Ancient Latin Poetry - Recited to My Lyre Music

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:





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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