Paul Cézanne, Énée recontre Didon à Carthage (ca. 1875)

Tum sic reginam adloquitur cunctisque repente
improvisus ait: ‘coram, quem quaeritis, adsum,
Troïus Aeneas, Libycis ereptus ab undis.
o sola infandos Troiae miserata labores,
quae nos, reliquias Danaum, terraeque marisque
omnibus exhaustos iam casibus, omnium egenos,
urbe, domo socias, grates persolvere dignas
non opis est nostrae, Dido, nec quidquid ubique est
gentis Dardaniae, magnum quae sparsa per orbem.
di tibi, si qua pios respectant numina, si quid
usquam iustitiae est, et mens sibi conscia recti,
praemia digna ferant. quae te tam laeta tulerunt
saecula? qui tanti talem genuere parentes?
in freta dum fluvii current, dum montibus umbrae
lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet,
semper honos nomenque tuum laudesque manebunt,
quae me cumque vocant terrae.’ sic fatus, amicum
Ilionea petit dextra laevaque Serestum,
post alios, fortemque Gyan fortemque Cloanthum.
(Vergil, Aeneid 1.594-612)

Then thus he addresses the queen, and, unforeseen by all, suddenly speaks: ‘I, whom you seek, am here before you, Aeneas of Troy, snatched from the Libyan waves. O you who alone have pitied Troy’s unutterable woes, you who grant us—the remnant left by the Greeks, now outworn by every mischance of land and sea, and destitute of all—a share in your city and home, to pay you fitting thanks, Dido, is not in our power, nor in theirs who anywhere survive of Trojan race, scattered over the wide world. May the gods, if any divine powers have regard for the good, if there is any justice anywhere—may the gods and the consciousness of right bring you worthy rewards! What happy ages bore you? What glorious parents gave birth to so noble a child? While rivers run to ocean, while on the mountains shadows move over slopes, while heaven feeds the stars, ever shall your honour, your name, and your praises abide, whatever be the lands that summon me!’ So saying, he grasps his dear Ilioneus with the right hand, and with the left Serestus; then others, brave Gyas and brave Cloanthus.

(tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George P. Goold)


‘Unde ergo,’ inquitis, ‘tantum de vobis Famae licuit, cuius testimonium suffecerit forsitan conditoribus legum?’ quis, oro, sponsor aut illis tunc aut exinde vobis de fide Famae? nonne haec est ‘Fama malum, quo non aliud velocius ullum’ [cf. Vergil, Aen. 4.174] ? cur malum, si vera semper sit? non mendacio plurimum? quae ne tum quidem, cum vera defert, a libidine mendacii cessat, ut non falsa veris intexat adiciens, detrahens, varietate confundens. quid, quod ea condicio illi, ut nonnisi quod mentitur perseveret? tamdiu enim vivit quamdiu non probat quicquam, siquidem approbata cadit et quasi officio nuntiandi functa decedit; exinde res tenetur, res nominatur, nec quisquam dicit verbi gratia: ‘hoc Romae aiunt factum,’ aut ‘fama est illum provinciam sortitum,’ sed: ‘ille provinciam sortitus est,’ et ‘hoc factum est Romae.’
(Tertullian, Ad Nationes 1.7)

You will say, how is it possible that such a hideous reputation has grown up around you Christians as to convince our lawmakers of its testimony? And I shall ask who was the advocate for your lawmakers in their own time and for you in the present time to vouch for this reputation? Could it perhaps have been: ‘Rumor, an evil of matchless speed’? But why evil, if it is always true? Is it in fact not largely false? Even when it reports the truth, it does not set aside its lust for lying. Rumor weaves falsehood in with the truth by a process of addition, subtraction and scrambling. She can maintain her existence only by lying. She lives on only as long as she fails to prove anything. As soon as a rumor is proven to be true, it expires. Having conveyed its message, it departs. When the report is real and is declared a fact no one will say, ‘They say that this happened in Rome.’ Or, ‘Rumor has it that he has been assigned a province.’ Rather, it will be said, ‘This happened in Rome.’ Or ‘He has been assigned a province.’ (tr. Quincy Howe)


