I recently had the pleasure of being contacted by the Swedish Latin scholar, Martina Illing-Östlund, who wanted to use a track from my album "An Ancient Lyre" as the background music to her video, featuring a recitation of the timeless ancient Roman poem by Virgil, "Publii Vergilii Maronis Ecloga Decima"...

 


She decided to use one of my more rhythmic tracks on this album (my arrangement for solo lyre of the traditional Egyptian folk song "My Heart Was Burnt By Love") to fit better, the rhythm of the Hexameter of the original Latin text:

"Extre|mum-hunc, Are|thusa, mi|hi con|cede la|borem:

 

pauca me|o Gal|lo, sed| quae legat |ipsa Ly|coris,

 

carmina| sunt di|cenda: ne|get quis | carmina | Gallo?

 

Sic tibi,| cum fluc|tus sub|terla|bere Si|canos,

 

Doris a|mara su|am non | inter|misceat | undam; 5

 

  

 

incipe; | sollici|tos Gal|li di|camus a|mores,

 

dum tene|ra-atton|dent si|mae uir|gulta ca|pellae.

 

Non cani|mus sur|dis: re|spondent | omnia | siluae.

 

  

 

Quae nemor|a-aut qui | uos sal|tus habu|ere, pu|ellae

 

Naides, | indig|no cum | Gallus a|more per|ibat? 10

 

Nam neque | Parna|si uo|bis iuga, | nam neque | Pindi

 

ulla mo|ram fe|cere, ne|que-Ao|nie-Aga|nippe.

 

Illum-eti|am lau|ri, eti|am fle|uere my|ricae;

 

pinifer | illum-eti|am so|la sub | rupe ia|centem

 

Maenalus | et geli|di fle|uerunt | saxa Ly|caei. 15

 

Stant et o|ues cir|cum (nos|tri nec | paenitet | illas,

 

nec te | paenite|at peco|ris, di|uine po|eta:

 

et for|mosus o|uis ad | flumina | pauit A|donis);

 

uenit et | upili|o; tar|di uen|ere sub|ulci;

 

uuidus | hiber|na ue|nit de | glande Me|nalcas. 20

 

  

 

Omnes | "Vnde-amor | iste" ro|gant "tibi?" | Venit A|pollo:

 

"Galle, quid | insa|nis?" in|quit; "tua | cura Ly|coris

 

perque ni|ues ali|um per|que-horrida | castra se|cuta-est."

 

  

 

Venit et | agres|ti capi|tis Sil|uanus ho|nore,

 

floren|tis feru|las et | grandia | lilia | quassans. 25

 

Pan deus | Arcadi|ae ue|nit, quem | uidimus | ipsi

 

sanguine|is ebu|li ba|cis mini|oque ru|bentem:

 

"Ecquis e|rit modus?" | inquit "A|mor non | talia | curat,

 

nec lacri|mis cru|delis A|mor nec | gramina | riuis

 

nec cyti|so satu|rantur a|pes nec | fronde ca|pellae." 30

 

  

 

Tristis at | ille: "Ta|men can|tabitis, | Arcades, | inquit,

 

montibus | haec ues|tris, so|li can|tare per|iti

 

Arcades. | O mihi | tum quam | molliter | ossa qui|escant,

 

uestra me|os o|lim si | fistula | dicat a|mores!

 

Atque-uti|nam-ex uo|bis u|nus ues|trisque fu|issem 35

 

aut cus|tos gregis | aut ma|turae | uinitor | uuae!

 

Certe | siue mi|hi Phyl|lis si|ue-esset A|myntas,

 

seu qui|cumque fu|ror (quid | tum, si | fuscus A|myntas?

 

et nig|rae uio|lae sunt | et uac|cinia | nigra),

 

mecum-in|ter sali|ces len|ta sub | uite ia|ceret: 40

 

serta mi|hi Phyl|lis lege|ret, can|taret A|myntas.

 

Hic geli|di fon|tes, hic | mollia | prata, Ly|cori;

 

hic nemus; | hic ip|so te|cum con|sumerer | aeuo.

 

  

 

Nunc in|sanus a|mor du|ri me | Martis in | armis

 

tela-in|ter medi|a-atque-ad|uersos | detinet | hostis. 45

 

  

 

Tu procul | a patri|a (nec | sit mihi | credere | tantum)

 

Alpi|nas, a, | dura, ni|ues et | frigora | Rheni

 

me sine | sola ui|des. A, | te ne | frigora | laedant!

 

a, tibi | ne tene|ras glaci|es secet | aspera | plantas!

 

  

 

Ibo-et Chal|cidi|co quae | sunt mihi | condita | uersu 50

 

carmina | pasto|ris Sicu|li modu|labor a|uena.

 

  

 

Certum-est | in sil|uis in|ter spe|laea fe|rarum

 

malle pa|ti tene|risque me|os in|cidere-A|mores

 

arbori|bus: cres|cent il|lae, cre|scetis, A|mores.

 

  

 

Intere|a mix|tis lus|trabo | Maenala | Nymphis, 55

 

aut a|cris uen|abor a|pros; non | me-ulla ue|tabunt

 

frigora | Partheni|os cani|bus cir|cumdare | saltus.

 

Iam mihi | per ru|pes uide|or lu|cosque so|nantis

 

ire; li|bet Par|tho tor|quere Cy|donia | cornu

 

spicula; | tamquam-haec | sit nos|tri medi|cina fu|roris, 60

 

aut deus | ille ma|lis homi|num mi|tescere |discat!

