‘Impia Trinacriae sterilescant gaudia vobis
nec fecunda, senis nostri felicia rura,
semina parturiant segetes, non pascua colles,
non arbusta novas fruges, non pampinus uvas,
ipsae non silvae frondes, non flumina montes.’
rursus et hoc iterum repetamus, Battare, carmen:
‘effetas Cereris sulcis condatis avenas,
pallida flavescant aestu sitientia prata,
immatura cadant ramis pendentia mala,
desint et silvis frondes et fontibus umor,
nec desit nostris devotum carmen avenis.
haec Veneris vario florentia serta decore,
purpureo campos quae pingunt verna colore
(hinc aurae dulces, hinc suavis spiritus agri),
mutent pestiferos aestus et taetra venena;
dulcia non oculis, non auribus ulla ferantur.’
(Pseudo-Vergil, Dirae 1-24)

“Unholy and unblest, may Trinacria’s joys become barren for you and your fellows, and may the fruitful seeds in our old master’s rich lands give birth to no corn crops, the hills to no pastures, the trees to no fresh fruits, the vines to no grapes, the very woods to no leafage, the mountains to no streams!” Again and yet again, O Battarus, let us repeat this song: “Outworn be the oats of Ceres that ye bury in the furrows; pale and wan may the meadows become, parched with the heat; unripened may the drooping apples fall from the boughs! Let leaves fail the woods, let water fail the streams, but let not the song that curses fail my reeds! May these flowery garlands of Venus, with their varied beauties, which in springtime paint the fields with brilliant hues (depart, ye breezes sweet; depart, ye fragrant odours of the field!)—may they change to blasting heats and loathsome poisons; may nothing sweet to eyes or ears be wafted!” (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)



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)



Igneus aetherias iam sol penetrarat in arces
candidaque aurato quatiebat lumina curru,
crinibus et roseis tenebras Aurora fugarat:
propulit e stabulis ad pabula laeta capellas
pastor et excelsi montis iuga summa petivit,
rorida qua patulos velabant gramina colles.
iam silvis dumisque vagae, iam vallibus abdunt
corpora, iamque omni celeres e parte vagantes
tondebant tenero viridantia gramina morsu.
scrupea desertis errabant ad cava ripis,
pendula proiectis carpuntur et arbuta ramis
densaque virgultis avide labrusca petuntur.
haec suspensa rapit carpente cacumina morsu
vel salicis lentae vel quae nova nascitur alnus,
haec teneras fruticum sentis rimatur, at illa
imminet in rivi, praestantis imaginis, undam.
(Pseudo-Vergil, Culex 42-57)

The fiery sun had now penetrated into the heights of the upper sky, and from gilded car was scattering his brilliant rays, and Dawn with roseate locks had routed darkness, when a shepherd drove forth his goats to the happy pastures, and sought a mountain’s highest ridges, where dewy grasses clothed the widespread slopes. As they roam, they hide themselves now in the woods and thickets, now in the valleys, and now, wandering swiftly to and fro, they cropped the rich grasses with nibbling bite. Leaving the banks, they strayed toward rocky hollows, the overhanging arbutes are shorn of their outstretched branches, and the wild vines’ thick shoots are eagerly assailed. One, poised aloft, snatches with eager bite the tips, it may be of the pliant willow, or of fresh growing alder; this gropes amid the thickets’ tender briars, while that hangs over the water of the stream, its wondrous mirror. (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)