The Project Gutenberg eBook of Claudian, volume 2 (of 2)

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Title: Claudian, volume 2 (of 2)

Author: Claudius Claudianus

Translator: Maurice Platnauer

Release date: March 14, 2016 [eBook #51444]

Language: English, Latin

Credits: Produced by Ted Garvin and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at


Transcriber’s Note:

Erroneous references to c. m. 53 in the Index have been changed to c. m. 52 (there is no c. m. 53).

Volume 1 is available as Project Gutenberg ebook number 51443.




E. CAPPS, Ph.D., LL.D.

T. E. PAGE, Litt.D.

W. H. D. ROUSE, Litt.D.





















Hactenus armatae laudes: nunc qualibus orbem
moribus et quanto frenet metuendus amore,
quo tandem flexus trabeas auctore rogantes
induerit fastisque suum concesserit annum,
mitior incipiat fidibus iam Musa remissis. 5
Principio magni custos dementia mundi,
quae Iovis incoluit zonam, quae temperat aethram
frigoris et flammae medio, quae maxima natu
caelicolum. nam prima chaos Clementia solvit
congeriem miserata rudem vultuque sereno 10
discussis tenebris in lucem saecula fudit.
haec dea pro templis et ture calentibus aris
te fruitur posuitque suas hoc pectore sedes.
haec docet ut poenis hominum vel sanguine pasci
turpe ferumque putes; ut ferrum, Marte cruentum, 16
siccum pace feras; ut non infensus alendis






Thus far the warrior’s praise! Now let my gentler Muse relax the strings and tell by what virtues he governs the world, tempering fear with love, say what counsel moved him at last to assume those consular robes that cried out to him, and bestowed on our annals a year named after himself.

In the beginning Love[1] was the guardian of this vast universe, she who dwelt in the sphere of Jove, who attempers the sky ’twixt cold and heat, who is eldest of the immortals. For Love, pitying the elemental confusion, first disentangled Chaos; with a smile she scattered the darkness and bathed the world in light. She dwelleth now not in temples nor by altars warm with incense but in thy heart wherein she has made her home. Taught by her thou accountest it cruel and barbarous to batten on suffering and human slaughter; the sword that drips blood in war thou wearest unstained in peace;

[1] Claudian seems to have in his mind partly the Epicurean doctrine of ἔρως and partly the personification of the Clementia Caesaris, well known as a legend on so many Roman coins. See, also, for Clementia as a goddess, Claud. xvii. 166, and Stat. Theb. xii. 481 et sqq.


materiem praestes odiis; ut sontibus ultro
ignovisse velis, deponas ocius iram
quam moveas, precibus numquam implacabilis obstes,
obvia prosternas prostrataque more leonum 20
despicias, alacres ardent qui frangere tauros,
transiliunt praedas humiles. hac ipse magistra
das veniam victis, hac exorante calores
horrificos et quae, numquam nocitura, timentur
iurgia contentus solo terrore coerces 25
aetherii patris exemplo, qui cuncta sonoro
concutiens tonitru Cyclopum spicula differt
in scopulos et monstra maris nostrique cruoris
parcus in Oetaeis exercet fulmina silvis.
Huic divae germana Fides eademque sorori 30
corde tuo delubra tenens sese omnibus actis
inserit. haec docuit nullo livescere fuco,
numquam falsa loqui, numquam promissa morari;
invisos odisse palam, non virus in alto
condere, non laetam speciem praemittere fraudi, 35
sed certum mentique parem componere vultum;
occulto saevire vetat, prodesse remittit.
haec et amicitias longo plus tempore firmat
mansuroque adamante ligat; nec mobile mutat
ingenium, parvae strepitu nec vincula noxae 40
dissolvi patitur, nec fastidire priorem
inlicitur veniente novo. benefacta tenere,
respuere offensas facilis, pariterque minoris
officii magnique memor superare laborat


though angered thou feedest with no fuel the flame of hatred; thou forgivest the guilty even before they ask, thou layest aside thy wrath more readily than thou art moved to wrath, thou never turnest a deaf ear to prayers, all who oppose thee thou overthrowest, but deignest not to touch them when overthrown, like a lion who lusts to rend in pieces the fierce bull, but passes by the cowering prey. At her bidding thou extendest pardon to the conquered; at her prayer thou refrainest the dread fires of thine anger and those threats, not the less terrible for being unfulfilled; it is enough for thee to inspire awe, even as the heavenly Father who, shaking the world with his loud thunder, hurls the bolts of the Cyclops upon rocks and sea-monsters and, sparing the blood of man, expends his lightnings on the forests of Oeta.

Good Faith too, Love’s sister, has made her shrine in thy heart and joins herself to all thine actions. She has taught thee to practise no hypocrisy, never to speak falsehood, never to postpone the fulfilment of thy promises; to hate openly those thou hatest, and not to hide the poison of resentment in thy heart nor let a false smile mask treachery but to make thy countenance the sure mirror of thy mind. She gainsayeth secret vengeance but encourageth secret benefits. She strengthens friendships also, that grow more firm by lapse of time and binds them with chains of lasting adamant; not hers is the fickle change of mood, nor does she permit close ties to be broken by the rumour of some petty injury, nor is she lured to scorn the old friend when a new one comes. Mindful of past benefits, quick to forget wrongs, she remembers services alike small or great and strives to outdo


utque hostes armis, meritis sic vincit amicos. 45
haec fovet absentes, haec longe sola remotis
consulit, haec nullis avidam rumoribus aurem
pandit, ut ignarum numquam laesura clientem
insidiosa tuos alienent murmura sensus.
Nec vivis adnexus amor meminisse sepultos 50
desinit; in prolem transcurrit gratia patrum.
hac tu Theodosium, tenuit dum sceptra, colebas,
hac etiam post fata colis; nec pignora curas
plus tua quam natos, dederat quos ille monendos
tutandosque tibi. iustos nimiumque fideles 55
fama putat, qui, cum possint commissa negare,
maluerint nullo violati reddere quaestu:
at Stilicho non divitias aurique relictum
pondus, sed geminos axes tantumque reservat
depositum teneris, quantum sol igneus ambit. 60
quid non intrepidus credas, cui regia tuto
Hoc clipeo munitus Honorius altum
non gemuit patrem vitaeque et lucis in ipso
limine, contemptus numquam, dat iura subactis
gentibus et secum sentit crevisse triumphos. 65
quem tu sic placida formas, sic mente severa,
ut neque desidiae tradas, dum pronus ad omne
quod libet obsequeris, nec contra nixus ovantem
confringas animum: secreto consona regno
ceu iuvenem doceas, moles quid publica poscat: 70
ceu sanctum venerere senem patriisque gubernes
imperium monitis; dominum summissus adores;
obsequiis moderere ducem, pietate parentem.


them, overcoming friends with devotion as an enemy with arms. She safeguards the absent and is the sole protector of those far away; she opens not a greedy ear to rumours, so that never does the stealthy whisper that would injure some unsuspecting client estrange thy sympathies.

Nor does the love that clings to the living forget the dead, and the gratitude a father earned is paid to his children. This kept thee loyal to Theodosius while yet he wielded the sceptre, loyal, too, after his death; nor carest thou more for thine own offspring than for the sons he entrusted to thy guidance and protection. Just and most faithful does Fame account those, who, though they might deny a trust, have chosen rather to fulfil it, unpolluted by greed of gain; but it is not riches, not a huge heritage of gold that Stilicho holds in trust for the young heirs, but two hemispheres and all that is embraced within the sun’s fiery orbit. What wouldst thou not fearlessly entrust to him to whom a kingdom is entrusted safely?

Defended by this buckler Honorius did not mourn his noble sire, and on life’s very threshold, ne’er scorned by any, he dictates laws to conquered races and sees his triumphs increase with his years. Him thou dost seek to shape as with kindly so with severe mind; neither to sloth dost thou deliver him by a ready yielding to all his wishes, nor by opposing dost thou crush his eager spirit: as a youth thou teachest him in secret a king’s lesson—his duty to his people; as a reverend senior thou payest him honour and governest the empire at a father’s bidding; to thy lord thou givest humble worship; thou guidest thy master with obedience, thy sire


hinc fuit ut primos in coniuge disceret ignes
ordirique virum non luxuriante iuventa, 75
sed cum lege tori, casto cum foedere vellet.
principe tu felix genero: felicior ille
te socero.
Fratrem levior nec cura tuetur
Arcadium; nec, si quid iners atque impia turba
praetendens proprio nomen regale furori 80
audeat, adscribis iuveni. discordia quippe
cum fremeret, numquam Stilicho sic canduit ira,
saepe lacessitus probris gladiisque petitus,
ut bello furias ultum, quas pertulit, iret
inlicito causamque daret civilibus armis: 85
cuius fulta fide mediis dissensibus aulae
intemeratorum stabat reverentia fratrum.
quin et Sidonias chlamydes et cingula bacis
aspera gemmatasque togas viridesque smaragdo
loricas galeasque redundantes hyacinthis 90
gestatosque patri capulis radiantibus enses
et vario lapidum distinctas igne coronas
dividis ex aequo, ne non augusta supellex
ornatusque pares geminis heredibus essent.
mittitur et miles, quamvis certamine partes 95
iam tumeant. hostem muniri robore mavis
quam peccare fidem: permittis iusta petenti
idque negas solum, cuius mox ipse repulsa
gaudeat et quidquid fuerat deforme mereri.
Omnes praeterea, puro quae crimina pellunt 100
ore, deae iunxere choros unoque receptae


with love. Hence it was that he knew not passion before matrimony and preferred to vindicate his manhood not in a youth of debauchery, but in the chaste bonds of legal wedlock. Blessed art thou in having an emperor for a son-in-law; more blessed he with thee for father.

Care no less tender watched over Honorius’ brother, Arcadius. Rightly thou ascribest not to that youth the outrages of the feeble, vicious mob that seeks to screen its own mad folly behind the name of a king. Nay, even when discord raged never did Stilicho so burn with anger, though oft assailed by insult, oft attacked with the sword, that he sought to avenge the frenzy he endured by unholy war and give a handle to civil strife; stayed on his loyalty, mid all the factions of a court, the hallowed friendship of those brothers stood inviolate. Nay more, thou dividedst equally with him Sidonian cloaks, belts studded with pearls, jewelled togas, breastplates thick with green emeralds, helmets flashing with sapphires, swords with gleaming handles thy sire had wielded, crowns bright with the glint of manifold jewels, that both might be equal heirs of their imperial sire’s rich furniture and apparel. Thou didst send soldiers to Byzantium also, though civil strife was already raising its head. Rather wouldst thou reinforce a foe than fail thy pledge; all that he fairly asks thou grantest and refusest only that the withholding of which he himself will shortly approve, and that to obtain which were shameful.

Moreover, all the virtues whose pure aspect puts all wickedness to flight live conjoined in thee and, dwelling within thine heart, aid thee in the


pectore diversos tecum cinguntur in usus.
Iustitia utilibus rectum praeponere suadet
communesque sequi leges iniustaque numquam
largiri sociis. durum Patientia corpus 105
instruit, ut nulli cupiat cessisse labori;
Temperies, ut casta petas; Prudentia, ne quid
inconsultus agas; Constantia, futtile ne quid
infirmumque geras. procul importuna fugantur
numina, monstriferis quae Tartarus edidit antris: 110
ac primam scelerum matrem, quae semper habendo
plus sitiens patulis rimatur faucibus aurum,
trudis Avaritiam; cuius foedissima nutrix
Ambitio, quae vestibulis foribusque potentum
excubat et pretiis commercia pascit honorum, 115
pulsa simul. nec te gurges corruptior aevi
traxit ad exemplum, qui iam firmaverat annis
crimen et in legem rapiendi verterat usum.
denique non dives sub te pro rure paterno
vel laribus pallet; non insidiator oberrat 120
facturus quemcumque reum. non obruta virtus
paupertate latet. lectos ex omnibus oris
evehis et meritum, non quae cunabula, quaeris,
et qualis non unde satus. sub teste benigno
vivitur; egregios invitant praemia mores. 125
hinc priscae redeunt artes; felicibus inde
ingeniis aperitur iter despectaque Musae
colla levant, opibusque fluens et pauper eodem
nititur ad fructum studio, cum cernat uterque
quod nec inops iaceat probitas nec inertia surgat 130
Nec te iucunda fronte fefellit


manifold businesses of life. Justice teaches thee to prefer the right to the useful, to obey the general laws of mankind and never to enrich thy friends at other’s cost. Patience strengthens thy body so that it seeks never to yield to toil. Temperance guides thee to chaste desires. Prudence will have thee do nought without forethought, Constancy nought without decision and firm purpose. The deadly vices which Tartarus sends up from his monstrous abyss fly far from thee; but first and foremost thou banishest Avarice, mother of crimes, greedy for more the more she possesses, searching ever open-mouthed for gold; with her thou drivest out her most foul nurse, Ambition, who watches at the gate of the powerful and haunts their dwelling-places, cherishing the sale of honours for gold. This age’s more turbid stream of corruption has not drawn thee to follow its examples—corruption which had with lapse of time established crime and turned the custom of rapine into a law. Beneath thy rule the rich tremble not for the safety of ancestral lands or houses; no informer stalks the world set on making no matter whom his victim. Virtue suffers no eclipse by poverty. Thou exaltest men of all countries, asking what are their merits not their place of birth, what their character not whence their origin. A generous prince takes note of our life; rewards allure into the ways of virtue. Hence it comes that the arts of old flourish once more; the path to fortune is open to genius, while poesy again raises her despised head. Rich and poor strive with equal zeal towards their ends, for both see that, as poverty cannot depress merit, so riches cannot elevate incapacity.

Fair-fronted wantonness deceives thee not, wantonness,


luxuries, praedulce malum, quae dedita semper
corporis arbitriis hebetat caligine sensus
membraque Circaeis effeminat acrius herbis,
blanda quidem vultus, sed qua non taetrior ulla 135
interius: fucata genas et amicta dolosis
inlecebris torvos auro circumlinit hydros.
illa voluptatum multos innexuit hamis:
te numquam conata capit. non prava libido
stupris advigilat; non tempora somnus agendi 140
frustratur; nullo citharae convivia cantu,
non pueri lasciva sonant. quis cernere curis
te vacuum potuit? quis tota mente remissum
aut indulgentem dapibus, ni causa iuberet
laetitiae? non indecores aeraria lassant 145
expensae; parvo non improba littera libro
absentum condonat opes. a milite parcus
diligeris; neque enim neglectas pace cohortes
tunc ditas, cum bella fremunt. scis nulla placere
munera, quae metuens illis, quos spreverat, offert 150
serus et incassum servati prodigus auri.
antevenis tempus non expectantibus ultro
munificus mensaeque adhibes et nomine quemque
compellas clari, sub te quod gesserat olim,
admonitum facti, figendaque sensibus addis 155
verba, quibus magni geminatur gratia nodi.[2]
Nec, si quid tribuas, iactatum saepius idem
exprobrare soles nec, quos promoveris, alto
turgidus adloqueris fastu nec prospera flatus

[2] I retain Birt’s nodi (VPTI), but doni (V2 and the other MSS.) is very tempting.


that sweet curse, which surrendering to the arbitrament of the body dulls the wits with darkness, enervating the limbs with bane more deadly than that of Circe. Fair, indeed, is her face but none is fouler within; dyed are her cheeks; clothed about is she with treacherous lures, and deadly vipers hide them in her golden hair. Many hath she caught with the bait of pleasure, thee, though often has she tried, she has never ensnared. No lust bids thee wake for adultery’s sake, nor does sleep cheat the hours of toil. Neither the strains of the lyre nor the wanton song of boys accompany thy repast. Has any seen thee free from care, thy mind entirely at rest, or indulging in the banquet unless some public rejoicing commanded? No shameful expenditure strains the resources of the treasury, no pitiless missive in a tiny roll disposes of the property of the absent. Though thrifty thou art beloved of the army, for thou neglectest not thy soldiers in peace, and dost not only enrich them when war is toward. Thou knowest that belated gifts, offered in fear to those hitherto scorned, earn no gratitude: ’tis but a useless flinging away of gold as uselessly hoarded. Thou preventest thy soldier’s needs and art generous over and above their expectations; thou callest them to thy board and addressest each by his name, mindful of all the brave deeds ever done by each beneath thy banners. To thy gifts thou addest praises that will ever be remembered, whereby the grace of your close bond is doubled.

When bountiful thou dost not also turn the bounty into a reproach, nor dost thou address those whom thou hast advanced with the language of disdainful patronage; nor yet does prosperity make thee


attollunt nimios. quin ipsa Superbia longe 160
discessit, vitium rebus sollemne secundis
virtutumque ingrata comes. contingere passim
adfarique licet. non inter pocula sermo
captatur, pura sed libertate loquendi
seria quisque iocis nulla formidine miscet. 165
quem videt Augusti socerum regnique parentem,
miratur conviva parem, cum tanta potestas
civem lenis agat. te doctus prisca loquentem,
te matura senex audit, te fortia miles 169
adspersis salibus, quibus haud Amphiona quisquam
praeferat Aonios meditantem carmine muros
nec velit Orpheo migrantes pectine silvas.
Hinc amor, hinc veris et non fallacibus omnes
pro te solliciti votis; hinc nomen ubique
plausibus, auratis celebrant hinc ora figuris. 175
quae non incudes streperent, quae flamma vacaret
fabrilis, quantis fluerent fornacibus aera
effigies ductura tuas, quis devius esset
angulus aut regio quae non pro numine vultus
dilectos coleret, talem ni semper honorem 180
respueres? decus hoc rapiat, quem falsa timentum
munera decipiunt, qui se diffidit amari.
hoc solus sprevisse potest, qui iure meretur.
Undique legati properant generique sub ore
in tua centenas optant praeconia voces. 185
grates Gallus agit, quod limite tutus inermi
et metuens hostile nihil nova culmina totis


puffed up. Nay, pride itself is far removed from thee, pride, a vice so familiar in success, ungracious attendant on the virtues. All, no matter when or where, may meet and address thee. Talk over the wine is not watched, but each guest, at liberty to say just what he pleases, mingles grave converse with gay and fears not for his words. Each marvels to find an equal in the emperor’s father-in-law and the father of his country, when one so powerful acts the citizen so graciously. With the learned thou discoursest of antiquity, with the aged of experience, with the soldier of valiant deeds, and dost mingle thy talk with such pleasant wit that none would rather hear the strains whereby Amphion built the walls of Thebes or Orpheu’s lute drew the woods to follow him.

Hence all love thee, all anxiously pray heaven for thee with no feigned intercession, all shout applause at the mention of thy name and reproduce thy form in gilded statues. What anvil should not ring, what forge be idle, from what vast furnaces should bronze not flow that is to shape thine image? What corner of the world, what region so remote but should worship thy beloved countenance as divine,—hadst thou not always refused such honour? Nay, let him snatch at such glory whom hollow gifts inspired by fear can beguile and who despairs of a people’s love. He who in truth deserves can alone afford to despise them.

Embassies arrive from every quarter and in the presence of thy son-in-law pray for a hundred voices to herald thy renown. The Gallic envoy gives thee thanks for that, safe from attack though no legion guards his frontier, and fearing no hostile


aedificat ripis et saevum gentibus amnem
Thybridis in morem domibus praevelat amoenis.
hinc Poeni cumulant laudes, quod rura tyranno 190
libera possideant; hinc obsidione solutus
Pannonius potorque Savi, quod clausa tot annis
oppida laxatis ausus iam pandere portis
rursum cote novat nigras rubigine falces
exesosque situ cogit splendere ligones 195
agnoscitque casas et collibus oscula notis
figit et impresso glaebis non credit aratro,
exsectis,[3] inculta dabant quas saecula, silvis
restituit terras et opacum vitibus Histrum
conserit et patrium vectigal solvere gaudet, 200
inmunis qui clade fuit. te sospite fas est
vexatum laceri corpus iuvenescere regni.
sub tot principibus quaecumque amisimus olim,
tu reddis. solo poterit Stilichone medente
crescere Romanum vulnus tectura cicatrix; 205
inque suos tandem fines redeunte colono
Illyricis iterum ditabitur aula tributis.
Nec tamen humano cedit caeleste favori
iudicium: cingunt superi concordibus unum
praesidiis hostesque tuos aut litore produnt 210
aut totum oppositi claudunt fugientibus aequor
aut in se vertunt furiis aut militis ense

[3] Birt suggests exsectisque.


incursion, he builds new dwelling-places along the banks of the Rhine and fringes the river, famed once for the savagery of its tribes, with houses as pleasant as those by Tiber’s stream. Here Carthaginians crown thy praise, because they possess their lands delivered from the tyrant’s rule; there the Pannonian, freed from the blockade, and he who drinks the Save, grateful because he now dare throw open the gates of cities closed for so many years. Such sharpen once more upon the whetstone their sickles dark with rust and cause their mattocks, foul with want of use, to shine as of old. Each sees again his well-remembered cottage, kisses his native hills, and can scarce believe real the furrows cut by his heavy plough. He hews down the forests and renders again fit for cultivation fields which generations had let run wild. Once more he covers the banks of the Danube with vineyards and rejoices to pay the taxes his forefathers paid, for it was bloodshed that brought immunity. While thou art safe, heaven allows the harassed body of our distracted empire to regain its youthful vigour. Thou dost restore all that we have lost of old under so many princes. Only when Stilicho’s hand brings remedy can grow a scar to hide Roman wounds, and when at last the husbandman of Illyria returns to his farms the treasury will again be enriched with Illyrian tribute.

But heaven’s judgement is not a whit behind man’s favour. The gods unite for thine especial protection and deliver thine enemy into thy hands upon the sea shore or hinder his flight by the ocean’s immense barrier or make him turn his arms madly against himself; and so, a second Pentheus, he is hewn in


bacchati laniant Pentheo corpora ritu;
insidias retegunt et in ipsa cubilia fraudum
ducunt ceu tenera venantem nare Molossi. 215
ominibus ventura notant aut alite monstrant
aut monitos certa dignantur imagine somnos.
Pro quibus innumerae trabearum insignia terrae
certatim petiere tibi. poscentibus ipse
restiteras et mens, aliorum prona favori, 220
iudex dura sui, facibus succensa pudoris
tarda verecundis excusat praemia causis.
ergo avidae tantosque novi spe consulis annos
elusae dominae pergunt ad limina Romae,
si minus adnuerit precibus, vel cogere certae 225
cunctantem votoque moras auferre paratae.
conveniunt ad tecta deae, quae candida lucent
monte Palatino. glaucis tum prima Minervae
nexa comam foliis fulvaque intexta micantem
veste Tagum tales profert Hispania voces: 230
“Cuncta mihi semper Stilicho, quaecumque poposci,
concessit tantumque suos invidit honores.
Augusti potuit soceri contemnere fasces:
iam negat et genero. si non ut ductor ab orbe
quem regit, accipiat saltem cognatus ab aula. 235
exiguumne putat, quod sic amplexus Hiberam
progeniem nostros inmoto iure nepotes
sustinet, ut patrium commendet purpura Baetim?
quod pulchro Mariae fecundat germine regnum?


pieces by his own soldier’s frenzied blades. The gods discover for thee plots against thy life and lead thee to the very lair of treason, even as Molossan hounds guide the huntsman with their subtle scent. They show forth the future by omens or by birds or they deign to give thee clear warning in dreams.

For which thing’s sake countless lands in rivalry have sought for thee the consul’s robe, but thou thyself didst oppose their desire, and thy mind, so ready to grant favour to another, so rigorous a critic of itself, kindling with the torch of modesty, with bashful pleading deprecates that late reward. And so, anxious to see accomplished the hopes, vainly conceived through so many years, of seeing in thee their new consul, they hasten to the gates of royal Rome, determined, should she not listen to their entreaties, to constrain her hesitation, and prepared to sweep away all hindrances that delay their prayer. They meet at the temple of the goddess that shines bright upon the Palatine.[4] First to speak was Spain, her head crowned with a grey-leaved garland from Minerva’s olive and golden Tagus woven into her shining robe: “Everything that I have ever asked of Stilicho he has granted me, and has begrudged only honour for himself. Once he found it in his heart to refuse the consulship at the hands of an emperor, his father-in-law; he now refuses it also from his son-in-law. If not as a guardian from the world he rules, at least let him receive it as a kinsman from his emperor. Counts he it a small thing that, taking my offspring to his arms, he so upholds my grandsons[5] in their undisturbed rule, that the purple ennobles their native Baetis? That by means of fair Maria he dowers

[4] The temple, that is, of the goddess Roma.

[5] Arcadius and Honorius who, as sons of Theodosius, the Spaniard, are grandsons of Spain.


quod dominis speratur avus?” 240
Tum flava repexo
Gallia crine ferox evinctaque torque decoro
binaque gaesa tenens animoso pectore fatur:
“qui mihi Germanos solus Francosque subegit,
cur nondum legitur fastis? cur pagina tantum
nescit adhuc nomen, quod iam numerare decebat? 245
usque adeone levis pacati gloria Rheni?”
Inde Caledonio velata Britannia monstro,
ferro picta genas, cuius vestigia verrit
caerulus Oceanique aestum mentitur amictus:
“me quoque vicinis pereuntem gentibus” inquit 250
“munivit Stilicho, totam cum Scottus Hivernen
movit et infesto spumavit remige Tethys.
illius effectum curis, ne tela timerem
Scottica, ne Pictum tremerem, ne litore toto
prospicerem dubiis venturum Saxona ventis.” 255
Tum spicis et dente comas inlustris eburno
et calido rubicunda die sic Africa fatur:
“sperabam nullas trabeis Gildone perempto
nasci posse moras. etiam nunc ille repugnat
et tanto dubitat fasces praebere triumpho, 260
qui mihi Maurorum penitus lacrimabile nomen
ignorare dedit?”
Post has Oenotria lentis
vitibus intorquens hederas et palmite largo
vina fluens: “si vos adeo Stilichone curules
augeri flagratis” ait “quas sola iuvare 265
fama potest, quanto me dignius incitat ardor,


Rome with a dynasty? That he is looked to as the ancestor of kings?”

Then warlike Gaul, her hair combed back, a rich necklace about her neck, and javelins twain in her hands, thus spake with kindling heart: “Why is his title not yet read in the annals of Rome, who by his own might o’ercame for me the Germans and the Franks? Why is the page of history still ignorant of a name that by now should have been inscribed therein so often? Is, then, bringing peace to the Rhine so light a title to fame?”

Next spake Britain clothed in the skin of some Caledonian beast, her cheeks tattooed, and an azure cloak, rivalling the swell of ocean, sweeping to her feet: “Stilicho gave aid to me also when at the mercy of neighbouring tribes, what time the Scots roused all Hibernia against me and the sea foamed to the beat of hostile oars. Thanks to his care I had no need to fear the Scottish arms or tremble at the Pict, or keep watch along all my coasts for the Saxon who would come whatever wind might blow.”

Then up spake Africa, her hair gay with wheat ears and an ivory comb and her face all sun-burned: “I hoped that after Gildo’s death no obstacle could prevent Stilicho’s acceptance of the consulship. Does he even yet refuse and hesitate to honour with the fasces so great a triumph—he who has enabled me utterly to forget the tearful name of Moor?”

After these came Italy, pliant vine and ivy interlacing on her head, pressing the wine from plentiful ripe grapes. Said she: “If you are thus eager that Stilicho should augment the dignity of the curule chair, you to whom the mere report can bring delight, how much more rightly does a longing


ut praesente fruar conscendentemque tribunal
prosequar atque anni pandentem claustra salutem?”
Talibus alternant studiis Romamque precantes,
pro cunctis, hortantur, eat. nec segnius illa 270
paruit officio, raptis sed protinus armis
ocior excusso per nubila sidere tendit.
transvehitur Tuscos Appenninusque volatu
stringitur. Eridanus clipei iam fulgurat umbra;
constitit ante ducem tetrica nec Pallade vultum 275
deterior nec Marte minor. tremit orbe corusco
iam domus et summae tangunt laquearia cristae:
tum prior attonitum gratis adfata querellis:
“Servatas, Stilicho, per te, venerande, curules,
ornatas necdum fateor. quid profuit anni 280
servilem pepulisse notam? defendis honorem
quem fugis, et spernis tota quem mole tueris?
respuis oblatum, pro quo labente resistis?
quae iam causa morae? quo me cunctabere rursus
ingenio? nullus Boreae metus, omnis et Austri 285
ora silet: cecidit Maurus, Germania cessit
et Ianum pax alta ligat. te consule necdum
digna feror? titulumne levem parvique nitoris
credimus, Augusti quo se decorare fatentur,
sub iuga quo gentes captivis regibus egi? 290
“Non, si prodigiis casus natura futuros
signat, polluimur macula. quod reris, Eois


inspire me to enjoy his presence, to attend him as he mounts his seat and to salute his opening of the new year’s course?”

