ECLOGA V ECLOGUE 5
Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) trans. Tim Chilcott
MENALCAS / MOPSUS

MENALCAS
Cur non Mopse, boni quoniam convenimus ambo,
tu calamos inflare levis, ego dicere versus,
hic corylis mixtas inter consedimus ulmos?

MOPSUS
Tu maior; tibi me est aequum parere, Menalca,
sive sub incertas zephyris motantibus umbras.
sive antro potius succedimus: aspice, ut antrum
silveshis raris sparsit labrusca racemis.

MENALCAS
Montibus in nostris solus tibi certet Amyntas,

MOPSUS
Quid, si idem certet Phoebum superare caneado?

MENALCAS
Incipe, Mopse, prior, si quos aut Phyllidis ignes,
aut Alconis habes laudes, aut iurgia Codri:
incipe, pascentis servabit Tityrus haedos.

MOPSUS
Immo haec, in viridi nuper quae cortice fagi
camina descripsi et modulans alterna notavi,
experiar, tu deinde iubeto ut certet Amyntas.

MENALCAS
Lenta salix quantum pallenti cedit olivae,
puniceis humilis quantum saliunca rosetis,
iudicio nostro tantum tibi cedit Amyntas.
sed tu desine plura, puer; successimus antro.

MOPSUS
Extinctum nymphae crudeli funere Daphnim
flebant; vos coryli testes et flumina nymphis;
cum complexa sui corpus miserabile nati,
atque deos atque astra vocat crudelia mater.
Non ulli pastos illis egere diebus
frigida, Daphni, boves ad flumina: nulla neque amnem
libavit quadrupes, nec graminis attigit herbam.
Daphni, tuum Poenos etiam ingemuisse leones
interitum montesque ferė silvaeque loquuntur.
Daphnis et Armenias curru subiungere tigres
instituit; Daphnis thiasos inducere Bacchi,
et foliis lentas intexere mollibus hastas.
Vitis ut arboribus decori est, ut vitibus uvae,
ut gregibus tauri, segetes ut pinguibus arvis,
tu decus omne tuis. Postquam te fata tulerunt,
ipsa Pales agros atque ipse reliquit Apollo.
Grandia saepe quibus mandavimus hordea sulcis,
infelix lolium et steriles nascuntur avenae;
pro molli viola, pro purpureo narcisso,
carduus et spinis surgit paliurus acutis.
Spargite humum foliis, inducite fontibus umbras,
pastores, mandat fieri sibi talia Daphnis;
et tumulum facite, et tumulo superaddite carmen:
'Daphnis ego in silvis hinc usque ad sidera notus
Formosi pecoris custos formosior ipse.'

MENALCAS
Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta,
quale sopor fessis in gramine, quale per aestum
dulcis aquae saliente sitim restinguere rivo:
nec calarais solum aequiparas, sed voce magistrum.
Fortunate puer, tu nunc eris alter ab illo.
Nos tamen haec quocumque modo tibi nostra vicissim
dicemus, Daphaimque tuum tollemus ad astra:
Daphnin ad astra feremus: amavit nos quoque Daphnis.

MOPSUS
An quicquam nobis tali sit munere maius
Et puer ipse fuit cantari dignus, et ista
iam pridem Stimichon laudavit carmina nobis.

MENALCAS
Candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi,
sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis.
ergo alacris silvas et cetera rura voluptas
Panaque pastoresque tenet, Dryadasque paellas;
nec lupus insidias pecori, nec retia cervis
ulla dolum meditantur: amat bonus otia Daphnis.
ipsi laetitia voces ad sidera iactant
intonsi montes: ipsae iam carmina rupes,
ipsa sonant arbusta: 'Deus, deus ille, Menalca.'
Sis bonus o felixque tuis! En quattuor aras:
ecce duas tibi, Daphni, duas altaria Phoebo.
pocula bina nouo spumantia lacte quotannis,
craterasque duo statuam tibi pinguis olivi,
et multo in primis hilarans convivia Baccho, -
ante focum, si frigus erit, si messis, in umbra, -
vina novum fundam calathis Ariusia nectar,
cantabunt mihi Damoetas et Lyctius Aegon;
saltantis satyros imitabitur Alphesiboeus.
Haec tibi semper erunt, et cum solemnia vota
reddemus Nymphis, et cum lustrabimus agros.
Dura iuga montis aper, fluvios dum piscis amabit,
dumque thymo pascentur apes, dum rore cicadae,
semper honos nomenque tuum laudesque manebunt:
ut Baccho Cererique, tibi sic vota quotannis
agricolae facient: damnabis tu quoque uotis.

MOPSUS
Quae tibi, quae tali reddam pro carmine dona?
Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
nec percussa iuvant fluctu tam litora, nec quae
saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.

MENALCAS
Hac te nos fragili donabimus ante cicuta:
haec nos, 'Formosum Corydon ardebat Alexim,'
haec eadem docuit, 'Cuium pecus, an Meliboei?'

