Pastor Aristaeus fugiens Peneïa Tempe,
amissis, ut fama, apibus morboque fameque,
tristis ad extremi sacrum caput adstitit amnis
multa querens atque hac adfatus voce parentem:
‘Mater, Cyrene mater, quae gurgitis huius
ima tenes, quid me praeclara stirpe deorum
(si modo, quem perhibes, pater est Thymbraeus Apollo)
invisum fatis genuisti? aut quo tibi nostri
pulsus amor? quid me caelum sperare iubebas?
en etiam hunc ipsum vitae mortalis honorem,
quem mihi vix frugum et pecudum custodia sollers
omnia temptanti extuderat, te matre relinquo.
quin age et ipsa manu felices erue silvas,
fer stabulis inimicum ignem atque interfice messes,
ure sata et validam in vites molire bipennem,
tanta meae si te ceperunt taedia laudis.’
(Vergil, Georg. 4.317-332)
The shepherd Aristaeus, leaving the Tempe valley
where Peneus flows, his bees lost—so legend reports—to sickness
and hunger, stopped, beset by sorrow, at the stream’s holy
source and, loudly lamenting, called out to his mother,
“Mother, Cyrene, my mother, living beneath this gush
of water, why did you bear me from the radiant line
of gods—Apollo fathered me, if you’ve told the truth—
only to be scorned by fate? What has routed your love?
Why did you let me hope for immortality?
Look at me! Even this crowning grace of my human life
that zealous care for cattle and crops hammered out for me,
even though you are my mother, I give it all up.
Yes, come! With your own hand root out my fruit trees,
burn my livestock pens, murder my crops, torch my gardens,
chop my vines down with a battle-axe if you have been seized
by such great disdain for work that is well worth your praise. (tr. Janet Lembke)
At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu
errantes hederas passim cum baccare tellus
mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho.
ipsae lacte domum referent distenta capellae
ubera nec magnos metuent armenta leones;
ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.
occidet et serpens et fallax herba veneni
occidet; Assyrium vulgo nascetur amomum.
at simul heroum laudes et facta parentis
iam legere et quae sit poteris cognoscere virtus,
molli paulatim flavescet campus arista
incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva
et durae quercus sudabunt roscida mella.
pauca tamen suberunt priscae vestigia fraudis,
quae temptare Thetin ratibus, quae cingere muris
oppida, quae iubeant telluri infindere sulcos.
alter erit tum Tiphys et altera quae vehat Argo
delectos heroas; erunt etiam altera bella
atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles.
(Vergil, Ecl. 4.18-36)
For you, little child, spontaneously, as first gifts,
the earth will lavish creeping ivy and foxglove,
everywhere, and Egyptian lilies with smiling acanthus.
Goats will come home by themselves with udders full
of milk, nor will the oxen fear the lion’s might.
Your very cradle will flower with buds to caress you.
The serpent will die as well as poison’s treacherous plant,
and everywhere Assyrian balsam will come to bloom.
And when you have learned to read the praises of heroes and deeds
of your own father and know what manhood is, the plain,
little by little, will grow gold with waving grain,
and grapes will redden on the untended vine of the thorn,
and the hard oaks distill honey-dew from their barks.
Still, slight traces of our old iniquity
will make us tempt the sea in ships, fortify
our towns with walls, cut furrows in our soil.
There will be another Tiphys, another Argo’s
chosen crew, and there will be other wars,
and mighty Achilles will be dispatched once more to Troy. (tr. Barbara Hughes Fowler)
Dixerat. ille patris magni parere parabat
imperio; et primum pedibus talaria nectit
aurea, quae sublimem alis sive aequora supra
seu terram rapido pariter cum flamine portant.
tum virgam capit: hac animas ille evocat Orco
pallentis, alias sub Tartara tristia mittit,
dat somnos adimitque et lumina morte resignat.
illa fretus agit ventos et turbida tranat
nubila. iamque volans apicem et latera ardua cernit
Atlantis duri caelum qui vertice fulcit,
Atlantis, cinctum adsidue cui nubibus atris
piniferum caput et vento pulsatur et imbri;
nix umeros infusa tegit, tum flumina mento
praecipitant senis, et glacie riget horrida barba.
hic primum paribus nitens Cyllenius alis
constitit; hinc toto praeceps se corpore ad undas
misit avi similis, quae circum litora, circum
piscosos scopulos humilis volat aequora iuxta.
(Vergil, Aen. 4.238-255)
So he spoke. And the other prepared to obey these parental
Orders. He first straps boots to his feet. They are ankle-high, golden,
And, having wings, take him upwards in flight over seas, over dry land,
Swift as a rising current of air. Next he picks up his special
Wand, which he uses to call up the pale, wan spirits from Orcus,
Or to dispatch others down below earth, into Tartarus’ grimness.