Aristide Maillol


[PAL.] Dicite, quandoquidem in molli consedimus herba.
et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
nunc frondent silvae, nunc formosissimus annus.
incipe, Damoeta; tu deinde sequere, Menalca.
alternis dicetis; amant alterna Camenae.
[DAM.] ab Iove principium Musae, Iovis omnia plena;
ille colit terras, illi mea carmina curae.
[MEN.] et me Phoebus amat; Phoebo sua semper apud me
munera sunt, lauri et suave rubens hyacinthus.
[DAM.] malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella,
et fugit ad salices et se cupit ante videri.
(Vergil, Buc. 55-65)


[PAL.] Sing on, now that we are seated on the soft grass. Every field, every tree is now budding: now the woods are green, now the year is at its loveliest. Begin, Damoetas; then you, Menalcas, must follow. You must sing alternately; the Muses love alternate verses.
[DAM.] With Jove my song begins; of Jove all things are full. He makes the earth fruitful; he cares for my verses.
[MEN.] And me Phoebus loves; Phoebus always finds with me the presents he loves, laurels and sweet-blushing hyacinths.
[DAM.] Galatea, saucy girl, pelts me with an apple, then runs off to the willow—and hopes I saw her first.
(tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)


Andrea Sacchi, Didone abbandonata, ca. 1630
Andrea Sacchi, Didone abbandonata (ca. 1630)

Et iam prima novo spargebat lumine terras
Tithoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile.
regina e speculis ut primam albescere lucem
vidit et aequatis classem procedere velis,
litoraque et vacuos sensit sine remige portus,
terque quaterque manu pectus percussa decorum
flaventisque abscissa comas ‘pro Iuppiter! ibit
hic,’ ait ‘et nostris illuserit advena regnis?
non arma expedient totaque ex urbe sequentur,
diripientque rates alii navalibus? ite,
ferte citi flammas, date tela, impellite remos!
quid loquor? aut ubi sum? quae mentem insania mutat?
infelix Dido, nunc te facta impia tangunt?
tum decuit, cum sceptra dabas. en dextra fidesque,
quem secum patrios aiunt portare penates,
quem subiisse umeris confectum aetate parentem!
non potui abreptum divellere corpus et undis
spargere? non socios, non ipsum absumere ferro
Ascanium patriisque epulandum ponere mensis?
verum anceps pugnae fuerat fortuna. fuisset:
quem metui moritura? faces in castra tulissem
implessemque foros flammis natumque patremque
cum genere exstinxem, memet super ipsa dedissem.
Sol, qui terrarum flammis opera omnia lustras,
tuque harum interpres curarum et conscia Iuno,
nocturnisque Hecate triviis ululata per urbes
et Dirae ultrices et di morientis Elissae,
accipite haec, meritumque malis advertite numen
et nostras audite preces. si tangere portus
infandum caput ac terris adnare necesse est,
et sic fata Iovis poscunt, hic terminus haeret,
at bello audacis populi vexatus et armis,
finibus extorris, complexu avulsus Iuli
auxilium imploret videatque indigna suorum
funera; nec, cum se sub leges pacis iniquae
tradiderit, regno aut optata luce fruatur,
sed cadat ante diem mediaque inhumatus harena.
haec precor, hanc vocem extremam cum sanguine fundo.
tum vos, o Tyrii, stirpem et genus omne futurum
exercete odiis, cinerique haec mittite nostro
munera. nullus amor populis nec foedera sunto.
exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor
qui face Dardanios ferroque sequare colonos,
nunc, olim, quocumque dabunt se tempore vires.
litora litoribus contraria, fluctibus undas
imprecor, arma armis: pugnent ipsique nepotesque.’
(Vergil, Aen. 4.584-629)