One after another they pour forth these entreaties and beg Rome to approach Stilicho in the name of them all. Right swiftly she obeyed their behest and seizing at once her arms winged her way quicker than a shooting star through the clouds of heaven. Over Etruria she flew, grazed the Apennines in her flight, and lit Eridanu’s wave with the reflexion of her shield. She stood before the general, imposing as mighty Pallas, terrible as Mars. The palace trembled at the glitter of her aegis and her helmet plumes brushed the pannelled ceiling. Then as he stood astonished she first addressed him with flattering reproaches: “I acknowledge, revered Stilicho, that thou hast saved but not yet brought honour to the curule chair. Of what avail to have rid the year of the brand of slavery? Dost thou defend a dignity thou shunnest? scorn what with all thy might thou madest? reject when offered what thou didst save when falling? Why dost thou hold back? Why disappoint my prayers? No danger threatens from the north, the south is quiet; the Moors have been subdued, Germany has yielded, profound peace holds fast the doors of Janu’s temple. Am I not yet worthy to have thee for my consul? Can we believe that office unimportant and of slender dignity to hold which emperors think themselves honoured, that office by means of which I have caused conquered peoples and captive kings to pass beneath the yoke?

“If nature by her portents foreshadow coming ills I am not besmirched therewith. Nay, that thou


omen erat. quamquam nullis mihi cognita rebus
fabula; vix tanto risit de crimine rumor.
opprobrii stat nulla fides nec littera venit 295
vulgatura nefas: in quo vel maxima virtus
est tua quod, nostros qui consulis omnia patres,
de monstris taceas. pellendi denique nulla
dedecoris sanctum violant oracula coetum
nec mea funestum versavit curia nomen. 300
pars sceleris dubitasse fuit: quaecumque profana
pagina de primo venisset limine Phoebi,
ante fretum deleta mihi, ne turpia castis
auribus Italiae fatorum[6] exempla nocerent.
publicus ille furor, quantum tua cura peregit, 305
secretum meruit. laetetur quisquis Eoos
scribere desierit fastos: portenta Gabinos
ista latent; propriam labem texisse laborent.
cur ego, quem numquam didici sensive creatum,
gratuler exemptum? delicti paenitet illos: 310
nos nec credidimus.
“Fuerit tamen omnibus unum
crimen et ad nostras manaverit usque secures:
plus ideo sumenda tibi fastigia vitas,
ne pereat tam priscus honos, qui portus honorum
semper erat. nullo sarciri consule damnum 315
excepto Stilichone potest. bene praescia tempus
mens tua distulerat; titulo tunc crescere posses,
nunc per te titulus. consul succurre gravatis
consulibus, quicumque fuit, quicumque futurus;
annum redde tuum, quem iam secura sequatur 320

[6] Birt prints factorum (EΠ); the other MSS. have fatorum; Koch suggests fractorum (in the sense of “effeminate”).


countest ill omen was for the East. Yet no facts confirm the tale I have heard; Rumour’s self scarce smiled at such a tale of guilt.[7] The disgrace has no proof; no letter came to divulge the wicked secret. In this lies thine especial virtue, that, while consulting the senate on every question, thou hast not mentioned this portent. No decree for the suppression of this scandal has impaired the dignity of this august assembly, nor has that ill-omened name been heard in my senate. To have hesitated would have been to share his guilt. All letters telling of this profanation that came from the far East were destroyed e’er they could cross the sea, that fortune’s shameful turn should not offend the chaste ears of Italy. That infatuation of a people was best rewarded with silence—and how strenuous were thine endeavours that it should so be! Joy should be his who needs no longer pen the annals of the East. Our Latin story knows no such blot: let others take pains to conceal their own disgrace. Why should I applaud the downfall of one of whose elevation I never heard nor knew? ’Tis for the guilty to repent; we have never even believed.

“Yet had the guilt of all been one and this pollution stained our axes, all the more shouldst thou have taken the high office thou dost shun lest that ancient dignity—ever the goal of all dignities—should be destroyed. No consul, save Stilicho alone, can repair that ruin. With what foreknowledge had thy soul delayed the hour: once it would have added lustre unto thee, now thou dost add lustre unto it. Do thou as consul wipe out the insult offered to all consuls that have been and yet shall be. Give thy name to the year that posterity

[7] Claudian is referring to the consulship of Eutropius.


posteritas nec iam doleat defensa vetustas.
sic trabeis ultor Stilicho Brutusque repertor.
libertas populi primo tunc consule Bruto
reddita per fasces; hic fascibus expulit ipsis
servitium. instituit sublimem Brutus honorem; 325
adseruit Stilicho. plus est servasse repertum,
quam quaesisse novum. quid tardius ore rubenti
adnuis et solitus frontem circumfluit ignis?
tandem vince tuum, vincis qui cuncta, pudorem.
“Hos etiam, quamvis corrumpi munere nullo 330
te certum est, mirare libens ac suscipe cinctus,
quos tibi divino mecum Tritonia duxit
pectine: tincta simul repetito murice fila
contulimus pensis et eodem nevimus auro,
aurea quo Lachesis sub te mihi saecula texit. 335
hic ego promissam subolem sperataque mundo
pignora praelusi. veram mox ipse probabis
me vatem nostraeque fidem venientia telae
fata dabunt.”
Dixit gremioque rigentia profert
dona, graves auro trabeas. insigne Minervam 340
spirat opus, rutilis hic pingitur aula columnis
et sacri Mariae partus; Lucina dolores
solatur; residet fulgente puerpera lecto;
sollicitae iuxta pallescunt gaudia matris.
susceptum puerum redimitae tempora Nymphae 345
auri fonte lavant: teneros de stamine risus
vagitusque audire putes. iam creverat infans


may dwell thereafter securely, and that antiquity, thus vindicated, may cease from her complaints. Brutus was the founder of the office, let Stilicho be its avenger. Brutus, the first consul, won liberty for the Roman people by means of the consular fasces: Stilicho banished the taint of slavery from those fasces. Brutus instituted this supreme dignity; Stilicho saved it; and it is greater to preserve what already is than to create that which is not. Why do thy blushes grant so tardy an acceptance of our prayers? Why does the accustomed flush o’erspread thy brow? World-conqueror, conquer now thine own diffidence.

“Full well I know that no gift can seduce thee, yet be pleased to admire and receive this cloak, woven for thee on no mortal loom by Minerva and myself. Twice together have we dipped the thread that goes to make the cloth in purple dye and interwoven therewith that same gold of which Lachesis has woven the golden centuries that are to be mine beneath thy rule. See here I have prefigured thy destined progeny, those thy children for whom the world prays; soon shalt thou confess me a true prophet and coming fate prove that my embroidery is true.”

She spake and drew from her bosom the gift, a consul’s cloak, stiff and heavy with gold. The glorious woof breathes Minerva’s skill. Here is depicted a palace with columns of red marble and Maria’s sacred travail. Lucina eases her labour. On a splendid couch lies the young mother, by her side sits her own mother, pale with anxiety yet happy withal. The flower-crowned Nymphs take up the babe and wash him in a golden basin. Almost could one hear rising from the embroidery the little child’s mingled laughter and wailing. And now the babe


ore ferens patrem: Stilicho maturior aevi
Martia recturo tradit praecepta nepoti.
parte alia spumis fucantem Serica frena 350
sanguineis primae signatus flore iuventae
Eucherius flectebat equum iaculisque vel areu
aurea purpureos tollentes cornua cervos
aureus ipse ferit. Venus hic invecta columbis
tertia regali iungit conubia nexu, 355
pennatique nurum circumstipantur Amores
progenitam Augustis Augustorumque sororem.
Eucherius trepido iam flammea sublevat ore
virginis; adridet retro Thermantia fratri.
iam domus haec utroque petit diademata sexu 360
reginasque parit reginarumque maritos.
Talibus invitat donis dextraque gerendum
diva simul porrexit ebur; sollemnibus urnam
commovet auspiciis avibusque incepta secundat.
tunc habiles armis umeros iam vestibus ambit 365
Romuleis; Latii sederunt pectore cultus
loricaeque locum decuit toga. talis ab Histro
vel Scythico victor rediens Gradivus ab axe
deposito mitis clipeo candentibus urbem
ingreditur trabeatus equis; spatiosa Quirinus 370
frena regit currumque patris Bellona cruentum
ditibus exuviis tendens ad sidera quercum
praecedit, lictorque Metus cum fratre Pavore
barbara ferratis innectunt colla catenis


had grown up, recalling his father in countenance; Stilicho, riper in years, teaches his grandson, the emperor that is to be, the science of war. In another part Eucherius, the down of early manhood on his cheeks, rode his horse that flecked its silken reins with bloody foam. Woven himself of gold he smites with javelin or arrow the purple stags that raise their golden horns. Here Venus, borne in her dove-drawn chariot, unites for the third time the hero’s family with the princely house[8] and the winged Loves throng the affianced bride, daughter and sister of an emperor. Eucherius now lifts the veil from the bashful maiden’s face; Thermantia smiles upon her brother’s joy. This house now seeks the crown in the person of either sex, it gives birth to queens and the husbands of queens.

Such are the gifts wherewith the goddess sought to win Stilicho, handing to him at the same time the ivory staff.[9] She shook the urn to obtain the customary signs and confirmed the beginning of his task by favourable auspices. Then she clothed with the vesture of Romulus those shoulders better accustomed to armour. The garb of Latium covers his breast and the toga graces what erstwhile the cuirass protected. Thus Mars, returning victorious from the Danube or the Scythian clime, a god of peace now his shield is laid aside, enters the city wearing the consul’s cloak and in a chariot drawn by white horses; Quirinus directs the ample reins and Bellona marches before her father’s car holding aloft the bloody oak-branch decked with the spoils won in single combat; Fear and his brother Terror are the lictors and cast chains of iron on the necks of captive

[8] Claudian seems to refer to the marriages (1) of Stilicho and Serena; (2) of Honorius and Maria (both, of course, accomplished facts); and (3) of Eucherius, son of Stilicho, and Placidia (the “nurus”), sister of Honorius. As a matter of fact Placidia subsequently married Ataulf, brother-in-law of Alaric.

[9] One of the insignia of the consulship.


velati galeas lauro, propiusque iugales 375
formido ingentem vibrat succincta securim.
Vidit ut optato se consule Roma potitam:
“nunc” ait “Elysii lucos inrumpere campi,
nunc libet, ut tanti Curiis miracula voti
Fabriciisque feram, famae qui vulnere nuper 380
calcatam Severe togam: iam prata choreis
pulsent nec rigidos pudeat lusisse Catones.
audiat hoc senior Brutus Poenisque tremendi
Scipiadae, geminis tandem quod libera damnis
unius auxilio fasces Libyamque recepi. 385
quod superest unum precibus, fortissime consul,
adde meis, urbique tuum largire parumper,
quem rogat, adventum, quam tu belloque fameque
depulsa terris iterum regnare dedisti.
splendida suscipiant alium te rostra Camillum, 390
ultorem videant servatoremque Quirites
et populus quem ductor ames: quibus Africa per te
nec prius auditas Rhodanus iam donat aristas,
ut mihi vel Massyla Ceres vel Gallica prosit
fertilitas messesque vehat nunc umidus Auster, 395
nunc Aquilo, cunctis ditescant horrea ventis.
“Quae tunc Flaminiam stipabunt milia vulgi!
fallax o quotiens pulvis deludet amorem
suspensum, veniens omni dum crederis hora!
spectabunt cupidae matres, spargentur et omnes 400
flore viae, superet cum Pincia culmina consul


barbarians, their helmets wreathed with laurel, while Panic, her robe upgirt, walks by the yoke-horses, brandishing a mighty battle-axe.

When Rome saw herself possessed of the consul for whom she had prayed, “Now,” she said, “fain would I hasten to the fields and woods of Elysium to bear the news of this wondrous answer to our universal prayer to the Curii and Fabricii who have wept for the dignity of the consul’s toga so lately outraged. Let them now tread the meads in joyous dance and the austere Catos not blush to join their sport. Let the elder Brutus hear the news and the Scipios, terror of Carthage, learn that by one man’s help I have been rescued from a double danger and have recovered both Libya and the fasces. One thing only is left, and do thou, brave consul, add it to my prayers—bestow awhile that presence she entreats upon the city which thou hast rescued from war and famine, and restored to the overlordship of the world. Let our famous rostrum welcome a second Camillus and our citizens look upon their avenger and saviour, ay, and the common people whom thou, their leader, lovest, the people to whom Africa, because of thee, offers her harvests and the Rhone her crops till now unheard of, whereby Libyan fields and Gallic abundance are at my service and now the rainy south-wind and now the north wafts grain to my shores and my granaries are full whatever breeze may blow.

“What thousands will then throng the Flaminian Way! How often will the deceptive dust disappoint the loving expectation of those who trust to see thee arrive every minute! Anxiously our mothers watch for thee; every road will be strewn with flowers


arduus, antiqui species Romana senatus.
Pompeiana dabunt quantos proscaenia plausus!
ad caelum quotiens vallis tibi Murcia ducet
nomen Aventino Pallanteoque recussum! 405
nunc te conspiciam castris, permitte, relictis
mox et cum genero trabeis visura secundis.”
Haec dum Roma refert, iam Fama loquacibus alis
pervolat Oceanum, linguis et mille citatos
festinare iubet proceres, nullique senectus, 410
non iter hibernis obstant nec flatibus Alpes:
vincit amor. meriti pridem clarique vetustis
fascibus ad socii properant et vindicis annum.
sic ubi fecunda reparavit morte iuventam
et patrios idem cineres collectaque portat 415
unguibus ossa piis Nilique ad litora tendens
unicus extremo Phoenix procedit ab Euro:
conveniunt aquilae cunctaeque ex orbe volucres,
ut Solis mirentur avem; procul ignea lucet
ales, odorati redolent cui cinnama busti. 420
Nec minor in caelo chorus est; exultat uterque
Theodosius divique tui; Sol ipse quadrigis
vere coronatis dignum tibi praeparat annum.
Est ignota procul nostraeque impervia menti,
vix adeunda deis, annorum squalida mater, 425
inmensi spelunca aevi, quae tempora vasto
suppeditat revocatque sinu. complectitur antrum,
omnia qui placido consumit numine, serpens
perpetuumque viret squamis caudamque reductam
ore vorat tacito relegens exordia lapsu. 430


while the consul, true image of Rome’s ancient senate, climbs the steep summit of the Pincian hill. What applause from the theatre of Pompey! How often will the Murcian valley raise to heaven thy name re-echoed by Aventine and Palatine! Leave the camp and let me behold thee now, soon to see thee, consul for a second time, along with thy son-in-law.”

While Rome so spake, Fame, on wings of rumour, flies over the sea and with her thousand tongues bids the chiefs speed to the capital. Not one can age hold back, nor the long journey, nor the Alp’s wintry blasts; Love wins the victory. Veterans whom the fasces ennobled long since hasten to greet the year of their colleague and avenger. So when by that birth in death the Phoenix renews its youth and gathers its father’s ashes and carries them lovingly in its talons, winging its way, sole of its kind, from the extreme east to Nile’s coasts, the eagles gather together and all the fowls from every quarter to marvel at the bird of the sun; afar its living plumage shines, itself redolent of the spices of its father’s fragrant pyre.

There is like joy in heaven: the two Theodosii and thine own protecting deities are glad; the Sun himself, decking his chariot with spring flowers, prepares a year worthy of thee.

Far away, all unknown, beyond the range of mortal minds, scarce to be approached by the gods, is a cavern of immense age, hoary mother of the years, her vast breast at once the cradle and the tomb of time. A serpent[10] surrounds this cave, engulfing everything with slow but all-devouring jaws; never ceases the glint of his green scales. His mouth devours the back-bending tail as with silent movement he traces his own beginning. Before

[10] Eternity, in the sense of endless time, was pictured by the Egyptians as a snake devouring its own tail; cf. Plut. De Is. et Osir. i. 2, p. 5.


vestibuli custos vultu longaeva decoro
ante fores Natura sedet, cunctisque volantes
dependent membris animae. mansura verendus
scribit iura senex, numeros qui dividit astris
et cursus stabilesque moras, quibus omnia vivunt 435
ac pereunt fixis cum legibus. ille recenset,
incertum quid Martis iter certumque Tonantis
prospiciat mundo; quid velox semita Lunae
pigraque Saturni; quantum Cytherea sereno
curriculo Phoebique comes Cyllenius erret. 440
Illius ut magno Sol limine constitit antri,
occurrit Natura potens seniorque superbis
canitiem inclinat radiis. tum sponte reclusus
laxavit postes adamas, penetrale profundum
panditur et sedes aevique arcana patescunt. 445
hic habitant vario facies distincta metallo
saecula certa locis: illic glomerantur aena,
hic ferrata rigent, illic argentea candent.
eximia regione domus, contingere terris
difficilis, rutili stabat grex aureus anni: 450
quorum praecipuum pretioso corpore Titan
signandum Stilichone legit; tunc imperat omnes
pone sequi dictisque simul compellat euntes:
“En, cui distulimus melioris saecla metalli,
consul adest. ite optati mortalibus anni, 455
ducite virtutes; hominum florescite rursus
ingeniis hilares Baccho frugumque feraces.
non inter geminos Anguis glaciale Triones
sibilet, inmodico nec frigore saeviat Ursa.


the entrance sits Nature, guardian of the threshold, of age immense yet ever lovely, around whom throng and flit spirits on every side. A venerable old man writes down immutable laws: he fixes the number of stars in each constellation and causes these to move and those to be at rest, whereby everything lives or dies by pre-ordained laws. ’Tis he decides Mar’s uncertain orbit, Jupiter’s fixed course through the heaven, the swift path of the moon, and the slow march of Saturn; he limits the wanderings of Venu’s bright chariot and of Mercury, Phoebu’s companion.

When the Sun rested upon the spacious threshold of this cavern dame Nature ran to meet him and the old man bent a hoary head before his proud rays. The adamantine door swung open of its own accord and revealed the vast interior, displaying the house and the secrets of Time. Here in their appointed places dwell the ages, their aspect marked by varying metals: there are piled those of brass; here those of iron stand stiff; there the silver ones gleam bright. In a fairer part of the cave, shy of contact with the earth, stood the group of golden years; of these Phoebus chooses the one of richest substance to be marked with the name of Stilicho. Then, bidding the rest follow behind him, he addresses them thus as they pass. “Lo! the consul is at hand for whom we have delayed an age of nobler ore. Go ye, years long prayed for by man, bring back virtue; let genius flourish once more; may Bacchus give you joy and fruitful Ceres bless you. Let not the constellation of the Serpent breathe forth too icy an air from between the two Ploughing Oxen nor the Bear vent his excessive


non toto fremat ore[11] Leo, nec brachia Cancri 460
urat atrox aestas, madidae nec prodigus urnae
semina praerupto dissolvat Aquarius imbre.
Phrixeus roseo producat fertile cornu
ver Aries, pingues nec grandine tundat olivas
Scorpius; autumni maturet germina Virgo, 465
lenior et gravidis adlatret Sirius uvis.”
Sic fatus croceis rorantes ignibus hortos
ingreditur vallemque suam, quam flammeus ambit
rivus et inriguis largum iubar ingerit herbis,
quas Solis pascuntur equi; flagrantibus inde 470
caesariem sertis et lutea lora iubasque
subligat alipedum. gelidas hinc Lucifer ornat,
hinc Aurora comas iuxtaque adludit habenis
aureus et nomen praetendit consulis Annus:
inque novos iterum revoluto cardine cursus 475
scribunt aetheriis Stilichonem sidera fastis.

[11] ore Π; the other MSS. give igne. But ore better corresponds with brachia.


cold; let not the Lion rage with his gaping maw nor pitiless summer inflame the claws of Cancer. Let not Aquarius, too prodigal of his rainy urn, flood the young seedlings with sudden storms. Let Phrixu’s ram, his horns twined with roses, extend the fertile spring and let not the Scorpion beat down the ripe olives with his hail. Let the Virgin mature the fruits of Autumn and the Dog-star, more gentle than his wont, refrain from barking at the heavy grape-clusters.”

So saying he entered his garden starred with fiery dew, the valley round which runs a river of flame feeding with its bounteous rays the dripping weeds whereon the horses of the sun do pasture. Here he gathers fragrant flowers wherewith he decks the heads, the golden reins, and manes of his steeds. With leaves from hence Lucifer and Aurora entwine their oozy locks. Hard by the golden year, displaying the consul’s name, smiles upon his chariot, and the stars, recommencing their courses, inscribe the name of Stilicho in the annals of the sky.





Maior Scipiades, Italis qui solus ab oris
in proprium vertit Punica bella caput,
non sine Pieriis exercuit artibus arma:
semper erat vatum maxima cura duci.
gaudet enim virtus testes sibi iungere Musas; 5
carmen amat quisquis carmine digna gerit.
ergo seu patriis primaevus manibus ultor
subderet Hispanum legibus Oceanum,
seu Tyrias certa fracturus cuspide vires
inferret Libyco signa tremenda mari, 10
haerebat doctus lateri castrisque solebat
omnibus in medias Ennius ire tubas,
illi post lituos pedites favere canenti
laudavitque nova caede cruentus eques.
cumque triumpharet gemina Carthagine victa 15
(hanc vindex patri vicerat, hanc patriae),





The elder Scipio, who single-handed turned the Punic wars back from Italy’s coasts to their own home, fought not his battles unmindful of the Muse’s art; poets were ever the hero’s special care. For valour is always fain to seek alliance with the Muses that they may bear witness to her deeds; he loves song whose exploits deserve the meed of song. Therefore, whether to avenge his sire’s[12] death the young warrior brought into subjection the Spanish seas or embarked upon the Libyan wave his dreadful standards, resolved to break with sure spear the strength of Carthage, the poet Ennius was ever at his side and in all his campaigns followed the trumpet’s call into the midst of the fray. Him after the battle the soldiers loved to hear sing, and the trooper, still dripping with blood, would applaud his verses. When Scipio had triumphed over either Carthage—over the one to avenge his sire, over the other his fatherland—and when at last, after the

[12] P. Cornelius Scipio (cos. 218 B.C.) was defeated and killed by Hasdrubal in Spain in 211 B.C. The famous P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus was the younger of his two sons.


cum longi Libyam tandem post funera belli
ante suas maestam cogeret ire rotas:
advexit reduces secum Victoria Musas
et sertum vati Martia laurus erat. 20
Noster Scipiades Stilicho, quo concidit alter
Hannibal antiquo saevior Hannibale,
te mihi post quintos annorum Roma recursus
reddidit et votis iussit adesse suis.


disasters of a long war, he drove weeping Libya a captive before his chariot wheel, Victory brought back the Muses in her train and Mar’s laurel crowned the poet’s brow.

Thee, Stilicho, our new Scipio, conqueror of a second Hannibal more terrible than the first,—thee after five long years Rome has given back to me and bidden me celebrate the completion of her vows.




Quem populi plausu, procerum quem voce petebas,
adspice, Roma, virum. iam tempora desine longae
dinumerare viae visoque adsurgere semper
pulvere: non dubiis ultra torquebere votis.
totus adest oculis, aderat qui mentibus olim, 5
spe maior, fama melior. venerare curulem,
quae tibi restituit fasces; complectere dextram,
sub iuga quae Poenos iterum Romana redegit.
excipe magnanimum pectus, quo frena reguntur
imperii, cuius libratur sensibus orbis. 10
os sacrum, quod in aere colis, miraris in auro,
cerne libens: hic est felix bellator ubique,
defensor Libyae, Rheni pacator et Histri.
Ostentare suos prisco si more labores
et gentes cuperet vulgo monstrare subactas, 15
certassent utroque pares a cardine laurus:
haec Alamannorum spoliis, Australibus illa
ditior exuviis; illinc flavente Sygambri




Behold, O Rome, the hero whose presence the cries of thy people and the voice of thy nobles has long demanded. Cease now to count the stages of his long journey and to rise as though to greet him at the sight of every storm of dust; no further shall uncertainty torment thee. Full before thine eye is he who was long before thy mind, greater than thy hopes, more glorious than his fame. Honour thou the consul who has restored its dignity to the consulship; grasp the hand which has made the Carthaginians pass once more under the Roman yoke. Welcome the noble heart that directs the reins of empire and secures by its providence the equipoise of the world. Look with joy upon the sacred face thou worshippest cast in bronze and adorest in gold. Behold the warrior successful in every field, the defender of Africa, the conqueror of Rhine and Danube.

Should he wish in accordance with ancient custom to display the picture of his labours and show to the people the tribes he has subdued, crowns of laurel from north and south would contend in equally matched rivalry. Here is a triumph rich with the spoils of the Germans, there with those of the South; here would pass the Sygambri with their yellow


caesarie, nigris hinc Mauri crinibus irent.
ipse albis veheretur equis currumque secutus 20
laurigerum festo fremuisset carmine miles.
hi famulos traherent reges; hi facta metallo
oppida vel montes captivaque flumina ferrent.
hinc Libyci fractis lugerent cornibus amnes;
inde catenato gemeret Germania Rheno. 25
sed non inmodicus proprii iactator honoris
consul, Roma, tuus. non illum praemia tantum
quam labor ipse iuvat; strepitus fastidit inanes
inque animis hominum pompa meliore triumphat.
Non alium certe Romanae clarius arces 30
suscepere ducem, nec cum cedente rediret
Fabricius Pyrrho nec cum Capitolia curru
Pellaeae domitor Paullus conscenderet aulae.
nec similis Latias patefecit gloria portas
post Numidas Mario, post classica Martis Eoi 35
Pompeio. nulli pars aemula defuit umquam,
quae gravis obstreperet laudi, stimulisque malignis
facta sequebatur quamvis ingentia livor:
solus hic invidiae fines virtute reliquit
humanumque modum. quis enim livescere possit, 40
quod numquam pereant stellae? quod Iuppiter olim
possideat caelum? quod noverit omnia Phoebus?
est aliquod meriti spatium, quod nulla furentis
invidiae mensura capit. ductoribus illis
praeterea diversus erat favor: aequior ille 45
patribus invisus plebi; popularibus illi
munito studiis languebat gratia patrum.


locks, there the black-haired Moors. He himself would be drawn in a laurel-decked chariot by white horses, and followed by his soldiers chanting their festive songs. Some would lead captive kings, others carry conquered towns wrought in bronze or mountains or rivers. Here would go in sad procession the river-gods of Libya, their horns broken, there Germany and the Rhine god in chains. Yet is not thy consul, O Rome, an unbridled boaster of his own prowess. ’Tis not the rewards of toil but the toil itself that he loves. He scorns empty applause and celebrates a happier triumph in the hearts of his fellow-citizens.

Of a surety the citadel of Rome has never welcomed home any of her generals with greater magnificence, no, not even Fabricius when he returned after the surrender of Pyrrhus, nor Aemilius Paulus, conqueror of Pella’s king, when he ascended the Capitol in his chariot. No such triumph as this threw open the gates of Rome to Marius after his conquest of Numidia or to Pompey after his victories in the East. Each of these suffered from a rival faction that murmured uneasily against their success, and envy pursued their actions, no matter how noble, with spiteful stings. Stilicho alone was raised above the range of envy and the measure of mankind. For who could be jealous of the star’s eternity, of Jove’s ancient rule in heaven, of Phoebu’s omniscience[13]? There are some merits so transcendent that furious envy’s bounds cannot contain them. Moreover, those other heroes owed a divided allegiance: one gained the favour of the nobles, but was hated of the people, one, supported by the suffrage of the commons, enjoyed but faintly the favour of the

[13] Phoebus is said to “know everything” because, as the sun, he is the all-beholding (πανόπτης).


omnis in hoc uno variis discordia cessit
ordinibus; laetatur eques plauditque senator
votaque patricio certant plebeia favori. 50
O felix servata vocat quem Roma parentem!
o mundi communis amor, cui militat omnis
Gallia, quem regum thalamis Hispania nectit,
cuius et adventum crebris petiere Quirites
vocibus et genero meruit praestante senatus! 55
non sic virginibus flores, non frugibus imbres,
prospera non fessis optantur flamina nautis,
ut tuus adspectus populo. quae numine tanto
litora fatidicas attollunt Delia laurus,
venturi quotiens adfulsit Apollinis arcus? 60
quae sic aurifero Pactoli fonte tumescit
Lydia, cum domitis adparuit Euhius Indis?
nonne vides et plebe vias et tecta latere
matribus? his, Stilicho, cunctis inopina reluxit
te victore salus! septem circumspice montes, 65
qui solis radios auri fulgore lacessunt,
indutosque arcus spoliis aequataque templa
nubibus et quidquid tanti struxere triumphi.
quantum profueris, quantam servaveris urbem,
attonitis metire oculis. haec fabula certe 70
cuncta forent, si Poenus adhuc incumberet Austro.
Mos erat in veterum castris, ut tempora quercu
velaret, validis fuso qui viribus hoste
casurum potuit morti subducere civem.


senate. In Stilicho’s case alone class rivalry has not raised its head: the knights welcome him with joy, the senate with enthusiasm, while the people’s prayers rival the goodwill of the nobles.

