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Eclogue 5: Menalcas Mopsus

Why, Mopsus, being both together met,
You skilled to breathe upon the slender reeds,
I to sing ditties, do we not sit down
Here where the elm-trees and the hazels blend?

You are the elder, 'tis for me to bide
Your choice, Menalcas, whether now we seek
Yon shade that quivers to the changeful breeze,
Or the cave's shelter. Look you how the cave
Is with the wild vine's clusters over-laced!

None but Amyntas on these hills of ours
Can vie with you.


What if he also strive
To out-sing Phoebus?


Do you first begin,
Good Mopsus, whether minded to sing aught
Of Phyllis and her loves, or Alcon's praise,
Or to fling taunts at Codrus. Come, begin,
While Tityrus watches o'er the grazing kids.

Nay, then, I will essay what late I carved
On a green beech-tree's rind, playing by turns,
And marking down the notes; then afterward
Bid you Amyntas match them if he can.

As limber willow to pale olive yields,
As lowly Celtic nard to rose-buds bright,
So, to my mind, Amyntas yields to you.
But hold awhile, for to the cave we come.

'For Daphnis cruelly slain wept all the Nymphs-
Ye hazels, bear them witness, and ye streams-
When she, his mother, clasping in her arms
The hapless body of the son she bare,
To gods and stars unpitying, poured her plaint.
Then, Daphnis, to the cooling streams were none
That drove the pastured oxen, then no beast

[...] Read more

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