Dawn was by now beginning to stipple the earth with new brightness,
Leaving Tithonus’ saffron bed. From her watchtower, the ruler
Watched as the early light whitened and noticed the fleet under full sail
Standing seaward, well under way, and observed that the empty
Coastline displayed not a single oarsman strolling the harbours.
Three times, four times she pounds on her beautiful breast, and rips golden
Hair from her head by the roots. ‘Oh Jupiter! Shall this intruder
Go on his way,’ she exclaims, ‘mocking me and the power of my kingdom?
Get a force fitted, pursue them with all of our city’s resources,
Others must haul out our vessels from storage docks. Go to it, right now!
Hurry, bring fire, issue weapons, have rowers press hard upon oarlocks!
What am I saying? Where am I? What madness is warping my reason?
Unfulfilled Dido, your unrighteous acts come to haunt you!
When action was the appropriate course, you were giving him your power.
Witness the word and the honour of one, who, they say, carries with him,
Gods of ancestral shrines, who once took on his shoulders his agèd
Father! Could I not have taken him off, torn his body to pieces,
Scattered it over the sea, or murdered his comrades, and even
Served up Ascanius himself as a treat for his banqueting father?
If war’d ensued, though, the outcome was not, and could not have been, certain.
Whom did I fear? I was going to die. I’d have torched his encampment,
Filled up his holds with my fires, and once I’d extinguished the father,
Child, and the whole of his race, I’d have thrown myself onto the bonfire.
Sun: your cleansing flames survey all earthly endeavours!
Juno: you sense, and are my intercessor in, all of my anguish!
Hecate: your name is howled by night throughout cities, at crossroads!
Demons of vengeance, gods of the dying, forgotten Elissa!
Take it all in, focus your divine will, as you should, on my sufferings.
Hear what I pray. If it must be that this indescribable person
Makes it to port, that he floats back to dry land, and if this is really
Jupiter’s last word on fate and he must reach the goal of his journey,
Let him be hammered in war by the armies of valiant people,
Forced from his borders, torn far away from Iulus’ embraces.
Let him beg help, let him watch as his men are disgracefully slaughtered!
When he surrenders himself to an unjust peace and its strict terms,
Grant him no joy in his realm or the light he so loves. Let him lie dead,
Well before his due day, halfway up a beach and unburied.
This is my prayer; these final words I express with my life-blood:
Tyrians, drive with relentless hate against his stock and every
Future brood, and dispatch them as ritual gifts to my ashes.
No love must ever exist between our two peoples, no treaties.
Rise from my bones, my avenger—and there will be an avenger!—
So you can hound these Dardan settlers with hot fire and cold steel,
Now, or some day in the future, whenever that strength coalesces.
Menace of coast against coast and of waters hurled against waters,
Arms against arms, I invoke. Let them fight, they themselves and their grandsons!’
(tr. Frederick Ahl)



Nunc, qua aetate milites legi conveniat, exploremus. et quidem, si antiqua consuetudo servanda est, incipientem pubertatem ad dilectum cogendam nullus ignorat; non enim tantum celerius sed etiam perfectius imbibuntur quae discuntur a pueris. deinde militaris alacritas, saltus et cursus ante temptandus est, quam corpus aetate pigrescat; velocitas enim est quae percepto exercitio strenuum efficit bellatorem. adulescentes legendi sunt, sicut ait Sallustius; nam ‘simul ac iuventus belli patiens erat, in castris per laborem usum militiae discebant’ [cf. Cat. 7.4]. melius enim est ut exercitatus iuvenis causetur aetatem nondum advenisse pugnandi, quam doleat praeterisse. habeat etiam spatium universa discendi. neque enim parva aut levis ars videatur armorum, sive equitem sive peditem sagittarium velis imbuere sive scutatum, armaturae numeros omnes omnesque gestus docere, ne locum deserat, ne ordines turbet, ut missile et destinato ictu et magnis viribus iaciat, ut fossam ducere, sudes scienter figere noverit, tractare scutum et obliquis ictibus venientia tela deflectere, plagam prudenter vitare, audacter inferre. huic taliter instituto tironi pugnare adversus quoslibet hostes in acie formido non erit sed voluptas.
proceritatem tironum ad incomam scio semper exactam, ita ut senos pedes vel certe quinos et denas uncias inter alares equites vel in primis legionum cohortibus probarentur. sed tunc erat amplior multitudo, et plures militiam sequebantur aramatam; necdum enim civilis pars florentiorem abducebat iuventutem. si ergo necessitas exigit, non tam staturae rationem convenit habere quam virium. et ipso Homero teste non fallimur, qui Tydeum minorem quidem corpore sed fortiorem armis fuisse significat.
sed qui dilectum acturus est vehementer intendat ut ex vultu, ex oculis, ex omni conformatione membrorum eos eligat qui implere valeant bellatores. namque non tantum in hominibus sed etiam in equis et canibus virtus multis declaratur indiciis, sicut doctissimorum hominum disciplina comprendit; quod etiam in apibus Mantuanus auctor dicit esse servandum:
‘nam duo sunt genera: hic melior, insignis et ore
et rutilis clarus squamis, ille horridus alter
desidia latamque trahens inglorius alvum.’ [Vergil, Georg. 4.92-94]
sit ergo adulescens Martio operi deputandus vigilantibus oculis, erecta cervice, lato pectore, umeris musculosis, valentibus brachiis, digitis longioribus, ventre modicus, exilior clunibus, suris et pedibus non superflua carne distentis sed nervorum duritia collectis. cum haec in tirone signa deprenderis, proceritatem non magno opere desideres. utilius est enim fortes milites esse quam grandes.
(Vegetius, De Re Militari 1.4-6)

