Thursday, April 10, 2014


Sweet Repose and Unsullied Pleasure

Pseudo-Vergil, Culex 79-97 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Who in a happier age could be more blest [80] than he who, dwelling afar, with pure soul and feelings well tested knows not the greed of wealth, and fears not grim wars or the fatal conflicts of a mighty fleet, nor yet, if so he may but adorn the gods' holy temples with gleaming spoils, or high uplifted may surpass the limits of wealth, [85] wilfully risks his life, confronting savage foes? He reverences a god shaped by pruning-knife, not by artist's skill; he reverences the groves; for him the grasses of the field, mottled with flowers, yield Panchaean incense; his are sweet repose and unsullied pleasure, [90] free, with simple cares. This is his goal, toward this he directs every sense; this is the thought lurking within his heart, that, content with any fare, he may be rich in repose, and in pleasant sleep may enchain his weary frame. O flocks, O Pans, O vales of [95] Hamadryads, delightful in your springs, in whose humble worship the shepherds, vying each for himself with the bard of Ascra, spend with tranquil hearts a care-free life.
The Latin, with my selective apparatus:
quis magis optato queat esse beatior aevo,
quam qui mente procul pura sensuque probando        80
non avidas agnovit opes nec tristia bella
nec funesta timet validae certamina classis
nec, spoliis dum sancta deum fulgentibus ornet
templa vel evectus finem transcendat habendi,
adversum saevis ultro caput hostibus offert?        85
illi falce deus colitur, non arte politus,
ille colit lucos, illi Panchaia tura
floribus agrestes herbae variantibus addunt;
illi dulcis adest requies et pura voluptas,
libera, simplicibus curis; huc imminet, omnis        90
derigit huc sensus, haec cura est subdita cordi,
quolibet ut requie victu contentus abundet,
iucundoque liget languentia corpora somno.
o pecudes, o Panes et o gratissima Tempe
fontis Hamadryadum, quarum non divite cultu        95
aemulus Ascraeo pastor sibi quisque poetae
securam placido traducit pectore vitam!

80 procul codd.: potens Heinsius
84 vel Bembo: nec codd.
95 fontis codd.: frondis Heinsius, hortus Leo, frigus Housman, saltus Allen
I haven't seen Anthony A. Barrett, "The Praise of Country Life in the Culex," La Parola del Passato 25 (1970) 323-327.

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