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The Bucolics and Eclogues

by Virgil

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MELIBOEUSYou, Tityrus, 'neath a broad beech-canopyReclining, on the slender oat rehearseYour silvan ditties: I from my sweet fields,And home's familiar bounds, even now depart.Exiled from home am I; while, Tityrus, youSit careless in the shade, and, at your call,"Fair Amaryllis" bid the woods resound.

TITYRUSO Meliboeus, 'twas a god vouchsafedThis ease to us, for him a god will IDeem ever, and from my folds a tender lambOft 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 myselfPlay on my shepherd's pipe what songs I will.

MELIBOEUSI 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 nowShe 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 tooFrom hollow trunk the raven's ominous cry.But who this god of yours? Come, Tityrus, tell.

TITYRUSThe city, Meliboeus, they call Rome,I, simpleton, deemed like this town of ours,Whereto we shepherds oft are wont to driveThe younglings of the flock: so too I knewWhelps to resemble dogs, and kids their dams,Comparing small with great; but this as farAbove all other cities rears her headAs cypress above pliant osier towers.

MELIBOEUSAnd what so potent cause took you to Rome?

TITYRUSFreedom, which, though belated, cast at lengthHer 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 hadNo 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.

MELIBOEUSI used to wonder, Amaryllis, whyYou cried to heaven so sadly, and for whomYou 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.

TITYRUSWhat could I do? how else from bonds be freed,Or otherwhere find gods so nigh to aid?There, Meliboeus, I saw that youth to whomYearly for twice six days my altars smoke.There instant answer gave he to my suit,"Feed, as before, your kine, boys, rear your bulls."

MELIBOEUSSo in old age, you happy man, your fieldsWill still be yours, and ample for your need!Though, with bare stones o'erspread, the pastures allBe choked with rushy mire, your ewes with youngBy no strange fodder will be tried, nor hurtThrough taint contagious of a neighbouring flock.Happy old man, who 'mid familiar streamsAnd 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 rockUplifts his song, nor cease their cooings hoarseThe wood-pigeons that are your heart's delight,Nor doves their moaning in the elm-tree top....