Tuesday, October 08, 2019


Scene from Olden Times

Propertius 3.13.25-48 (tr. G.P. Goold, with his notes):
Happy and in peace lived the youth of the country in those far off days, whose riches consisted of the harvest and the tree. For them it was a present to give quinces shaken from the bough, to bring panniers laden with crimson bramble-berries, now to pick a handful of violets, now to bring a mixed bouquet of lilies shining through their wicker baskets,40 and to carry grapes clothed in their own leaves and some speckled bird of rainbow plumage.

These were the blandishments that purchased the stealthy kisses that the girls of those days gave their sylvan gallants in the glens. A fawn's pelt would cover the reclining lovers, and the grass grew tall to make them a natural bed, and a pine leaning over curtained them with luxuriant shade; nor was it a sin to see a goddess naked.41

A horned marshal leading his full-fed ewes, the ram came home of his own accord to a fold as yet untenanted by shepherd. Ye gods and goddesses all, who have protection of the fields, your altars offered kindly words: 'Whoever you are who come as a guest, you will hunt the hare along my path or any bird you seek: and whether you pursue your prize with rod or hound, summon me, Pan, from the crag to be your companion.'42

But now shrines suffer neglect in forsaken groves: gold commands the worship of all, with piety trampled underfoot.

40 Cf. Copa 16, lilia vimineis attulit in calathis, one of several echoes of Propertius in this delightful Julio-Claudian poem.
41 As it was for Actaeon.
42 The quatrain translates Leonidas, A.P. 9.337.

felix agrestum quondam pacata iuventus,        25
    divitiae quorum messis et arbor erant!
illis munus erat decussa Cydonia ramo,
    et dare puniceis plena canistra rubis,
nunc violas tondere manu, nunc mixta referre
    lilia vimineos lucida per calathos,        30
et portare suis vestitas frondibus uvas
    aut variam plumae versicoloris avem.

his tum blanditiis furtiva per antra puellae
    oscula silvicolis empta dedere viris.
hinnulei pellis stratos operibat amantes,        35
    altaque nativo creverat herba toro,
pinus et incumbens laetas circumdabat umbras;
    nec fuerat nudas poena videre deas.

corniger atque adeo vacuam pastoris in aulam
    dux aries saturas ipse reduxit oves;        40
dique deaeque omnes, quibus est tutela per agros,
    praebebant vestri verba benigna foci:
'et leporem, quicumque venis, venaberis, hospes,
    et si forte meo tramite quaeris avem:
et me Pana tibi comitem de rupe vocato,        45
    sive petes calamo praemia, sive cane.'

at nunc desertis cessant sacraria lucis:
    aurum omnes victa iam pietate colunt.

25 pacata codd.: pagana Gulielmus: barbata Cornelissen
33 versicoloris ς: viricoloris NFL: vitricoloris Ellis: raricoloris Heinsius
35 hinnulei Scaliger: atque hinuli N: atque humili FL
stratos Baehrens: totos codd.: positos Heinsius: tutos Sterke: lentos Housman: iunctos Shackelton Bailey
37 letas F: lentas NL
39 corniger atque adeo Watt: corniger atque dei NFL: corniger Arcadii Hertzberg: cornigerique dei ς: corniger Idaei Volscus: crinigerique dei Postgate
40 dux codd.: trux Alton
42 vestri ... foci Barber: vestris ... focis NFL (nostris ς: festis Heinsius: iustis Baehrens: dextris Heyworth)
Greek Anthology 9.337 (Leonidas of Tarentum; tr. W.R. Paton):
Good sport! thou who comest to the foot of this two-peaked hill, whether hunting the hare or in pursuit of winged game. Call on me, Pan the ranger of this forest, from the rock, for I help both hounds and limed reeds to capture.

Εὐάγρει, λαγόθηρα, καὶ εἰ πετεεινὰ διώκων
    ἰξευτὴς ἥκεις τοῦθ᾿ ὑπὸ δισσὸν ὄρος,
κἀμὲ τὸν ὑληωρὸν ἀπὸ κρημνοῖο βόασον
    Πᾶνα· συναγρεύω καὶ κυσὶ καὶ καλάμοις.

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