Blessed mortal, whom the Rome that thou hast saved calls her father; darling of the world to whose banner flocks the whole of Gaul, whom Spain connects by marriage with the imperial house, for whose advent the citizens cried with ceaseless prayer, and whose presence the senate owed to thine illustrious son-in-law. Not such a girl’s delight in flowers, not such the desire of the crops for rain, or of weary sailors for a prosperous breeze as is the longing of thy people for the sight of thee. Under no such influence as this do the prophetic laurels wave on Delo’s coast when the brightness of Apollo’s bow announces the deity’s approach. Never did Pactolus’ golden wave so swell in pride when Bacchus from conquered Ind visited his banks. Markest thou not how the roads cannot be seen for the people, the roofs for the matrons? Thanks to thy victories, Stilicho, salvation has dawned on all beyond their hopes. Look round on Rome’s seven hills whose sheen of gold rivals the very sun’s rays; see the arches decked with spoil, the temples towering to the sky, and all the buildings that celebrate this signal triumph. Let thine astonished glance measure the magnitude of the city thou hast saved and the immensity of thy services. All this would live but in the memory were the African still master of the south.

It was the custom in campaigns of olden time to crown with oak the brow of him who by his valour had put the enemy to flight and succeeded in rescuing a fellow-citizen from imminent death.


at tibi quae poterit pro tantis civica reddi 75
moenibus? aut quantae pensabunt facta coronae?
nec solam populi vitam debere fatetur
armis Roma tuis; sed, quo iucundior esset
lucis honoratae fructus, venerabile famae
pondus et amissas vires et regna recepit. 80
iam non praetumidi supplex Orientis ademptam
legatis poscit Libyam famulosve precatur
(dictu turpe) suos: sed robore freta Gabino
te duce Romana tandem se vindicat ira.
ipsa iubet signis bellaturoque togatus 85
imperat et spectant aquilae decreta senatus.
ipsa tibi trabeas ultro dedit, ipsa curulem
obtulit ultori fastosque ornare coëgit.
Nil perdit decoris prisci nec libera quaerit
saecula, cum donet fasces, cum proelia mandet; 90
seque etiam crevisse videt. quis Gallica rura,
quis meminit Latio Senonum servisse ligones?
aut quibus exemplis fecunda Thybris ab Arcto
vexit Lingonico sudatas vomere messes?
illa seges non auxilium modo praebuit urbi, 95
sed fuit indicio, quantum tibi, Roma, liceret:
admonuit dominae gentes instarque tropaei
rettulit ignotum gelidis vectigal ab oris.
Hoc quoque maiestas augescit plena Quirini,


But to thee what civic crown can we give for the salvation of so many cities? Or what honours can recompense thy deeds? Nor is it only for her people’s life that Rome owns herself a debtor to thine arms, but that so she might have sweeter enjoyment of this glorious dawn she has won back her ancient burden of renown, her lost strength and her conquered kingdoms. No longer do her ambassadors kneel suppliant before the proud East and beg that Libya may be given back to her; gone the shameful spectacle of our city a suitor to her own slaves. No, relying now on her native Latin vigour, Rome under thy leadership fights her own battles with Roman spirit. She herself bids the standards advance; the toga-clad consul directs the future conqueror, and the eagles wait upon the orders of the senate. Of her own free choice hath Rome bestowed on thee the consul’s robe, offered thee, her avenger, the curule chair and compelled thee to adorn her annals.

Nothing of her ancient dignity hath she lost, no regret has she for the age of republican freedom, since it is she who bestows the consular honour, she who gives the order for battle. Nay, she sees the growth of her power. Whose memory can recall a time when the fields of Gaul and the hoes of the Senones were at our service? Has it ever happened before that Tiber’s wave has carried grain from the fertile north over the ploughing of whose fields the Lingones have toiled? Such a harvest not only fulfilled Rome’s needs but also demonstrated the greatness of her power; it reminded the peoples who was their mistress and brought in triumph from those chill climes a tribute never before paid.

This, too, augments the majesty of Rome that the


rectores Libyae populo quod iudice pallent 100
et post emeritas moderator quisque secures
discrimen letale subit, quid Poenus arator
intulerit, madidus quantum transmiserit Auster.
ardua qui late terris responsa dedere,
hic trepidant humiles; tremuit quos Africa nuper, 105
cernunt rostra reos. cani virtutibus aevi
materiam pandit Stilicho populumque vetusti
culminis inmemorem dominandi rursus in usum
excitat, ut magnos calcet metuendus honores,
pendat iustitia crimen, pietate remittat 110
errorem purosque probet damnetque nocentes
et patrias iterum clemens exerceat artes.
Fallitur egregio quisquis sub principe credit
servitium. numquam libertas gratior extat
quam sub rege pio. quos praeficit ipse regendis 115
rebus, ad arbitrium plebis patrumque reducit
conceditque libens, meritis seu praemia poscant
seu punire velint. posito iam purpura fastu
de se iudicium non indignatur haberi.
sic docuit regnare socer, sic cauta iuventae 120
frena dedit, teneros sic moribus induit annos
verior Augusti genitor, fiducia belli,
pacis consilium: per quem squalore remoto
pristina Romuleis infloruit artibus aetas,
per quem fracta diu translataque paene potestas 125


chiefs of Libya tremble before the judgement-throne of our people, and that, his office ended, each governor must account under pain of death for all the corn the Carthaginian farmer has brought in, all that the rainy south-wind has dispatched to Rome. Those who of late uttered their proud judgements to broad domains here are cowed and tremble; those whom Africa held in dread Rome’s forum sees accused.

Stilicho gives scope for the virtues of a bygone age and rouses a people, forgetful of their former glory, to resume their accustomed sovereignty, to make themselves feared, to tread powerful magistrates beneath their heel, to mete out to crime its due reward, to show mercy towards the erring, favour to the innocent, punishment to the guilty, and to exercise once more their native virtue of clemency.

He errs who thinks that submission to a noble prince is slavery; never does liberty show more fair than beneath a good king. Those he himself appoints to rule he in turn brings before the judgement-seat of people and senate, and gladly yields whether they claim reward for merit or seek for punishment. Now the purple lays aside its pride and disdains not to have judgement passed upon itself. Such were the principles of rule taught by Stilicho to his son-in-law, Honorius; ’twas thus he guided his youth with the reins of prudence, and with precepts such as these directed his tender years, a truer father to the emperor than Theodosius, his stay in war, his adviser in peace. Thanks to him dishonour is banished and our age blossoms with Rome’s ancient virtues; thanks to him power, long degraded and all but transferred,[14] no longer, forgetful

[14] i.e. (apparently) to Constantinople. Throughout this confused passage Claudian seems to be labouring the point that now the capital of the West (Rome) is restored to an equal importance with that of the East (Constantinople).


non oblita sui servilibus exulat arvis,
in proprium sed ducta larem victricia reddit
fata solo fruiturque iterum, quibus haeserat olim,
auspiciis capitique errantia membra reponit.
Proxime dis consul, tantae qui prospicis urbi, 130
qua nihil in terris complectitur altius aether,
cuius nec spatium visus nec corda decorem
nec laudem vox ulla capit; quae luce metalli
aemula vicinis fastigia conserit astris;
quae septem scopulis zonas imitatur Olympi; 135
armorum legumque parens quae fundit in omnes
imperium primique dedit cunabula iuris.
haec est exiguis quae finibus orta tetendit
in geminos axes parvaque a sede profecta
dispersit cum sole manus. haec obvia fatis 140
innumeras uno gereret cum tempore pugnas,
Hispanas caperet, Siculas obsideret urbes
et Gallum terris prosterneret, aequore Poenum,
numquam succubuit damnis et territa nullo
vulnere post Cannas maior Trebiamque fremebat 145
et, cum iam premerent flammae murumque feriret
hostis, in extremos aciem mittebat Hiberos
nec stetit Oceano remisque ingressa profundum
vincendos alio quaesivit in orbe Britannos.
haec est in gremium victos quae sola recepit 150
humanumque genus communi nomine fovit
matris, non dominae ritu, civesque vocavit
quos domuit nexuque pio longinqua revinxit.


of itself, is exiled in lands of servitude but, returned to its rightful home, restores to Italy its victorious destiny, enjoys the promised auspices of its foundation and gives back its scattered limbs to the head of the empire.

Consul, all but peer of the gods, protector of a city greater than any that upon earth the air encompasseth, whose amplitude no eye can measure, whose beauty no imagination can picture, whose praise no voice can sound, who raises a golden head amid the neighbouring stars and with her seven hills imitates the seven regions of heaven, mother of arms and of law, who extends her sway o’er all the earth and was the earliest cradle of justice, this is the city which, sprung from humble beginnings, has stretched to either pole, and from one small place extended its power so as to be co-terminous with the sun’s light. Open to the blows of fate while at one and the same time she fought a thousand battles, conquered Spain, laid siege to the cities of Sicily, subdued Gaul by land and Carthage by sea, never did she yield to her losses nor show fear at any blow, but rose to greater heights of courage after the disasters of Cannae and Trebia, and, while the enemy’s fire threatened her, and her foe[15] smote upon her walls, sent an army against the furthest Iberians. Nor did Ocean bar her way; launching upon the deep, she sought in another world for Britons to be vanquished. ’Tis she alone who has received the conquered into her bosom and like a mother, not an empress, protected the human race with a common name, summoning those whom she has defeated to share her citizenship and drawing together distant races with bonds of

[15] Hannibal.


huius pacificis debemus moribus omnes,
quod veluti patriis regionibus utitur hospes; 155
quod sedem mutare licet; quod cernere Thylen
lusus et horrendos quondam penetrare recessus;
quod bibimus passim Rhodanum, potamus Orontem;
quod cuncti gens una sumus. nec terminus umquam
Romanae dicionis erit, nam cetera regna 160
luxuries vitiis odiisque superbia vertit:
sic male sublimes fregit Spartanus Athenas
atque idem Thebis cecidit; sic Medus ademit
Assyrio Medoque tulit moderamina Perses;
subiecit Persen Macedo, cessurus et ipse 165
Romanis. haec auguriis firmata Sibyllae,
haec sacris animata Numae. huic[16] fulmina vibrat
Iuppiter; hanc tota Tritonia Gorgone velat.
arcanas huc Vesta faces, huc orgia Bacchus
transtulit et Phrygios genetrix turrita leones; 170
huc defensurus morbos Epidaurius hospes
reptavit placido tractu, vectumque per undas
insula Paeonium texit Tiberina draconem.
Hanc tu cum superis, Stilicho praeclare, tueris,
protegis hanc clipeo patriam regumque ducumque 175
praecipueque tuam. dedit haec exordia lucis
Eucherio puerumque ferens hic regia mater
Augusto monstravit avo; laetatus at ille
sustulit in Tyria reptantem veste nepotem,
Romaque venturi gaudebat praescia fati, 180
quod te iam tanto meruisset pignore civem.
Nec tamen ingratum nec, qui benefacta referre

[16] Birt keeps the hinc of the better MSS., comparing xxvi. 509 seu caelum seu Roma tonat; huic ς.


affection. To her rule of peace we owe it that the world is our home, that we can live where we please, and that to visit Thule and explore its once dreaded wilds is but a sport; thanks to her all and sundry may drink the waters of the Rhone and quaff Orontes’ stream, thanks to her we are all one people. Nor will there ever be a limit to the empire of Rome, for luxury and its attendant vices, and pride with sequent hate have brought to ruin all kingdoms else. ’Twas thus that Sparta laid low the foolish pride of Athens but to fall herself a victim to Thebes; thus that the Mede deprived the Assyrian of empire and the Persian the Mede. Macedonia subdued Persia and was herself to yield to Rome. But Rome found her strength in the oracles of the Sibyl, her vigour in the hallowed laws of Numa. For her Jove brandishes his thunderbolts; ’tis she to whom Minerva offers the full protection of her shield; to her Vesta brought her sacred flame, Bacchus his rites, and the turret-crowned mother of the gods her Phrygian lions. Hither to keep disease at bay came, gliding with steady motion, the snake whose home was Epidaurus, and Tiber’s isle gave shelter to the Paeonian[17] serpent from beyond the sea.

This is the city whom thou, Stilicho, and heaven guard, her thou protectest, mother of kings and generals, mother, above all, of thee. Here Eucherius first beheld the light, here the queen his mother showed the babe to his imperial grandsire who rejoiced to lift a grandson upon his knee and to let him crawl upon his purple robes. Rome had foreknowledge of his destined glory and was glad, for so dear a pledge would keep thee ever her faithful citizen.

But think not this people ungrateful nor such as

[17] i.e. Aesculapius. “Paeonian” from the Greek Παιών, the Healer.


nesciat, hunc credas populum. si volvere priscos
annales libeat: quotiens hic proelia sumpsit
pro sociis! quotiens dono concessit amicis 185
regibus Ausonio quaesitas sanguine terras!
publica sed numquam tanto se gratia fudit
adsensu: quis enim princeps non omnibus egit
obsequiis dominum sese patremque vocari,
quod tibi continuis resonant convexa diebus? 190
macte novis consul titulis! Mavortia plebes
te dominum Bruto non indignante fatetur
et, quod adhuc nullo potuit terrore coacta
libertas Romana pati, Stilichonis amori
detulit. exultant avidi, quocumque decorus 195
conspiciare loco, nomenque ad sidera tollunt
nec vaga dilecto satiantur lumina vultu:
seu circum trabeis fulgentibus aureus intres,
seu celebres ludos, solio seu fultus eburno
cingas iure forum, denso seu turbine vulgi 200
circumfusa tuae conscendant rostra secures.
Quae vero procerum voces, quam certa fuere
gaudia, cum totis exurgens ardua pennis
ipsa duci sacras Victoria panderet aedes!
o palma viridi gaudens et amica tropaeis 205
custos imperii virgo, quae sola mederis
vulneribus nullumque doces sentire laborem,
seu tibi Dictaeae placuerunt astra Coronae
seu magis aestivo sedes vicina Leoni,
seu sceptrum sublime Iovis seu Palladis ambis 210
aegida, seu fessi mulces suspiria Martis,
adsis perpetuum Latio votisque senatus
adnue, diva, tui. Stilicho tua saepius ornet


knows not how to repay benefits. Turn but the pages of history and thou wilt find how often it has faced war for an ally’s sake, how often bestowed as a gift on friendly monarchs lands won at the expense of Italian blood. Yet never were public thanks poured forth with such consent. For what prince has not sought with every blandishment to be called lord and father—titles which the amphitheatres echo back to thee day after day? Hail, consul, to thy new titles! Mars’ people calls thee lord and Brutus gainsays them not; what till now no terror could compel Rome’s free citizens to endure, they freely offered to their love for Stilicho. Wheresoever thy shining form is seen they haste to greet thee and raise to heaven thy name; nor is their wandering gaze ever sated with looking upon thee whom they love when thou enterest the Circus in thy shining robes of gold or art present at the games or, seated on thine ivory throne, dispensest justice in the forum or, with thine attendant lictors, mountest the rostrum thronged with the dense and surging crowd.

But what were the acclamations of the great, how unfeigned their rejoicings when Victory, soaring aloft with outspread wings, herself threw open her holy temple to the hero? Maiden that lovest the green bay, thou that art decked in robes of triumph, guardian of our empire, sole healer of our wounds, that makest our toils as though they were not, whether it pleaseth thee to dwell amid the stars of Ariadne’s crown or nearer to the fervid Lion, whether thou art seated on the lofty sceptre of Jove or Pallas’ shield or calmest the sighs of weary Mars, be ever present to Latium and grant, goddess, the prayers of thy senate. May Stilicho often crown thy portals


limina teque simul rediens in castra reducat.
hunc bellis comitare favens, hunc redde togatum 215
consiliis. semper placidis te moribus egit
servavitque piam victis nec polluit umquam
laurum saevitia. cives nec fronte superba
despicit aut trepidam vexat legionibus urbem;
sed verus patriae consul cessantibus armis 220
contentus lictore venit nec inutile quaerit
ferri praesidium solo munitus amore.
Magnarum nec parcus opum geminare profundas
distulit impensas, sed post miracula castris
edita vel genero Romae maiora reservat. 225
auratos Rhodiis imbres nascente Minerva
indulsisse Iovem perhibent, Bacchoque paternum
iam pulsante femur mutatus palluit Hermus
in pretium, votique famem passurus avari
ditabat rutilo quidquid Mida tangeret auro; 230
fabula seu verum canitur: tua copia vicit
fontem Hermi tactumque Midae pluviamque Tonantis.
obscurat veteres obscurabitque futuros
par donis armisque manus: si solveret ignis
quot dedit inmanes vili pro pondere massas 235
argenti, potuere lacus et flumina fundi.
Nec tibi, quae pariter silvis dominaris et astris,
exiguam Stilicho movit, Latonia, curam:
tu quoque nobilibus spectacula nostra laboras
inlustrare feris summoque in vertice rupis 240
Alpinae socias arcu cessante pudicas


and bear thee back with him to his armies. Accompany and bless him in war and give him back in robes of peace to our council-chambers. Always has he brought thee home in a spirit of mercy and kept thee kindly to the vanquished nor ever stained thy laurels with cruelty. He neither looks with disdain on his fellow-citizens nor harries the anxious city with his legionaries; but true consul now that the war is ended he comes accompanied only by his lictors nor seeks the useless protection of the sword, guarded only by a people’s love.

Handling his great wealth in no niggard spirit he does not hesitate to double his lavish expenses and after giving wondrous games in honour of his soldiery and of Honorius reserves yet greater for Rome. They say that Jove at Minerva’s birth showered gold upon lucky Rhodes; that while Bacchus forced an egress from his father’s thigh Hermus grew pale and turned to that same metal; that Midas, fated to suffer hunger as a punishment for his greed, converted to shining gold everything that he touched. Be these stories true or false thy liberality exceeds the waters of Hermus, the touch of Midas, the Thunderer’s shower. Thy hands, as prodigal of gifts as of daring deeds, o’ershadow the past and will o’ershadow the future. Should fire have melted the countless mass of silver thou bestowest as though it were the cheapest of metals, lakes and rivers of silver might have been formed.

Thou too, Latonia, queen alike of the woods and of the stars, art moved by no small care for Stilicho; thou toilest to distinguish our spectacles with the forest’s noblest denizens, and on the dizzy summits of Alpine rocks layest aside thy bow and summonest


et pharetratarum comitum inviolabile cogis
concilium. veniunt umeros et brachia nudae
armataeque manus iaculis et terga sagittis,
incomptae pulchraeque tamen; sudoribus ora 245
pulverulenta rubent, sexum nec cruda fatetur
virginitas; sine lege comae; duo cingula vestem
crure tenus pendere vetant. praecedit amicas
flava Leontodame, sequitur nutrita Lycaeo
Nebrophone telisque domat quae Maenala Thero. 250
ignea Cretaea properat Britomartis ab Ida
et cursu Zephyris numquam cessura Lycaste.
iungunt se geminae metuenda feris Hecaërge
et soror, optatum numen venantibus, Opis
progenitae Scythia: divas nemorumque potentes 255
fecit Hyperboreis Delos praelata pruinis.
hae septem venere duces; exercitus alter
Nympharum incedunt, acies formosa Dianae,
centum Taygeti, centum de vertice Cynthi
et totidem casto genuit quas flumine Ladon. 260
has ubi collectas vidit, sic Delia coepit:
“O sociae, mecum thalami quae iura perosae
virgineo gelidos percurritis agmine montes,
cernitis ut Latio superi communibus ornent
hunc annum studiis? quantos Neptunus equorum 265
donet ab orbe greges? laudi quod nulla canendae
fratris plectra vacent? nostram quoque sentiat idem
quam meritis debemus opem. non spicula poscit
iste labor; maneant clausis nunc sicca pharetris,
omnis et a solitis noster venatibus arcus 270


thy virgin companions and the chaste band of thy quiver-bearing followers. Thither they come, their shoulders and arms bare, spears in their hands and arrows slung across their backs, beautiful though unadorned; red their cheeks, dusty and suffused with sweat; their fierce virginity betrays not their sex; disordered their hair; girdles twain prevent their dresses from flowing down below their knees. Golden-haired Leontodame precedes her comrades, Nebrophone, foster child of Mount Lycaeus, follows her, and Thero whose arrows hold Maenalus in subjection. Fiery Britomartis hastens from Cretan Ida and Lycaste, peer of the western winds in flight. There join them the twin sisters Hecaërge, terror of beasts, and Opis, deity beloved of hunters, Scythian maids; their preference for Delos[18] over the frosts of the north made them goddesses and queens of the woods. These were the seven chiefs who came; there followed them a second band of Nymphs, Diana’s lovely company, a hundred from Taygetus, a hundred from Cynthus’ summit, a hundred more whose first home was beside the chaste waters of Ladon. When she saw these gathered together Delia thus began:

“Friends who hate the rites of wedlock even as I hate them, who scour the snowy mountains in virgin companies, mark you how the gods with unanimous favour glorify this year for Latium? How many herds of horses Neptune provides from every quarter of the world? How that none of my brother Apollo’s lyres can refrain from sounding the praises of Stilicho? From us too let Stilicho receive the favour we justly owe him; the task needs no javelin; let our arrows remain bloodless in our unopened quivers. Let every bow refrain from its

[18] i.e. they became goddesses through association with Diana whose chosen island was Delos.


temperet; in solam cruor hic servetur harenam.
retibus et clatris dilata morte tenendae
ducendaeque ferae. cupidas arcete sagittas;
consulis in plausum casuris parcite monstris.
acceleret divisa manus: mihi cursus anhelas 275
tenditur ad Syrtes, mecum Dictynna Lycaste
et comes Opis eat; steriles iuvat ire per aestus:
namque feras aliis tellus Maurusia donum
praebuit, huic soli debet sed victa tributum.
dum nos horribiles Libyae scrutamur alumnos, 280
Europae vos interea perquirite saltus
et scopulos. posita ludat formidine pastor
securisque canat Stilichonem fistula silvis.
pacet muneribus montes qui legibus urbes.”
Dixit et extemplo frondosa fertur ab Alpe 285
trans pelagus; cervi currum subiere iugales,
quos decus esse deae primi sub limine caeli
roscida fecundis concepit Luna cavernis:
par nitor intactis nivibus; frons discolor auro
germinat et spatio summas aequantia fagos 290
cornua ramoso surgunt procera metallo.
Opis frena tenet, fert retia rara Lycaste
auratasque plagas, inmortalesque Molossi
latrantes mediis circum iuga nubibus ibant.
quinque aliae paribus (Phoebe sic iusserat) armis 295
diversa regione ruunt ducitque cohortem
quaeque suam. variae formis et gente sequuntur
ingenioque canes. illae gravioribus aptae
morsibus, hae pedibus celeres, hae nare sagaces,


wonted hunting and the blood of our prey be spilled but in the arena. Not for now their death; close the glades with net and cages and lead the beasts captive; withhold your impatient arrows; spare the monsters of the forest whose death shall win applause for our consul. Divide and haste in every direction; my breathless course is towards the Syrtes; do you, Cretan Lycaste and Opis, bear me company. My purpose is to traverse the unfruitful desert; Mauretania has given ere now her animals to other consuls as a gift, to this consul alone she owes them as a conquered land owes tribute. While we track out the dread progeny of Libya do you hunt the glades and rocks of Europe. Let joy banish fear from the shepherd’s breast and his pipe hymn Stilicho in the dreadless forests. As his laws have given peace to the cities so let his shows give peace to the mountains.”

She spake and straightway is borne from the leafy Alps across the sea. Hinds bow their necks to her chariot’s yoke, hinds whom the dewy moon conceived in her fertile caverns beneath the threshold of the morning sky to be the glory of the goddess. White their skins as driven snow; gold marks their foreheads whence spring branching golden horns lofty as the tallest beech-trees. Opis holds the reins. Lycaste carries the fine-wrought nets and golden snares, and deathless Molossian hounds run barking about the chariot amid the clouds. Five others thus equipped (such were Diana’s orders) hasten this way and that, each at the head of her own company; there follow them dogs of various shape, breed and character; some whose heavy jowls fit them for big game, some swift of foot,


hirsutaeque fremunt Cressae tenuesque Lacaenae 300
magnaque taurorum fracturae colla Britannae.
Dalmatiae lucos abruptaque brachia Pindi
sparsa comam Britomartis agit. tu Gallica cingis
lustra, Leontodame, Germanorumque paludes
eruis et si quis defensus harundine Rheni 305
vastus aper nimio dentes curvaverat aevo.
nubiferas Alpes Appenninique recessus
Garganique nives Hecaërge prompta fatigat.
speluncas canibus Thero rimatur Hiberas
informesque cavis ursos detrudit ab antris, 310
quorum saepe Tagus manantes sanguine rictus
non satiavit aquis et quos iam frigore segnes
Pyrenaea tegit latebrosis frondibus ilex.
Cyrnaeis Siculisque iugis venata virago
Nebrophone cervos aliasque in vincula cogit 315
non saevas pecudes, sed luxuriantis harenae
delicias, pompam nemorum.
Quodcumque tremendum
dentibus aut insigne iubis aut nobile cornu
aut rigidum saetis, capitur decus omne timorque
silvarum. non cauta latent, non mole resistunt 320
fortia, non volucri fugiunt pernicia cursu.
haec laqueis innexa gemunt; haec clausa feruntur
ilignis domibus. fabri nec tigna polire
sufficiunt; rudibus fagis texuntur et ornis
frondentes caveae. ratibus pars ibat onustis 325
per freta vel fluvios: exanguis dextera torpet
remigis et propriam metuebat navita mercem.
per terram pars ducta rotis, longoque morantur


some keen of scent; shaggy Cretans bay, slender Spartans, and Britons that can break the backs of mighty bulls. Britomartis scours the woods of Dalmatia and the precipitous ridges of Pindus, her hair flying in the wind. Thou, Leontodame, surroundest the glades of Gaul and huntest the marshes of Germany, tracking out any huge boar, his tusks flexed with age, that may have taken shelter among the sedges that flank the Rhine. Swift Hecaërge tires the cloud-capped Alps, the valleys of the Apennines, and the snows of Garganus. Thero with her dogs explores the caves of Spain and from their recesses ousts the horrid bears of whose bloody jaws full oft Tagus’ flood has failed to quench the thirst, and whose bodies, numbed with cold, the holm-oak of the Pyrenees o’ershadows with its leaves. The manlike maiden Nebrophone hunts the mountains of Corsica and Sicily and captures deer and other harmless beasts, beasts that are the joy of the rich amphitheatre and the glory of the woods.