 

  

 

Iam neque-Ha|madrya|des rur|sus nec | carmina | nobis

 

ipsa pla|cent; ip|sae rur|sus con|cedite, | siluae.

 

  

 

Non il|lum nos|tri pos|sunt mu|tare la|bores,

 

nec si | frigori|bus medi|is He|brumque bi|bamus, 65

 

Sithoni|asque ni|ues hie|mis sube|amus a|quosae,

 

nec si, | cum mori|ens al|ta liber | aret in | ulmo,

 

Aethio|pum uer|semus o|uis sub | sidere | Cancri.

 

 

 

Omnia | uincit A|mor: et | nos ce|damus A|mori."

 

Below is the finished video:

 

 
The English translation of this ancient Roman poem is as follows:

 

"GALLUS

 

 

This now, the very latest of my toils,

 

vouchsafe me, Arethusa! needs must I

 

sing a brief song to Gallus—brief, but yet

 

such as Lycoris' self may fitly read.

 

Who would not sing for Gallus? So, when thou

 

beneath Sicanian billows glidest on,

 

may Doris blend no bitter wave with thine,

 

begin! The love of Gallus be our theme,

 

and the shrewd pangs he suffered, while, hard by,

 

the flat-nosed she-goats browse the tender brush.

 

We sing not to deaf ears; no word of ours

 

but the woods echo it. What groves or lawns

 

held you, ye Dryad-maidens, when for love—

 

love all unworthy of a loss so dear—

 

Gallus lay dying? for neither did the slopes

 

of Pindus or Parnassus stay you then,

 

no, nor Aonian Aganippe. Him

 

even the laurels and the tamarisks wept;

 

for him, outstretched beneath a lonely rock,

 

wept pine-clad Maenalus, and the flinty crags

 

of cold Lycaeus. The sheep too stood around—

 

of us they feel no shame, poet divine;

 

nor of the flock be thou ashamed: even fair

 

Adonis by the rivers fed his sheep—

 

came shepherd too, and swine-herd footing slow,

 

and, from the winter-acorns dripping-wet

 

Menalcas. All with one accord exclaim:

 

“From whence this love of thine?” Apollo came;

 

“Gallus, art mad?” he cried, “thy bosom's care

 

another love is following.” Therewithal

 

Silvanus came, with rural honours crowned;

 

the flowering fennels and tall lilies shook

 

before him. Yea, and our own eyes beheld

 

pan, god of Arcady, with blood-red juice

 

of the elder-berry, and with vermilion, dyed.

 

“Wilt ever make an end?” quoth he, “behold

 

love recks not aught of it: his heart no more

 

with tears is sated than with streams the grass,

 

bees with the cytisus, or goats with leaves.”

 

“Yet will ye sing, Arcadians, of my woes

 

upon your mountains,” sadly he replied—

 

“Arcadians, that alone have skill to sing.

 

O then how softly would my ashes rest,

 

if of my love, one day, your flutes should tell!

 

And would that I, of your own fellowship,

 

or dresser of the ripening grape had been,

 

or guardian of the flock! for surely then,

 

let Phyllis, or Amyntas, or who else,

 

bewitch me—what if swart Amyntas be?

 

Dark is the violet, dark the hyacinth—

 

among the willows, 'neath the limber vine,

 

reclining would my love have lain with me,

 

Phyllis plucked garlands, or Amyntas sung.

 

Here are cool springs, soft mead and grove, Lycoris;

 

here might our lives with time have worn away.

 

But me mad love of the stern war-god holds

 

armed amid weapons and opposing foes.

 

Whilst thou—Ah! might I but believe it not!—

 

alone without me, and from home afar,

 

look'st upon Alpine snows and frozen Rhine.

 

Ah! may the frost not hurt thee, may the sharp

 

and jagged ice not wound thy tender feet!

 

I will depart, re-tune the songs I framed

 

in verse Chalcidian to the oaten reed

 

of the Sicilian swain. Resolved am I

 

in the woods, rather, with wild beasts to couch,

 

and bear my doom, and character my love

 

upon the tender tree-trunks: they will grow,

 

and you, my love, grow with them. And meanwhile

 

I with the Nymphs will haunt Mount Maenalus,

 

or hunt the keen wild boar. No frost so cold

 

but I will hem with hounds thy forest-glades,

 

parthenius. Even now, methinks, I range

 

o'er rocks, through echoing groves, and joy to launch

 

Cydonian arrows from a Parthian bow.—

 

as if my madness could find healing thus,

 

or that god soften at a mortal's grief!

 

Now neither Hamadryads, no, nor songs

 

delight me more: ye woods, away with you!

 

No pangs of ours can change him; not though we

 

in the mid-frost should drink of Hebrus' stream,

 

and in wet winters face Sithonian snows,

 

or, when the bark of the tall elm-tree bole

 

of drought is dying, should, under Cancer's Sign,

 

in Aethiopian deserts drive our flocks.

 

Love conquers all things; yield we too to love!”

 

These songs, Pierian Maids, shall it suffice

 

your poet to have sung, the while he sat,

 

and of slim mallow wove a basket fine:

 

to Gallus ye will magnify their worth,

 

Gallus, for whom my love grows hour by hour,

 

as the green alder shoots in early Spring.

 

Come, let us rise: the shade is wont to be

 

baneful to singers; baneful is the shade

 

cast by the juniper, crops sicken too

 

in shade. Now homeward, having fed your fill—

 

eve's star is rising—go, my she-goats, go." 

 

It has been a real honour to have my music used in order to bring new life to the wonderful poetry of the Classical World! 


 

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