« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Henceforth no plough shall cleave the fertile ground,
In concord join'd with fate's unalter'd law
O dear to all thy kindred gods above! O thou, the offspring of eternal Jove! Receive thy dignities, begin thy reign, And o'er the world extend thy wide domain. See nature's mighty frame exulting round, Ocean, and earth, and heaven's immense profound ! See nations yet unborn with joy behold Thy glad approach, and hail the age of gold !
O would th' immortals lend a length of days, And give a soul sublime to sound thy praise; Would Heaven this breast, this labouring breast
Repay a parent's care, 0 beauteous boy,
* This passage has perplexed all the critics. Out of a number of significations that have been offered, the translator has pitched upon one, which he thinks the most agreeable to the scope of the poem and most consistent with the language of the original. The reader who wants more particulars on this head, may consult Servius, De La Cerda, or Ruæus.
No nymph of heavenly birth shall crown thy love,
* Here we discover Menalcas and Mopsus seated in an arbour formed by the interwoven twigs of a wild vine. A grove of hazels and elms surrounds this arbour. The season seems to be summer. The time of the day is not specified.
+ From this passage it is evident that Virgil thought pastoral poetry capable of a much greater variety in its subjects than some modern critics will allow.
Begin whatever theme your Muse prefer.
* It is the most general and most probable conjecture, that Julius Cæsar is the Daphnis whose death and deification are bere celebrated. Some however are of opinion, that by Daphnis is meant a real shepherd of Sicily of that name, who is said to have invented bucolic poetry, and in honour of whom the Sicilians performed yearly sacrifices.
He first with ivy wrapt the thyrsus round,
Menalcas. Sweeter, O bard divine, thy numbers seem Than to the scorched swain the cooling stream, Or soft on fragrant flow'rets to recline, And the tired limbs to balmy sleep resign. Blest youth! whose voice and pipe demand the praise Due but to thine, and to thy master's lays. I in return the darling theme will choose, And Daphnis' praises shall inspire my Muse : He in my song shall high as Heaven ascend, High as the Heavens, for Daphnis was my friend.
* This can be applied only to Julius Cæsar; for it was he who introduced at Rome the celebration of the Bacchanalian revels. -Servius.
Which in your song new dignity obtains;
Menalcas. Now Daphnis shines, among the gods a god, Struck with the splendours of his new abode. Beneath his footstool far remote appear The clouds slow-sailing, and the starry sphere. Hence lawns and groves with gladsome raptures ring, The swains, the nymphs, and Pan in concert sing. The wolves to murder are no more inclined, No guileful nets ensnare the wandering hind, Deceit and violence and rapine cease, For Daphnis loves the gentle arts of peace. From savage mountains shouts of transport rise Borne in triumphant echoes to the skies ; The rocks and shrubs emit melodious sounds, Through nature's vast extent the god, the god re
bounds. Be gracious still, still present to our prayer ; Four altars lo! we build with pious care, Two for th' inspiring god of song divine, And two, propitious Daphnis, shall be thine. Two bowls white-foaming with their milky store, Of generous oil two brimming goblets more, Each year we shall present before thy shrine, And cheer the feast with liberal draughts of wine; Before the fire when winter-storms invade, In summer's heat beneath the breezy shade : The hallow'd bowls with wines of Chios crown'd, Shall pour their sparkling nectar to the ground. Damoetas shall with Lyctian* Ægon play, Aud celebrate with festive strains the day. Alphesibous to the sprightly song Shall like the dancing Satyrs trip along. These rites shall still be paid, so justly due, Both when the nymphs receive our annual vow, And when with solemn songs, and victims crown'd, Our lands in long procession we surround. While fishes love the streams and briny deep, And sayage boars the mountain's rocky steep,
* Lyctium was a city of Crete.