from the GEORGICS - Book III, ll.1-26 YOU TOO, PALES, GREAT GODDESS ...
Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) tr. Peter Fallon
Te quoque, magna Pales, et te memorande canemus
pastor ab Amphryso, vos, silvae amnesque Lycaei.
Cetera, quae vacuas tenuissent carmine mentes,
omnia iam volgata: quis aut Eurysthea durum
aut inlaudati nescit Busiridis aras?
Cui non dictus Hylas puer et Latonia Delos
Hippodameque umeroque Pelops insignis eburno,
acer equis? Temptanda via est, qua me quoque possim
tollere humo victorque virum volitare per ora.

Primus ego in patriam mecum, modo vita supersit,
Aonio rediens deducam vertice Musas;
primus Idumaeas referam tibi, Mantua, palmas,
et viridi in campo templum de marmore ponam
propter aquam. Tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat
Mincius et tenera praetexit arundine ripas.
In medio mihi Caesar erit templumque tenebit:
illi victor ego et Tyrio conspectus in ostro
centum quadriiugos agitabo ad flumina currus.
Cuncta mihi Alpheum linquens lucosque Molorchi
cursibus et crudo decernet Graecia caestu.
Ipse caput tonsae foliis ornatus olivae
dona feram. Iam nunc sollemnis ducere pompas
ad delubra iuvat caesosque videre iuvencos,
vel scaena ut versis discedat frontibus utque
purpurea intexti tollant aulaea Britanni.

You too, Pales, great goddess of the folds, and you, Apollo,
who tended flocks,
and all of you, woods and waters of Arcadia, we'll mind
forever in our songs.
They're tired themes that might have once engaged the the
lazy intellect
in Poetry - who hasn't heard of Eurystheus (who piled
hardships onto Hercules)
or of the altars established by Busiris which none could
Who hasn't told the tale of Hylas (and his boy's loss at sea),
of Hippodamia and Pelops, that outstanding rider, his
shoulder reconstructed out of ivory.
What I need is to find a way I too can rise in triumph
from the earth and live on in the mouths of men.
I'll be the first, the very first, if I'm let live long enough,
to bring back to my own place from the heights of Helicon
the prize of the Muses -
I'll be the first to bring back to you, Mantua, the palms of
and I'll erect a marble temple in a grassy meadow by the
of the wide Mincius whose ambling course flows this way
and that,
its sides tossing their fringe of wavy rushes.
At its centre I'll place Caesar, master of the shrine,
and in his honour - the day being mine - resplendent in my
purple robes,
I'll drive five score of teams-of-four up and down along the
Because of me, all Greece will leave the Alpheus and the
cypress groves of Molorchus
to compete in running races and bruising bouts of boxing,
while I, presiding, my brow wreathed in a chaplet of clipped
olive leaves,
administer the offerings. Already I can see how pleased I'll
to front that rich procession and observe the sacrificial
slaughter of young stock;
or, when the stage is set, to see it turn and open on a change
of scene
as ornate curtains rise to reveal embroidered Britons in the


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Transl. copyright © Peter Fallon 2004 - publ. The Gallery Press

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