non ego te talem venerarer munere tali, non equidem (quamvis interdum ludere nobis 20et gracilem molli libeat pede claudere versum), sed magno intexens, si fas est dicere, peplo, qualis Erectheis olim portatur Athenis, debita cum castae solvuntur vota Minervae tardaque confecto redeunt quinquennia lustro, 25cum levis alterno Zephyrus concrebuit Euro et prono gravidum provexit pondere currum. felix illa dies, felix et dicitur annus, felices qui talem annum videre diemque! ergo Palladiae texuntur in ordine pugnae, 30magna Giganteis ornantur pepla tropaeis, horrida sanguineo pinguntur proelia cocco. additur aurata deiectus cuspide Typhon, qui prius, Ossaeis consternens aethera saxis, Emathio celsum duplicabat vertice Olympum. 35Tale deae velum sollemni tempore portant, tali te vellem, iuvenum doctissime, ritu purpureos inter soles et candida lunae sidera, caeruleis orbem pulsantia bigis, naturae rerum magnis intexere chartis, 40aeterno <ut> sophiae coniunctum carmine nomen nostra tuum senibus loqueretur pagina saeclis. Sed quoniam ad tantas nunc primum nascimur artes,
- 20libeat Heyne: liceat Z
- 40aeterno Heinsius: -um Z ǀ ut add. Nic. Loensis
honouring you, great as you are, with a gift so slight, no indeed, although at times it is pleasant for us to trifle and cast a slender verse in elegant meter, but I should weave a story into an ample robe, 4 if thus to speak be lawful, such as on occasion is borne in Erechthean Athens, when due vows are paid to chaste Minerva and the fifth-year feast slowly comes round at the lustre’s close, as the gentle West Wind waxes strong against his rival of the East propelling the car heavy with its overhanging weight. Happy that day is called, happy that year, and happy they who have lived to behold such a year and day! Thus in due order are inwoven the battles of Pallas, the great robes are adorned with the trophies of the Giants, and grim combats are depicted in blood-red scarlet. There is added he who was hurled down by the golden spear—Typhon, who aforetime, when paving heaven with the rocks of Ossa, sought to double the height of Olympus by piling thereon the Emathian mount.5
Such is the goddess’s sail, borne at the solemn season, and in such fashion, O most learned youth, should I wish to weave your story amid roseate suns and the moon’s white star that makes heaven throb with her celestial chariot into a great poem on Nature, so that unto late ages our page might speak your name, linked eternally in song with wisdom.
But seeing that now for the first time our infant efforts
- 4The poem with which the writer would like to honour his patron is compared to the peplos, richly embroidered with figures (cf. 29f.), which was offered to Athena at the great Panathenaic festival. This was solemnized every five years in the month of Hecatombaeon, the first month of the Attic year. The peplos, outstretched like a sail, was carried to the temple on a ship (here called currus) which was drawn through the streets of Athens on rollers.
- 5Pelion, a mountain of Thessaly (Emathia).