Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Regum Aequabat Opes Animis

Vergil, Georgics 4.125-148 (tr. L.P. Wilkinson):
I well remember how, beneath the towers
Of old Tarentum where the dark Galaesus
Waters the yellow crops, I saw a man,
An old Cilician, who occupied
An acre or two of land that no one wanted,
A patch not worth the ploughing, unrewarding
For flocks, unfit for vineyards; he however
By planting here and there among the scrub
Cabbages or white lilies and verbena
And flimsy poppies, fancied himself a king
In wealth, and coming home late in the evening
Loaded his board with unbought delicacies.
He was the first in spring to gather roses,
In autumn, to pick apples; and when winter
Was gloomily still cracking rocks with cold
And choking streams with ice, he was already
Shearing the locks of the tender hyacinth
While grumbling at the lateness of the summer
And absence of west winds. And his again
Were the first bees to breed, the first to swarm
Abundantly and have their foaming honey
Squeezed from the combs. Plenty of limes he had
And laurestines; and all the fruit a tree
Promised in blossom-time's array to bear
It bore matured in autumn. Elms well-grown,
Pear-trees already hardened, even blackthorns
Already bearing sloes and planes already
Providing welcome shade for drinking parties
He planted out in rows successfully —
But I, restricted by my boundaries,
Must leave this theme to later generations.

namque sub Oebaliae memini me turribus arcis,
qua niger umectat flaventia culta Galaesus,
Corycium vidisse senem, cui pauca relicti
iugera ruris erant, nec fertilis illa iuvencis
nec pecori opportuna seges nec commoda Baccho.
hic rarum tamen in dumis olus albaque circum
lilia verbenasque premens vescumque papaver
regum aequabat opes animis seraque revertens
nocte domum dapibus mensas onerabat inemptis.
primus vere rosam atque autumno carpere poma,
et cum tristis hiems etiamnum frigore saxa
rumperet et glacie cursus frenaret aquarum,
ille comam mollis iam tondebat hyacinthi
aestatem increpitans seram Zephyrosque morantes.
ergo apibus fetis idem atque examine multo
primus abundare et spumantia cogere pressis
mella favis; illi tiliae atque uberrima pinus,
quotque in flore novo pomis se fertilis arbos
induerat, totidem autumno matura tenebat.
ille etiam seras in versum distulit ulmos
eduramque pirum et spinos iam pruna ferentes
iamque ministrantem platanum potantibus umbras.
verum haec ipse equidem spatiis exclusus iniquis
praetereo atque aliis post me memoranda relinquo.
Andreas Schelfhout, Farmyard

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