Whatsoever inspires fear with its teeth, wonder with its mane, awe with its horns and bristling coat—all the beauty, all the terror of the forest is taken. Guile protects them not; neither strength nor weight avails them; their speed saves not the fleet of foot. Some roar enmeshed in snares; some are thrust into wooden cages and carried off. There are not carpenters enough to fashion the wood; leafy prisons are constructed of unhewn beech and elm. Boats laden with some of the animals traverse seas and rivers; bloodless from terror the rower’s hand is stayed, for the sailor fears the merchandise he carries. Others are transported over land in wagons that block the roads with the long procession,


ordine plaustra vias montanis plena triumphis
et fera sollicitis vehitur captiva iuvencis, 330
explebat quibus ante famem, quotiensque reflexi
conspexere boves, pavidi temone recedunt.
Iamque pererratis Libyae flagrantibus oris
legerat eximios Phoebi germana leones,
Hesperidas qui saepe fugant ventoque citatis 335
terrificant Atlanta iubis armentaque longe
vastant Aethiopum quorumque impune fragosa
murmura pastorum numquam venere per aures.
non illos taedae ardentes, non strata superne
lapsuro virgulta solo, non vocibus haedi 340
pendentis stimulata fames, non fossa fefellit;
ultro se voluere capi gaudentque videri
tantae praeda deae. respirant pascua tandem;
agricolae reserant iam tuta mapalia Mauri,
tum virides pardos et cetera colligit Austri 345
prodigia inmanesque simul Latonia dentes,
qui secti ferro in tabulas auroque micantes
inscripti rutilum caelato consule nomen
per proceres et vulgus eant. stupor omnibus Indis
plurimus ereptis elephas inglorius errat 350
dentibus: insedit nigra cervice gementum
et fixum dea quassat ebur penitusque cruentis
stirpibus avulsis patulos exarmat hiatus,
ipsos quin etiam nobis miracula vellet
ducere: sed pigra cunctari mole veretur. 355
Tyrrhenas fetus Libycos amplexa per undas


bearing the spoils of the mountains. The wild beast is borne a captive by those troubled cattle on whom in times past he sated his hunger, and each time that the oxen turned and looked at their burden they pull away in terror from the pole.

By now Phoebus’ sister had wandered o’er the torrid plains of Libya and chosen out superb lions who had often put the Hesperides to flight, filled Atlas with alarm at their wind-tossed manes, and plundered far and wide the flocks of Ethiopia, lions whose terrible cries had never struck upon the herdsmen’s ears but as heralding their destruction. To catch them had been used no blazing torches, no twigs strewn over turf undermined; the voice of a tethered kid had not allured their hunger nor had a diggèd pit ensnared them: of their own free will they gave themselves up to capture and rejoiced at being seen the prey of so great a goddess. At length the countryside breathes again and the Moorish farmers unbar their now safe huts. Then Latonia collected grey-spotted[19] leopards and other marvels of the south and huge ivory tusks which, carved with iron into plaques and inlaid with gold to form the glistening inscription of the consul’s name, should pass in procession among lords and commons. All India stood in speechless amaze to see many an elephant go shorn of the glory of his tusks. Seated upon their black necks despite their cries the goddess shook the fixèd ivory and tearing it up from its bloody roots disarmed the monstrous mouths. Nay, she fain would have brought the elephants themselves as a spectacle but feared that their vast weight would retard the ships.

Fiercely o’er the Tyrrhene wave echoes the fleet

[19] Literally “green.” Latin (and Greek) colour epithets are often strangely at variance with ours.


classis torva[20] sonat, caudamque in puppe retorquens
ad proram iacet usque leo: vix sublevat unum
tarda ratis! fremitus stagnis auditur in imis
cunctaque prosiliunt cete terrenaque Nereus 360
confert monstra suis et non aequare fatetur.
aequora sic victor quotiens per rubra Lyaeus
navigat, intorquet clavum Silenus et acres
adsudant tonsis Satyri taurinaque pulsu
Baccharum Bromios invitant tympana remos: 365
transtra ligant hederae, malum circumflua vestit
pampinus, antennis inlabitur ebria serpens,
perque mero madidos currunt saliuntque rudentes
lynces et insolitae mirantur carbasa tigres.

[20] torva Birt; MSS. have turba.


that holds the Libyan breed, and, as he coils his tail upon the stern, a lion stretches to the prow; that single beast the labouring bark can scarce uplift; deep down below the waters is heard the roaring. Out rushes the leviathan. Neptune compares these land prodigies to his and admits that his are not their equal. So whene’er victorious Bacchus ploughs the Red Sea’s waves, Silenus sways the helm, the urgent Satyrs sweat upon their oars and the oxhide drums, smitten by the Bacchants, summon the rowers of Bromius to toil at the thwarts; ivy-wreaths deck the benches, the pliant vine entwines the mast; a drunken snake glides out upon the yardarms; lynxes run and leap along the sheets that drip with wine, and unaccustomed tigers stare in amaze at the canvas.





Omnia, quae sensu volvuntur vota diurno,
pectore sopito reddit amica quies.
venator defessa toro cum membra reponit,
mens tamen ad silvas et sua lustra redit.
iudicibus lites, aurigae somnia currus 5
vanaque nocturnis meta cavetur equis.
furto gaudet amans, permutat navita merces
et vigil elapsas quaerit avarus opes,
blandaque largitur frustra sitientibus aegris
inriguus gelido pocula fonte sopor. 10
Me quoque Musarum studium sub nocte silenti
artibus adsuetis sollicitare solet.
namque poli media stellantis in arce videbar
ante pedes summi carmina ferre Iovis;
utque favet somnus, plaudebant numina dictis 15
et circumfusi sacra corona chori.
Enceladus mihi carmen erat victusque Typhoeus:
hic subit Inarimen, hunc gravis Aetna domat.





All things that with waking sense desire ponders kindly repose brings back to the slumbering mind. The huntsman stretches his weary limbs upon the couch, yet his mind ever returns to the woods where his quarry lurks. The judge dreams of law-suits, the charioteer of his chariot the nightly steeds of which he guides past a shadowy turning-point. The lover repeats love’s mysteries, the merchant makes exchange of goods, the miser still watchfully grasps at elusive riches, and to thirsty sufferers all-pervading sleep offers from a cooling spring idly alluring draughts.

I am a lover of the Muses and in the silent night I too am haunted by that my accustomed task. For meseemed I stood upon the very summit of the starry sky and laid my songs at Jove’s feet, and, in the flattery of sleep, the gods and all the sacred band gathered about Jove’s throne gave applause to my words. I sang of Enceladus and conquered Typhoeus, the first a prisoner beneath Inarime, the second oppressed by the weight of Etna. How


quam laetum post bella Iovem susceperat aether
Phlegraeae referens praemia militiae! 20
Additur ecce fides nec me mea lusit imago,
inrita nec falsum somnia misit ebur.
en princeps, en orbis apex aequatus Olympo!
en quales memini, turba verenda, deos!
fingere nil maius potuit sopor, altaque vati 25
conventum caelo praebuit aula parem.


joyous was that Jove whom, after the war with the giants, heaven welcomed, enriched with the spoils from Phlegra’s field!

My dream has come true; ’twas no vain imagining; nor did the false ivory gate[21] send forth an unaccomplished dream. Behold our lord, behold earth towering to heaven’s height! Here before me are gods such as I then saw, gods worthy of all reverence. Nought greater could dreams have fancied; this noble assembly offers the poet an audience like to that of heaven.

[21] A reference to the famous epilogue of Verg. Aen. vi. (ll. 893-96). Dreams which come through the ivory gate are false, those which issue from the gate of horn, true.




Aurea Fortunae Reduci si templa priores
ob reditum vovere ducum, non dignius umquam
haec dea pro meritis amplas sibi posceret aedes,
quam sua cum pariter trabeis reparatur et urbi
maiestas: neque enim campus sollemnis et urna 5
luditur in morem, species nec dissona coetu
aut peregrina nitet simulati iuris imago.
indigenas habitus nativa palatia sumunt,
et, patriis plebem castris sociante Quirino,
Mars augusta sui renovat suffragia campi. 10
qualis erit terris, quem mons Euandrius offert
Romanis avibus, quem Thybris inaugurat, annus?
quamquam omnes, quicumque tui cognominis, anni
semper inoffensum dederint successibus omen
sintque tropaea tuas semper comitata secures, 15
hic tamen ante omnes miro promittitur ortu,
urbis et Augusti geminato numine felix.
namque velut stellas Babylonia cura salubres
optima tunc spondet mortalibus edere fata,
caelicolae cum celsa tenent summoque feruntur 20




If our ancestors vowed temples to “Home-bringing Fortune” in honour of the return of their generals, never would this goddess more worthily claim for her services a noble temple than when their proper majesty is restored alike to the consulship and to Rome. The annual election in the Campus Martius is not the accustomed farce, nor see we a consul of other race than his electors nor a foreigner claiming pretended rights.[22] The palace now our own wears a native dress, and while Quirinus associates the people with the armies of Italy, Mars gives back to his own Field its imperial suffrage. What will the year be like for mortals that is ushered in by omens on the Palatine Hill so favourable to true sons of Rome and inaugurated on the banks of the Tiber? ’Tis true that years marked by thy name have ever been rich in omens of success and that victory has always accompanied thy consulship, yet by its wondrous dawn is this year set before all years, blessed by the twofold deity of Rome and of her Emperor. For as Babylonian lore gives assurance that propitious stars do then promise the best fortune to mortals when they hold the summit of the sky and their course is at the zenith, not dimming their

[22] Claudian means that this year there is a real election (cf. Lucan, v. 392 for a similar passage) and that the new consul is a true Roman.


cardine nec radios humili statione recondunt:
haud aliter Latiae sublimis Signifer aulae,
imperii sidus propria cum sede locavit,
auget spes Italas; et certius omina surgunt
victrici concepta solo.
Cum pulcher Apollo 25
lustrat Hyperboreas Delphis cessantibus aras,
nil tum Castaliae rivis communibus undae
dissimiles, vili nec discrepat arbore laurus,
antraque maesta silent inconsultique recessus.
at si Phoebus adest et frenis grypha iugalem 30
Riphaeo tripodas repetens detorsit ab axe,
tunc silvae, tunc antra loqui, tunc vivere fontes,
tunc sacer horror aquis adytisque effunditur Echo
clarior et doctae spirant praesagia rupes.
ecce Palatino crevit reverentia monti 35
exultatque habitante deo potioraque Delphis
supplicibus late populis oracula pandit
atque suas ad signa iubet revirescere laurus.
Non alium certe decuit rectoribus orbis
esse larem, nulloque magis se colle potestas 40
aestimat et summi sentit fastigia iuris;
attollens apicem subiectis regia rostris
tot circum delubra videt tantisque deorum
cingitur excubiis! iuvat infra tecta Tonantis
cernere Tarpeia pendentes rupe Gigantas 45
caelatasque fores mediisque volantia signa
nubibus et densum stipantibus aethera templis
aeraque vestitis numerosa puppe columnis
consita subnixasque iugis inmanibus aedes,


light by a low position in the sky; so the Standard-bearer of the Latin palace[23] at his zenith gives hope of a brighter future for Italy in placing the star of our empire in its true position. Omens that have their origin in Rome’s victorious soil are the more sure of fulfilment.

When fair Apollo leaves Delphi’s shrine and visits the altars of the north, Castalia’s waters differ in no wise from those of any common stream, nor the laurel from any common tree; sad and silent is the cave and the shrine without a worshipper. But if Phoebus is there, Phoebus returned from Scythian climes to his Delphic tripod, guiding thither his yoked griffins, the woods, the caves regain their voice, the streams their life; the sacred ripple revisits the face of the waters, a clearer echo resounds from the shrine and the now inspired rocks tremble to the voice of prophecy. Now the Palatine Mount is exalted with honour and rejoices in the return of its native deity; far and wide among the suppliant peoples it spreads oracles surer even than those of Delphi and bids its laurels grow green again to deck the standards of Rome.

Of a truth no other city could fitly be the home of the world’s rulers; on this hill is majesty most herself, and knows the height of her supreme sway; the palace, raising its head above the forum that lies at its feet, sees around it so many temples and is surrounded by so many protecting deities. See below the Thunderer’s temple the Giants suspended from the Tarpeian rock, behold the sculptured doors, the cloud-capped statues, the sky-towering temples, the brazen prows of many a vessel welded on to lofty columns, the temples built on massy crags where the

[23] i.e. the Emperor. Signifer also means the zodiac. Claudian puns on the ambiguity.


naturam cumulante manu, spoliisque micantes 50
innumeros arcus. acies stupet igne metalli
et circumfuso trepidans obtunditur auro.
Agnoscisne tuos, princeps venerande, penates?
haec sunt, quae primis olim miratus in annis
patre pio monstrante puer. nil optimus ille 55
divorum toto meruit felicius aevo,
quam quod Romuleis victor sub moenibus egit
te consorte dies, cum se melioribus addens
exemplis civem gereret terrore remoto,
alternos cum plebe iocos dilectaque passus 60
iurgia patriciasque domos privataque passim
visere deposito dignatus limina fastu.
publicus hinc ardescit amor, cum moribus aequis
inclinat populo regale modestia culmen.
teque rudem vitae, quamvis diademate necdum 65
cingebare comas, socium sumebat honorum
purpureo fotum gremio, parvumque triumphis
imbuit et magnis docuit praeludere fatis.
et linguis variae gentes missique rogatum
foedera Persarum proceres cum patre sedentem 70
hac quondam videre domo positoque tiaram
summisere genu. tecum praelarga vocavit
ditandas ad dona tribus; fulgentia tecum
collecti trabeatus adit delubra senatus
Romano puerum gaudens offerre favori, 75
ut novus imperio iam tunc adsuesceret heres.


hand of man has added to the work of nature, the countless triumphal arches glittering with spoils. The eyes are dazed by the blaze of metal and blink outwearied by the surrounding gold.

Adored Prince, dost thou recognize thy house? ’Tis the same that thy loving sire showed to thy wondering eyes while yet thou wert a boy of tender years. Never in all his life did Theodosius, best of all the gods, better deserve our love than when, triumphant over all his foes, he came with thee to Rome to sojourn within its walls, and there, following the example of the noblest emperors, lived as a simple citizen, not seeking to inspire terror by his name but condescending to exchange banter and harmless raillery with the people and as ready to lay aside his rank and visit the homes of the poor as to enter the palaces of the noble. ’Tis thus the public love is kindled when with just humanity modesty bids royal state stoop to the people. And thee, while still but a boy, though the crown had not yet encircled thy head, thy father took to share his honours,[24] cherishing thee in his royal bosom, giving thy youth its first taste of triumphs and teaching it the prelude of its mighty destiny. Peoples of every tongue and Persian chiefs sent to solicit alliance in Rome[25] once saw thee seated with thy father in this very palace and bowing the knee laid their crowns at thy feet. Thou wert at his side when he summoned the tribes to receive a bounteous largess: with thee he entered the hallowed portals of the assembled senate clad in the consul’s robe, right glad to introduce his son to the goodwill of the Roman Fathers, that so his youthful heir might grow familiar with empire.

[24] Honorius was made Augustus Nov. 20, 393, shortly after his ninth birthday.

[25] The Persians seem to have sent embassies to Rome both in 387 and 389 (Themistius, Orat. xix. p. 227).


Hinc tibi concreta radice tenacius haesit
et penitus totis inolevit Roma medullis,
dilectaeque urbis tenero conceptus ab ungue
tecum crevit amor. nec te mutare reversum 80
evaluit propria nutritor Bosphorus arce.
et quotiens optare tibi quae moenia malles
adludens genitor regni pro parte dedisset,
divitis Aurorae solium sortemque paratam
sponte remittebas fratri: “regat ille volentes 85
Assyrios; habeat Pharium cum Tigride Nilum;
contingat mea Roma mihi.” nec vota fefellit
eventus. Fortuna novum molita tyrannum
iam tibi quaerebat Latium belloque secundo
protinus Eoa velox accitus ab aula 90
suscipis Hesperiam patrio bis Marte receptam.
ipsa per Illyricas urbes Oriente relicto
ire Serena comes nullo deterrita casu,
materna te mente fovens Latioque futurum
rectorem generumque sibi seniore supernas 95
iam repetente plagas. illo sub cardine rerum
sedula servatum per tot discrimina pignus
restituit sceptris patrui castrisque mariti.
certavit pietate domus, fidaeque reductum
coniugis officio Stilichonis cura recepit. 100
Felix ille parens, qui te secures Olympum
succedente petit! quam laetus ab aethere cernit
se factis crevisse tuis! duo namque fuere


Hence taking firmer root the love of Rome clung to thee more closely and grew strong, deep-planted in all thy heart. As thou grewest the affection which thou hadst found in childhood for the city grew too; nor was Bosporus, whose cherished town was thy nurse, able on thy return to seduce thee from that love. Every time that thy sire in sport gave thee thy choice of whatsoever cities thou didst prefer to govern as thy share of empire, thou didst leave to thy brother Arcadius the throne and riches of the East and the lands which by inheritance should be his. “Let him rule over the servile Assyrians,” thou saidst, “let Nile, the river of Egypt, and the Tigris be his; let me have my beloved Rome.” Thy wishes have been fulfilled. Fortune set up a new tyrant only to ensure for thee the governance of Latium. So soon as ever the war was brought to a successful conclusion thou wert summoned from the court of Byzantium to undertake the rule of Italy twice conquered by thy father’s arms. Serena herself left the East and accompanied thee in thy journey across Illyria: fearless in face of danger she bestowed a mother’s care on thee who wert to be lord of Latium and her own son-in-law after Theodosius’ translation to the sky. She kept careful guard over the child entrusted to her protection through the dangers of that critical time and brought thee safe to her uncle’s throne and her husband’s army. Stilicho and Serena vied in love toward thee and what Serena’s care had brought safe home Stilicho’s affection welcomed there.

Happy father to enter heaven with no fears for the future; he knew that thou wert to succeed him. With what joy he looks down from above and sees his glory enhanced by thine exploits! Europe and


Europae Libyaeque hostes: Maurusius Atlas
Gildonis Furias, Alaricum barbara Peuce 105
nutrierat, qui saepe tuum sprevere profana
mente patrem. Thracum venienti e[26] finibus alter
Hebri clausit aquas; alter praecepta vocantis
respuit auxiliisque ad proxima bella negatis
abiurata palam Libyae possederat arva: 110
quorum nunc meritam repetens non inmemor iram
suppliciis fruitur natoque ultore triumphat.
ense Thyestiadae poenas exegit Orestes,
sed mixtum pietate nefas dubitandaque caedis
gloria, materno laudem cum crimine pensat; 115
pavit Iuleos inviso sanguine manes
Augustus, sed falsa pii praeconia sumpsit
in luctum patriae civili strage parentans:
at tibi causa patris rerum coniuncta saluti
bellorum duplicat laurus, isdemque tropaeis 120
reddita libertas orbi, vindicta parenti.
Sed mihi iam pridem captum Parnasia Maurum
Pieriis egit fidibus chelys; arma Getarum
nuper apud socerum plectro celebrata recenti.
adventus nunc sacra tui libet edere Musis 125
grataque patratis exordia sumere bellis.
Iam Pollentini tenuatus funere campi
concessaque sibi (rerum sic admonet usus)
luce, tot amissis sociis atque omnibus una
direptis opibus, Latio discedere iussus 130

[26] Birt prints the venientem finibus of A and B (the other MSS. have veniens e), and the aquis (l. 108) of the better MSS. I have adopted Heinsius’ emendation venienti with some hesitation.


Africa were alike threatened by foes: from Mount Atlas came fierce Gildo; Alaric from Peuce’s savage isle. Often had both with impious daring set at nought the commands of thy sire. When he came from the lands of Thrace Alaric closed against him the waters of the Danube; Gildo scorned his command and, refusing assistance for a neighbouring war, had seized on the fields of Libya he had long forsworn. Theodosius recalls the anger he then justly felt and rejoices to witness their discomfiture, proud to have his son for his avenger. Orestes’ sword took vengeance on the son of Thyestes[27]; but guilt was blent with piety, and the sword-stroke brings doubtful glory when honour is balanced by a mother’s murder; Augustus sated the shade of Caesar with his enemies’ blood, but he made a false advertisement of piety when, to the grief of his fatherland, he offered the blood of citizens to his father’s ghost. But for thee thy sire’s cause, linked as it is with the general safety, doubles thy warlike fame; the same victory that has avenged thy sire has restored peace to the world.

My lyre inspired by the Muses of Pieria has long since sung of the defeat and capture of the Moor; but of late, too, in Stilicho’s presence I have celebrated in verse the wars against the Getae. To-day I would fain sing the glories of thy home-coming and, ceasing to tell of wars, would prelude a theme of thankfulness.

Alaric, his hopes ruined by his bloody defeat at Pollentia, though policy dictated that his life should be spared, was nevertheless deserted by all his allies and bereft of all his resources. He was forced to leave Latium and to retrace his steps in ruin and

[27] Aegisthus.


hostis et inmensi revolutus culmine fati
turpe retexit iter. qualis piratica puppis,
quae cunctis infensa fretis scelerumque referta
divitiis multasque diu populata carinas
incidit in magnam bellatricemque triremim, 135
dum praedam de more putat; viduataque caesis
remigibus, scissis velorum debilis alis,
orba gubernaclis, antennis saucia fractis
ludibrium pelagi vento iactatur et unda,
vastato tandem poenas luitura profundo: 140
talis ab urbe minas retro flectebat inanes
Italiam fugiens, et quae venientibus ante
prona fuit, iam difficilis, iam dura reversis.
clausa putat sibi cuncta pavor, retroque relictos
quos modo temnebat, rediens exhorruit amnes. 145
Undosa tum forte domo vitreisque sub antris
rerum ignarus adhuc ingentes pectore curas
volvebat pater Eridanus: quis bella maneret
exitus? imperiumne Iovi legesque placerent
et vitae Romana quies, an iura perosus 150
ad priscos pecudum damnaret saecula ritus?
talia dum secum movet anxius, advolat una
Naiadum resoluta comam, complexaque patrem
“en Alaricus” ait “non qualem nuper ovantem
vidimus; exangues, genitor, mirabere vultus. 155
percensere manum tantaque ex gente iuvabit
relliquias numerasse breves. iam desine maesta
fronte queri Nymphasque choris iam redde sorores.”
Dixerat; ille caput placidis sublime fluentis
extulit, et totis lucem spargentia ripis 160


disgrace; such was the complete reversal of his fortune.[28] As when a pirate ship, the terror of every sea, laden with the spoils of violence and the booty taken from many a captured merchantman, falls in with a great man-of-war and hopes to secure it for its prey as vessels heretofore, then indeed crippled by the slaughter of its oarsmen and the rending of its sails, deprived of its rudder and all but destroyed by the breaking of its yardarms, it is driven this way and that at the mercy of wind and wave and at last pays the penalty for its piracy; even so Alaric turned backwards his vain threatenings, fleeing from Italy that, once so easy for his advance, was now so difficult for his retreat. His fear makes him believe every road barred, and rivers, erstwhile left behind in scorn, fill him with alarm on his return.

Meanwhile, as it fell out, father Eridanus in his watery home beneath the crystal caverns, ignorant as yet of what had happened, was pondering weighty cares. What, he wondered, would be the outcome of the war: would Jove approve empire and law and Rome’s days of peace, or would he, abhorring order, condemn future ages to the primal ways of brute beasts? As he anxiously ponders such things one of the Naiads with hair unbound came and embraced her sire and said, “Alaric is other now than once we saw him in his hour of triumph: thou wilt wonder at the pallor of his countenance. Joy it will be to reckon up his army and number the remains of so great a host. Frown no more nor complain; let my sister nymphs once more enjoy their dances.”

So spake she and he lifted his gracious head above the gliding stream and on his dripping forehead

[28] Claudian did not live to see the next “reversal of fortune,” Alaric’s capture of Rome six years later.


aurea roranti micuerunt cornua vultu.
non illi madidum vulgaris harundine crinem
velat honos; rami caput umbravere virentes
Heliadum totisque fluunt electra capillis.
palla tegit latos umeros, curruque paterno 165
intextus Phaëthon glaucos incendit amictus.
fultaque sub gremio caelatis nobilis astris
aetherium probat urna decus. namque omnia luctus
argumenta sui Titan signavit Olympo:
mutatumque senem plumis et fronde sorores 170
et fluvium, nati qui vulnera lavit anheli;
stat gelidis Auriga plagis; vestigia fratris
germanae servant Hyades, Cygnique sodalis
lacteus extentas adspergit circulus alas;
stelliger Eridanus sinuatis flexibus errans 175
clara Noti convexa rigat gladioque tremendum
gurgite sidereo subterluit Oriona.
Hoc deus effulgens habitu prospexit euntes
deiecta cervice Getas; tunc talia fatur:
“sicine mutatis properas, Alarice, reverti 180
consiliis? Italae sic te iam paenitet orae?
nec iam cornipedem Thybrino gramine pascis,
ut rebare, tuum? Tuscis nec figis aratrum
collibus? o cunctis Erebi dignissime poenis,
tune Giganteis urbem temptare deorum 185
adgressus furiis? nec te meus, improbe, saltem
terruit exemplo Phaëthon, qui fulmina praeceps
in nostris efflavit aquis, dum flammea caeli


gleamed the golden horns that cast their brilliance all along the banks. No common crown of reeds adorned his oozy locks. The green branches of the daughters of the sun[29] shadowed his head and amber dripped from all his hair. A cloak was flung over his broad shoulders, a cloak whose grey texture was set aflame with an embroidery of Phaëthon and his father’s chariot. Resting beneath his breast an urn glorious with engraved stars makes clear its heaven-sent beauty. For there Phoebus had set in the sky all the sad stories of his woe: Cycnus changed into a swan, Phaëthon’s sisters transformed into trees, and the river that washed the wounds of his dying son; the charioteer is there in his icy zone, the Hyades follow on their brother’s traces, while the Milky Way sprinkles the outstretched wings of Cycnus who bears him company; the constellation of Eridanus[30] himself wets the clear southern sky in its tortuous course and with starry stream flows beneath Orion’s dread sword.

Glorious in such guise the god looked forth and saw the Getae advancing with bowed necks. Then he spake: “What, Alaric, hast thou then changed thy plans? Why hastenest thou back? Art wearied so soon of the coasts of Italy? Feedest thou not thy horses on Tiber’s grassy bank as thou thoughtest to do? Drivest not the plough on Etruria’s hills? Fit object of all the punishments of Hell, thinkest thou to attack the city of the gods with a Giant’s rage? If none other, was not my Phaëthon a warning to thee, Phaëthon fall’n from heaven to quench his flames in my waters, what time he

[29] The poplar.

[30] Eridanus was a mythical river of the far West, generally identified with the Latin Padus (mod. Po). Phaëthon is said to have fallen into it when he attempted to drive the horses of his father, the sun. After this Eridanus, the river god, became a constellation—hence Eridanus is said to “wet” the southern sky.


flectere terrenis meditatur frena lacertis
mortalique diem sperat diffundere vultu? 190
crede mihi, simili bacchatur crimine, quisquis
adspirat Romae spoliis aut Solis habenis.”
Sic fatus Ligures Venetosque erectior amnes
magna voce ciet. frondentibus umida ripis
colla levant: pulcher Ticinus et Addua visu 195
caerulus et velox Athesis tardusque meatu
Mincius inque novem consurgens ora Timavus.
insultant omnes profugo pacataque laetum
invitant ad prata pecus; iam Pana Lycaeum,
iam Dryadas revocant et rustica numina Faunos. 200
Tu quoque non parvum Getico, Verona, triumpho
adiungis cumulum, nec plus Pollentia rebus
contulit Ausoniis aut moenia vindicis Hastae.
hic, rursus dum pacta movet damnisque coactus
extremo mutare parat praesentia casu, 205
nil sibi periurum sensit prodesse furorem
converti nec fata loco, multisque suorum
diras pavit aves, inimicaque corpora volvens
Ionios Athesis mutavit sanguine fluctus.
Oblatum Stilicho violato foedere Martem 210
omnibus adripuit votis, ubi Roma periclo
iam procul et belli medio Padus arbiter ibat.
iamque opportunam motu strepuisse rebelli
gaudet perfidiam praebensque exempla labori
sustinet accensos aestivo pulvere soles. 215
ipse manu metuendus adest inopinaque cunctis


sought with mortal hand to hold the fiery reins of the sky and hoped to spread day’s brilliance from a mortal countenance? ’Tis the same mad crime, I tell thee, whosoever aspires to spoil Rome or drive the sun’s chariot.”

So spake he, and rising yet farther out of the stream he loudly summoned the rivers of Liguria and Venetia. These raise their dripping heads from among their leafy banks, fair Ticinus, blue Addua, swift Athesis, slow Mincius, and Timavus with his nine mouths. All mock at the fugitive and recall the happy flocks to the now peaceful meadows; Lycaean Pan is bidden to return and the Dryads and Fauns, gods of the countryside.

Thou too, Verona,[31] didst add no small makeweight to Rome’s victory over the Getae; not even Pollentia nor the walls of avenging Hasta did more for the salvation of Italy. Here, as once again he breaks his bond, and driven by his losses risks all in the attempt to change his present fortune, Alaric learned that his mad treachery availed him nothing and that change of place changes not destiny. The vultures fed on the countless bodies of his slain, and Athesis, carrying down the corpses of Rome’s enemies in its stream, turned the waters of the Ionian sea into blood.