With it, he gives or takes sleep, makes eyes remain open on deathbeds,
And, with its help, he can navigate winds, weather turbulent cloudbanks.
Now, as he swoops, he discerns both the summit and steep flanks of rugged
Atlas, who levers aloft, on his peak, all the weight of the heavens,
Atlas, whose pine-covered head is eternally banded with storm clouds,
Battered by wind and by rain. Round his shoulders is strewn a mantle
Thickened with snowfall; and down from the chin of this elderly being
Cataracts plunge, and his beard-bristle freezes to icicled stiffness.
Here Mount Cyllene’s god, powered in on his glistening paired wings,
First touched down. From there, powered out by the weight of his body,
Seaward he dived like a tern, who’s been circling shorelines and cliff pools
Teeming with fish, skimming wave-tops. (tr. Frederick Ahl)
‘οὐδ’ εἴ μοι δέκα μὲν γλῶσσαι δέκα δὲ στόματ’ εἶεν…’
hunc secutus Hostius poeta in libro secundo belli Histrici ait:
‘non si mihi linguae
centum atque ora sient totidem vocesque liquatae…’
hinc Vergilius ait:
‘non mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum…’
(Macrobius, Sat. 6.3.6)
Homer’s line is (Il. 2.489):
Not if I had ten tongues, ten mouths…
The poet Hostius followed Homer in Book 2 of his Histria War (fr. 3 FPL³):
Not if I had one hundred tongues and as many mouths and a clear-sounding voice…
Hence Virgil says (A. 6.625):
Not if I should have one hundred tongues, one hundred mouths… (tr. Robert A. Kaster)
“O dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam,
et vacet annalis nostrorum audire laborum,
ante diem clauso componet Vesper Olympo.
nos Troia antiqua, si vestras forte per auris
Troiae nomen iit, diversa per aequora vectos
forte sua Libycis tempestas appulit oris.
sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penatis
classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus;
Italiam quaero patriam, et genus ab Iove summo.
bis denis Phrygium conscendi navibus aequor,
matre dea monstrante viam, data fata secutus;
vix septem, convulsae undis Euroque, supersunt;
ipse ignotus, egens, Libyae deserta peragro,
Europa atque Asia pulsus.”
(Vergil, Aen. 1.372-385)
“Goddess, if I’d retrace our story to its start,
if you had time to hear the saga of our ordeals,
before I finished the Evening Star would close
the gates of Olympus, put the day to sleep . . .
From old Troy we come—Troy it’s called, perhaps
you’ve heard the name—sailing over the world’s seas
until, by chance, some whim of the winds, some tempest
drove us onto Libyan shores. I am Aeneas, duty-bound.
I carry aboard my ships the gods of house and home
we seized from enemy hands. My fame goes past the skies.
I seek my homeland—Italy—born as I am from highest Jove.
I launched out on the Phrygian sea with twenty ships,
my goddess mother marking the way, and followed hard
on the course the Fates had charted. A mere seven,
battered by wind and wave, survived the worst.
I myself am a stranger, utterly at a loss,
trekking over this wild Libyan wasteland,
forced from Europe, Asia too, an exile—” (tr. Robert Fagles)
Quare agite, o tectis, iuvenes, succedite nostris.
Me quoque per multos similis fortuna labores
iactatam hac demum voluit consistere terra;
non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco.
(Vergil, Aen. 1.627-630)
So come, young soldiers, welcome to our house.
My destiny, harrying me with trials hard as yours,
led me as well, at last, to anchor in this land.
Schooled in suffering, now I learn to comfort those who suffer too. (tr. Robert Fagles)
Nunc facilis rubea texatur fiscina virga,
nunc torrete igni fruges, nunc frangite saxo.
quippe etima festis quaedam exercere diebus
fas et iura sinunt: rivos deducere nulla
relligio vetuit, segeti praetendere saepem,
insidias avibus moliri, incendere vepres,
balantumque gregem fluvio mersare salubri.
saepe oleo tardi costas agitator aselli
vilibus aut onerat pomis, lapidemque revertens
incusum aut atrae massam picis urbe reportat.
(Vergil, Georg. 1.266-275)
Now, without trouble, weave small baskets of briar canes,
now parch grain over the fire, now grind it on a stone.
In fact, even on holy days, the laws of gods and men
permit some work. No piety forbids bringing down
irrigation water, fencing in crops with a hedge,
setting snares for birds, burning up tangles of briars,
and dipping a bleating flock in a health-promoting stream.
Often, a driver loads the sides of his slow jackass
with oil or abundant fruit and, on return from town,
brings back a chiseled millstone or a lump of black pitch. (tr. Janet Lembke)