GEORGICON - III.1-26 AND NOW, GREAT PALES, I WILL SING OF THEE ...
Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro)trans. K. R. Mackenzie
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.
And now, great Pales, I will sing of thee,
The goddess of the herds, and of that god
Who tended sheep along Amphrysus' banks,
And of the woods and streams beloved of Pan.
The themes that might have charmed an idle hour
Are now all commonplace. Who does not know
The tasks Eurystheus forced on Hercules?
Who has not told the tale of Hylas fair,
Latonian Delos, or Hippodame
And ivory-shouldered Pelops and his steeds?
I must essay new paths, whereby I too
May rise to fame upon the lips of men.

I'll be the first, if I live long enough,
To bring the Muses down from Helicon
To my own country, first to bring the palm
Of poetry to my native Mantua.
I'll raise a marble temple on the grass,
Where Mincius' broad water slowly winds
And covers all his banks with slender reeds.
There Caesar in the midst shall have his shrine,
And in his honour I, victorious,
In splendid Tyrian purple clothed, will drive
A hundred four-horsed chariots by the stream.
For me all Greece shall quit Alpheüs' tide
And leave Molorchus' forests and shall vie
In races and contest with rawhide gloves.
And I, my brow with olive-leaves adorned,
Shall give the prizes. What a joy 'twill be
To lead the solemn concourse to the shrine,
And see the oxen slain in sacrifice,
The shifting of the scene upon the stage,
The curtains with the shapes of Britons wrought.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. copyright © The Folio Society Ltd. 1969


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