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PASTORAL POEMS.

THESE ten short pieces, the earliest authentic works of Virgil, treat of pastoral subjects, the loves and songs of herdsmen (Bovкóλ01), and hence are called BUCOLICS. They were published under the title of ECLOGUES (Ekhoyaí, selections). In form they are chiefly imitations, often translations, of the IDYLS (ɛiðúλha, or picture poems) of Theocritus and the other Greek pastoral poets; but the scenes often belong to Italy, the occasions to the history of the time, and the incidents to the poet's own life.

In a highly artificial period, such as that under the Empire, or in the lull after great convulsions like those which marked the downfall of the Roman Republic, the simplicity and quiet of rustic life have often, by a kind of affectation, been admired and celebrated in song, by persons very far removed from a rustic condition. These first poetic essays - though in the highest degree artificial, and imitations of far superior originals — have, by their perfection of form, delicacy of treatment, and charm of diction, taken rank, in the judgment of every age since, as models in their kind.

ECLOGUE I.

In this poem Virgil sings his gratitude to Augustus for restoring the farm of which he had been robbed to reward the soldiery of the triumvirs (see Life). The poet himself, however, is only dimly shadowed in the person of Tityrus, a herdsman, in dialogue with another, Melibœus, who represents Virgil's less fortunate neighbors. The whole scene with its incidents, thus removed to the mythical domain of pastoral poetry, gives a peculiar delicacy to the praise.

MELIB(EUS.

TITYRUS.

ITYRE, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi

TITYRE

silvestrem tenui Musam meditaris avena;

nos patriae fines et dulcia linquimus arva:

nos patriam fugimus; tu, Tityre, lentus in umbra formosam resonare doces Amaryllida silvas.

T. O Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit: namque erit ille mihi semper deus; illius aram saepe tener nostris ab ovilibus imbuet agnus. Ille meas errare boves, ut cernis, et ipsum ludere, quae vellem, calamo permisit agresti.

M. Non equidem invideo; miror magis: undique totis
usque adeo turbatur agris. En, ipse capellas
protinus aeger ago; hanc etiam vix, Tityre, duco :
hic inter densas corylos modo namque gemellos,
spem gregis, ah, silice in nuda conixa reliquit.
Saepe malum hoc nobis, si mens non laeva fuisset,
de caelo tactas memini praedicere quercus :
[saepe sinistra cava praedixit ab ilice cornix.]
Sed tamen, iste deus qui sit, da, Tityre, nobis.
T. Urbem, quam dicunt Romam, Meliboee, putavi
stultus ego huic nostrae similem, quo saepe solemus
pastores ovium teneros depellere fetus :

sic canibus catulos similis, sic matribus haedos
noram, sic parvis componere magna solebam :
verum haec tantum alias inter caput extulit urbes,
quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi.
M. Et quae tanta fuit Romam tibi causa videndi?
T. Libertas; quae sera, tamen respexit inertem,
candidior postquam tondenti barba cadebat ;
respexit tamen, et longo post tempore venit,
postquam nos Amaryllis habet, Galatea reliquit :
namque, fatebor enim, dum me Galatea tenebat,
nec spes libertatis erat, nec cura peculi :
quamvis multa meis exiret victima saeptis,
pinguis et ingratae premeretur caseus urbi,

non umquam gravis aere domum mihi dextra redibat.

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M. Mirabar, quid maesta deos, Amarylli, vocares,
cui pendere sua patereris in arbore poma :
Tityrus hinc aberat. Ipsae te, Tityre, pinus,
ipsi te fontes, ipsa haec arbusta vocabant.
T.

Quid facerem? Neque servitio me exire licebat,

nec tam praesentis alibi cognoscere divos.
Hic illum vidi iuvenem, Meliboee, quot annis
bis senos cui nostra dies altaria fumant;
hic mihi responsum primus dedit ille petenti :
pascite, ut ante, boves, pueri, submittite tauros.
M. Fortunate senex, ergo tua rura manebunt,
et tibi magna satis, quamvis lapis omnia nudus
limosoque palus obducat pascua iunco !
Non insueta gravis temptabunt pabula fetas,
nec mala vicini pecoris contagia laedent.

Fortunate senex, hic, inter flumina nota
et fontis sacros, frigus captabis opacum!"
Hinc tibi, quae semper, vicino ab limite, saepes
Hyblaeis apibus florem depasta salicti

saepe levi somnum suadebit inire susurro ;
hinc alta sub rupe canet frondator ad auras;
nec tamen interea raucae, tua cura, palumbes,
nec gemere aëria cessabit turtur ab ulmo.

T. Ante leves ergo pascentur in aequore cervi,
et freta destituent nudos in litore pisces,
ante pererratis amborum finibus exsul

aut Ararim Parthus bibet, aut Germania Tigrim,
quam nostro illius labatur pectore voltus.
M. At nos hinc alii sitientis ibimus Afros,
pars Scythiam et rapidum Cretae veniemus Oaxen,
et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos.

En umquam patrios longo post tempore finis, pauperis et tuguri congestum caespite culmen,

48 quodannis. R.
46 summittite. R.

60 aethere. H.

62 exul. R.

66 cretae. R.

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