Quae tibi, quae tali reddam pro carmine dona? nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus Austri nec percussa iuvant fluctu tam litora, nec quae saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.
85Hac te nos fragili donabimus ante cicuta. prv haec nos “formosum Corydon ardebat Alexin,” haec eadem docuit “cuium pecus? an Meliboei?”
At tu sume pedum, quod, me cum saepe rogaret, non tulit Antigenes (et erat tum dignus amari), 90formosum paribus nodis atque aere, Menalca.
prv Prima Syracosio dignata est ludere versu nostra nec erubuit silvas habitare Thalea. cum canerem reges et proelia, Cynthius aurem vellit et admonuit: “pastorem, Tityre, pinguis 5pascere oportet ovis, deductum dicere carmen.” nunc ego (namque super tibi erunt qui dicere laudes, Vare, tuas cupiant et tristia condere bella) agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam. non iniussa cano. si quis tamen haec quoque, si quis 10captus amore leget, te nostrae, Vare, myricae, te nemus omne canet; nec Phoebo gratior ulla est
- 89tum RV: nunc P: tunc P 2
- 5deductum R: di- PV
What gifts can I give in return for a song such as yours? Sweeter is it to me than the sound of the South Wind sighing, or the rollers thundering on the beach, or the splash of rivulets tumbling down through rocky glens.
First let me give you this delicate reed. This taught me “Corydon was aflame for the fair Alexis” and also “Who owns the flock? Is it Meliboeus?” 9
And do you take this crook, Menalcas, which Antigenes won not, often as he begged it of me—and in those days he was worthy of my love—a goodly crook, with even knots and ring of bronze.
My Muse first deigned to sport in Sicilian strains, and blushed not to dwell in the woods. When I was fain to sing of kings and battles, 10 the Cynthian plucked my ear and warned me: “A shepherd, Tityrus, should feed sheep that are fat, but sing a lay fine-spun.” And now—bards in plenty will you find eager to sing your praises, Varus, and build the story of grim war—now will I woo the rustic Muse on slender reed. Unbidden strains I sing not; still if any there be to read even these my lays—any whom love of the theme has won—’tis of you, Varus, our tamarisks shall sing, of you all our groves. To Phoebus no page is more