Lusibus et multum nostris cantata libellis,
optima silvarum, formosis densa virectis,
tondebis virides umbras, nec laeta comantes
iactabis molles ramos inflantibus auris
(nec mihi saepe meum resonabit, Battare, carmen),
militis impia cum succidet dextera ferro
formosaeque cadent umbrae, formosior illis
ipsa cades, veteris domini felicia ligna—
nequiquam: nostris potius devota libellis
ignibus aetheriis flagrabis. Iuppiter (ipse
Iuppiter hanc aluit), cinis haec tibi fiat oportet.
Thraecis tum Boreae spirent immania vires,
Eurus agat mixtam fulva caligine nubem,
Africus immineat nimbis minitantibus imbrem.
cum tu, cyaneo resplendens aethere, silva,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
vicinae flammae rapiant ex ordine vites,
pascantur segetes, diffusis ignibus auras
transvolet, arboribus coniungat et ardor aristas.
pertica qua nostros metata est impia agellos,
qua nostri fines olim, cinis omnia fiat.
(Pseudo-Vergil, Dirae 26-46)
You, best of woods, oft sung in my playful songs and verses, beautiful in your thick foliage, you will shear your green shade; nor will you toss your soft boughs’ joyous foliage to the breezes blowing through them; nor, O Battarus, shall it oft resound for me with my song. When with his axe the soldier’s impious hand shall fell it and the lovely shadows fall, you, more lovely than they, shall fall, the old owner’s happy timber. Yet all for naught! Rather, cursed by my verses, you will burn with heaven’s fires. O Jupiter (it was Jupiter himself who nurtured this wood), this you must turn into ashes! Then let the strength of the Thracian North emit his mighty blasts; let the East drive a cloud with tawny darkness mixed; let the South-West menace with storm clouds threatening rain. When, O wood, ablaze in the dark-blue sky, <you are utterly consumed by fire>, let nearby flames tear the vines out of their regular order, let them feed on the crops, let the breeze, scattering sparks, fly across, and let the fire unite the corn ears with the trees. Where the wicked rod measured our fields, where once were our boundaries, let all be reduced to ash. (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)