The treaty violated, Stilicho with all eagerness grasped at the conflict proffered where Rome was now far away from danger and Padus flowed between witnessing the strife. He rejoices that now opportune treachery has broken out in rebellious risings and, setting an example of endurance, he shirks neither fiery sun nor scorching dust. Himself he is everywhere with dreadful arm; he stations troops

[31] The chroniclers do not mention this battle. It is probably to be attributed to the summer of 403.


instruit arma locis et qua vocat usus ab omni
parte venit. fesso si deficit agmine miles,
utitur auxiliis damni securus, et astu
debilitat saevum cognatis viribus Histrum 220
et duplici lucro committens proelia vertit
in se barbariem nobis utrimque cadentem.
ipsum te caperet letoque, Alarice, dedisset,
ni calor incauti male festinatus Alani
dispositum turbasset opus; prope captus anhelum 225
verbere cogis equum, nec te vitasse dolemus.
i potius genti reliquus tantisque superstes
Danuvii populis, i, nostrum vive tropaeum.
Non tamen ingenium tantis se cladibus atrox
deicit: occulto temptabat tramite montes, 230
si qua per scopulos subitas exquirere posset
in Raetos Gallosque vias. sed fortior obstat
cura ducis. quis enim divinum fallere pectus
possit et excubiis vigilantia lumina regni?
cuius consilium non umquam repperit hostis 235
nec potuit texisse suum. secreta Getarum
nosse prior celerique dolis occurrere sensu.
Omnibus exclusus coeptis consedit in uno
colle tremens; frondesque licet depastus amaras
arboreo figat sonipes in cortice morsus 240
et taetris collecta cibis annique vapore


at every point, even where the enemy little expected them, and hastens in any and every direction to the succour of him who needs it. If the soldiers flag with wearied ranks he throws the auxiliaries into the line heedless of their loss; thus he cunningly weakens the savage tribes of the Danube by opposing one tribe to another and with twofold gain joins battle that turns barbarians against themselves to perish in either army for our sake. Thee too, Alaric, he had captured and delivered over to death had not the hasty zeal of the rash Alan chief upset his carefully laid scheme. All but a prisoner thou dost lash thy panting steed, nor do we regret that escape. Rather get thee gone, thou last remnant of thy race, sole survivor of so many Danubian tribes; get thee gone, the living witness of Rome’s triumph.

Yet was his[32] fierce spirit not cast down by these great reverses; he still attempted to discover an unknown path across the mountains, hoping that over their rocky summits he might fall suddenly on the peoples of Raetia and Gaul. But Stilicho’s more soldierly vigilance put a stop to his projects. Who indeed could hope to deceive that unsleeping brain, those godlike eyes that watched o’er Italy? Never did an enemy succeed in discovering Stilicho’s plans or had power to conceal his own. Before they knew them themselves the secrets of the Getae were known to Stilicho, whose generalship was quick to meet their every ruse.

Baulked in every attempt Alaric camped panic-stricken on a single hill. Though the horses, feeding on bitter leaves, gnawed even the tree-bark, though pestilence raged, brought on by foul food and

[32] i.e. Alaric’s.


saeviat aucta lues et miles probra superbus
ingerat obsesso captivaque pignora monstret:
non tamen aut morbi tabes aut omne periclum
docta subire fames aut praedae luctus ademptae 245
aut pudor aut dictis movere procacibus irae,
ut male temptato totiens se credere campo
comminus auderet. nulla est victoria maior,
quam quae confessos animo quoque subiugat hostes.
iamque frequens rarum decerpere transfuga robur 250
coeperat inque dies numerus decrescere castris,
nec iam deditio paucis occulta parari,
sed cunei totaeque palam discedere turmae.
consequitur vanoque fremens clamore retentat
cumque suis iam bella gerit; mox nomina supplex 255
cum fletu precibusque ciet veterumque laborum
admonet et frustra iugulum parcentibus offert,
defixoque malis animo sua membra suasque
cernit abire manus: qualis Cybeleia quassans
Hyblaeus procul aera senex revocare fugaces 260
tinnitu conatur apes, quae sponte relictis
descivere favis, sonituque exhaustus inani
raptas mellis opes solitaeque oblita latebrae
perfida deplorat vacuis examina ceris.
Ergo ubi praeclusae voci laxata remisit 265
frena dolor, notas oculis umentibus Alpes
adspicit et nimium diversi stamine fati


aggravated by the season’s heat, though the soldiers arrogantly heaped abuse on their beleaguered leader and reminded him of their captured children; yet neither the ravages of disease nor famine that teaches men to face all dangers, nor grief for spoils lost, nor the voice of shame nor anger at bitter gibes could tempt him to brave the perils of a hand-to-hand fight, tried so often before and with such ill success. What triumph more complete than that of extorting from a conquered foe the admission that he is conquered? And now numbers of deserters began to weaken his already reduced strength and day by day his forces were diminished. Sedition was not now the hidden work of a few but meant the open defection of whole sections and squadrons. Their general rides after them and with angry curses and vain clamour seeks to hold them back, waging war now on his own troops. He weeps, calls the men by name, recalls them with prayers and supplications; he reminds them of past campaigns and all to no purpose offers his throat to their reluctant hands. His mind a prey to melancholy he sees his forces desert him, his army melt away, even as an old bee-master of Hybla, beating Cybele’s gong, tries, by means of that noise, to recall his scattered bees who have wantonly left their combs and fled the hive, till, himself wearied of the useless sound, he weeps the loss of his store of honey and cries out upon the faithless swarm that has forgotten its accustomed home and left its cells empty.

And so when grief loosed the string of his tongue that had long been mute he looked with tear-dimmed eyes upon the well-known Alps and pondered upon his present retreat, attended by a fate so different


praesentes reditus fortunatosque revolvit
ingressus: solo peragens tum murmure bellum
protento leviter frangebat moenia conto 270
inridens scopulos; nunc desolatus et expes
debita pulsato reddit spectacula monti.
tunc sic Ausonium respectans aethera fatur:
“Heu regio funesta Getis, heu terra sinistris
auguriis calcata mihi, satiare nocentum 275
cladibus et tandem nostris inflectere poenis!
en ego, qui toto sublimior orbe ferebar
ante tuum felix aditum, ceu legibus exul
addictusque reus flatu propiore sequentum
terga premor. quae prima miser, quae funera dictis
posteriora querar? non me Pollentia tantum 281
nec captae cruciastis opes; hoc aspera fati
sors tulerit Martisque vices. non funditus armis
concideram; stipatus adhuc equitumque catervis
integer ad montes reliquo cum robore cessi, 285
quos Appenninum perhibent. hunc esse ferebat
incola, qui Siculum porrectus ad usque Pelorum
finibus ab Ligurum populos complectitur omnes
Italiae geminumque latus stringentia longe
utraque perpetuo discriminat aequora tractu. 290
haec ego continuum si per iuga tendere cursum,
ut prior iratae fuerat sententia menti,
iam desperata voluissem luce, quid ultra?
omnibus oppeterem fama maiore perustis!
et certe moriens propius te, Roma, viderem, 295
ipsaque per cultas segetes mors nostra secuto
victori damnosa foret. sed pignora nobis


from that which had prospered his advance. Then with a single whisper he made war, with an outstretched spear lightly overthrew walls, making a mock of precipices; now deserted and in despair he offered a just spectacle to the mountains he had so scornfully crossed. Then looking up at the sky of Italy he said: “Land of death for the Getae, trod by me with such omens of disaster, let thy wrath be now appeased by the sacrifice of so many of the guilty; let my sufferings at last excite thy compassion. Behold me, once lord of the world, the friend of fortune till I invaded thee; now, like an exile or an adjudged criminal, I feel upon my back the nearer breath of my pursuers. Alas! which of my disasters shall I lament first, which last? Not thou, Pollentia, nor ye, my captured treasures, have thus tortured me; be that destiny’s harsh lot or the chance of war. I had not then lost all my forces; with troops still at my back, with my cavalry intact, I retired with the remnant of my army to the hills they call the Apennines. Its inhabitants told me that this mountain stretched from the confines of Liguria as far as the promontory of Pelorus in Sicily and embraced all the peoples of Italy, dividing with its unbroken chain the two seas that wash their country’s two coasts. If I had pursued the plan that anger first dictated to me and had in my desperation continued my march along its crest, what lay beyond? Giving everything to the flames I might have died with loftier fame. Ay, and my dying eyes had beheld thee, Rome, from not so far away, and my very death would have cost the victor dear as he pursued me over the well-tilled cornfields. But Rome held my


Romanus carasque nurus praedamque tenebat.
hoc magis exertum raperem succinctior agmen.
“Heu, quibus insidiis, qua me circumdedit arte 300
fatalis semper Stilicho! dum parcere fingit,
rettudit[33] hostiles animos bellumque remenso
evaluit transferre Pado. pro foedera saevo
deteriora iugo! tunc vis extincta Getarum;
tunc mihi, tunc letum pepigi. violentior armis 305
omnibus expugnat nostram clementia gentem,
Mars gravior sub pace latet, capiorque vicissim
fraudibus ipse meis. quis iam solacia fesso
consiliumve dabit? socius suspectior hoste.
“Atque utinam cunctos licuisset perdere bello! 310
nam quisquis duro cecidit certamine, numquam
desinit esse meus. melius mucrone perirent,
auferretque mihi luctu leviore sodales
victa manus quam laesa fides. nullusne clientum
permanet? offensi comites, odere propinqui. 315
quid moror invisam lucem? qua sede recondam
naufragii fragmenta mei? quaeve arva requiram,
in quibus haud umquam Stilicho nimiumque potentis
Italiae nomen nostras circumsonet aures?”
Haec memorans instante fugam Stilichone tetendit
expertas horrens aquilas; comitatur euntem 321
Pallor et atra Fames et saucia lividus ora
Luctus et inferno stridentes agmine Morbi.
lustralem tum rite facem, cui lumen odorum

[33] rettudit Isengr. mg.; Birt reads rettulit, following EVA.


children captive, my wives, my wealth—yet, freed from such hindrances, my advance had been the more rapid.

“With what cunning, with what skill, did Stilicho, that ever fatal enemy, ensnare me! His pretended mercy did but blunt my warlike spirit, and availed him to shift the war backwards across the Po. A curse on that armistice, more damaging than the yoke of slavery. ’Twas then the cause of the Getae was undone, then that I signed my own death-warrant. More rudely than any weapon did mercy destroy our people, beneath that semblance of peace lay the deadliest form of war, and I myself fell into the snare I had laid for others. I am weary of it all; where shall I find comfort or counsel? I fear my friends more than my foes.

“Would God I had lost them all on that field. He is ever mine that has fallen in hard conflict. Better all had perished by the sword; less bitter had been my grief for losses inflicted by a victorious foe than for those brought upon me by treachery. Is there not left one faithful follower? My comrades have turned against me, my friends hate me. My life is a burden; why prolong it? Where hide the remnants of my shipwrecked fortunes? To what land shall I flee where the names of Stilicho and all too powerful Italy shall not sound for ever in mine ears?”

So spake he, and with Stilicho pressing hard upon him fled in terror before our eagles. With him goes Pallor, black Hunger, Despair with bloodless, wounded countenance and a hellish company of shrieking Diseases. Then the learnèd priest whirls around the sick body[34] the torch of purification

[34] i.e. the sick body of Italy which has to be purified after the polluting presence of Alaric. With “rore pio spargens” cf. Verg. Aen. vi. 230, and for the throwing over the head of the purificatory instrument see Verg. Ec. viii. 102.


sulphure caeruleo nigroque bitumine fumat, 325
circum membra rotat doctus purganda sacerdos
rore pio spargens, et dira fugantibus herbis
numina purificumque Iovem Triviamque precatus
trans caput aversis manibus iaculatur in Austrum
secum rapturas cantata piacula taedas. 330
Acrior interea visendi principis ardor
accendit cum plebe patres et saepe negatum
flagitat adventum; nec tali publica vota
consensu tradunt atavi caluisse per urbem,
Dacica bellipotens cum fregerat Ulpius arma 335
atque indignantes in iura redegerat Arctos,
cum fasces cinxere Hypanin mirataque leges
Romanum stupuit Maeotia terra tribunal.
nec tantis patriae studiis ad templa vocatus,
clemens Marce, redis, cum gentibus undique cinctam
exuit Hesperiam paribus Fortuna periclis. 341
laus ibi nulla ducum; nam flammeus imber in hostem
decidit; hunc dorso trepidum fumante ferebat
ambustus sonipes; hic tabescente solutus
subsedit galea liquefactaque fulgure cuspis 345
canduit et subitis fluxere vaporibus enses.
tum contenta polo mortalis nescia teli
pugna fuit: Chaldaea mago seu carmina ritu
armavere deos, seu, quod reor, omne Tonantis
obsequium Marci mores potuere mereri. 350
nunc quoque praesidium Latio non deesset Olympi,
deficeret si nostra manus; sed providus aether


with its smoky, odorous flame of blue sulphur and black bitumen; he sprinkles the limbs with holy water and with herbs that banish evil influences and, praying to Jove the Purifier and to Diana, with back-turned hands throws over his head towards the South the torches which are to carry off with them the spells cast over the sick.

Meanwhile the ardent desire of both senate and people to behold their emperor demands his often denied return. Not with such consent, our grandsires report, were public vows eagerly offered throughout the city when warlike Trajan had broken the power of Dacia and reduced the indignant north once more to subjection, what time the Scythian river Hypanis beheld the Roman axes and Lake Maeotis looked in amaze on a Roman court administering Roman law. It was a lesser enthusiasm which recalled the gentle Marcus Aurelius to give thanks in Rome’s temples for Fortune’s deliverance of Italy from a similar pressure of surrounding nations. Then ’twas no thanks to the generals: one man his scorched courser bore trembling on its smoking back; another sank down beneath his fire-wasted helmet; spears glowed molten by lightning and swords vanished suddenly into smoke. Heaven it was that fought that battle with no mortal weapons, whether it was that Chaldean seers[35] had by their magic spells won over the gods to our side or, as I rather think, that Marcus’ blameless life had power to win the Thunder’s homage. To-day, also, assuredly Heaven’s favour would not be wanting to Latium should our own hand fail, but a beneficent providence has

[35] Claudian refers to the famous legend of the “Thundering” legion, saved from dying of lack of water by a miraculous rain-storm. This miracle occurred during M. Aurelius’ war against the Marcomanni (circ. A.D. 175) and is attributed (1) to the prayers of the Christians; (2) to an Egyptian magician on Marcus’ staff (Dio Cassius lxxi. 8. 10); (3) to the emperor’s own prayers.


noluit humano titulos auferre labori,
ne tibi iam, princeps, soceri sudore paratam,
quam meruit virtus, ambirent fulmina laurum. 355
Iam totiens missi proceres responsa morandi
rettulerant, donec differri longius urbis
communes non passa preces penetralibus altis
prosiluit vultusque palam confessa coruscos
impulit ipsa suis cunctantem Roma querellis: 360
“Dissimulata diu tristes in amore repulsas
vestra parens, Auguste, queror. quonam usque tenebit
praelatus mea vota Ligus? vetitumque propinqua
luce frui, spatiis discernens gaudia parvis,
torquebit Rubicon vicino nomine Thybrim? 365
nonne semel sprevisse satis, cum reddita bellis
Africa venturi lusit spe principis urbem
nec duras tantis precibus permovimus aures?
ast ego frenabam geminos, quibus altior ires,
electi candoris equos et nominis arcum 370
iam molita tui, per quem radiante decorus
ingrederere toga, pugnae monumenta dicabam
defensam titulo Libyam testata perenni.
iamque parabantur pompae simulacra futurae
Tarpeio spectanda Iovi: caelata metallo 375
classis ut auratum sulcaret remige fluctum,
ut Massyla tuos anteirent oppida currus


shown itself unwilling to rob human endeavour of its honour or to let the lightning win the crown of laurel which the efforts of thy father-in-law, Stilicho, have secured for thy brows.

Full often had the nobles, sent to urge thy return, brought back the answer that as yet thou couldst not come, until Rome herself, unable to bear any longer the frustration of her citizens’ common prayer, came forth from the depths of her sanctuary and, openly displaying her radiant face, urged the hesitating emperor with complaints of her own. “Too long, my emperor, have I, thy mother, borne in silence the hurt thy refusal to return hath done me. How long shall favoured Liguria possess that for which I desire? How long shall the Rubicon, separating me from the object of my prayers by so narrow a space, torture the Tiber by the all-but-presence of that divine being whose nearer sojourn it is not allowed to enjoy? Was it not enough to have scorned me once when Africa, again at war, mocked the city with hopes of its emperor’s coming, nor could we move thine obstinate ears with all our prayers? Yet did I harness for thee two steeds whiter than snow to draw the chariot wherein thou shouldst ride; already had I builded in thy name a triumphal arch through the which thou shouldst pass clad in the garb of victory, and I was dedicating it as a memorial of the war with an inscription to be the undying witness of the salvation of Libya. Even then were being prepared for Jove to see from the Tarpeian rock models for the coming triumph: a fleet of ships was cast in metal, ships whose oar-blades smote the golden sea; the cities of Africa were made to go before thy chariot and


Palladiaque comas innexus harundine Triton
edomitis veheretur aquis et in aere trementem
succinctae famulum ferrent Atlanta cohortes, 380
ipse Iugurthinam subiturus carcere poenam
praeberet fera colla iugo, vi captus et armis,
non Bocchi Syllaeque dolis.
“Sed prima remitto.
num praesens etiam Getici me laurea belli
declinare potest? sedesve capacior ulla 385
tantae laudis erit? tua te benefacta morantem
conveniunt, meritisque suis obnoxia virtus
quod servavit amat. iam flavescentia centum
messibus aestivae detondent Gargara falces,
spectatosque iterum nulli celebrantia ludos 390
circumflexa rapit centenus saecula consul:
his annis, qui lustra mihi bis dena recensent,
nostra ter Augustos intra pomeria vidi,
temporibus variis; eadem sed causa tropaei
civilis dissensus erat. venere superbi, 395
scilicet ut Latio respersos sanguine currus
adspicerem! quisquamne piae laetanda parenti
natorum lamenta putet? periere tyranni,
sed nobis periere tamen. cum Gallica vulgo
proelia iactaret, tacuit Pharsalica Caesar. 400
namque inter socias acies cognataque signa
ut vinci miserum, numquam vicisse decorum.
restituat priscum per te iam gloria morem
verior, et fructum sincerae laudis ab hoste


Triton, with his conquered waters and his head crowned with Minerva’s sacred reeds; crowds of slaves with upgirt dresses bore a figure of trembling Atlas cast in bronze; Gildo himself, destined to undergo in prison the punishment once meted out to Jugurtha, offered his stubborn neck to the yoke, Gildo fallen a captive to the arms of Rome, not to the treachery of a Bocchus and a Sulla.[36]

“But I pass over what has been. Can the present triumph, too, of the Getic war escape me? Does any spot give ampler room to so great renown? The very blessings thou hast bestowed beg thee not to delay, and thy generosity, constrained by its own fair deeds, must needs love those whom it has saved. Now for a hundred summers the reaper’s sickle has gathered the yellow harvest of Gargarus; already the consul has introduced the games that occur but once in a century and upon which no man looks twice. During these years which number twice ten lustres, I have but thrice[37] seen an emperor enter my walls in triumph; all at different times but for the same reason—civil war. Did they come in their pride that I should see their chariots stained with Italy’s blood? Can any think a mother finds joy in the tears of her offspring? The tyrants were slain, but even they were my children. Caesar boasted him of his victories over the Gauls; he said nought about Pharsalia. Where the two sides bear the same standards and are of one blood, as defeat is ever shameful so victory brings no honour. See thou to it that now a truer glory crown our arms; give me back the joy, long a stranger to me, of honest

[36] Bocchus, king of Mauretania, treacherously delivered up his kinsman Jugurtha to Marius. Sulla acted as the agent of the Roman general in this matter.

[37] In a century so replete with civil war as the fourth it is hard to say which particular three instances Claudian has in mind. One is no doubt Constantine’s defeat of Maxentius, after which we know that he entered Rome in triumph; the other two may refer to Theodosius’ victories over Eugenius and Maximus.


desuetam iam redde mihi iustisque furoris 405
externi spoliis sontes absolve triumphos.
“Quem, precor, ad finem laribus seiuncta potestas
exulat imperiumque suis a sedibus errat?
cur mea quae cunctis tribuere palatia nomen
neglecto squalent senio? nec creditur orbis 410
illinc posse regi? medium non deserit umquam
caeli Phoebus iter, radiis tamen omnia lustrat.
segnius an veteres Histrum Rhenumque tenebant,
qui nostram coluere domum? leviusve timebant
Tigris et Euphrates, cum foedera Medus et Indus 415
hinc peteret pacemque mea speraret ab arce?
hic illi mansere viri, quos mutua virtus
legit et in nomen Romanis rebus adoptans
iudicio pulchram seriem, non sanguine duxit;
hic proles atavum deducens Aelia Nervam 420
tranquillique Pii bellatoresque Severi.
hunc civis dignare chorum conspectaque dudum
ora refer, pompam recolens ut mente priorem,
quem tenero patris comitem susceperat aevo, 424
nunc duce cum socero iuvenem te Thybris adoret.”
Orantem medio princeps sermone refovit:
“numquam aliquid frustra per me voluisse dolebis,
o dea, nec legum fas est occurrere matri.
sed nec post Libyam (falsis ne perge querellis
incusare tuos) patriae mandata vocantis 430
sprevimus: advectae misso Stilichone curules,
ut nostras tibi, Roma, vices pro principe consul
impleret generoque socer. vidistis in illo


fame won from the enemy, and make good guilty triumphs by the lawful spoils of foreign madness.

“How long shall our emperor’s rule be a stranger to its true home and his governance stray from its rightful seat? Why does my palace which has given its name to all palaces mourn in neglected decay? Cannot the world be ruled therefrom? Phoebus never deserts his centre path though his beams are shed upon all. Was the hand of those old emperors who made me their home any lighter laid upon the tribes of Danube and Rhine? Was the awe felt by those of Tigris and Euphrates any less real when Mede and Indian came to this my capital of Rome to beg for alliance or sue for peace? Here dwelt those emperors whom merit chose for merit, and so, adopting them as consuls for the Roman state, made judgement not blood continue a noble line. Here lived the Aelian family that traced its descent from Nerva, the peaceful Antonines, the warlike Severi. Thou art a citizen; disdain not such a band; give us back the countenance we beheld long since, that Father Tiber, remembering the glory that was, may with thy father-in-law welcome thee as a man whom as a boy he saw leave my city at his father’s side.”

While yet she entreated the emperor reassured her with these words: “Never shalt thou complain that I have been deaf to thine entreaties; I could not thwart thee, goddess, who art the mother of our laws. Bring no railing accusation against thy sons. Did I disregard my country’s call after the African war? Nay, I sent thee Stilicho to sit in the curule chair to take my place, a consul instead of an emperor, a father- instead of a son-in-law. In him thy


me quoque; sic credit pietas non sanguine solo,
sed claris potius factis experta parentem. 435
cuncta quidem centum nequeam perstringere linguis,
quae pro me mundoque gerit; sed ab omnibus unum,
si fama necdum patuit, te, Roma, docebo
subiectum nostris oculis et cuius agendi
spectator vel causa fui. 440
“Populator Achivae
Bistoniaeque plagae, crebris successibus amens
et ruptas animis spirans inmanibus Alpes
iam Ligurum trepidis admoverat agmina muris
tutior auxilio brumae (quo gentibus illis
sidere consueti favet inclementia caeli) 445
meque minabatur calcato obsidere vallo
spem vano terrore fovens, si forte, remotis
praesidiis, urgente metu, qua vellet obirem
condicione fidem; nec me timor impulit ullus
et duce venturo fretum memoremque tuorum, 450
Roma, ducum, quibus haud umquam vel morte parata
foedus lucis amor pepigit dispendia famae.
nox erat et late stellarum more videbam
barbaricos ardere focos; iam classica primos
excierant vigiles, gelida cum pulcher ab Arcto 455
adventat Stilicho. medius sed clauserat hostis
inter me socerumque viam pontemque tenebat,
Addua quo scissas spumosior incitat undas.
quid faceret? differret iter? discrimina nullas
nostra dabant adeunda moras. perrumperet agmen?
sed paucis comitatus erat; nam plurima retro, 461
dum nobis properat succurrere, liquerat arma
extera vel nostras acies. hoc ille locatus


citizens saw also myself; so my love believes, for it has found that not blood alone but rather glorious deeds can show a parent. Had I a hundred tongues I could not touch on all the benefits he has bestowed upon me and upon the empire; one deed alone of them all will I recount to thee, goddess, if so be it is as yet unknown to thee, a deed of which I was the spectator or the cause.

“Alaric had laid waste Greece and the coasts of Thrace and in the mad pride of his many victories and the arrogance inspired by his crossing of the Alps had laid siege to the trembling cities of Liguria with winter as his ally—a season that favours a race accustomed to inclement skies; he then threatened to break down my defences and to lay strait siege to me also, bolstering up his hopes with the thought that, at the terror of his name and in fear of having none to aid me, I should come to terms with him on any conditions he chose. But I felt no fear, for I relied on the advance of Stilicho, and was mindful, O goddess, of those thy leaders who, even in face of death, never through base love of life made terms at the cost of honour. It was night; where’er I looked I saw the watchfires of the enemy shining like stars. The bugle had already summoned the soldiers to the first watch when glorious Stilicho arrived from the frozen north. But the enemy held the road between my father-in-law and myself, and the bridge whose obstructing piers churn turbid Addua to yet fuller foam. What was Stilicho to do? Halt? My danger forbade the least delay. Break through the enemy’s line? His force was too small. In hastening to my aid he had left behind him many auxiliaries and legionary troops. Placed in this dilemma he


ancipiti, longum socias tardumque putavit
expectasse manus et nostra pericula tendit 465
posthabitis pulsare suis mediumque per hostem
flammatus virtute pia propriaeque salutis
inmemor et stricto prosternens obvia ferro
barbara fulmineo secuit tentoria cursu.
“Nunc mihi Tydiden attollant carmina vatum, 470
quod iuncto fidens Ithaco patefacta Dolonis
indicio dapibusque simul religataque somno
Thracia sopiti penetraverit agmina Rhesi
Graiaque rettulerit captos ad castra iugales,
quorum, si qua fides augentibus omnia Musis, 475
impetus excessit Zephyros candorque pruinas.
ecce virum, taciti nulla qui fraude soporis
ense palam sibi pandit iter remeatque cruentus
et Diomedeis tantum praeclarior ausis,
quantum lux tenebris manifestaque proelia furtis! 480
adde quod et ripis steterat munitior hostis
et cui nec vigilem fas est componere Rhesum:
Thrax erat, hic Thracum domitor. non tela retardant,
obice non haesit fluvii. sic ille minacem
Tyrrhenam labente manum pro ponte repellens 485
traiecit clipeo Thybrim, quo texerat urbem,
Tarquinio mirante Cocles mediisque superbus
Porsennam respexit aquis. celer Addua nostro
sulcatus socero: sed, cum transnaret, Etruscis
ille dabat tergum, Geticis hic pectora bellis. 490


thought it long and tedious to wait for reinforcements and, putting aside his own peril, was eager only to deliver me from mine; inspired by the courage that is born of love, heedless of his own danger, he broke through the enemy’s midst and, sword in hand, cutting down all who sought to bar his passage, he passed like lightning through the barbarians’ camp.

“Now let poets’ songs praise me the son of Tydeus because, relying on Odysseus’ help when the way was opened by Dolon’s wiles and all was sunk in feasting and slumber, he broke into the Thracian camp of Rhesus and brought back to the Greek lines his captured steeds, which—if we may trust the too generous Muses—surpassed the winds in speed, the snows in whiteness. Here was a man who, with no treachery ’mid silent slumber, clave a path for himself with his sword in the open light of day and arrived within our lines covered with blood, thus surpassing the brave deeds of Diomede by as much as day surpasses night and open battle ambush. Alaric’s position, moreover, on the river bank was a stronger one, and he himself a warrior with whom Rhesus, even when awake, could not be compared. Rhesus was king, Alaric the conqueror, of Thrace. Neither weapons nor the river’s bar could stop Stilicho. So Horatius, standing on the falling bridge, drave back the threatening hosts of Etruria and then swam the Tiber, still carrying the shield wherewith to the amazement of Tarquin he had defended Rome, and from mid stream looked back with scornful gaze upon Porsenna. ’Twas the swift Addua my father breasted; but, as he swam the flood, Horatius turned his back upon the Etruscans, Stilicho faced the barbarian foe.