Next let us examine at what age it is appropriate to levy soldiers. Indeed if ancient custom is to be retained, everyone knows that those entering puberty should be brought to the levy. For those things are taught not only more quickly but even more completely which are learned from boyhood. Secondly military alacrity, jumping and running should be attempted before the body stiffens with age. For it is speed which, with training, makes a brave warrior. Adolescents are the ones to recruit, just as Sallust says: “Directly as soon as youth was able to endure war, it learned military practice in camp through labour.” For it is better that a trained young man should complain that he has not yet reached fighting age, than that he should regret that it has passed. He should also have the time to learn everything. For the art of war does not seem a slight or trivial matter, whether you wish to train a cavalryman, a foot-archer of a scutatus, or teach all the routines and all the gestures of the armatura, not to desert one’s post, not to disorder the ranks, to hurl the javelin with a true aim and great force, to know how to dig a fosse and plant stakes in scientific fashion, handle a shield and deflect oncoming missiles with oblique movements, avoid a blow intelligently and inflict one boldly. For this recruit so trained, fighting against all manners of enemies in battle will be no terror but a delight.
The height of recruits was, I know, always required to be up to the incomma, so that men of 6 ft. (= 5 ft. 9½ in., 1.77m.) or at least 5 ft. 10 in. (= 5 ft. 7½ in., 1.72m.) were approved for the alares cavalry or the First cohorts of the legions. But in those days the population was greater, and more followed a military career. For civilian careers did not then take away the better class of youth. So if necessity demands, it is right to take account not so much of stature as of strength. Even Homer himself is not wanting as a witness, since he records that Tydeus was small in body but a strong warrior.
He who is charged with carrying out the levy procedure should take great pains to choose those able to fill the part of soldiers from the face, from the eyes, from the whole conformation of the limbs. For quality is indicated not only in men, but even in horses and dogs, by many points, as is understood in the teaching of the most learned men. Even in bees, the Mantuan author says, it is to be observed:
“Two kinds there are, the better by its face
Distinguished and bright with ruddy scales;
The other type is shaggy and inert
And drags along its fat, cowardly paunch.”
So let the adolescent who is to be selected for martial activity have alert eyes, straight neck, broad chest, muscular shoulders, strong arms, long fingers, let him be small in the stomach, slender in the buttocks, and have calves and feet that are not swollen by surplus fat but firm with hard muscle. When you see these points in a recruit, you need not greatly regret the absence of tall stature. It is more useful that soldiers be strong than big. (tr. Nicholas Peter Milner)



Quid faciat laetas segetes, quo sidere terram
vertere, Maecenas, ulmisque adiungere vites
conveniat, quae cura boum, qui cultus habendo
sit pecori, apibus quanta experientia parcis,
hinc canere incipiam. vos, o clarissima mundi
lumina, labentem caelo quae ducitis annum;
Liber et alma Ceres, vestro si munere tellus
Chaoniam pingui glandem mutavit arista,
poculaque inventis Acheloia miscuit uvis;
et vos, agrestum praesentia numina, Fauni
(ferte simul Faunique pedem Dryadesque puellae:
munera vestra cano); tuque o, cui prima frementem
fudit equum magno tellus percussa tridenti,
Neptune; et cultor nemorum, cui pinguia Ceae
ter centum nivei tondent dumeta iuvenci;
ipse nemus linquens patrium saltusque Lycaei
Pan, ovium custos, tua si tibi Maenala curae,
adsis, o Tegeaee, favens, oleaeque Minerva
inventrix, uncique puer monstrator aratri,
et teneram ab radice ferens, Silvane, cupressum:
dique deaeque omnes, studium quibus arva tueri,
quique novas alitis non ullo semine fruges
quique satis largum caelo demittitis imbrem.
(Vergil, Georg. 1.1-23)

