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This text of one of the
Eclogues

of
Nemesianus

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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p479 Nemesianus
Fourth Eclogue

Lycidas: Mopsus1

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The shepherds, Lycidas and Mopsus too, both of them skilled on the reed-pipes and in verse, were singing each of his own love in the poplar shade, uttering no common strain. For Mopsus the flame was Meroe, for Lycidas 'twas Iollas of the flowing locks; and a like frenzy for a darling of different sex drove them wandering restlessly through all the groves. The youth and Meroe sorely mocked these shepherds in their desperate passion; now they would shun the valley-elms which had been made a trysting-place; anon they would avoid the beeches where they fixed to meet, fail to be at the promised cave, or have no mind to sport by the wonted springs; until at length in weariness, consumed by the dread fire of love, Mopsus and Lycidas thus laid bare their wounds to the solitary groves, and by turns wailed forth in song their sweet complaints.

M. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Pitiless Meroe, more elusive than the rushing East wind, why do you avoid my pipes, why my shepherd songs? Or whom do you shun? What glory does my conquest bring to you? Why conceal your mind under your looks, why show fair hope on your brow?2 At last, O heartless maid, refuse me; I may cease to want her who refuses me.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.3

L. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] p481 Turn your gaze on me at last, Iollas, cruel boy. You will not be ever thus. Herbs lose their bloom, thorns lose their roses, nor are lilies always white; the vine keeps not its leaf for long nor the poplar its shady foliage. Beauty is a short-lived gift nor one that lends itself to age.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

M. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The doe follows the buck, the comely heifer the bull, wolves have felt the stirring of love, lionesses have felt it, and the tribes of the air, the birds, and the throng of scaled creatures, and mountains and woods — and trees have their own loves. You alone flee from love; you betray your hapless lover.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

L. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Time nurtures all things, time snatches them away; enjoyment lies within narrow bounds. 'Twas spring, and I saw beneath their mothers yonder calves, which now have met in horned battle for the snow-white cow. For you, already your nostrils swell, already your neck grows strong, already you count your years by twenty harvests.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

M. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Come hither, fair Meroe; the heat calls us to the shade. Now the herds have found cover in the wood; now there is no bird that sings from tuneful throat; the scaly serpent marks not the ground with its sinuous tail. Alone I sing, all the wood resounds with my strain, nor do I yield in song to the summer cicalas.

p483 Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

L. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] You too, cruel youth, destroy not your snow-white colour under this sun; it is wont to scorch fair cheeks. Come, rest here with me beneath the shadow of the vine. Here you have the murmur of a gently running spring, here too on the supporting elms hang purple clusters from the fruitful vines.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

M. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The man who can endure proud Meroe's unresponsive disdain will endure Sithonian snows and Libyan heat, will drink sea-water, and be unafraid of the hurtful yew-tree's sap; he will defy Sardinian herbs and will constrain Marmaric lions to bear his yoke.4

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

L. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Whoe'er loves boys, let him harden his heart with steel. Let him be in no haste, but learn for long to love with patience. Let him not scorn prudence in tender years. Let him even endure disdain. So one day he will find joy, if so be that some god hearkens to troubled loves.

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

M. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] What boots it5 that the mother of Amyntas p485from our village purified me thrice with chaplets, thrice with sacred leaves, trice with reeking incense, while she burnt crackling laurel6 with live sulphur, and, turning her face away, cast the ashes into the river? what boots it when my unhappy heart burns thus for Meroe in all the fires of love?

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.

L. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Round me also this self-same dame, Mycale, carried threads of varied colour and a thousand strange herbs. She uttered the spell which makes the moon grow large, the snake to burst, rocks to run, crops to change their field, and trees to be uprooted: yet more, lo! still more beautiful is my Iollas.7

Let each sing of what he loves: song too relieves love's pangs.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 An alternative title is "Eros."

2 From Virg. Aen. IV.477, spem fronte serenat.

3 The device of a refrain follows the examples in Theocritus, IdyllI and II and Virgil, Eclog. VIII. It is effectively used in the trochaics of the Pervigilium Veneris: 'cras amet qui numquam amavit quique amavit cras amet.'

4 Sithonius means "Thracian"; Sardea gramina, bitter herbs from Sardinia; Marmaricos, belonging to the north of Africa between Egypt and the Syrtes.

5 Lines 62‑72 draw upon the magical ideas in the Pharmaceutriae of Theocritus, Idyll. II, and its adaptation by Virgil, Ecl. VIII.64‑109. From Virgil come the odd numbers, fillets of wool, frankincense, burning of laurel, ashes thrown in a stream, the many-coloured threads, herbs of virtue, and charms to affect the moon or a snake or corn-crops.

6 The notion, imitating Virgil, Ecl. VIII.82 (fragiles incende bitumine lauros), is that the laurels are kindled with divine fire, bitumen being reckoned a product of lightning.

7 i.e. despite all incantations, Iollas retains a beauty which exerts an irresistible power over Lycidas.


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Page updated: 19 Jul 12