“Exere nunc doctos tantae certamina laudis,
Roma, choros et, quanta tuis facundia pollet
ingeniis, nostrum digno sonet ore parentem.”
Dixit et antiquae muros egressa Ravennae
signa movet; iamque ora Padi portusque relinquit 495
flumineos, certis ubi legibus advena Nereus
aestuat et pronas puppes nunc amne secundo,
nunc redeunte vehit nudataque litora fluctu
deserit, Oceani lunaribus aemula damnis.
laetior hinc Fano recipit Fortuna vetusto, 500
despiciturque vagus praerupta valle Metaurus,
qua mons arte patens vivo se perforat arcu
admisitque viam sectae per viscera rupis,
exuperans delubra Iovis saxoque minantes
Appenninigenis cultas pastoribus aras. 505
quin et Clitumni sacras victoribus undas,
candida quae Latiis praebent armenta triumphis,
visere cura fuit; nec te miracula fontis
praetereunt, tacito passu quem si quis adiret,
lentus erat; si voce gradum maiore citasset, 510
commixtis fervebat aquis; cumque omnibus una
sit natura vadis, similes ut corporis undas
ostendant, haec sola novam iactantia sortem
humanos properant imitari flumina mores.
celsa dehinc patulum prospectans Narnia campum 515
regali calcatur equo, rarique coloris
non procul amnis abest, urbi qui nominis auctor:
ilice sub densa silvis artatus opacis


“Now, O Rome, lead forth the chorus that shall hymn a contest of such high renown and let thy best genius with all its eloquence voice the well-merited praises of my foster parent.”

So spake he and, issuing from the walls of old Ravenna, advanced his standards. He crossed the mouths of the Po and left behind him that river harbour[38] where, in fixed succession, in flows the foaming main and bears up the vessels that ride there at anchor on forward and backward flowing stream, and again deserts the waveless shore, like moon-led tides upon the marge of Ocean. Next he comes to the old city of Fortune’s Temple that bids him glad welcome and from its height looks down upon Metaurus threading its rocky valley where an arch, tunnelled through the living rock, affords a path through the mountain’s very heart, rising above the temple of Jove and the dizzy altars set up by the shepherds of the Apennines. ’Twas thy good pleasure, too, to visit Clitumnus’ wave,[39] beloved of them that triumph, for thence do victors get them white-coated animals for sacrifice at Rome. Thou markest well also the stream’s strange property, flowing gently on when one approaches with silent step, but swirling and eddying should one hasten with louder utterance; and while it is the common nature of water to mirror the exact image of the body it alone boasts the strange power that it mimics not human form but human character. Next thy royal charger treads the streets of Narnia, looking out from its eminence upon the plain below: not far therefrom flows the strange-coloured stream which gives the town its name, its sulphurous waters

[38] Classis Portus, a harbour formed by means of the Fossa Augusta which led the southern arm of the Po to Ravenna. It was in existence in 38 B.C. (App. B.C. v. 78, 80) and held 250 ships (Jordanes, Get. 150; cf. Pliny, H.N. iii. 119; Sid. Apol. Epp. i. 5. 5).

[39] For a description of the Clitumnus see Pliny, Epp. viii. 8.


inter utrumque iugum tortis anfractibus albet.
inde salutato libatis Thybride lymphis 520
excipiunt arcus operosaque semita vastis
molibus et quidquid tantae praemittitur urbi.
Ac velut officiis trepidantibus ora puellae
spe propiore tori mater sollertior ornat
adveniente proco vestesque et cingula comit 525
saepe manu viridique angustat iaspide pectus
substringitque comam gemmis et colla monili
circuit et bacis onerat candentibus aures:
sic oculis placitura tuis insignior auctis
collibus et nota maior se Roma videndam 530
obtulit. addebant pulchrum nova moenia vultum
audito perfecta recens rumore Getarum,
profecitque opifex decori timor, et vice mira,
quam pax intulerat, bello discussa senectus
erexit subitas turres cunctosque coëgit 535
septem continuo colles iuvenescere muro.
ipse favens votis solitoque decentior aër,
quamvis adsiduo noctem foedaverat imbre,
principis et solis radiis detersa removit
nubila; namque ideo pluviis turbaverat omnes 540
ante dies lunamque rudem madefecerat Auster,
ut tibi servatum scirent convexa serenum.
Omne Palatino quod pons a colle recedit
Mulvius et quantum licuit consurgere tectis,


flowing in tortuous course between opposed mountains through dense forests of holm-oak. Then when in greeting to Father Tiber thou hast poured a libation of his waters thou art welcomed by Rome’s arches and all the magnificent buildings which line the roads of that noble city’s suburbs.

And as a careful mother at the approach of her daughter’s lover does all that trembling hand can do to enhance the charms that are to win a husband, oft readjusts dress and girdle, confines her breast with bands of green jasper, gathers up her hair with jewels, sets a necklace about her neck, and hangs glistening pearls from her ears, so Rome, in order to be pleasing in thy sight, offers herself to thy admiring gaze more glorious and with hills made higher and herself greater than thou hadst known her. Still fairer than of old she seemed by reason of those new walls that the rumour of the Getae’s approach had just caused to be built; fear was the architect of that beauteous work and, by a strange freak of fortune, war put an end to the decay that peace had brought. For fear it was that caused the sudden upspringing of all those towers and renewed the youth of Rome’s seven hills by enclosing them all within one long wall. Even the weather listened favourably to our prayers and was finer than its wont, although continuous rain had spoiled the preceding night; but the clouds melted away before the glory of the sun and the emperor. All the days before had the south wind troubled with rain and dimmed the moon’s young disc that heaven might know it was for thee that the sunshine waited.

One huge crowd filled all the slope between the Palatine hill and the Mulvian bridge and as far up


una replet turbae facies: undare videres 545
ima viris, altas effulgere matribus aedes.
exultant iuvenes aequaevi principis annis;
temnunt prisca senes et in hunc sibi prospera fati
gratantur durasse diem moderataque laudant
tempora, quod clemens aditu, quod pectore solus 550
Romanos vetuit currum praecedere patres:
cum tamen Eucherius, cui regius undique sanguis,
atque Augusta soror fratri praeberet ovanti
militis obsequium; sic illum dura parentis
instituit pietas in se vel pignora parci 555
quique neget nato, procerum quod praestat honori.
haec sibi curva[40] senum maturaque comprobat aetas
idque inter veteris speciem praesentis et aulae
iudicat: hunc civem, dominos venisse priores.
Conspicuas tum flore genas, diademate crinem 560
membraque gemmato trabeae viridantia cinctu
et fortes umeros et certatura Lyaeo
inter Erythraeas surgentia colla smaragdos
mirari sine fine nurus; ignaraque virgo,
cui simplex calet ore pudor, per singula cernens 565
nutricem consultat anum: quid fixa draconum
ora velint? ventis fluitent an vera minentur
sibila suspensum rapturi faucibus hostem?
ut chalybe indutos equites et in aere latentes
vidit cornipedes: “quanam de gente” rogabat 570
“ferrati venere viri? quae terra metallo
nascentes informat equos? num Lemnius auctor

[40] curva Birt; codd. cura.


as it was possible to go on the house roofs; the ground seethed with men, the lofty buildings were aglow with women. Those who are young rejoice in an emperor of their own age, the old cease to belaud the past and count their destiny happy that they have lived to see such a day, blessing the kindly times when a prince so easy of access, so singular in courtesy, forbade the senators of Rome to march before his chariot, even though Eucherius, in whose veins ran regal blood on father’s and on mother’s side, and his own sister did honour to his triumph like simple soldiers. Such has been the teaching of that stern but loving parent who showed no more favour to his children than to himself, and refused a son honours he granted to nobles. Bent age and upstanding youth alike are loud in his praises and, comparing the new with the ancient rule, recognize in Honorius a true citizen, in his predecessors tyrants.

The women of Rome never tire of gazing at those blooming cheeks, those crowned locks, those limbs clothed in the consul’s jasper-studded robes, those mighty shoulders, and that neck, beauteous as Bacchus’ own, with its necklace of Red Sea emeralds. Many an innocent maid, while simple modesty blushes in her cheek, would bend her gaze o’er all and inquire of her aged nurse the meaning of the dragons on the colours. “Do they,” she would ask, “but wave in the air or is theirs a veritable hiss, uttered as they are about to seize an enemy in their jaws?” When she sees the mail-clad knights and brazen-armoured horses she would fain know whence that iron race of men is sprung and what land it is gives birth to steeds of bronze. “Has the god of Lemnos,”


indidit hinnitum ferro simulacraque belli
viva dedit?” gaudet metuens et pollice monstrat.
quod picturatas galeae Iunonia cristas 575
ornet avis vel quod rigidos vibrata per armos
rubra sub aurato crispentur serica dorso.
Tunc tibi magnorum mercem Fortuna laborum
persolvit, Stilicho, curru cum vectus eodem
urbe triumphantem generum florente iuventa 580
conspiceres illumque diem sub corde referres,
quo tibi confusa dubiis formidine rebus
infantem genitor moriens commisit alendum.
virtutes variae fructus sensere receptos;
depositum servasse, fides; constantia, parvum 585
praefecisse orbi; pietas, fovisse propinquum.
hic est ille puer, qui nunc ad rostra Quirites
evocat et solio fultus genitoris eburno
gestarum patribus causas ex ordine rerum
eventusque refert veterumque exempla secutus 590
digerit imperii sub iudice facta senatu.
nil cumulat verbis quae nil fiducia celat;
fucati sermonis opem mens conscia laudis
abnuit. agnoscunt proceres; habituque Gabino
principis et ducibus circumstipata togatis 595
iure paludatae iam curia militat aulae.
adfuit ipsa suis ales Victoria templis
Romanae tutela togae: quae divite penna
patricii reverenda fovet sacraria coetus


she would ask, “bestowed on metal the power to neigh, and forged living statues for the fight?” Joy and fear fill her mind; she points with her finger how Juno’s bird decks the gay crests upon their helmets, or how, beneath the golden armour on their horses’ backs, the red silk waves and ripples over the strong shoulders.

Then it was, Stilicho, that Fortune repaid thee for the labour of so many years when, mounted in the same chariot, thou sawest thy son-in-law in his prime pass in triumph through the streets of Rome, and didst recall that day when in troubled terror mid uncertain fortune the dying father entrusted his son to thy care. Now thy many virtues have found their meet reward: loyalty that has kept safe that which was confided to it, singleness of purpose that made a boy the master of the world, affection that has bestowed such loving care on an adopted son. This is the boy who to-day summons Rome’s citizens to the place of meeting and from his father’s ivory throne tells to the fathers the causes and the issues of his acts, and, following ancient precedent, directs the deeds of empire at the judgement-seat of the Senate. He piles up no words, for confidence has nothing to conceal; his mind, conscious of true worth, refuses the aid of artificial speech. The senators learn to know him; their chief wears the Gabine[41] garb, and thronged with generals in the rôle of peace the Senate-house prepares for service under the auspices of the warlike court. Winged victory herself, Rome’s faithful guardian, was in her temple;[42] her golden pinions stretched in protection over the holy sanctuary where the fathers meet together, and she herself, a tireless

[41] See note on vii. 3.

[42] A reference to the statue of Victory in the Senate House. Ambrose had persuaded Gratian to turn it out (A.D. 384) but Honorius had had it replaced (cf. xxiii. 19 and Paulinus, Vita S. Ambr. viii. § 26).


castrorumque eadem comes indefessa tuorum 600
nunc tandem fruitur votis atque omne futurum
te Romae seseque tibi promittit in aevum.
Hinc te iam patriis laribus via nomine vero
sacra refert. flagrat studiis concordia vulgi,
quam non inlecebris dispersi colligis auri; 605
nec tibi venales captant aeraria plausus
corruptura fidem: meritis offertur inemptus
pura mente favor. nam munere carior omni
obstringit sua quemque salus. procul ambitus erret!
non quaerit pretium, vitam qui debet amori. 610
O quantum populo secreti numinis addit
imperii praesens genius! quantamque rependit
maiestas alterna vicem, cum regia circi
conexum gradibus veneratur purpura vulgus,
adsensuque cavae sublatus in aethera vallis 615
plebis adoratae reboat fragor, unaque totis
intonat Augustum septenis arcibus Echo!
nec solis hic cursus equis: adsueta quadrigis
cingunt arva trabes, subitaeque adspectus harenae
diffundit Libycos aliena valle cruores. 620
haec et belligeros exercuit area lusus,
armatos haec saepe choros, certaque vagandi
textas lege fugas inconfusosque recursus
et pulchras errorum artes iucundaque Martis
cernimus. insonuit cum verbere signa magister, 625


attendant on thine armies, now at last has had her wish granted and is able to promise that for all time to come thou shalt be Rome’s guardian and she thine.

Hence the Sacred Way (now truly named) brings thee back to thy home. Eagerly breaks out the world’s one-hearted welcome, that thou dost not woo with lure of scattered gold; nor for thee does the treasury, seeking to corrupt good faith, court venal applause; to worth unpurchased love is offered by a pure heart. For life that is dearer than any gift makes all thy debtors. Away with wooing of applause! He can ask no payment who owes his life to love.

Oh what mysterious power over the people does the Empire’s guardian-genius bring! What majesty bows to majesty as the prince, clad in imperial scarlet, returns the salutations of the people that crowd the tiers of the Circus! The shouts of the adoring populace rising from that immense circle thunder to the sky, while the echoes of Rome’s seven hills repeat as with one voice the name of Honorius. Nor does the Circus display only horse-races; its floor, whereon chariots were wont to drive, is surrounded by a palisade, and in this new amphitheatre, so far, so different, from their native valleys, Libyan lions shed their blood. This is the scene, too, of a military display; here we often see armed bands advancing and retiring in mazèd movements that are nevertheless executed according to a fixed plan; we watch them wheel in perfect order, extend with disciplined precision, affording us the pleasing spectacle of mimic warfare. The leader cracks his whip and a thousand bodies execute in unison


mutatos edunt pariter tot pectora motus
in latus adlisis clipeis aut rursus in altum
vibratis; grave parma sonat, mucronis acutum
murmur, et umbonum pulsu modulante resultans
ferreus alterno concentus clauditur ense. 630
una omnis summissa phalanx tantaeque salutant
te, princeps, galeae. partitis inde catervis
in varios docto discurritur ordine gyros,
quos neque semiviri Gortynia tecta iuvenci
flumina nec crebro vincant Maeandria flexu. 635
discreto revoluta gradu torquentur in orbes
agmina, perpetuisque inmoto cardine claustris
Ianus bella premens laeta sub imagine pugnae
armorum innocuos paci largitur honores.
Iamque novum fastis aperit felicibus annum 640
ore coronatus gemino; iam Thybris in uno
et Bruti cernit trabeas et sceptra Quirini.
consule laetatur post plurima saecula viso
Pallanteus apex; agnoscunt rostra curules
auditas quondam proavis, desuetaque cingit 645
regius auratis fora fascibus Ulpia lictor,
et sextas Getica praevelans fronde secures
colla triumphati proculcat Honorius Histri.
exeat in populos cunctis inlustrior annus,
natus fonte suo, quem non aliena per arva 650
induit hospes honos, cuius cunabula fovit
curia, quem primi tandem videre Quirites,
quem domitis auspex peperit Victoria bellis!


their new movements; now they clap their bucklers to their sides, now they brandish them above their heads; deeply sound the clashing shields, sharply ring the engaging swords, and, to the rhythm of beaten targes, the echoing song of steel is punctuated by the interclash of weapons. Suddenly the whole phalanx falls on its knees before thee and a thousand helmets bow down in reverence. Then the companies separate, wheeling and counter-wheeling with ordered skill, following a course more tortuous than the corridors of the Minotaur’s Cretan palace or the reaches of Meander’s wandering stream. Then wheeling apart they form with circular masses, and Janus,[43] emprisoning war behind his ever unopening doors, after a happy mimicry of battle bestows on peace the innocent rewards of combat.

And now, his double head crowned with laurel, Janus opens the new year with auspicious calendar; now Tiber sees united in Honorius Brutus’ consular robe and Romulus’ kingly sceptre. The Palatine hill rejoices after many generations again to look upon a consul; the rostra learn to know the curule chair famed of old among our forefathers, and royal lictors, a long unwonted sight, encircle with their golden fasces the Forum of Trajan; while Honorius, wreathing with Getic laurels the axes borne for the sixth time before him, places a conqueror’s foot upon the neck of subdued Danube. Let this year springing from its true source go forth among the nations more glorious than any—a year the consul inaugurated, not a stranger in a strange land, whose cradle the Senate-house guarded, that Roman citizens first beheld, that Victory, all wars o’ercome, auspiciously

[43] Mentioned, no doubt, as symbolical of the New Year.


hunc et privati titulis famulantibus anni
et, quos armipotens genitor retroque priores 655
diversis gessere locis, ceu numen adorent;
hunc et quinque tui vel quos habiturus in urbe
post alios, Auguste, colant. licet unus in omnes
consul eas, magno sextus tamen iste superbit
nomine: praeteritis melior, venientibus auctor. 660


brought to birth. Years in which mere commoners held the consulship, and ye years when Theodosius and his predecessors graced that office in Rome or elsewhere, count your honours as nought and worship this present year. Ay, you five previous consulships of Honorius, even you that our emperor shall hold in Rome in the days to come, give place to this one. Wert thou, Honorius, to be consul every year, yet is this thy sixth to be magnified above all thy consulships, excelling all that are past and model of all that are to come.





Post resides annos longo velut excita somno
Romanis fruitur nostra Thalia choris.
optatos renovant eadem mihi culmina coetus,
personat et noto Pythia vate domus:
consulis hic fasces cecini Libyamque receptam, 5
hic mihi prostratis bella canenda Getis.
Sed prior effigiem tribuit successus aënam,
oraque patricius nostra dicavit honos;
adnuit his princeps titulum poscente senatu;
respice iudicium quam grave, Musa, subis! 10
ingenio minuit merces properata favorem:
carminibus veniam praemia tanta negant;
et magis intento studium censore laborat,
quod legimur medio conspicimurque foro.
Materies tamen ipsa iuvat solitumque timorem 15
dicturo magna sedula parte levat.
nam mihi conciliat gratas impensius aures
vel meritum belli vel Stilichonis amor.





After years of sloth my Muse, as if startled from long slumber, rejoices to sing a Roman song to Roman ears. Once more the same halls bring the gathering I longed for, and Apollo’s temple echoes to the voice of a familiar bard. ’Twas here I sang of the consular fasces and of the winning back of Libya and here must I sing of the war that overthrew the Getae.

But my former success won for me a brazen statue[44] and the Fathers set up my likeness in my honour; at the Senate’s prayer the Emperor allowed the claim—bethink thee, Muse, how strict a judgement thou dost face! Wit wins less favour when too soon rewarded, and so great a gift refuses indulgence for my song. Now that my name is read and my features are known in the forum my Muse labours for a sterner critic than before.

Yet my theme itself brings cheer and, as I begin to speak, eagerly lightens much of my accustomed fear. A gracious and more devoted hearing is secured for me, be it by the war’s deserving or be it by Stilicho’s love.

[44] For Claudian’s statue see Introduction, p. xii. For a similar honour conceded to Sidonius cf. Sid. Apol. Epp. ix. 16. 3; Carm. viii. 8.



Intacti cum claustra freti, coëuntibus aequor
armatum scopulis, audax inrumperet Argo
Aeetam Colchosque petens, propiore periclo
omnibus attonitis, solus post numina Tiphys
incolumem tenui damno servasse carinam 5
fertur et ancipitem montis vitasse ruinam
deceptoque vagae concursu rupis in altum
victricem duxisse ratem; stupuere superbae
arte viri domitae Symplegades et nova passae
iura soli cunctis faciles iam puppibus haerent, 10
ut vinci didicere semel. quodsi ardua Tiphyn
navis ob innocuae meritum sic gloria vexit,
quae tibi pro tanti pulso discrimine regni
sufficient laudes, Stilicho? licet omnia vates
in maius celebrata ferant ipsamque secandis 15
Argois trabibus iactent sudasse Minervam
nec nemoris muti iunxisse carentia sensu
robora, sed caeso Tomari Iovis augure luco
arbore praesaga tabulas animasse loquaces.
plurima sed quamvis variis miracula monstris 20
ingeminent, teneras victuri carmine mentes,



When the intrepid Argo, passing between the clashing rocks that guarded its entrance, burst through the portals of the unfurrowed sea making for Colchis where Aeëtes ruled, it is said that, when all were panic-stricken by the nearing danger, Tiphys alone—with heaven’s help—kept safe the almost uninjured bark. ’Twas thanks to him that the Argo escaped the cliffs threatening ruin and came out victorious into the open sea, cunningly eluding the meeting shock of the floating rocks. Amazed were the proud Symplegades thus subdued by the hero’s skill, and, submitting to the novel laws of the fixed earth, offer unmoved an easy passage to all ships since once they have learned defeat. But if the merit of saving a single vessel from ruin won, and rightly won, for Tiphys such meed of honour, what praises shall suffice for thee, Stilicho, who hast freed so great an empire from destruction? Poets may exaggerate the story; they may boast that Minerva toiled with her own hands to hew the Argo’s beams, and that she fitted together no senseless timber from a dumb forest, but felled the augural grove of Tomarian[45] Jove and with those prophetic trees quickened its planks to speech. But though they burden their recital with the story of countless prodigies to captivate the mind of the unlettered

[45] A reference to the “talking oaks” of Dodona, Tomarus (or Tmarus) being a mountain in Epirus near Dodona.


Harpyiasque truces insopitisque refusum
tractibus aurati custodem velleris anguem
et iuga taurorum rapidis ambusta favillis
et virides galeis sulcos fetasque novales 25
Martis et in segetem crescentis semina belli:
nil veris aequale dabunt. prohibere rapaces
scilicet Harpyias unaque excludere mensa
nobilior titulus, quam tot potuisse paratas
in Latii praedam Geticas avertere fauces? 30
anne ego terrigenas potius mirabor in ipsis
procubuisse satis, vitae quibus attulit idem
principium finemque dies, quam caesa Getarum
agmina, quos tantis aluit Bellona tropaeis
totaque sub galeis Mavortia canuit aetas? 35
Per te namque unum mediis exuta tenebris
imperio sua forma redit, claustrisque solutae
tristibus exangues audent procedere leges.
iamque potestates priscus discriminat ordo
iustitiae, quas ante pares effecerat una 40
nube timor. tua nos urgenti dextera leto
eripuit, tectisque suis redduntur et agris
damnati fato populi, virtute renati.
iam non in pecorum morem formidine clausi
prospicimus saevos campis ardentibus ignes 45
alta nec incertis metimur flumina votis
excidio latura moram nec poscimus amnes


young, though they tell of fierce Harpies, of the dragon whose unsleeping length lay curled in protecting folds about the golden fleece, of yoked bulls afire with flickering flames, of a springing crop of helmets, a field from out whose furrows grew a Martian race, of seeds of war whose increase yielded a harvest, too, of war, yet do these fictions fall short of the truth. Is it a nobler title to fame to have driven off the greedy Harpies and banished them from the table of a single man than to have had the strength to beat back those countless Getic maws that thirsted for the spoil of Latium? Am I to look with more admiration upon those earth-born warriors struck down in the very furrows from which they sprang, born and dying in a single day, than upon the slaughtered ranks of Getae whom the goddess of war reared on so many spoils and whose martial life came to grey hairs, passed ever beneath helmets?

Thou and thou alone, Stilicho, hast dispersed the darkness that enshrouded our empire and hast restored its glory; thanks to thee civilization, all but vanished, has been freed from the gloomy prison and can again advance. The old order of justice now makes distinction between magistracies which fear had made equal in a common gloom. Thy right hand has snatched us from impending death and restored to their homes and lands peoples whom fate sentenced and thy valour saved. No longer, herded together like sheep by reason of our fears, do we watch from the ramparts our fields ablaze with the enemy’s fire, no longer measure the depth of rivers which we feebly hope will retard our destruction nor ask the streams and flying clouds to


undosam servare fidem nubesque fugaces
aut coniuratum querimur splendere serenum.
Ipsa quoque internis furiis exercita plebis 50
securas iam Roma leva tranquillior arces;
surge, precor, veneranda parens, et certa secundis
fide deis, humilemque metum depone senectae.
urbs aequaeva polo, tum demum ferrea sumet
ius in te Lachesis, cum sic mutaverit axem 55
foederibus natura novis, ut flumine verso
inriget Aegyptum Tanais, Maeotida Nilus,
Eurus ab occasu, Zephyrus se promat ab Indis
Caucasiisque iugis calido nigrantibus Austro
Gaetulas Aquilo glacie constringat harenas. 60
Fatales hucusque manus, crebrisque notatae
prodigiis abiere minae. nec sidera pacem
semper habent, ipsumque Iovem turbante Typhoeo,
si fas est, tremuisse ferunt, cum brachia centum
montibus armaret totidem spiramque retorquens 65
lamberet attonitas erectis anguibus Arctos.
quid mirum, si regna labor mortalia vexat,
cum gemini fratres, genuit quos asper Aloeus,
Martem subdiderint vinclis et in astra negatas
temptarint munire vias steteritque revulsis 70
paene tribus scopulis caelesti machina bello?
sed caret eventu nimius furor; improba numquam
spes laetata diu, nec pervenere iuventae
robur Aloidae, dum vellere Pelion Otus
nititur, occubuit Phoebo, moriensque Ephialtes 75
in latus obliquam proiecit languidus Ossam.


keep the promise of their waters or complain that the sunshine conspires against us with its splendour.

Thou, too, Rome, so long vexed with internal discord, lift up thy hills at last more peacefully in safety. Arise, honoured mother, be sure that God’s favour is with thee; banish the lowly timorousness of age. City that art coëval with the world, inexorable Lachesis shall not exercise against thee her rights of destruction until Nature has so changed the immutable laws of the universe that Tanais turn his course and water Egypt, Nile flow into Lake Maeotis, Eurus blow from the west, Zephyr from India, and the south wind rage in tempest o’er the summit of Caucasus, while that of the north binds the deserts of Africa with its frost.

Thus far came the fatal hordes; now their threats, whereof so many omens warned us, have vanished away. Heaven’s self was not always at peace: they tell how even Jove trembled (if one may dare to say so) when Typhoeus attacked him, arming his hundred hands with a hundred mountains and touching the astonished constellation of the Bear with his towering snaky coils. What wonder if trouble harasses mortal realms when cruel Aloeus’ two sons cast Mars in chains and attempted to build that forbidden road to the stars so that the universe almost ceased to move, what time the three rocks[46] were uprooted in the war of heaven? But their blind fury was of no effect; wicked hopes never exult for long. Aloeus’ children never reached man’s estate; Otus, attempting to uproot Pelion, was stricken down by Phoebus, and Ephialtes as he died wearily let Ossa fall athwart his side.

[46] i.e. the mountains Pelion, Ossa and Olympus.


Adspice, Roma, tuum iam vertice celsior hostem,
adspice quam rarum referens inglorius agmen
Italia detrusus eat quantumque priori
dissimilis, qui cuncta sibi cessura ruenti 80
pollicitus patrii numen iuraverat Histri
non nisi calcatis loricam ponere rostris.
o rerum fatique vices! qui foeda parabat
Romanas ad stupra nurus, sua pignora vidit
coniugibus permixta trahi; qui mente profundas 85
hauserat urbis opes, ultro victoribus ipse
praeda fuit; nostri quondam qui militis auro
adgressus temptare fidem, desertus ab omni
gente sua manibusque redit truncatus et armis.
Hoc quoque, quod veniam leti valuere mereri, 90
si positis pendas odiis, ignoscere pulchrum
iam misero poenaeque genus vidisse precantem.
quae vindicta prior quam cum formido superbos
flectit et adsuetum spoliis adfligit egestas?
sed magis ex aliis fluxit dementia causis, 95
consulitur dum, Roma, tibi. tua cura coëgit
inclusis aperire fugam, ne peior in arto
saeviret rabies venturae conscia mortis;
nec tanti nomen stirpemque abolere Getarum,
ut propius peterere, fuit. procul arceat altus 100
Iuppiter, ut delubra Numae sedesque Quirini
barbaries oculis saltem temerare profanis
possit et arcanum tanti deprendere regni.


