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Bill Thayer

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This text of one of the Einsiedeln Eclogues
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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 p331  Einsiedeln Eclogues

A Dialogue between Glyceranus and Mystes.

Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Why silent, Mystes? My. Worries disturb my joys: worry pursues my meals: it rises even more amid my cups: a load of anxiety enjoys burdening my happy hours.

Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] I don't quite take you. My. Well, I don't like to tell the whole.

Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Mayhap a wolf has tricked your cattle? My. My watchful band of dogs fears not enemies. Gl. Sleep can o'ershadow even the watchful.

My. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 'Tis something deeper, Glyceranus — no open trouble: you are wrong.

Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Yet the sea is not usually disturbed without winds.

My. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] You may not think it, but 'tis satiety that plagues my joys.

 p333  Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Pleasure and drowsihead are commonly in love with complaints.

My. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Well then, if you are intent on knowing the reasons for my pangs —

Gl. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] There is an elm-tree with outspread branches which will cover us with its quivering shade, and, look! the green-sward bids us lie down on the soft meadow: you must tell what is your reason for silence.

My. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Do you see how the villagers, outspread o'er the well-worn turf, offer their yearly vows and begin the regular altar-worship? Temples reek of wine; the hollow drums resound to the hands; the Maenalids​1 lead the youthful ring-dances amid the holy rites; joyful sounds the pipe; from the elm hangs the he-goat doomed to sacrifice, and with neck already stripped lays his vitals bare. Surely then the offspring of to‑day fight with no doubtful hazard?​2 Surely the blockish herd denies not to these times the realms of gold?​3 The days of Saturn have returned with Justice the Maid:​4 the age has returned in safety to the olden ways. With hope unruffled does the harvester garner all his cornº-ears; the Wine-god betrays the languor of old age; the herd wanders on the lea; we reap with no sword, nor do towns in fast-closed walls prepare unutterable war: there is not any woman who, dangerous in her motherhood, gives birth to an enemy.​5 Unarmed  p335 our youth can dig the fields, and the boy, trained to the slow-moving plough, marvels at the sword hanging in the abode of his fathers. Far from us is the luckless​6 glory of Sulla and the threefold crisis​7 when dying Rome despaired of her final resources and sold her martial arms. Now doth earth untilled yield fresh produce from the rich soil, now are the wild waves no longer angry with the unmenaced ship: tigers gnaw their curbs, lions endure the cruel yoke; be gracious, chaste Lucina: thine own Apollo now is King.8

[The poem thus relates the shepherd's gaudia but not the curae of verse 1.]

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Maenalus in Arcadia was especially associated with Pan.

2 i.e. the present generation has no handicap in the struggle of life: there is no conflict between man and nature, because the Golden Age has returned.

3 The very cattle must own that the blessings of the Golden Age belong to the present era.

4 Line 23 imitates Virg. Ecl. IV.6 [and in English translation], iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna.

5 No foeman can be born, as war is at an end.

6 Sulla was traditionally regarded as felix.

7 The allusion seems to be to (1) the first capture of Rome by a Roman army when Sulla took the city in 88 B.C.; (2) Marius' reign of terror in 87 when slaves from the ergastula were armed (Martia vendidit arma), and (3) the occupation of Rome by Sulla in 82.

8 This last line is taken from Virgil, Ecl. IV.10. Lucina, goddess of childbirth, is here not Juno, but Diana, who as Moon-god is sister to the Sun-god Apollo. He is the deity of the tenth Sibylline era which Virgil in Ecl. IV identifies with the Golden Age.

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