Ecologue I – Virgil


You, Tityrus, ‘neath a broad beech-canopy 

Reclining, on the slender oat rehearse 

Your silvan ditties: I from my sweet fields, 

And home’s familiar bounds, even now depart. 

Exiled from home am I; while, Tityrus, you 

Sit careless in the shade, and, at your call, 

‘Fair Amaryllis’ bid the woods resound. 

O Meliboeus, ’twas a god vouchsafed 

This ease to us, for him a god will I 

Deem ever, and from my folds a tender lamb 

Oft with its life-blood shall his altar stain. 

His gift it is that, as your eyes may see, 

My kine may roam at large, and I myself 

Play on my shepherd’s pipe what songs I will. 

I grudge you not the boon, but marvel more, 

Such wide confusion fills the country-side. 

See, sick at heart I drive my she-goats on, 

And this one, O my Tityrus, scarce can lead: 

For ‘mid the hazel-thicket here but now 

She dropped her new-yeaned twins on the bare flint, 

Hope of the flock- an ill, I mind me well, 

Which many a time, but for my blinded sense, 

The thunder-stricken oak foretold, oft too 

From hollow trunk the raven’s ominous cry. 

But who this god of yours? Come, Tityrus, tell. 

The city, Meliboeus, they call Rome, 

I, simpleton, deemed like this town of ours, 

Whereto we shepherds oft are wont to drive 

The younglings of the flock: so too I knew 

Whelps to resemble dogs, and kids their dams, 

Comparing small with great; but this as far 

Above all other cities rears her head 

As cypress above pliant osier towers. 

And what so potent cause took you to Rome? 

Freedom, which, though belated, cast at length 

Her eyes upon the sluggard, when my beard 

‘Gan whiter fall beneath the barber’s blade- 

Cast eyes, I say, and, though long tarrying, came, 

Now when, from Galatea’s yoke released, 

I serve but Amaryllis: for I will own, 

While Galatea reigned over me, I had 

No hope of freedom, and no thought to save. 

Though many a victim from my folds went forth, 

Or rich cheese pressed for the unthankful town, 

Never with laden hands returned I home. 

I used to wonder, Amaryllis, why 

You cried to heaven so sadly, and for whom 

You left the apples hanging on the trees; 

‘Twas Tityrus was away. Why, Tityrus, 

The very pines, the very water-springs, 

The very vineyards, cried aloud for you. 

What could I do? how else from bonds be freed, 

Or otherwhere find gods so nigh to aid? 

There, Meliboeus, I saw that youth to whom 

Yearly for twice six days my altars smoke. 

There instant answer gave he to my suit, 

‘Feed, as before, your kine, boys, rear your bulls.’ 

So in old age, you happy man, your fields 

Will still be yours, and ample for your need! 

Though, with bare stones o’erspread, the pastures all 

Be choked with rushy mire, your ewes with young 

By no strange fodder will be tried, nor hurt 

Through taint contagious of a neighbouring flock. 

Happy old man, who ‘mid familiar streams 

And hallowed springs, will court the cooling shade! 

Here, as of old, your neighbour’s bordering hedge, 

That feasts with willow-flower the Hybla bees, 

Shall oft with gentle murmur lull to sleep, 

While the leaf-dresser beneath some tall rock 

Uplifts his song, nor cease their cooings hoarse 

The wood-pigeons that are your heart’s delight, 

Nor doves their moaning in the elm-tree top. 

Sooner shall light stags, therefore, feed in air, 

The seas their fish leave naked on the strand, 

Germans and Parthians shift their natural bounds, 

And these the Arar, those the Tigris drink, 

Than from my heart his face and memory fade. 

But we far hence, to burning Libya some, 

Some to the Scythian steppes, or thy swift flood, 

Cretan Oaxes, now must wend our way, 

Or Britain, from the whole world sundered far. 

Ah! shall I ever in aftertime behold 

My native bounds- see many a harvest hence 

With ravished eyes the lowly turf-roofed cot 

Where I was king? These fallows, trimmed so fair, 

Some brutal soldier will possess these fields 

An alien master. Ah! to what a pass 

Has civil discord brought our hapless folk! 

For such as these, then, were our furrows sown! 

Now, Meliboeus, graft your pears, now set 

Your vines in order! Go, once happy flock, 

My she-goats, go. Never again shall I, 

Stretched in green cave, behold you from afar 

Hang from the bushy rock; my songs are sung; 

Never again will you, with me to tend, 

On clover-flower, or bitter willows, browse. 

Yet here, this night, you might repose with me, 

On green leaves pillowed: apples ripe have I, 

Soft chestnuts, and of curdled milk enow. 

And, see, the farm-roof chimneys smoke afar, 

And from the hills the shadows lengthening fall!

On Monsieur’s Departure – Queen Elizabeth I

I grieve and dare not show my discontent, 

I love and yet am forced to seem to hate, 

I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, 

I seem stark mute but inwardly to prate. 

I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned. 

Since from myself another self I turned. 
My care is like my shadow in the sun, 

Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it, 

Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done. 

His too familiar care doth make me rue it. 

No means I find to rid him from my breast, 

Till by the end of things it be supprest. 
Some gentler passion slide into my mind, 

For I am soft and made of melting snow; 

Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind. 

Let me or float or sink, be high or low. 

Or let me live with some more sweet content, 

Or die and so forget what love ere meant.