Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro)trans. Alan Marshfield
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 virides etiam occultant spineta lacertos,
Thestylis et rapido fessis messoribus aestu
alia serpullumque herbas contundit olentes.
at mecum raucis, tua dum vestigia lustro,
sole sub ardenti resonant arbusta cicadis.
nonne fuit satius, tristes 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 humiles habitare casas et figere cervos
haedorumque gregem viridi compellere hibisco!
mecum una in silvis imitabere Pana canendo.
Pan primum calamos cera coniungere plures
instituit, Pan curat oves oviumque magistros.
nec te 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,
pallentes violas et summa papavera carpens,
narcissum et florem iungit bene olentis anethi;
tum casia atque aliis intexens suavibus herbis
mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha.
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 suaves 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 immisi 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 crescentes decedens duplicat umbras:
me tamen urit amor; quis enim modus adsit amori?
ah, Corydon, Corydon, quae te dementia cepit?
semiputata tibi frondosa viti in ulmo est.
quin tu aliquid saltem potius, quorum indiget usus,
viminibus mollique paras detexere iunco?
ivenies alium, si te hic fastidit, Alexim.
Corydon the shepherd was gone on the handsome Alexis,
his master's fancy, so all that he wished was denied him.
He slunk all the time in the thickly crowded beech-wood,
in the high-ridged shadows. There these were the aimless snatches
he threw at the mountains and woods in his moping passion:
'O cruel Alexis, do you feel no grief at my song?
Do you no-how pity me? I can see that you'll drive me to death.
Now even the cattle head for the cool of the shade,
now thickets are hiding even the dark-green lizards.
For tired reapers crushed by the sun Thestylis
minces pungent stalks of garlic and thyme.
Alone in the burning sun I scuff where you've trodden
with only the harsh cicada to go with my calling.
Was it not enough I took Amaryllis's fretting,
her airs and her graces? Not enough I suffered Menalcas,
although he is dark and you yourself are so fair?
O good-looking boy, don't over-much trust to your colour:
the white privet falls, the black whortleberry is picked.
You cannot bear me, never ask what I am, Alexis,
what's my riches in flocks, what's my wealth in snow-white milk:
I've a thousand lambs that ramble Sicilian hills,
fresh milk never fails me, neither in summer nor winter.
I call, as once on a time to shout up his herd
did Boeotian Amphion on Attica's hill Aracynthus.
I'm not that bad-looking - I saw myself once in the water
as the sea lay quiet and windless; say I'm like Daphnis
and you wouldn't judge far from the truth - if reflections don't lie.
So why don't you come with me to the wholesome country
and live under humble thatch? We could hunt the stag
and drive home the goats with a flexible marsh-mallow switch,
learning in the copse together how to sing like Pan.
It was Pan who first taught us to weld reeds together with wax;
Pan it is looks after sheep and the minders of sheep.
If you make your lip raw on the reed then you needn't worry,
there was nothing Amyntas would shirk to acquire the art.
See here I have hemlock cut into various lengths
for a pipe: I've had it some time, a gift from Damoetas,
who said on this deathbed: 'You'll be the second this captures.'
That's what he said, and that fool Amyntas was jealous.
And besides, in a valley by no means secure I found
two chamois, and even now they've the roan-marks.
Twice daily they suck the ewe dry; and these may be yours.
I've been badgered a long time by Thestylis, she wants them too:
and damn it, she'll have them, since you are so wry with my gifts.
O good-looking boy, come here, for see there the Nymphs
bearing baskets of lilies; for you too the white-skinned Naiad
is picking the pallid flag and the poppy's flower;
she's twisting narcissi with sweet-smelling flowers of the dill,
and cassia is bound with other odoriferous herbs;
the flaming marigold sets off the reticent whortles.
Myself I shall pick you quinces with soft white bloom
together with chestnuts, which once Amaryllis would love,
and the waxen plum, this fruit shall have honour as well;
I'll sever some laurels and the myrtles growing close by them,
since set side by side their perfumes combine so sweetly.
You bumpkin, Corydon! Alexis won't value your gifts,
If you argue with these, Iollas his master will win him.
O where were my miserable senses? In this straying fashion
I've let the wind get at my flowers, the boar at my fountain.
Why shun me, Alexis? Gods too have lived in the woodlands,
And Dardanian Paris. Paris lays bournes to the stronghold
and stays within them. But I'll love the woodland forever.
The savage she-lion harries the wolf; wolf follows the kid;
the kid itself frisks off in chase of the flowering clover;
and I follow you, Alexis: so each to his own desire.
See, the yoked oxen are dragging the ploughshares homewards
and the shadows grow twice as large in the dipping sun.
But love still burn me, for whither may love depart?
Corydon, Corydon, what madness reduces you thus?
Your vines round the elm-tree are overgrown with leaves.
Stir yourself up and go about matters of use.
Take withies or the twisty reed and weave them as baskets.
You'll soon find another if now you're denied by Alexis.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. copyright © Alan Marshfield 2001

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