What makes the crops joyous, beneath what star, Maecenas, it is well to turn the soil, and wed vines to elms, what tending the cattle need, what care the herd in breeding, what skill the thrifty bees—hence shall I begin my song. O most radiant lights of the firmament, that guide through heaven the gliding year, O Liber and bounteous Ceres, if by your grace Earth changed Chaonia’s acorn for the rich corn ear, and blended draughts of Achelous with the new-found grapes, and you Fauns, the rustics’ ever present gods (come trip it, Fauns, and Dryad maids withal!), ’tis of your bounties I sing. And Neptune, for whom Earth, smitten by your mighty trident, first sent forth the neighing steed; you, too, spirit of the groves, for whom thrice a hundred snowy steers crop Cea’s rich thickets; you too, Pan, guardian of the sheep, leaving your native woods and glades of Lycaeus, as you love your own Maenalus, come of your grace, Tegean lord! Come, Minerva, inventress of the olive; you, too, youth, who showed to man the crooked plough; and you, Silvanus, with a young uprooted cypress in your hand; and gods and goddesses all, whose love guards our fields—both you who nurse the young fruits, springing up unsown, and you who on the seedlings send down from heaven plenteous rain! (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)

Quod autem dicit ‘studium quibus arva tueri’, nomina haec numinum in indigitamentis inveniuntur, id est, in libris pontificalibus, qui et nomina deorum et rationem ipsorum numinum continent, quae etiam Varro dicit. nam, ut supra diximus, nomina numinibus ex officiis constat imposita, verbi causa, ut ab occatione, deus Occator dicatur, a sarritione, deus Sarritor, a stercoratione Sterculinus, a satione Sator. Fabius Pictor hos deos enumerat, quos invocat Flamen sacrum Cereale faciens Telluri et Cereri: Vervactorem, Reparatorem, Inporcitorem, Insitorem, Obaratorem, Occatorem, Sarritorem, Subruncinatorem, Messorem, Convectorem, Conditorem, Promitorem.
(Servius, Comm. in Verg. Georg. 1.21)

As to the words ‘whose love guards our fields’, the names of these deities can be found in invocation formulas, that is to say, in the books of the priests thatcontain both the names of the gods and the aspects of their divinity, as Varro too says. For, as we have said earlier, it is quite obvious that names have been given to divine spirits in accordance with the function of the spirit. For example, Occator was so named after the word occatio, harrowing; Sarritor, after sarritio, hoeing; Sterculinus, after stercoratio, spreading manure; Sator, after satio, sowing. Fabius Pictor lists the following as deities whom the flamen of Ceres invokes when sacrificing to Mother Earth and Ceres: Vervactor (ploughing fallow), Reparator (replough), Imporcitor (make furrows), Insitor (sow), Obarator (plough up), Occator, Sarritor, Subruncinator (clear weeds), Messor (harvest), Convector (carry), Conditor (store) and Promitor (bring forth). (tr. Matthew Dillon & Linda Garland; first few lines tr. David Bauwens)



