Eclogue VII: Corydon And Thyrsis Compete

Eclogue VII: Corydon And Thyrsis Compete is in Eclogues.

It chanced that Daphnis was sitting under a rustling oak,
while Corydon and Thyrsis, both in the flower of youth,
both Arcadians, both ready to be matched in song,
and response, had brought their flocks together,
Thyrsis his sheep, Corydon his goats full of milk.
While I was protecting tender myrtles from the cold,
my he-goat, head of the herd, had strayed there, and I saw
Daphnis. He when he caught sight of me too, said: ‘Quick,
Meliboaeus, your goats and kids are safe, come
and rest in the shade, if you can stay for a while.
Your cattle will come through the fields to drink here themselves,
here Mincius borders his green shores with tender reeds,
and the swarm buzzes from the sacred oak.’
What could I do? I had no Phyllis or Alcippe,
who might pen up my new-weaned lambs at home:
and the match between Corydon and Thyrsis was a good one.
Still, I neglected my work for their sport.
So the two began to compete, in alternate verses,
alternate verses the Muses wished they’d composed.
These Corydon spoke, and Thyrsis after, in turn.
Nymphs of Libethra, whom I love, either grant me a song
such as you gave my Codrus (he makes verses
nearest to Phoebus’s own): or if we’re not all so able,
let my tuneful pipe hang here on the sacred pine.
Arcadian Shepherds crown your new-born poet with ivy,
so that Codrus’s heart bursts with envy:
or if he praises me beyond what’s pleasing, circle
my brow with cyclamen, lest his evil tongue harms the poet to be.
Delia, a bristling boar’s head is yours, from young Micon,
with the branching antlers of a mature stag.
If this good fortune lasts, your statue will stand
made all of smooth marble, your calves in red hunting boots.
A large cup of milk, and these cakes, are all you can expect,
each year, Priapus: the garden you guard is poor.
We’ve fashioned you from marble, for the meantime:
but you’ll be gold, if the flock is swelled by breeding.
Galatea, Nereus’s child, sweeter than Hybla’s thyme,
whiter than the swan, more lovely to me than pale ivy,
as soon as the bulls return from the meadows to their stalls,
if you’ve any love for your Corydon, come to me.
No, let me rather seem to you bitterer than Sardinian grass,
spikier than butcher’s-broom, viler than stranded seaweed,
if this day’s not longer to me than a whole year.
Go home my cherished oxen. If you’ve any shame, go home.
Mossy springs and the grass sweeter than sleep,
and the green strawberry-tree that covers you with thin shade,
keep the summer heat from my flock: now the dry solstice comes,
now the buds swell on the joyful branches of the vine.
Here is a hearth, and soaked pine torches, here a good fire
always, and door posts ever black with soot:
here we care as much for the freezing Northern gale,
as wolves for counting sheep, foaming rivers for their banks.
Here junipers, and bristling chestnuts, stand,
their fruits lie here and there under each tree:
now all things smile: but if lovely Alexis left
these hills, you’d see the rivers truly run dry.
The field is dry: the parched grass is dying in the arid air,
Bacchus begrudges his vines’ shade to the hills:
but all the groves will be green when my Phyllis comes,
and mightiest Jupiter will descend in joyful rain.
The poplar’s dearest to Hercules, the vine to Bacchus,
the myrtle to lovely Venus, his own laurel to Phoebus:
Phyllis loves the hazels: and while Phyllis loves them,
neither myrtle nor laurel shall outdo the hazel.
The ash is the loveliest in the woods, the pine-tree in gardens,
the poplar by the riverbanks, the fir on high hills:
but lovely Lycidas, if you’d often visit me,
the woodland ash would yield to you, and the garden pine.
These lines I remember: Thyrsis, beaten, competing in vain.
From that time on it’s Corydon, Corydon with us.