Lift up thy head, Rome, and behold thine enemy; see how, leading back in dishonour a shattered host, he is cast forth from Italy. How different is he from what he was when he sware that everything should yield to his onset and took an oath by Danube whom he and his fathers worshipped that he would never unbuckle his breastplate until he had marched in triumph through the Forum. How strange are the changes Fate brings about! He who destined the women of Rome as victims of his lust has seen his own wives and children led away captive; he who in imagination had drained the countless wealth of our city became himself his victor’s easy prey; he who once sought to corrupt the loyalty of our troops has been deserted by his own people and has returned to his country beggared of men and arms.

Then too if, laying hatred aside, thou shouldest weigh the cause that won them pardon from their doom, surely to spare a fallen foe is itself a triumph and to see him on his knees punishment enough. What vengeance so satisfying as when terror makes pride stoop, and want bows down him who before bore spoils? But our clemency was in part due to another cause, for we thought of thee, O Rome. Concern for thee constrained us to offer a way of escape to the beleaguered foe lest, with the fear of death before their eyes, their rage should grow the more terrible for being confined. An enemy before thy very walls would have been too heavy a price to pay for the destruction of the race and name of the Getae. May Jove from on high forbid that the barbarian should outrage even with a glance Numa’s shrine or Romulus’ temple, or discover aught of the secrets of our empire.


Quamquam, si veterum certamina rite recordor,
tunc etiam, pulchra cum libertate vigerent 105
et proprio late florerent milite patres,
semper ab his famae petiere insignia bellis,
quae diversa procul tuto trans aequora vires
exercere dabant: currus regumque catenae
inter abundantis fati ludibria ductae. 110
at vero Italiam quotiens circumstetit atrox
tempestas ipsumque caput laesura pependit,
non illis vani ratio ventosa furoris,
sed graviter spectata salus ductorque placebat,
non qui praecipiti traheret semel omnia casu, 115
sed qui maturo vel laeta vel aspera rerum
consilio momenta regens, nec tristibus impar
nec pro successu nimius, spatiumque morandi
vincendique modum mutatis nosset habenis.
cautius ingentes morbos et proxima cordi 120
ulcera Paeoniae tractat sollertia curae
parcendoque secat, ferro ne largius acto
inrevocandus eat sectis vitalibus error.
Sublimi certe Curium canit ore vetustas,
Aeaciden Italo pepulit qui litore Pyrrhum, 125
nec magis insignis Pauli Mariique triumphus,
qui captos niveis reges egere quadrigis;
plus fuga laudatur Pyrrhi quam vincla Iugurthae;
et, quamvis gemina fessum iam clade fugavit,
post Decii lituos et nulli pervia culpae 130
pectora Fabricii, donis invicta vel armis,


And yet—if duly I recall ancient conflicts—then also when, fair liberty lending vigour, the senate was everywhere successful with native troops, they sought trophies from such wars as were waged far away across the sea where our soldiers could exercise their courage without danger to their homes; chariots and fettered kings were accounted but the shows that overflowing fortune gave. But whenever a dread storm burst upon Italy or hung threateningly over her head their thought was not how to give vent to profitless fury but how best at such a crisis to secure the safety of the state. The leader of their choice was not he who hazarded all on one rash throw but one who gave careful thought to each eventuality, were it fortunate or the reverse, one who could bear adversity with fortitude and success with moderation, and by slackening or tightening the reins of government knew how to make use of victory and to temporize after a setback. The physician’s skill deals more carefully with grave diseases and ulcers that are near the heart: here he is more sparing of the knife for fear lest the blade, driven too deep, should slip and sever beyond healing some vital organ.

Proud assuredly is the strain in which bards of old sing of Curius who drove Pyrrhus, son of Aeacus, from the shores of Italy;[47] not more resplendent were the triumphs of Paulus and of Marius who dragged captive kings behind their white-horsed chariots. The expulsion of Pyrrhus is more praised than the capture of Jugurtha; and although Curius drove out a prince whose spirit had already been broken by two reverses, at the hands of Decius and of the blameless Fabricius whom neither bribes

[47] After his defeat by Curius Dentatus near Beneventum in 277 B.C. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, was forced to evacuate Italy. Claudian, in this section, is at pains tactfully to justify Stilicho’s expulsion of Alaric from Italy, as opposed to his capture.


plena datur Curio pulsi victoria Pyrrhi.
quanto maius opus solo Stilichone peractum
cernimus! his validam gentem, quam dura nivosis
educat Ursa plagis, non Chaonas atque Molossos, 135
quos Epirus alit, nec Dodonaea subegit
agmina fatidicam frustra iactantia quercum.
Primus fulmineum lento luctamine Poenum
compressit Fabius, campo post ausus aperto
Marcellus vinci docuit, sed tertia virtus 140
Scipiadae Latiis tandem deterruit oris.
unus in hoc Stilicho diversis artibus hoste
tris potuit complere duces fregitque furentem
cunctando vicitque manu victumque relegat.
Atque haec tanta brevi. miscentem incendia Pyrrhum
sustinuit toto maerens Oenotria lustro, 146
et prope ter senas Itali per graminis herbas
Massylus Poeno sonipes vastante cucurrit
Hannibalemque senem vix ad sua reppulit arva
vindex sera patrum post bellum nata iuventus. 150
his celer effecit, bruma ne longior una
esset hiems rerum, primis sed mensibus aestas
temperiem caelo pariter patriaeque[48] referret.
Sed quid ego Hannibalem contra Pyrrhumque tot annis
certatum memorem, vilis cum Spartacus omne 155
per latus Italiae ferro bacchatus et igni
consulibusque palam totiens congressus inertes
exuerit castris dominos et strage pudenda

[48] codd. belloque; Birt suggests regnoque; Postgate patriaeque.


nor arms could overcome, yet the whole glory of that expulsion is given to him. But how much greater the task we see fulfilled by Stilicho alone! He has conquered not Chaones or Molossi, Epirot tribes, nor yet the armies of Dodona that idly boast their prophetic grove, but a mighty people whose home lies in those snowy regions beneath the icy constellation of the Bear.

Fabius was the first to stay by his slow struggles Hannibal’s lightning rush; then Marcellus, meeting him in the open field, taught him defeat, but it was the valour of Scipio that drove him from the shores of Italy. In the case of our latest foe Stilicho succeeded in combining in himself the diverse skill of all these three; he broke their frenzy by delaying, vanquished them in battle and drove the vanquished host from Italy.

And all this in so short a time. Full five years did Italy mourn beneath the scattered fires of Pyrrhus, for well-nigh eighteen years did the African steeds of the Carthaginians tread down and devastate our harvests, and it was a second generation, born after the outbreak of the war, that, exacting a tardy vengeance for the first, with difficulty drove an aged Hannibal back to his own country. Stilicho acted more quickly: he saw to it that the winter of our distress should last but one winter[49] but that spring in its earliest months should bring back fair weather alike to heaven and to fatherland.

Why should I make mention of the wars waged all those weary years against Hannibal and Pyrrhus when that vile gladiator Spartacus, ravaging all the countryside with fire and sword, oft engaged the consuls in open war and, driving out its feeble masters

[49] The winter of 401-402.


fuderit imbelles aquilas servilibus armis?
nos terrorum expers et luxu mollior aetas 160
deficimus queruli, si bos abductus aratro,
si libata seges. non hanc ergastula nobis
inmisere manum nec coniurantis harenae
turba fuit; qualem Stilicho deiecerit hostem,
Thraces et Haemonii poterunt Moesique fateri. 165
Frigida ter decies nudatum frondibus Haemum
tendit hiems vestire gelu totiensque solutis
ver nivibus viridem monti reparavit amictum,
ex quo iam patrios gens haec oblita Triones
atque Histrum transvecta semel vestigia fixit 170
Threicio funesta solo. seu fata vocabant
seu gravis ira deum, seriem meditata ruinis,
ex illo, quocumque vagos impegit Erinys,
grandinis aut morbi ritu per devia rerum,
praecipites per clausa ruunt, nec contigit ullis 175
amnibus aut scopulis proprias defendere terras.
nil Rhodope, nil vastus Athos, nil profuit Hebrus
Odrysiis; facili contemptum Strymona saltu
et frustra rapidum damnant Haliacmona Bessi.
nubibus intactum Macedo miratur Olympum 180
more pererratum campi; gemit inrita Tempe
Thessalus et domitis inrisam cautibus Oeten.
Sperchiusque et virginibus dilectus Enipeus
barbaricas lavere comas. non obice Pindi
servati Dryopes nec nubifer Actia texit 185
litora Leucates; ipsae, quae durius olim
restiterant Medis, primo conamine ruptae


from the Roman camp, put to rout the unwarlike eagles defeated with shameful carnage by a band of slaves? We, unused to war’s alarms, an age enervated with luxury, grumble and give up in despair if a ploughing ox is looted or our harvest so much as touched. It was no slaves’ prison that loosed on us the Getic hordes; these were not a crowd of rebellious gladiators. Thrace, Haemus and Moesia can tell you what manner of foe Stilicho expelled. Thrice ten times has chill winter cast her snowy mantle over leafless Haemus; as oft has spring, when those snows were melted, renewed the mountain’s verdant cloak since the Getic race, forgetful of its native stars and once having crossed the Danube, set destructive foot on Thracian soil. Whether fate led them or the heavy anger of the gods planning disaster upon disaster, from that day, whithersoever the Furies have driven those errant bands, they have poured pell-mell over remote lands, over every obstacle, like a storm of hail or a pestilence. No streams or rocks availed to defend their country. Neither Rhodope nor huge Athos nor Hebrus could save Thrace; the Bessi cursed the Strymon crossed with scornful ease and the Haliacmon that flowed swiftly and to no purpose. The Macedonians in amaze saw Olympus, too high even for clouds, trodden by them as it had been a plain. Thessaly bewails the uselessness of Tempe and conquered Oeta’s ridges made a mock. Sperchius and Enipeus, loved of maidens, served to wash the barbarians’ hair. The barrier of Pindus could not save the Dryopes nor cloud-capped Leucates the coasts of Actium. Thermopylae itself that had once more boldly withstood the Persians yielded a passage


Thermopylae; vallata mari Scironia rupes
et duo continuo conectens aequora muro
Isthmos et angusti patuerunt claustra Lechaei: 190
nec tibi Parrhasios licuit munire colonos
frondosis, Erymanthe, iugis, equitataque summi
culmina Taygeti trepidae vidistis Amyclae.
Tandem supplicium cunctis pro montibus Alpes
exegere Getas; tandem tot flumina victor 195
vindicat Eridanus. docuit nunc exitus alte
fatorum secreta regi. quisquamne reclusis
Alpibus ulterius Latii fore credidit umbram?
nonne velut capta rumor miserabilis urbe
trans freta, trans Gallos Pyrenaeumque cucurrit? 200
Famaque nigrantes succincta pavoribus alas
secum cuncta trahens a Gadibus usque Britannum
terruit Oceanum et nostro procul axe remotam
insolito belli tremefecit murmure Thylen?
Mandemusne Noti flabris quoscumque timores 205
pertulimus, festae doleant ne tristibus aures?
an potius meminisse iuvat semperque vicissim
gaudia praemissi cumulant inopina dolores?
utque sub occidua iactatis Pleiade nautis
commendat placidum maris inclementia portum, 210
sic mihi tunc maior Stilicho, cum laeta periclis
metior atque illi redeunt in corda tumultus.
Nonne videbantur, quamvis adamante rigentes,
turribus invalidis fragiles procumbere muri
ferrataeque Getis ultro se pandere portae? 215


at the first onset. Sciron’s cliffs protected by the waves, the wall that joins sea to sea across the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow pass of Lechaeum, all lay open to their approach. Thou, Erymanthus, couldst not protect the people of Arcadia with thy leafy ridges and thou, Amyclae, didst tremble to see the enemy’s cavalry on the heights of Taygetus.

At last, however, the Alps avenged on the Getae the disgrace of all mountains else and victorious Eridanus that of all other rivers. The event has proved that deep hidden are the ways of destiny. Who would have believed that, once a passage had been forced over the Alps, so much as the shadow of Italy’s name would survive? Did not the awful report of Rome’s fall cross the sea and spread beyond Gaul and over the Pyrenees? Did not Rumour, her sable wing sped on with panic, sweeping all before her in her flight, affright Ocean from Britain’s coast to Gades’ city and far away from our world make distant Thule tremble with the unaccustomed echoes of war?

And shall we fling to the South-wind’s blasts all the terrors we endured, lest mid feasting sadness trouble our ears? Or rather does such memory delight and does precursive pain ever changefully heighten unexpected joy? Even as to sailors storm-tossed at the Pleiads’ setting the rudeness of the sea commends the harbour’s calm, so to me does Stilicho appear greater when I compare happiness with hazard and all those troubles come again before my mind.

Did not our steel-girt walls seem to fall at the enemy’s attack, feeble as the towers that crowned them, and our doors of iron to open of their own accord to give him entry? It seemed as though


nec vallum densaeque sudes arcere volantes
cornipedum saltus? iamiam conscendere puppes
Sardoniosque habitare sinus et inhospita Cyrni
saxa parant vitamque freto spumante tueri.
ipsa etiam diffisa brevi Trinacria ponto, 220
si rerum natura sinat, discedere longe
optat et Ionium refugo laxare Peloro.
fultaque despiciens auro laquearia dives
tutior Aeoliis mallet vixisse cavernis;
iamque oneri creduntur opes tandemque libido 225
haesit avaritiae gravioribus obruta curis.
utque est ingenioque loquax et plurima fingi
permittens credique timor, tunc somnia vulgo
narrari, tunc monstra deum monitusque sinistri:
quid meditentur aves, quid cum mortalibus aether
fulmineo velit igne loqui, quid carmine poscat 231
fatidico custos Romani carbasus aevi.
territat adsiduus lunae labor atraque Phoebe
noctibus aerisonas crebris ululata per urbes.
nec credunt vetito fraudatam Sole sororem 235
telluris subeunte globo, sed castra secutas
barbara Thessalidas patriis lunare venenis
incestare iubar. tunc anni signa prioris
et si quod fortasse quies neglexerat omen,
addit cura novis: lapidosos grandinis ictus 240
molitasque examen apes passimque crematas


no rampart nor palisade were stout enough to withstand his cavalry’s wind-swift onset. Even now they[50] make ready to go aboard their ships, to dwell in Sardinia’s creeks and Corsica’s rocky, inhospitable coast, and to guard their lives behind the foaming main. Sicily herself, mistrusting the narrow strait, would fain retreat, did but Nature permit, and open a wider passage for the Ionian waves by withdrawing Pelorus. The rich, setting no store by their fretted golden ceilings, would rather have lived in greater security in an Aeolian cave. Soon, too, wealth was considered a burden, and greed of gain was curbed at last by reason of anxieties more overwhelming. Then—for that fear is by nature a babbler and allows all sorts of tales to be invented and believed—dreams, portents, and omens of ill were discussed on all sides. What, men asked, did that flight of birds portend, what message would heaven fain deliver to mortals by the thunderbolt, what did those prophetic books demand that guard the destiny of Rome? Constant eclipses of the moon alarmed us and night after night throughout the cities of Italy sounded wailings and the beating of brazen gongs to scare the shadow from off her darkened face. Men would not believe that the moon had been defrauded of her brother the sun, forbidden to give light by the interposition of the earth; they thought that Thessalian witches, accompanying the barbarian armies, were darkening her rays with their country’s magic spells. Then with these new portents their troubled minds link the signs of the past year and any omens that perchance peaceful days had neglected—showers of stones, bees swarming in strange places, furious

[50] i.e. the inhabitants of Italy.


perbacchata domos nullis incendia causis
et numquam caelo spectatum impune cometem,
qui primum roseo Phoebi prolatus ab ortu,
qua micat astrigera senior cum coniuge Cepheus; 245
inde Lycaoniam paulatim expulsus ad Arcton
crine vago Getici foedavit sidera Plaustri,
donec in exiguum moriens vanesceret ignem.
Sed gravius mentes caesorum ostenta luporum
horrificant. duo quippe lupi sub principis ora, 250
dum campis exercet equos, violenter adorti
agmen et excepti telis inmane relatu
prodigium miramque notam duxere futuri.
nam simul humano geminas de corpore palmas
utraque perfossis emisit belua costis: 255
illo laeva tremens, hoc dextera ventre latebat
intentis ambae digitis et sanguine vivo.
scrutari si vera velis, fera nuntia Martis
ora sub Augusti casurum prodidit hostem,
utque manus utero virides patuere retecto, 260
Romula post ruptas virtus sic emicat Alpes.
sed malus interpres rerum metus omne trahebat
augurium peiore via, truncataque membra
nutricemque lupam Romae regnoque minari.
tunc reputant annos interceptoque volatu 265
vulturis incidunt properatis saecula metis.
Solus erat Stilicho, qui desperantibus augur
sponderet meliora manu, dubiaeque salutis


fires destroying houses from no known cause, a comet—ne’er seen in heaven without disaster—which first rose where Phoebus lifts his rosy morning beam and old Cepheus shines together with starry Andromeda, his spouse; then it withdrew little by little to the constellation of Lycaon’s daughter[51] and with its errant tail dimmed the stars of the Getic Wain until at last its dying fires grew feeble and vanished.

But what terrified men’s minds still more was the portent of the two slaughtered wolves. Ay, before the Emperor’s face as he practised his cavalry upon the plain two wolves savagely attacked his escort. Slain by darts they disclosed a horrid portent and a wondrous sign of what was to be. In each animal, on its being cut open, was found a human hand, in the stomach of one a left hand, in that of the other a right was discovered, both still twitching, the fingers stretched out and suffused with living blood. Wouldest thou search out the truth, the beast as messenger of Mars foretold that the foe would fall before the emperor’s eyes. As the hands were found to be living when the stomachs were cut open, so, when the Alps had been broken through, the might of Rome was to be discovered unimpaired. But fear, ever a poor interpreter, read disaster in the portent; severed hands, ’twas said, and nursing wolf threatened destruction on Rome and her empire. Then they reckoned up the years and, cutting off the flight of the twelfth vulture, tried to shorten the centuries of Rome’s existence by hastening the end.[52]

’Twas Stilicho alone who by his courage assured despairing Rome the promise of a better fate; at

[51] i.e. The Great Bear.

[52] The twelve vultures seen by Romulus (Livy i. 7. 1) were interpreted as twelve centuries of Roman power. Taking the traditional date of the founding of the city (754 B.C.) more than eleven centuries had already passed.


dux idem vatesque fuit. “durate parumper”
inquit “et excussis muliebribus ore querellis 270
fatorum toleremus onus. nil nautica prosunt
turbatae lamenta rati nec segnibus undae
planctibus aut vanis mitescunt flamina votis.
nunc instare manu, toto nunc robore niti
communi pro luce decet: succurrere velis, 275
exhaurire fretum, varios aptare rudentes
omnibus et docti iussis parere magistri.
non, si perfidia nacti penetrabile tempus
inrupere Getae, nostras dum Raetia vires
occupat atque alio desudant Marte cohortes, 280
idcirco spes omnis abit. mirabile posset
esse mihi, si fraude nova vel calle reperto
barbarus ignotas invaderet inscius Alpes;
nunc vero geminis clades repetita tyrannis
famosum vulgavit iter nec nota fefellit 285
semita praestructum bellis civilibus hostem.
per solitas venere vias, aditusque sequendos
barbarico Romana dedit discordia bello.
“Sed nec praeteritis haec res incognita saeclis:
saepe lacessitam, sed non impune, fatemur 290
Ausoniam. haec Senonum restinxit sanguine flammas,
haec et Teutonico quondam patefacta furori
colla catenati vidit squalentia Cimbri.
vile decus, quod non erexit praevius horror;
ingentes generant discrimina magna triumphos. 295
“Quid turpes iam mente fugas, quid Gallica rura


this crisis he showed himself by his courage at once general and seer. “A little patience,” said he; “away with womanly repinings: let us bear with fortitude whatever fate lays upon us. What good do the sailors’ cries do to the storm-driven vessel? Neither waves nor winds will abate their fury for coward tears or useless prayer. Now for the general safety it befits us to use every effort, to struggle with all our strength—to attend to the sails, work the pumps, manage the various ropes, and obey every order of the skilful captain. Because the Getae have broken through, seizing by treachery the hour for striking home, what time Raetia claimed our attention and our regiments were busied with another war—not for that is all hope lost. Marvel indeed I might, if by some new guile, some discovered path, the barbarian ignorantly marched over the unexplored Alps; now, however, the successive defeats of the two tyrants[53] have made the road notorious, nor has the foeman missed the well-known track that was built for him by our civil strife. They have come a well-known way and Roman discord has opened the approach to barbaric war.

“Past generations have known a like fate. Full often, we know, has Italy been attacked—but never without the enemy’s paying dear. With their own blood did our country extinguish the fires lit by the Senones and, once the victim of a German invasion, she soon saw the squalid necks of Teutons and Cimbri loaded with the chains of captivity. Of little value is that glory whose worth has not been augmented by previous hardship; ’tis great dangers that beget great triumphs.

“Do you meditate shameful flight and fix your

[53] Maximus and Eugenius.


respicitis Latioque libet post terga relicto
longinquum profugis Ararim praecingere castris?
scilicet Arctois concessa gentibus urbe
considet regnum Rhodano capitique superstes 300
truncus erit? vestros stimulant si pignora sensus,
me quoque non impar naturae cura remordet,
nec ferro sic corda rigent ut nosse recusem
quam sanctum soceri nomen, quam dulce mariti,
quantus prolis amor. sed numquam oblita decoris
obscaenam latebram pietas ignava requiret. 306
nec vobis fortis monitor, mihi cautior uni:
hic coniunx, hic progenies, hic carior omni
luce gener; pars nulla mei subducta procellae.
accipe tu nostrae, tellus Oenotria, mentis 310
vincula communes tecum subeuntia casus,
exiguamque moram muris impende tuendis,
dum redeo lectum referens in classica robur.”
His dictis pavidi firmavit inertia vulgi
pectora migrantisque fugam compescuit aulae; 315
ausaque tum primum tenebris emergere pulsis
Hesperia, ut secum iunxisse pericula vidit
Augustum, tantoque sui stetit obside fati.
protinus, umbrosa vestit qua litus oliva
Larius et dulci mentitur Nerea fluctu, 320
parva puppe lacum praetervolat; ocius inde
scandit inaccessos brumali sidere montes
nil hiemis caelive memor. sic ille relinquens
ieiunos antro catulos inmanior exit


eyes on Gaul? Would you leave Latium and establish on the banks of the Saône a camp of refugees? Is Rome to be ceded to Arctic tribes, our empire to settle on the Rhone, and shall the trunk survive the head? If the thought of your children has any weight with you, remember that I too am not unaffected by similar feelings of nature; my heart is not so hard that I do not nor will not recognize the sacred ties that bind son to father-in-law, wife to husband and children to sire. But never, forgetting honour, shall cowardly affection seek refuge in ignominious flight. Nor do I give you bold advice, more careful for myself alone; here is my family, my wife, and her father whom I love more than life itself; not one of my relations is beyond the reach of this tempest. O land of Italy, know that my heart is set on bearing with thee whatsoever ills thou art called on to bear. Romans, hold your walls but for a short while till I return, bringing back to the sound of trumpets the flower of your host.”

With these words he instilled courage into the fearful hearts of the citizens and checked any inclination towards flight in the Court. The dark shadow fled and Italy dared raise her head once more seeing her emperor ready to share her perils, and stood her ground with such a hostage for fortune. Where Larius clothes his banks with shady olive-trees and with his fresh water imitates the sea’s salt waves, Stilicho crossed the lake with all speed in a small boat. Next he ascended those mountains, inaccessible in winter, with no thought for the season or the weather. Even so a lion, leaving his starving cubs within the


hiberna sub nocte leo tacitusque per altas 325
incedit furiale nives; stant colla pruinis
aspera; flaventes adstringit stiria saetas;
nec meminit leti nimbosve aut frigora curat,
dum natis alimenta parat.
Sublimis in Arcton
prominet Hercyniae confinis Raetia silvae, 330
quae se Danuvii iactat Rhenique parentem
utraque Romuleo praetendens flumina regno:
primo fonte breves, alto mox gurgite regnant
et fluvios cogunt unda coëunte minores
in nomen transire suum. te Cimbrica Tethys 335
divisum bifido consumit, Rhene, meatu;
Thracia quinque vadis Histrum vorat Amphitrite:
ambo habiles remis, ambo glacialia secti
terga rotis, ambo Boreae Martique sodales.
sed latus, Hesperiae quo Raetia iungitur orae, 340
praeruptis ferit astra iugis panditque tremendam
vix aestate viam. multi ceu Gorgone visa
obriguere gelu; multos hausere profundae
vasta mole nives, cumque ipsis saepe iuvencis
naufraga candenti merguntur plaustra barathro. 345
interdum subitam glacie labente ruinam
mons dedit et tepidis fundamina subruit astris
pendenti male fida solo.
Per talia tendit
frigoribus mediis Stilicho loca. nulla Lyaei
pocula; rara Ceres; raptos contentus in armis 350
delibasse cibos madidoque oneratus amictu


cave, issues forth hunger-maddened some winter night and with silent tread goes out across the deep snow with murder in his heart, his mane frozen about his shoulders, and icicles clinging to his tawny coat; nought recks he of death nor cares for snow nor frost if only he can procure food for his little ones.

Near to the Hercynian forest the uplands of Raetia stretch out towards the north, Raetia, proud parent of Danube and Rhine, twain rivers that she sets to guard the empire of Rome. Small are their streams at first, but soon they grow in depth and like kings compel the lesser waters to pass with tributary wave beneath their name. The Cimbric ocean receives Rhine’s flood outpoured through his two mouths; the Thracian wave swallows that of Ister flowing out through five channels. Both rivers are navigable though both bear at times the marks of chariot-wheels upon their frozen surface; stout allies both of the north wind and the god of war. But on the side where Raetia marches with Italy precipitous mountains touch the sky, scarce even in summer offering an awful path. Many a man has there been frozen to death as though he had looked on the Gorgon’s head; many have been engulfed beneath vast masses of snow, and often are carts and the oxen that draw them plunged into the white depths of the crevasse. Sometimes the mountain plunges downwards in an avalanche of ice, loosening neath a warmer sky foundations that trust vainly in the precipitous slope.

Such was the country over which Stilicho passed in mid winter. No wine was there; Ceres’ gifts were sparing; ’twas enough to snatch a hurried meal, eaten sword in hand, while, burdened with rain-drenched


algentem pulsabat equum. nec mollia fesso
strata dedere torum; tenebris si caeca repressit
nox iter, aut spelaea subit metuenda ferarum
aut pastorali iacuit sub culmine fultus 355
cervicem clipeo. stat pallidus hospite magno
pastor et ignoto praeclarum nomine vultum
rustica sordenti genetrix ostendit alumno.
illa sub horrendis praedura cubilia silvis,
illi sub nivibus somni curaeque laborque 360
pervigil hanc requiem terris, haec otia rebus
insperata dabant; illae tibi, Roma, salutem
Alpinae peperere casae.
Iam foedera gentes
exuerant Latiique audita clade feroces
Vindelicos saltus et Norica rura tenebant. 365
ac veluti famuli, mendax quos mortis erilis
nuntius in luxum falso rumore resolvit,
dum marcent epulis atque inter vina chorosque
persultat vacuis effrena licentia tectis,
si reducem dominum sors improvisa revexit, 370
haerent attoniti libertatemque perosus
conscia servilis praecordia concutit horror:
sic ducis adspectu cuncti stupuere rebelles,
inque uno princeps Latiumque et tota refulsit
Roma viro. frons laeta parum, non tristior aequo,
non deiecta malis, mixta sed nobilis ira: 376
qualis in Herculeo, quotiens infanda iubebat
Eurystheus, fuit ore dolor vel qualis in atram
sollicitus nubem maesto Iove cogitur aether.
“Tantane vos” inquit “Getici fiducia belli 380
erigit? hinc animo frustra tumuistis inani?
non ita Romanum fati violentia nomen


cloak, he urged on his half-frozen steed. No soft bed received his weary limbs. If the darkness forced him to halt in his advance he would either enter some dreadful beast’s den or sleep in some shepherd’s hut, his head pillowed upon his shield. The shepherd stands pale at the sight of his stately guest, and ignorant of his name the rustic mother points out to her squalid infant the glory of his face. It was those hard couches beneath the rough pines, those nights amid the snow, all that care and anxious toil, that won this peace for the world, this tranquillity it had despaired of for the empire. From out those Alpine huts, Rome, came thy salvation.