Quid ergo est bonum? rerum scientia. quid malum est? rerum imperitia. ille prudens atque artifex pro tempore quaeque repellet aut eliget. sed nec quae repellit timet, nec miratur quae eligit, si modo magnus illi et invictus animus est. submitti te ac deprimi veto. laborem si non recuses, parum est: posce. “quid ergo?” inquis; “labor frivolus et supervacuus et quem humiles causae evocaverunt non est malus?” non magis quam ille, qui pulchris rebus impenditur, quoniam animi est ipsa tolerantia, quae se ad dura et aspera hortatur ac dicit: “quid cessas? non est viri timere sudorem.” huc et illud accedat, ut perfecta virtus sit, aequalitas ac tenor vitae per omnia consonans sibi, quod non potest esse, nisi rerum scientia contingit et ars, per quam humana ac divina noscantur. hoc est summum bonum. quod si occupas, incipis deorum socius esse, non supplex. “quomodo” inquis “isto pervenitur?” non per Poeninum Graiumve montem nec per deserta Candaviae, nec Syrtes tibi nec Scylla aut Charybdis adeundae sunt, quae tamen omnia transisti procuratiunculae pretio: tutum iter est, iucundum est, ad quod natura te instruxit. dedit tibi illa, quae si non deserueris, par deo surges. parem autem te deo pecunia non faciet: deus nihil habet. praetexta non faciet: deus nudus est. fama non faciet nec ostentatio tui et in populos nominis dimissa notitia: nemo novit deum, multi de illo male existimant, et impune. non turba servorum lecticam tuam per itinera urbana ac peregrina portantium: deus ille maximus potentissimusque ipse vehit omnia. ne forma quidem et vires beatum te facere possunt: nihil horum patitur vetustatem. quaerendum est, quod non fiat in dies eius, quoi non possit obstari. quid hoc est? animus, sed hic rectus, bonus, magnus. quid aliud voces hunc quam deum in corpore humano hospitantem? hic animus tam in equitem Romanum quam in libertinum, quam in servum potest cadere. quid est enim eques Romanus aut libertinus aut servus? nomina ex ambitione aut iniuria nata. subsilire in caelum ex angulo licet. exsurge modo
“et te quoque dignum
finge deo.”
finges autem non auro vel argento: non potest ex hac materia imago deo exprimi similis; cogita illos, cum propitii essent, fictiles fuisse. vale.
(Seneca Minor, Ep. ad Luc. 31.6-11)

What, then, is good? Knowledge of the facts. What is bad? Ignorance of the facts. The man who is truly wise and skilled will exercise avoidance or choice in accordance with circumstances; but he does not fear the things he avoids nor admire the things he chooses, not if he has a great and unconquerable spirit. I forbid you to abase yourself; I forbid you to be downcast. Not refusing labor is too little: ask for it. “But what if the work is demeaning?” you say. “What if it is unnecessary or is demanded for frivolous reasons? Isn’t such work bad?” No more so than labor expended on attractive objects. Your very endurance shows spirit, when you urge yourself on toward difficult tasks, saying, “Why the delay? A real man is not afraid of sweat.” Besides, complete virtue consists in the evenness and steadiness of a life that is in harmony with itself through all events, which cannot come about unless one has knowledge and the skill of discerning things human and divine. This is the highest good; if you obtain it, you begin to be an associate of the gods and not a suppliant. You ask, “How do I get there?” You need not scale the Alps, at either the Pennine or the Graian Pass, or navigate the Syrtaean shoals, or traverse the mountain fastness of Illyria; you need not approach the straits where Scylla and Charybdis are; and yet you passed through all of these for no more reward than your paltry governorship. No, the road is both safe and pleasant, and is one for which you have been equipped by nature. Nature has given you certain gifts, and if you do not abandon them, you will mount up equal to a god. Money will not make you equal to a god: God owns nothing. A tunic bordered with purple will not do it; God is naked. Fame will not do it, and neither will self-display and spreading one’s name far and wide: no one has personal acquaintance with God, and many think ill of him with impunity. Nor will a troop of slaves bearing your sedan chair through the streets, in the city and abroad: God, the greatest and most powerful god, is himself the bearer of everything. Not even beauty and strength can confer blessedness on you; neither endures the onset of age. You must devote your efforts to that which does not deteriorate over time, and which no obstacle can bar. What is that? It is the mind—but specifically this mind, which is upright, great, and good. What else would you call it but God dwelling in a human body? This mind can be found just as well in a freedman or even a slave as in a Roman of equestrian status. For what is a Roman equestrian, or a freedman, or a slave? Those are names born of ambition or of unfair treatment. One may leap up to heaven even from a chimney corner. Rise, then,
“and shape yourself as well into a likeness
worthy of godhead.” [Vergil, Aen. 8.364-365]
But you will not make that likeness from gold or silver: from such materials no likeness can be made that truly resembles God. Bear in mind that in the days when the gods were well disposed, their images were of clay. Farewell. (tr. Margaret Graver & Anthony A. Long)


