Whoever can stand Bavius will love your poems, Maevius;
And may he milk the billy-goat and yoke the fox.

DAMOETAS
You lads who gather flowers and strawberries from the ground,
Oh, run away. A cold snake's lurking in the grass.

MENALCAS
Don't go ahead too far, my flock. And never trust
The river bank. The ram's still drying out his fleece.

DAMOETAS
Tityrus, keep your grazing goats away from streams;
All in good time, I'll wash them in the spring myself.

MENALCAS
Round up the sheep, lads. If heat gets to their milk,
As happened recently, we'll squeeze their udders all in vain.

DAMOETAS
Oh no. How lean my bull is, and how rich the vetch!
To herd and herdsman both, love brings their ruin.

MENALCAS
Love's not the reason why they're skin and bones.
Some unknown evil eye has cursed my gentle lambs.

DAMOETAS
Say in what lands (you'll be my great Apollo then)
The spacious sky extends no wider than three yards.

MENALCAS
Say in what lands the flowers inscribed with names of kings
Are born; and Phyllis shall be yours alone.

PALAEMON
I cannot arbitrate this great debate between you two.
Both you and he deserve a heifer - as so do all
Who fear the sweetnesses of love, or know its bitterness.
Let down the sluices, lads. The fields have drunk their fill.

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Transl. copyright © Tim Chilcott 2006


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