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This text of one of the
Eclogues

of
Calpurnius Siculus

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1934 (revised 1935)

is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

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p219 Calpurnius Siculus
Eclogue I

Corydon: Ornytus

C. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Not yet doth the waning summer tame the sun's horses, although the wine-presses are squeezing the juicy clusters and a hoarse whisper comes from the foaming must as it ferments. Look, Ornytus, do you see how comfortably the cattle our father trusted us to watch have lain down to rest in the shaggy broom? Why do not we also make for the neighbouring shade? Why only a cap to protect our sunburnt faces?

O. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Rather let us seek this grove, brother Corydon, — the grottoes over there, the haunt of Father Faunus, where the pine forest thickly spreads its delicate foliage and rears its head to meet the sun's fierce rays, where the beech shields the waters that bubble 'neath its very roots, and with its straying boughs casts a tangled shade.

C. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Whithersoever you call me, Ornytus, I shall follow. For by refusing my embraces and denying me nightly pleasures, my Leuce has left it lawful for me to enter the shrine of horned Faunus. Produce your reed-pipes then and any song you keep stored for use. My pipe, you will find, will not fail you — the pipe that Ladon's skill fashioned for me lately out of a ripely seasoned reed.

p221 O. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Now we have both come beneath the shade we sought. But what legend is this inscribed upon the hallowed beech, which someone of late has scored with hasty knife? Do you notice how the letters still preserve the fresh greenness of their cutting and do not as yet gape with sapless slit?

C. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Ornytus, look closer. You can more quickly scan the lines inscribed on the bark high up. You have length enough of limb by the bounty of your father, and tall stature ungrudgingly transmitted by your mother.

O. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] These be no verses in wayside style by shepherd or by traveller: 'tis a very god who sings. No ring here of cattle-stall; nor do alpine yodellings make refrains for the sacred lay.

C. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] You tell of miracles! Away with dallying; and at once with eager eye read me through the inspired poem.

O. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "I, Faunus of celestial birth, guardian of hill and forest, foretell to the nations that these things shall come. Upon the sacred tree I please to carve the joyous lay in which destiny is revealed. Rejoice above all, ye denizens of the woods; rejoice, ye peoples who are mine! All the herd may stray and yet no care trouble its guardian: the shepherd may neglect to close the pens at night with wattles of ash-wood — yet no robber shall bring his crafty plot upon the fold, or loosing the halters drive the bullocks off. Amid untroubled peace, the Golden Age springs to a second birth; at last kindly Themis,1 throwing off the gathered dust of her mourning, returns to the earth; blissful ages attend the youthful prince who p223pleaded a successful case for the Iuli of the mother town (of Troy).2 While he, a very God, shall rule the nations, the unholy War-Goddess shall yield and have her vanquished hands bound behind her back, and, stripped of weapons, turn her furious teeth into her own entrails; upon herself shall she wage the civil wars which of late she spread o'er all the world: no battles like Philippi shall Rome lament henceforth: no triumph o'er her captive self shall she celebrate. All wars shall be quelled in Tartarean durance: they shall plunge the head in darkness, and dread the light. Fair peace shall come, fair not in visage alone — such as she often was when, though free from open war, and with distant foe subdued,3 she yet 'mid the riot of arms spread national strife4 with secret steel. Clemency has commanded every vice that wears the disguise of peace to betake itself afar: she has broken every maddened sword-blade. No more shall the funereal procession of a fettered senate weary the headsman at his task; no more will crowded prison leave only a senator here and there for the unhappy Curia to count.5 Peace in her fullness shall come; knowing not the drawn sword, she shall renew once more the reign of Saturn in Latium, once more the reign of Numa who first taught the tasks of peace to armies that rejoiced in slaughter and still drew from Romulus' camp their fiery spirit — Numa who first p225hushed the clash of arms and bade the patient sound 'mid holy rites instead of war. No more shall the consul purchase the form of a shadowy dignity or, silenced, receive worthless fasces and meaningless judgement-seat. Nay, laws shall be restored; right will come in fullest force; a kinder god will renew the former tradition and look of the Forum and displace the age of oppression. Let all the peoples rejoice, whether they dwell furthest down in the low south or in the uplifted north, whether they face the east or west or burn beneath the central zone. Do ye mark how already for a twentieth time the night is agleam in an unclouded sky, displaying a comet radiant in tranquil light? and how brightly, with no presage of bloodshed, twinkles its undiminished lustre? Is it with any trace of blood-hued flame that, as is a comet's way, it besprinkles either pole? does its torch flash with gory fire? But aforetime it was not such, when, at Caesar's taking off, it pronounced upon luckless citizens the destined wars.6 Assuredly a very god shall take in his strong arms the burden of the massive Roman state so unshaken, that the world will pass to a new ruler without the crash of reverberating thunder, and that Rome will not regard the dead as deified in accord with merit ere the dawn of one reign can look back on the setting of the last."7

p227 C. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Ornytus, long has my very being, full of the god's own spirit, been thrilled with awe: mingling with my joy its steals upon me. Come, let us praise the kindly divinity of eloquent Faunus.

O. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Let us rehearse the strains which the god himself has presented us to be sung; let us make music for it on our rounded reed-pipe. Haply these verses will be borne by Meliboeus8 to our prince's ears.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Themis, the Greek goddess of justice, was driven from earth by man's deterioration after the fabled Golden Age. Poets also called her "Astraea." Squalore situque conveys an image of the Goddess in her broken-hearted banishment, squalore suggesting mourning (as in Cicero often) and situ the dust that has gathered round her in her motionless grief. Now the poet pictures her springing to life again.

2 The reference is to an early oration by Nero on behalf of the inhabitants of Ilium (Suet. Nero, 7; Tac. Ann. XII.58).

3 This is best taken as a reference to the Roman invasion of Britain in Claudius' reign.

4 If publica is right, discordia must be plural of discordium, a rare neuter form.

5 There were many arbitrary executions ordered by Claudius.

6 The comet of lines 77 sqq. is taken to be the comet of A.D. 54 which was believed to have heralded the death of Claudius, Suet. Claud. 46. Similarly, Virgil, Georg. I.487 sqq., described the celestial portents accompanying the assassination of Julius Caesar.

7 The words seem obscurely to imply a succession to imperial power without disturbance or interregnum. By one of his early acts, Nero proclaimed divine honours for his predecessor, Claudius.

8 Meliboeus represents the poet's patron, an unidentified courtier, or Seneca according to some, or Calpurnius Piso according to others: see Introduction.


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