Moeris & Lycidas


MOER. Omnia fert aetas, animum quoque; saepe ego longos
cantando puerum memini me condere soles:
nunc oblita mihi tot carmina: vox quoque Moerin
iam fugit ipsa: lupi Moerin videre priores.
sed tamen ista satis referet tibi saepe Menalcas.
LYC. causando nostros in longum ducis amores.
et nunc omne tibi stratum silet aequor, et omnes,
aspice, ventosi ceciderunt murmuris aurae.
hinc adeo media est nobis via; namque sepulcrum
incipit apparere Bianoris. hic, ubi densas
agricolae stringunt frondis, hic, Moeri, canamus;
hic haedos depone, tamen veniemus in urbem.
aut, si nox pluviam ne colligat ante veremur,
cantantes licet usque (minus via laedit) eamus:
cantantes ut eamus, ego hoc te fasce levabo.
MOER. desine plura, puer, et quod nunc instat agamus;
carmina tum melius, cum venerit ipse, canemus.
(Vergil, Ecl. 9.51-67)


MOER. Time bears all away; the mind as well. As a boy
I recall spending the long sunlit days in song.
Now I’ve forgotten so many songs. Moeris too
loses his voice. The wolves have caught first sight of him.
But Menalcas will recite them often enough to you.
LYC. With talking you put off fulfillment of our desire.
Now look, all the sea is smooth and still, and see,
all the breath of murmuring breezes has died away.
Just from here is half our way, for Bianor’s tomb
begins to show. Here where farmers strip the leaves
grown too dense, here, Moeris, let us sing.
Here put down your kids. Still we’ll reach the town.
Or if we fear that rain will fall before the night,
we can sing as we go (the road will tire us less).
That we sing as we go, I’ll take this bundle from you.
MOER. No more, my boy. Let us do the task at hand.
When Menalcas comes, we’ll better sing his songs.
(tr. Barbara Hughes Fowler)


lost at sea

Ego ita sum quasi a cuncto grege morbida aberrans ovis. quod nisi me bonus pastor ad sua stabula umeris impositum reportarit, lababunt gressus et in ipso conamine vestigia concident assurgentis. ego sum ille prodigus filius, qui omni, quam mihi pater crediderat, portione profusa necdum me ad genitoris genua submisi necdum coepi prioris a me luxuriae blandimenta depellere. et quia paululum non tam desivi a vitiis, quam coepi velle desinere, nunc me novis diabolus retibus ligat, nunc nova impedimenta proponens ‘maria undique circumdat et undique pontum’ [cf. Vergil, Aen. 3.193], nunc in medio constitutus elemento nec regredi volo nec progredi possum. superest, ut oratu vestro sancti spiritus aura me provehat et ad portum optati litoris prosequatur.
(Jerome, Ep. 2.3-4)

I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising my feet will give way. I am that prodigal son who wasted all the portion entrusted to me by my father. But I have not yet fallen at my father’s knees. I have not yet begun to put away from me the enticements of my former riotous living. And because I have not so much given up my sins as begun to wish a little to give them up, now the devil is trying to ensnare me in new nets. He puts new stumbling blocks in my way, he encompasses me on every side with the ocean’s waters and on every side with the ocean’s deep. I find myself in the midst of the element, unwilling to retreat and unable to advance. It remains that through your prayers the breath of the Holy Spirit waft me onward and bring me to the haven of the longed-for shore. (tr. Charles Christopher Mierow)



Asclepius taken from The Womb of Coronis. Wood carving, 1549 edition of Alessandro Benedetti_s De Re Medica.

Apollo, cum Coronidem gravidam fecisset, corvum ei custodem apposuit, ne quis ad eam occulte temerator accederet. cum hac Lycus occulte concubuit, quem fulmine Iuppiter exstinxit. ipsam Coronidem Apollo sagittis occidit, cuius mortuae exsecto utero Aesculapium produxit in lucem. unde Vergilius: ‘fulmine poenigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas’ [Aen. 7.773], id est per poenam matris natum.
(Lactantius Placidus, Comm. in Stat. Theb. 3.506)

When Apollo had made Coronis pregnant, he assigned a raven as a guardian over her lest any rash person should secretly approach her. With her by stealth lay Lycus whom Jupiter destroyed with a thunderbolt. Coronis herself Apollo slew with his arrows; from her womb, cut open when she was dead, he brought forth Asclepius into the light of day. Wherefore Vergil says: ‘with his thunderbolt he [sc. Jupiter] hurled down to the Stygian waters ‘poenigenam’, that means him who was born through the punishment of his mother. (tr. Emma & Ludwig Edelstein)