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it in circular form, and oft turning to service his iron spade, to dig up grassy sods from the green turf. And now his mindful care, pursuing the toil begun, heaped up a towering work, and with broad rampart the earthy mound grew into the circle he had traced. Round about this, mindful of constant care, he sets stones, fashioned from polished marble.
398 Here are to grow acanthus and the blushing rose with crimson bloom, and violets of every kind. Here are Spartan myrtle and hyacinth, and here saffron, sprung from Cilician fields, and soaring laurel, the glory of Phoebus. Here are oleander, and lilies, and rosemary, tended in familiar haunts, and the Sabine plant, which for men of old feigned rich frankincense; and marigold, and glistening ivy, with pale clusters, and bocchus, mindful of Libya's king2 Here are amaranth, blooming bumastus,3 and everflowering laurustine. Yonder fails not the Narcissus, whose noble beauty kindled with Love's flame for
4 limbs; and what flowers soever the spring seasons renew, with these the mound is strewn above. Then upon its face is placed an epitaph, which letters thus fashion with silent voice : « Little Gnat, to thee, so well deserving, the guardian of the flocks pays this service of death in return for the boon of life.”
1 The savin, juniperus sabina. 2 This unknown plant was named from Bocchus, a king of Mauretania, probably the father-in-law of Jugurtha, though perhaps a later king of the same name.
3 cf. Georgics, 11. 102.
4 The youth Narcissus, falling in love with his own image, as reflected in a fountain, pined away and was changed into the flower that bears his name.
Etsi me, vario iactatum laudis amore irritaque expertum fallacis praemia volgi, Cecropius suavis exspirans hortulus auras florentis viridi sophiae complectitur umbra, ut mens curet eo dignum sibi quaerere carmen
5 longe aliud studium atque alios accincta labores (altius ad magni suspexit sidera mundi et placitum paucis ausa est ascendere collem): non tamen absistam coeptum detexere munus, in quo iure meas utinam requiescere Musas 10 et leviter blandum liceat deponere amorem.
Quod si mirificum genus o Mes<sala ...> (mirificum sed enim, modo sit tibi velle libido), si me iam summa Sapientia pangeret arce, 1 vario) vano Heinsius. 3 auras) herbas A1.
ut mens Bücheler : tum mea(ea) or tu mea. curet Leo: quiret Bücheler : nec mens quivit Némethy.
suspexit Schrader : suspendit: suspensi L. 10 iure] rite Schrader : nure Heinsius.
amorem It.: morem. 12 Thus Vollmer, but the passage is corrupt, the close of the verse being lost, and perhaps another verse as well. Mes <sala parentum > Leo: genus omnes MSS.
13 sed enim] Valeri Némethy.
* The MSS. cited are B = Bruxellensis 10675-6 of the 12th century, containing however only ll. 454-541 ; Exc. (for which see introductory note to the Culex); and Z, designating a lost codex, which was the parent of the following: CIRIS
Tossed though I am, this way and that, by love of renown, and knowing full well that the fickle throng's rewards are vain; though the Attic garden, breathing forth sweet fragrance, enwraps me in fineflowering Wisdom's verdant shade, so that my
mind is fain to go in quest of a song worthy thereof, prepared though she is for far different tasks and far different toils--she has looked aloft to the stars of the mighty firmament, and has dared to climb the hill 2 that has found favour with few—yet I will not cease to fulfil the task I have begun, wherein I pray that my Muses
find their due repose, and lightly lay aside that seductive love.
12 But if, O Messalla, thou <bearest with> a task so wondrous in kind—wondrous indeed, if only thy fancy favour it—if Wisdom, exalted partner of those four heirs of olden days, now planted me on her
1 Referring to the garden in Athens, where Epicurus used to teach.
2 The hill wisdom, or philosophy.
3 The four philosophers-Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus. H Helmstadiensis 332, of the 15th century; L = Vaticanus 3255, written by Pomponius Laetus; A = Arundelianus 133 and R = Rehdigeranus 125, both of the 15th century. Ellis also cites U = Urbinas 353 of the Vatican Library, a late 15th century MS. To the articles cited on p. 368 should be added Ellis, “New Suggestions on the Ciris,” in American Journal of Philology, xv. (1894).
quattuor antiquis heredibus edita consors,
15 unde hominum errores longe lateque per orbem despicere atque humilis possem contemnere curas; non ego te talem venerarer munere tali, non equidem, quamvis interdum ludere nobis et gracilem molli libeat pede claudere versum ; 20 sed magno intexens, si fas est dicere, peplo, qualis Erechtheis olim portatur Athenis, debita cum castae solvuntur vota Minervae tardaque confecto redeunt quinquennia lustro, cum levis alterno Zephyrus concrebruit Euro 25 et prono gravidum provexit pondere currum. felix illa dies, felix et dicitur annus, felices, qui talem annum videre diemque. ergo Palladiae texuntur in ordine pugnae, magna Giganteis ornantur pepla tropaeis,
30 horrida sanguineo pinguntur proelia cocco. additur aurata deiectus cuspide Typhon, qui prius, Ossaeis conscendens aethera saxis, Emathio celsum duplicabat vertice Olympum. Tale deae velum sollemni tempore portant;
35 tali te vellem, iuvenum doctissime, ritu purpureos inter soles et candida lunae sidera, caeruleis orbem pulsantia bigis,
15 edita Baehrens : est data. 17 possim : possum H'L. 22 quale Ho.
25 concrebuit HA. currum Barth: cursum. 27 ille HL. 31 sanguinea p. p. Gorgo Baehrens. 33 conscendens Kreunen: consternens. 34 duplicarat Baehrens.
36 velim AR.
1 The poem with which the writer would like to honour his patron is compared to the peplos, richly embroidered
topmost citadel, whence, o'er the world far and wide, I could look down upon the errors of men, and despise their lowly cares, thee I should not be honouring, great as thou art, with gift so slight—no verily, albeit at times we may be pleased to trifle, and to round a slender verse with smooth-running feet; but I should weave a story into an ample robe, if thus to speak be lawful, such as is borne in Erechthean Athens, what time due vows are paid to chaste Minerva, and the fifth-year feast slowly returns at the lustre's close, when the gentle Westwind waxes strong against his rival of the East, and bears onward the car, heavy with its o'erhanging weight. Happy that day is called, happy that year, and happy are they who have looked upon such a year and such a day! Thus in due order are inwoven the battles of Pallas : the great robes are adorned with the trophies of Giants, and grim combats are depicted in blood-red scarlet. There is added he, who was hurled down by the golden spear --Typhon, who aforetime, when mounting into heaven on the rocks of Ossa, essayed to double the height of Olympus by piling thereon the Emathian mount.2
35 Such is the goddess' sail, borne at the solemn season, and on such wise, most learned youth, would I fain enweave thee, amid roseate suns, and the moon's white star, that makes heaven throb with her with figures (cf. 29 seq.) which was offered to Athena at the great Panathenaic festival. This was solemnized every five years in the month of Hecatombaeon, the first month of the Attic year. The peplos, outstretched like a sail, was carried to the temple on a ship (here called currus) which was drawn through the streets of Athens on rollers.
2 Pelion, à mountain of Thessaly, which Emathia here represents ; cf. Georgics, 1. 281 ff.