Ecloga IV Eclogues, 4

P. Vergili Maronis

Virgil (70-19 BCE)

Sicelides Musae, paulo maiora canamus.

Non omnis arbusta iuvant humilesque myricae;

si canimus silvas, silvae sint consule dignae.

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas;

magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.

Iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;

iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto.

Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum

desinet ac toto surget gens aurea mundo,

casta fave Lucina: tuus iam regnat Apollo.

Sicilian Muses, let us take a loftier tone.

Orchards and humble tamarisks don't give delight to all,

and if we sing of woods, they should be worthy of a consul.

Now comes the last age of the Cumaean song;

the great order of the ages arises anew.

Now the Virgin returns, and Saturn's reign returns;

now a new generation is sent down from high heaven.

Only, chaste Lucina, favour the child at his birth,

by whom, first of all, the iron age will end

and a golden race arise in all the world;

now your Apollo reigns.

Teque adeo decus hoc aevi, te consule, inibit,

Pollio, et incipient magni procedere menses.

Te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,

irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras.

Ille deum vitam accipiet, divisque videbit

permixtos heroas, et ipse videbitur illis,

pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem.

And indeed, Pollio, during your consulship

this glory of the age will enter in,

and the great months will begin to advance;

while you lead, if any stains of our sins still linger,

their negation will free the lands from endless fear.

He will take up the gods' life, and he will see

heroes and gods intermingled;

and he himself will be seen by them,

and with his father's virtues will rule a world at peace.

At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu

errantis hederas passim cum baccare tellus

mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho.

Ipsae lacte domum referent distenta capellae

ubera, nec magnos metuent armenta leones;

ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores,

occidet et serpens, et fallax herba veneni

occidet; Assyrium vulgo nascetur amomum.

At simul heroum laudes et facta parentis

iam legere et quae sit poteris cognoscere virtus,

molli paulatim flavescet campus arista,

incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva,

et durae quercus sudabunt roscida mella.

And for yourself, little boy, the uncultivated earth

will scatter its first small gifts:

wandering ivy and cyclamens everywhere,

Egyptian beans mixed with laughing acanthus.

By themselves, she-goats will come home

with udders swollen with milk;

cattle no longer will fear mighty lions.

For you, your own cradle will bear delightful flowers;

the serpent will die, and the plant that hides its venom;

Assyrian spices will spring forth all over.

But as soon as you are able to read

the praise of heroes and your father's works

and come to understand what virtue is,

fields will slowly turn golden with soft ears of grain,

red grapes will hang down from uncultivated briars

and stubborn oaks will exude dewlike honey.

Pauca tamen suberunt priscae vestigia fraudis,

quae temptare Thetim ratibus, quae cingere muris

oppida, quae iubeant telluri infindere sulcos.

Alter erit tum Tiphys, et altera quae vehat Argo

delectos heroas; erunt etiam altera bella,

atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles.

Yet still a few relics of old crimes will remain,

commanding men to tempt Thetis with rafts,

ring towns with walls, and plough furrows in the earth.

There will be another Tiphys, and another Argo,

carrying picked heroes; there will be another War,

and mighty Achilles will be sent to Troy again.

Hinc, ubi iam firmata virum te fecerit aetas,

cedet et ipse mari vector, nec nautica pinus

mutabit merces: omnis feret omnia tellus.

Non rastros patietur humus, non vinea falcem;

robustus quoque iam tauris iuga solvet arator.

Nec varios discet mentiri lana colores:

ipse sed in pratis aries iam suave rubenti

murice, iam croceo mutabit vellera luto;

sponte sua sandyx pascentis vestiet agnos.

After this, when the hard age has made you a man,

the merchant himself will withdraw from the sea,

and the maritime pine ships will not trade goods;

every land will produce everything.

Earth will not endure the hoe, nor the vine the sickle;

strong ploughmen too will unbind their yoked bulls.

Wool will not learn to feign various colours:

in the meadows, by himself, the ram will change his fleece –

now to sweet reddening purple, now to saffron yellow;

and vermilion, of its own accord, will clothe the grazing lambs.

"Talia saecla," suis dixerunt, "currite," fusis

concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae.

Adgredere o magnos – aderit iam tempus – honores,

cara deum suboles, magnum Iovis incrementum!

Aspice convexo nutantem pondere mundum,

terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum;

aspice, venturo laetentur ut omnia saeclo!

"May such ages race on!": thus the Parcae have spoken

to their spindles, in concord with the fates’ steadfast wills.

Beloved child of the gods, the time is at hand:

take up your great honours, great offspring of Jove!

Behold the world swaying beneath its vaulted weight –

the earth, the sea's fields and the depth of the sky;

see how all things rejoice in the age that will come!

O mihi tum longae maneat pars ultima vitae,

spiritus et quantum sat erit tua dicere facta!

Non me carminibus vincat nec Thracius Orpheus

nec Linus, huic mater quamvis atque huic pater adsit,

Orphei Calliopea, Lino formosus Apollo.

Pan etiam, Arcadia mecum si iudice certet,

Pan etiam Arcadia dicat se iudice victum.

Then for me may the last part of a long life remain,

and inspiration enough to tell your deeds;

neither Thracian Orpheus nor Linus would surpass me in song,

though Calliope were there for one and fair Apollo for the other –

the mother for Orpheus, the father for Linus.

Even Pan, against me, with Arcadia as judge –

even Pan himself would say he had been conquered.

Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem;

matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses.

Incipe, parve puer. Qui non risere parenti,

nec deus hunc mensa, dea nec dignata cubili est.

Now begin, little boy: look and smile on your mother

(for ten months brought long labour to her);

begin, little boy. Those who smile not on their parent

no god honours at his table, no goddess in her bed.

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