[Virgil], Aetna

LCL 284: 358-359

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Minor Latin Poets


Aetna mihi ruptique cavis fornacibus ignes et quae tam fortes volvant incendia causae, quid fremat imperium, quid raucos torqueat aestus. carmen erit. dexter venias mihi carminis auctor 5seu te Cynthos habet seu Delo est gratior Hyla seu tibi Dodone potior, tecumque faventes in nova Pierio properent a fonte sorores vota: per insolitum Phoebo duce tutius itur.

aurea securi quis nescit saecula regis? 10cum domitis nemo cererem iactaret in arvis venturisque malas prohiberet fructibus herbas, annua sed saturae complerent horrea messes, ipse suo flueret Bacchus pede mellaque lentis penderent foliis et pinguis Pallas olivae 15secretos amnes ageret: tum gratia ruris: non cessit cuiquam melius sua tempora nosse.

  • 5illa SAR om. H: ila C: Hyla Munro.
  • 6dodona CSH2A: do bona H1: do dodona R: Dodone Ald. 1517, Vollmer: Ladonis Munro, Ellis.
  • 10lactaret CS.
  • 14pingui codd.: pinguis H2.
  • 15cum V: tum ceteri codd.: securos omnis aleret cum gratia ruris Baehrens: secretos amnis ageret cum gratia ruris Vollmer.



Aetna shall be my poetic theme and the fires that break from her hollow furnaces. My poem shall tell what those mighty causes are which roll conflagrations on their way, what it is that chafes at governance, or whirls the clamorous heat-currents. Come with favour to be my inspirer in song, whether Cynthos a be thy dwelling-place, or Hyla b please thee more than Delos, or Dodona c be thy favourite: and with thee let the sister-Muses hasten from the Pierian spring to forward my new emprise. On an unwonted track 'tis safer going if Apollo guide.

Who knows not of the Golden Age of the care-free King d ? when no man subdued fields to his will or sowed grain in them or fended harmful weeds from the crops which were to come; when plenteous harvests filled the barns to last the year; when, with no tread but his own, Bacchus ran into wine; when honies dripped from clinging leaves, and Pallas made flow her own especial streams of rich olive-oil: then had the country graciousness. To none was it e’er vouchsafed to know more joyously his own times.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aetna.1934