MOPSUS
At tu sume pedum, quod, me cum saepe rogaret,
non tulit Antigenes - et erat tum dignus amari -
formosum paribus nodis atque aere, Menalca.
MENALCAS/ MOPSUS

MENALCAS
Mopsus, we're two fine music-makers - you at the light reed-pipe
And I at song. So as we've met, why not sit down
Together here, where hazel bushes mingle with the elms?

MOPSUS
You're senior, Menalcas. I defer to you.
Shall we stay here, where fitful breezes make uncertain
Shade, or go inside this cave? Look how that woodland vine
Has scattered rare grape-clusters round its mouth.

MENALCAS
Among these hills, only Amyntas rivals you.

MOPSUS
But he's the one who thinks he can outplay Phoebus.

MENALCAS
Well, Mopsus, you start first. 'The Loves of Phyllis', possibly,
Or 'In Alcon's Praise', or 'A Quarrel with Codrus'.
You start, and Tityrus will guard the grazing flock.

MOPSUS
I'd rather try a song I wrote the other day
On green beech bark. I noted down the tune between the lines.
Then you can tell Amyntas to challenge me!

MENALCAS
As bending willows yield before pale olive-trees,
Or humble red valerian to the crimson rose,
So does Amyntas in our judgment yield to you.
But no more talk, my lad, We're at the cave.

MOPSUS
Daphnis died a cruel death. The Nymphs wept over himŽ -
You streams and hazels bear witness to their tears.
His mother clasped the wretched body of her son
And screamed the cruelty of both the gods and stars.
No-one, Daphnis, in those days would drive their oxen
To the cooling stream. No animal would drink
A drop, or touch a blade of grass.
The wild hills, Daphnis. and the forests even say
The lions of Carthage roared their grief when you were killed.
Daphnis taught us how to yoke Armenian tigers
To our chariots, and how to lead the Bacchic dance,
And how to twine soft foliage around hard spears.
As vines adorn the trees and grapes the vine,
As bulls adorn their herds and crops their fertile fields,
So you adorned us all. But since fate took you.
The great Apollo, Pales too, have left our fields.
The furrows where we've often sown fat grains of corn
Spring up now with cursed darnel and barren oats.
Where once soft violets and bright narcissus grew,
Thistles spring up and thorns with sharpened spikes.
Shepherds, scatter the ground with petals, shade your springs -
Daphnis asks you do such things for him.
Then build a tomb, and write upon the tomb this epitaph:
'I lived in woodlands, my fame lives in the stars.
My flock was lovely; still lovelier was I.'

MENALCAS
My heaven-born poet! To me, your song is like sleeping
On the grass when one is tired, or quenching thirst
From a gentle brook of sparkling water in the heat.
You are your master's equal both in piping and in voice.
His one and true successor, you fortunate young man.
Still, in return, as best I can, I must recite
This song of mine and praise your Daphnis to the stars.
Yes, I'll raise Daphnis to the stars, for Daphnis loved me too.

MOPSUS
Could any present please me more than that?
The boy deserved our songs, and Stimichon
Has long been praising yours to me.

MENALCAS
In radiance, Daphnis marvels at the wondrous gate of heaven,
And sees the stars and clouds beneath his feet.
At this, the woods and all the countryside, and Pan,
The shepherds, and the Dryad nymphs, are filled with joy.
No wolf lies down in ambush for the sheep; no nets
Are set to snare the deer: good Daphnis loves tranquillity.
For very joy, the rugged mountains hurl their voices
To the stars. Even the orchards and the rocks
Burst into song: 'A god, Menalcas! He is a god!'
Bless us and let us prosper! Here are four altars.
Two for you - look, Daphnis - and two high ones for Phoebus.
And every year, I'll set for you two foaming cups
Of freshest milk, and two large bowls of olive oil.
Best of all to cheer the feast with flowing wine
- In winter, by the fireside; at harvest, in the shade - I'll fill
Our cups with nectar: choice Chian wine.
Damoetas and Cretan Aegon will sing for me,
Alphesiboeus imitate the leaping fauns.
These rites shall be for ever yours, both when we give
The Nymphs our vows, and when we bless our fields.
So long as boars love mountain heights, and fish the streams,
Bees feed on thyme, cicadas on the dew,
Your honour, name and praises will last for evermore.
Just as to Bacchus and to Ceres, farmers make their vows
Each year, so now you'll make them vow to you.

MOPSUS
What can I give you in return for such a song?
The south wind, whistling as it comes, or beaches beaten
By the surf, or rivers tumbling down through rocky glens -
None sounds so beautiful to me as what you've sung.

MENALCAS
But I'll give you a present first - this delicate reed-pipe.
It taught me 'Corydon had lost his heart to beautiful Alexis',
And 'Whose flock is that? Meliboeus'?'

MOPSUS
And you, Melancas, take this shepherd's crook, the knots
Spaced evenly, the rings of brass. Antigenes,
Lovable though then he was, could not take it away from me.

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Transl. copyright © Tim Chilcott 2006


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