Now had the peoples broken their treaties and, encouraged by the news of Latium’s trouble, had seized upon the glades of Vindelicia and the fields of Noricum. Like slaves whom news of their master’s death lures into luxury with an idle tale, if mid the debauch and while wild licence riots with wine and dance some unexpected chance bring back their lord, then they stand panic-stricken and, abhorring liberty, servile terror shakes their guilty souls; so all the rebels were struck with terror at the sight of the general and in one man the Emperor, Latium and all Rome blazed before their eyes. Joy sat not upon his countenance nor excess of gloom nor yet dejection by reason of Rome’s reverses but nobility and indignation mixed, such as filled Hercules at Eurystheus’ inhuman orders, or such as dims the face of heaven when at Jove’s frown the troubled sky is gathered into a murky cloud.

“Put ye such faith,” he cried, “in Getic arms? Is it they that swell your hearts with empty pride? Fate has not brought Rome’s name so low that she


opprimit, ut vestros nequeat punire tumultus
parte sui. ne vos longe sermone petito
demorer, exemplum veteris cognoscite facti: 385
cum ferus Ausonias perfringeret Hannibal arces
et Trebiam saevo geminassent funere Cannae,
nequiquam Emathium pepulit spes vana Philippum,
ut velut adflictos ferro temptaret inerti.
Romanos commovit atrox iniuria patres, 390
urgerent maiora licet, graviterque tulere,
urbibus inter se claris de culmine rerum
congressis, aliquid gentes audere minores.
nec poenam differre placet, sed bella gerenti
Punica Laevino regis quoque proelia mandant. 395
paruit imperiis consul, fususque Philippus,
vilia dum gravibus populis interserit arma,
praetereunte manu didicit non esse potentum
temptandas, mediis quamvis in luctibus, iras.”
Hoc monitu pariter nascentia bella repressit 400
et bello quaesivit opes legitque precantes
auxilio mensus numerum, qui congruus esset
nec gravis Italiae formidandusve regenti.
Nec minus accepto nostrae rumore cohortes
(sic ducis urget amor) properantibus undique signis
conveniunt, visoque animi Stilichone recepti 406
singultus varios lacrimosaque gaudia miscent:
sic armenta boum, vastis quae turbida silvis
sparsit hiems, cantus ac sibila nota magistri


cannot punish your rebellion with but a handful of her forces. Not to delay you with foreign tales, hear this example from your deeds of old. When warlike Hannibal was spreading destruction throughout the cities of Italy, and Cannae had doubled Trebia’s cruel losses, a vain hope drove Philip of Macedon to turn his feeble sword against a people which, as he thought, was in difficulties. The monstrous insult roused the Roman Fathers, although more pressing dangers were crowding upon them, and they took it ill that, while two great cities were disputing the mastery of the world, a lesser race should be insolent. They determine upon instant vengeance and command Laevinus, even while he conducts the war with Carthage, to do battle also with the king of Macedonia. The consul obeyed his orders, and Philip, intruding his feeble arms between mighty nations, was routed by a passing band and learned that it does not do to tempt the anger of powerful peoples even when they are in distress.”

With this warning Stilicho alike checked the threatened war and won new allies for war, enrolling them at their entreaty and setting such number to their forces as should best suit—neither a burden to Italy nor a terror to its lord.

Then, indeed, at the news of his return, the legions, such love they bore their general, hastened together from every side, and at the sight of Stilicho their courage revived and they broke out into sobbings and tears of joy. So when a herd of cattle has been scattered throughout some vast forest by the storm’s violence the beasts eagerly make for the sound of the ox-herd’s well-known song or whistle and


certatim repetunt et avitae pascua vallis 410
inque vicem se voce regunt gaudentque fideles
reddere mugitus et, qua sonus attigit aurem,
rara per obscuras adparent cornua frondes.
adcurrit vicina manus, quam Raetia nuper
Vandalicis auctam spoliis defensa probavit; 415
venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis,
quae Scotto dat frena truci ferroque notatas
perlegit exanimes Picto moriente figuras;
agmina quin etiam flavis obiecta Sygambris
quaeque domant Chattos inmansuetosque Cheruscos,
huc omnes vertere minas tutumque remotis 421
excubiis Rhenum solo terrore relinquunt.
ullane posteritas credet? Germania quondam
illa ferox populis, quae vix instantibus olim
principibus tota poterat cum mole teneri, 425
iam sese placidam praebet Stilichonis habenis,
ut nec praesidiis nudato limite temptet
expositum calcare solum nec transeat amnem,
incustoditam metuens attingere ripam.
Celsior o cunctis unique aequande Camillo! 430
vestris namque armis Alarici fracta quievit
ac Brenni rabies; confusis rebus uterque
divinam tribuistis opem, sed tardior ille
iam captae vindex patriae, tu sospitis ultor.
o quantum mutata tuo fortuna regressu! 435
ut sese pariter diffudit in omnia regni
membra vigor vivusque redit color urbibus aegris!


the pasture of their native vale, guiding their steps in answer to his voice and glad faithfully to reply with lowing, while, wherever his tones fall upon their ear, horns show themselves here and there through the dark foliage. First hasten up the neighbouring troops, their loyalty attested by their defence of Raetia and their mass of spoil from Vindelicia; next the legion that had been left to guard Britain,[54] the legion that kept the fierce Scots in check, whose men had scanned the strange devices tattooed on the faces of the dying Picts. Even the legions that faced the flaxen-haired Sygambri, and those who held the Chatti and wild Cherusci in subjection hither turned their threatening arms, leaving the Rhine, whose garrison they had formed, defended by but one thing—the fear of Rome. Will any posterity credit the tale? Germany, once the home of peoples so proud and fierce that former emperors could scarce keep them in check with the whole weight of their armies, now offers herself so willing a follower of Stilicho’s guiding hand that she neither attempts an invasion of the territory exposed to her attack by the removal of its frontier troops nor crosses the stream, too timid to approach an undefended bank.

Greater art thou, Stilicho, than all; thine only rival is Camillus, whose arms broke the rash power of Brennus as thine have broken that of Alaric. At a time of dire peril ye both gave the aid of gods; but he too late avenged a captured Rome, thou one still safe. What a reversal of fortune did thy return bring about! A new vigour returned to every part of our empire alike, and the glow of health came back to our suffering cities. A

[54] Legio II. Augusta. The legion referred to in l. 414 is probably III. Italica.


creditur Herculeis lucem renovasse lacertis
femina dilecti fatis impensa mariti;
et iuvenem spretae laniatum fraude novercae 440
non sine Circaeis Latonia reddidit herbis.
Cretaque, si verax narratur fabula, vidit
Minoum rupto puerum prodire sepulchro,
quem senior vates avium clangore repertum
gramine restituit: mirae nam munere sortis 445
dulcia mella necem, vitam dedit horridus anguis.
at tuus adventus non unum corpus ab umbris,
sed tot communi populos sub morte iacentes
totaque Tartareis e faucibus oppida traxit.
Ipso Roma die (nec adhuc ostenditur auctor) 450
personuit venisse ducem, laetisque Quirites
vocibus auspicium certi plausere triumphi,
muniti Stilichone suo. quis gaudia vero
principis, amplexus alacris quis disserat aulae?
pulveris ambiguam nubem speculamur ab altis 455
turribus, incerti socios adportet an hostes
ille globus. mentem suspensa silentia librant,
donec pulvereo sub turbine sideris instar
emicuit Stilichonis apex et cognita fulsit
canities. gavisa repens per moenia clamor 460
tollitur “ipse venit.” portas secura per omnes
turba salutatis effunditur obvia signis.
non iam dilectus miseri nec falce per agros


woman, so the story goes, who died to save the life of a loved husband, was recalled to the upper world by the might of Hercules. Diana with the help of Circe’s magic herbs restored to life Hippolytus whom the scorned passion of a stepmother had caused to be torn in pieces. Crete, if the fable be true, saw Glaucus, son of Minos, issue living from the tomb; his body was discovered by the cries of birds to Polyidus, the aged seer, who restored him to life by means of simples; strange indeed was the ruling of fate which apportioned sweet honey as the cause of his death and a hideous serpent as the restorer of his life.[55] But thy return, Stilicho, recalled not one body from the shades but countless peoples sunk in a common death, and snatched whole towns from the jaws of Hell.

That very day Rome rang with the report (though none ever knew its author) that the hero had arrived, and the citizens, assured of Stilicho’s protection, applauded this augury of certain victory. Who could tell of the Emperor’s joy, who of the courtiers’ eager greetings? From the lofty battlements we sight a distant cloud of dust and know not whether its obscurity conceals friend or foe. Suspense keeps us all in silence. Then suddenly from that dusty cloud emerged the helm of Stilicho, glittering like a star, and we recognized his gleaming white hair. Up rose the happy shout from the walls: “’Tis he.” Safe at last the crowd surges out through the gates to meet and greet the army’s return. Gone for ever are our wretched impressed levies; no longer

[55] Glaucus, son of Minos, fell into a vat of honey and was drowned. Polyidus, the seer, led by an oracle, discovered the body, and was, at Minos’ command, immured with it in a tomb until he should find a means of restoring it to life. Two snakes approached the corpse, one of which Polyidus slew. Observing the other bring its dead companion to life by placing a certain herb in its mouth, Polyidus applied the same method with success to the resuscitation of Glaucus (Hyginus, Fab. 136. Both Sophocles and Euripides wrote tragedies on the subject; see Soph. Frag. ed. Pearson, vol. ii. pp. 56 sqq.).


deposita iaculum vibrans ignobile messor
nec temptat[56] clipeum proiectis sumere rastris 465
Bellona ridente Ceres humilisque novorum
seditio clamosa ducum: sed vera iuventus,
verus ductor adest et vivida Martis imago.
Prospera sed quantum nostrae spes addita menti,
tantum exempta Getis, qui vertice proximus astris
post Alpes iam cuncta sibi promisit apertas 471
nil superesse ratus, postquam tot lumina pubis,
tot subitos pedites, equitum tot conspicit alas
cinctaque fluminibus crebris ac moenibus arva
seque velut clausum laqueis, sub pectore furtim 475
aestuat et nimium prono fervore petitae
iam piget Italiae, sperataque Roma teneri
visa procul. magni subeunt iam taedia coepti.
occultat tamen ore metum primosque suorum
consultare iubet bellis annisque verendos. 480
crinigeri sedere patres, pellita Getarum
curia, quos plagis decorat numerosa cicatrix
et tremulos regit hasta gradus et nititur altis
pro baculo contis non exarmata senectus.
hic aliquis gravior natu, cui plurima dictis 485
consiliisque fides, defixus lumina terrae
concutiensque comam capuloque adclinis eburno:
“Si numero non fallor” ait “tricesima currit
bruma fere, rapidum postquam transnavimus Histrum,
Romanamque manum tantis eludimus annis. 490
sed numquam Mavors adeo constrinxit in artum

[56] temptat codd.; Birt temptans.


does the reaper, laying aside his sickle, try to hurl the impotent javelin, nor Ceres lay aside her harrow and, to the amusement of Bellona, essay the buckler. Stilled are the noisy wrangles of untried leaders; here is Rome’s true strength, her true leader, Mars in human form.

The more happy hopes grew in our hearts the more they deserted the Getae, who, touching the stars with their heads, after crossing the Alps accounted all their own and deemed nothing left to do. But when they saw all our glorious youth, all the quickly levied infantry, all the squadrons of horse, a countryside protected by so many rivers and fortresses, and themselves caught in a snare, a trouble they dared not voice seized their hearts and a regret that they had invaded Italy with too forward eagerness; and Rome they hoped within their grasp seemed far away. Weariness of their mighty undertaking steals over them. Yet Alaric’s face conceals his fear; he bids to the council of war those whose age or prowess had gained them the dignity of leadership. There sat the senate of long-haired, skin-clad Getic leaders. Many a scar received in battle adorned their faces, spears guide their tottering steps and, instead of a staff, old age, refusing to disarm, supports itself on their tall shafts. Then arose one older than the rest, trusted for his counsel and advice, who, fixing his gaze upon the ground, shaking his hoary locks and leaning on his ivory hilt, thus spake: “If I miscount not the years this is well-nigh the thirtieth winter since we swam across the swift Ister. All that time we have escaped defeat at the hands of Rome. Yet never, Alaric, has Mars brought your fortunes to such


res, Alarice, tuas. per tot certamina docto
crede seni, qui te tenero vice patris ab aevo
gestatum parva solitus donare pharetra
atque aptare breves umeris puerilibus arcus: 495
saepe quidem frustra monui, servator ut icti
foederis Emathia tutus tellure maneres;
sed quoniam calidae rapuit te flamma iuventae,
nunc saltem, si cura tibi manet ulla tuorum,
his claustris evade, precor, dumque agmina longe,
dum licet, Hesperiis praeceps elabere terris, 501
ne nova praedari cupiens et parta reponas
pastorique lupus scelerum delicta priorum
intra saepta luas. quid palmitis uber Etrusci,
quid mihi nescioquam proprio cum Thybride Romam
semper in ore geris? referunt si vera parentes, 506
hanc urbem insano nullus qui Marte petivit
laetatus violasse redit; nec numina sedem
destituunt: iactata procul dicuntur in hostem
fulmina divinique volant pro moenibus ignes, 510
seu caelum seu Roma tonat. si temnis Olympum,
a magno Stilichone cave, qui semper iniquos
Fortuna famulante premit. scis ipse, per oras
Arcadiae quam densa rogis cumulaverit ossa,
sanguine quam largo Graios calefecerit amnes; 515
extinctusque fores, ni te sub nomine legum
proditio regnique favor texisset Eoi.”
Talia grandaevum flammata fronte loquentem


straits. Take the advice of an old man who has been through countless fights, one who like a father was wont to give thee in thine earliest youth little quivers to sling across thy back and to fit short bows to thy young shoulders. Often did I urge in vain that thou should’st observe the treaty and remain safe at home in Emathia. But if the fire of hot youth hurried thee into war, now at least, I beg thee, make good thine escape from out this net if thou hast any love left for thy people. The enemy’s forces are far away; thou hast the chance; flee headlong from Italy’s lands lest, in thy desire for fresh spoils, thou lose even what thou hast got and like a wolf pay the penalty of former depredations to the shepherd by being killed within the sheepfold. Why dost thou have ever on thy lips the richness of Tuscan vineyards and some Rome or other with its Tiber? If our parents speak sooth, never has any who has assailed that city in mad war returned to boast that he has done her violence. The gods desert not their own home; thunderbolts, they tell, are hurled from afar upon her foes and unearthly fires flash before her walls, whether ’tis heaven or Rome that thunders. If thou fearest not the gods beware the might of Stilicho; fortune is ever on his side against assaulting enemies. Thou thyself knowest how high with bones he piled our funeral pyres in Arcadia, and with what vast outpourings of our blood he made the rivers of Greece run warm; and thou hadst been killed had not treason in the guise of law and the goodwill of the Emperor of the East protected thee.”

While the elder spake thus Alaric, eyeing him


obliquisque tuens oculis non pertulit ultra,
sed rupit rabidas accensa superbia voces: 520
“Si non mentis inops fraudataque sensibus aetas
praeberet veniam, numquam haec opprobria linguae
turpia Danuvius me sospite ferret inultus.
anne, tot Augustos Hebro qui teste fugavi,
te patiar suadente fugam, cum cesserit omnis 525
obsequiis natura meis? subsidere nostris
sub pedibus montes, arescere vidimus amnes.
non ita di Getici faxint manesque parentum,
ut mea converso relegam vestigia cursu.
hanc ego vel victor regno vel morte tenebo 530
victus humum. per tot populos urbesque cucurri,
fregi Alpes galeisque Padum victricibus hausi:
quid restat nisi Roma mihi? gens robore nostra
tum quoque pollebat, nullis cum fideret armis.
at nunc Illyrici postquam mihi tradita iura 535
meque suum fecere ducem, tot tela, tot enses,
tot galeas multo Thracum sudore paravi
inque meos usus vectigal vertere ferri
oppida legitimo iussu Romana coëgi.
sic me fata fovent; ipsi, quos omnibus annis 540
vastabam, servire dati: nocitura gementes
arma dabant flammisque diu mollitus et arte
in sua damna chalybs fabro lugente rubebat.
hortantes his adde deos. non somnia nobis
nec volucres, sed clara palam vox edita luco: 545
‘rumpe omnes, Alarice, moras; hoc impiger anno
Alpibus Italiae ruptis penetrabis ad urbem.’


askance with fiery brow, brooked his words no longer, but his enkindled pride broke forth in furious speech: “Did not witless age that has deprived thee of thy senses grant thee indulgence never, on my life, should Danube listen unavenged to such coward insults. Am I who have routed so many emperors (Hebrus’ river is my witness) to endure flight at thine advice—I whom all nature obeys? Have I not seen the mountains levelled at my feet, the rivers dried up? Never may my country’s gods, the spirits of my forefathers, allow that I retrace my footsteps on a backward path. This land shall be mine whether I hold it in fee as conqueror or in death as conquered. I have overrun so many peoples and cities, I have burst through the Alps and drunk of the waters of Eridanus from out a victor’s helmet. What is left me but Rome? My nation was strong even when it has no allied arms to help it. But now that I hold sway over Illyria, now that its people has made me their leader, I have forced the Thracians to forge me spears, swords, helmets with the sweat of their brows, and Roman towns (whose rightful overlord I now am) to contribute iron for mine own uses. Thus is fate on my side. Rome, whose territories I have laid waste year by year, has become my slave. ’Tis she has supplied me with arms; her own metal has glowed in the furnace, artfully molten and fashioned for her own undoing by reluctant smiths. The gods, too, urge me on. Not for me are dreams or birds but the clear cry uttered openly from the sacred grove: ‘Away with delay, Alaric; boldly cross the Italian Alps this year and thou shalt reach the city.’ Thus far the


huc iter usque datur. quis iam post talia segnis
ambigat aut caelo dubitet parere vocanti?”
Sic ait hortatusque suos belloque viaeque 550
instruit. attollunt vanos oracula fastus.
o semper tacita sortes ambage malignae
eventuque patens et nescia vatibus ipsis
veri sera fides! Ligurum regione suprema
pervenit ad fluvium miri cognominis “Urbem,” 555
atque illic domitus vix tandem interprete casu
agnovit dubiis inlusa vocabula fatis.
Nec non et Stilicho pugnam poscentia movit
pleno castra gradu dictisque instigat euntes:
“nunc nunc, o socii, temeratae sumite tandem 560
Italiae poenas, obsessi principis armis
excusate nefas deploratumque Timavo
vulnus et Alpinum gladiis abolete pudorem.
hic est, quem totiens campis fudistis Achivis,
quem discors odiisque anceps civilibus orbis, 565
non sua vis tutata diu, dum foedera fallax
ludit et alternae periuria venditat aulae.
credite nunc omnes, quas dira Britannia gentes,
quas Hister, quas Rhenus alit, pendere paratas
in speculis: uno tot proelia vincite bello. 570
Romanum reparate decus molemque labantis
imperii fulcite umeris; hic omnia campus


path is mine. Who so cowardly as to dally after this encouragement or to hesitate to obey the call of Heaven?”

So he spake and made ready his army to take the road, exhorting them to combat. Prophecy serves to augment his vain pride. Ah! for the grudging oracles ever dumb with mystic utterance; ’tis the event alone that (too late) discloses the true meaning which the seers themselves could not read. Alaric reached the farthest confines of Liguria where flows a river with the strange name of the City.[57] There he suffered defeat and even then scarcely realized (though that defeat made it clear) that fate had tricked him with an ambiguous word.

Stilicho, too, fails not: at full speed he advanced his army clamorous for battle and spurs their march with these words: “Friends of Rome, the time has now come for you to exact vengeance for outraged Italy. Wipe out the disgrace which the investment of your emperor by his foes has brought upon you, and let your swords end the shame which the defeat on the Timavus[58] and the enemy’s passage of the Alps has caused to Rome. This is the foe whom ye so often put to flight on the plains of Greece, whom not their own valour but a world torn by civil strife has kept safe thus far, as they treacherously mock at treaties and traffic in perjury now with the West, now the East. Reflect that all the fierce peoples of Britain and the tribes who dwell on Danube’s and Rhine’s banks are watching and stand ready. Win a victory now and so be conquerors in many an unfought war. Restore Rome to her former glory; the frame of empire is tottering; let your shoulders support it. A

[57] The river on whose banks Pollentia stood. Sozomenes (ix. 6) mentions the oracle.

[58] Little is known of this battle. It is to be attributed presumably to (?) November 401 and is doubtless connected with Alaric’s attempt on Aquileia (Jerome, Contra Ruf. iii. 21).


vindicat, haec mundo pacem victoria sancit.
non in Threiciis Haemi decernimus oris
nec super Alpheas umbrantia Maenala ripas 575
constitimus; non hic Tegean Argosque tuemur:
visceribus mediis ipsoque in corde videtis
bella geri. patrem clipeis defendite Thybrim.”
talia nunc pediti, turmae nunc mixtus equestri
dicta dabat.
Simul externis praecepta ferebat 580
auxiliis. ibat patiens dicionis Alanus,
qua nostrae iussere tubae, mortemque petendam
pro Latio docuit gentis praefectus Alanae,
cui natura breves animis ingentibus artus
finxerat inmanique oculos infecerat ira; 585
vulneribus pars nulla vacat rescissaque contis
gloria foedati splendet iactantior oris.
ille tamen mandante procul Stilichone citatis
acceleravit equis Italamque momordit harenam.
felix Elysiisque plagis et carmine dignus, 590
qui male suspectam nobis impensius arsit
vel leto purgare fidem; qui iudice ferro
diluit inmeritum laudato sanguine crimen!
morte viri turbatus eques flectebat habenas
totaque praeciso nutassent agmina cornu, 595
ni celer instructa Stilicho legione secutus
subsidiis peditum pugnam instaurasset equestrem.
Quis Musis ipsoque licet Paeane recepto
enarrare queat, quantum Gradivus in illa
luce suae dederit fundator originis urbi? 600
altius haud umquam toto descendimus ense
in iugulum Scythiae, tanta nec clade superbum


single battle and all will be well; but one victory and the world’s peace will be assured. We fight not on the slopes of Thracian Haemus nor await our foe where Maenalus throws his shadow across the banks of Alpheus. We defend not Tegea nor Argos. No: as ye see, the scene of war is the very centre and heart of Italy. Protect Father Tiber with your shields.” Thus spake Stilicho to foot and horse.

Orders were at the same time sent to the auxiliary troops. The Alans, now subject to Roman rule, followed our trumpets’ call, taught by their chief to lay down their lives in the cause of Italy. Small was his stature but great his soul and fierce anger blazed from his eyes. Covered with wounds was he and with a visage rendered the more glorious and the more proud by reason of the scar some spear-thrust had left. At Stilicho’s command he hastened up with his cavalry, fated to bite the soil of Italy in death. Happy warrior, worthy of the Elysian fields and of my meed of song, who wast eager even at the cost of life to cleanse thy loyalty from stain! The sword that spilled thy generous blood, it was thy judge, acquitting thee of that most unjust charge of treachery. Thrown into confusion by the hero’s death his horsemen turned rein and, its flank thus exposed, the whole host would have reeled had not Stilicho quickly gathered a legion and hastening to the spot rallied the cavalry to the fight with infantry support.

What poet, were he inspired by the Muses or even by Apollo himself, could relate the blessings showered that day by Mars upon the city whose founder he himself was? Never was the sword of Rome plunged so deep in the Scythians’ throat;


contudimus Tanain vel cornua fregimus Histri.
invisum miles sitiens haurire cruorem
per varias vestes onerataque plaustra metallo 605
transit et argenti cumulos et caedis avarus
contemptas proculcat opes; pretiosior auro
sanguis erat; passim neglecti prodiga lucri
turba furens strictis odium mucronibus explet.
purpureos cultus absumptique igne Valentis 610
exuvias miserisque graves crateras ab Argis
raptaque flagranti spirantia signa Corintho
callidus ante pedes venientibus obicit hostis
incassum; neque enim feralis praeda moratur,
sed iustos praebent stimulos monumenta doloris. 615
Adseritur ferro captivum vulgus, et omnes
diversae vocis populi, quos traxerat hostis
servitio, tandem dominorum strage redempti
blanda cruentatis adfigunt oscula dextris
desertosque lares et pignora laeta revisunt. 620
miratur sua quemque domus cladesque renarrant
ordine; tum grati referunt miracula belli.
Quis tibi tunc, Alarice, dolor, cum Marte perirent
divitiae spoliisque diu quaesita supellex
pulsaretque tuas ululatus coniugis aures, 625
coniugis, invicto dudum quae freta marito
demens Ausonidum gemmata monilia matrum
Romanasque alta famulas cervice petebat!


never was Tanais’ pride abased by such a crushing defeat nor the horns of Ister so broken. Thirsting to drink the enemy’s hateful blood our soldiers passed by rich and varied raiment, carts laden with gold, heaps of silver, and, eager for the foe’s destruction, spurned his wealth. They held blood of more account than gold; none of them would stoop to pick up the fortune that lay at their feet but drew their swords and sated their wild fury. The crafty foe threw in the path of our advancing troops the robes of scarlet dye, and other spoils reft from Valens[59] who perished in the flames, heavy mixing-bowls looted from unhappy Argos and lifelike statues rescued from burning Corinth—all in vain, for this ill-omened booty, so far from delaying our men, reminded them of past reverses and so the more inflamed their righteous indignation.

The crowd of prisoners is loosed from its fetters and all the peoples of different tongue whom the Getae had led away captive. Freed at last by the slaughter of their captors they plant thankful kisses on the bloody hands of their deliverers and hasten back to their long-lost homes and their dear children. At each his household looks in wonder as they tell the story of their woes and then recount the marvel of welcome victory.

What must then have been thy despair, Alaric, when ruin overwhelmed thy wealth and all that gear that years of robbing had won thee, when there struck thine ear the cries of that wife of thine who, too confident in her long unconquered husband, demanded in her madness the jewelled necklaces of Italian matrons for her proud neck and Roman girls for her tire-women! The fair girls

[59] At Adrianople, Aug. 9, 378; see Introduction, p. vii.


scilicet Argolicas Ephyreiadasque puellas
coeperat et pulchras iam fastidire Lacaenas. 630
sed dea quae nimiis obstat Rhamnusia votis
ingemuit flexitque rotam: domat aspera victos
pauperies, unoque die Romana rependit
quidquid ter denis acies amisimus annis.
O celebranda mihi cunctis Pollentia saeclis! 635
o meritum nomen! felicibus apta triumphis!
virtutis fatale solum, memorabile bustum
barbariae! nam saepe locis ac finibus illis
plena lacessito rediit vindicta Quirino.
illic Oceani stagnis excita supremis 640
Cimbrica tempestas alias emissa per Alpes
isdem procubuit campis. iam protinus aetas
adveniens geminae gentis permisceat ossa
et duplices signet titulos commune tropaeum:
“hic Cimbros fortesque Getas, Stilichone peremptos
et Mario claris ducibus, tegit Itala tellus. 646
discite vesanae Romam non temnere gentes.”


of Greece from Corinth and Sparta were, forsooth, not good enough now for so great a lady. But Nemesis, the goddess worshipped at Rhamnus, she whose pleasure it is to check unbridled desire, was wroth and turned her wheel; harsh poverty overwhelms the vanquished, and in one day Rome’s arm requites all that we have lost in thirty years.

Thy glory, Pollentia, shall live for ever; worthy is thy name to be celebrated by my song, a fit theme for rejoicing and for triumph. Fate pre-ordained thee to be the scene of our victory and the burial-place of the barbarians. Full often have thy fields and plains seen ample vengeance exacted for aggression against the descendants of Romulus. ’Twas there, in that same countryside, that the Cimbric hordes, bearing down upon Rome from Ocean’s farthest shore and crossing the Alps by another pass, suffered their final defeat. The coming generation should mingle the bones of these two races and engrave with this one inscription the monument which records our double victory: “Here beneath the soil of Italy lie the bodies of brave Cimbri and Getae: their death they owed to our famous generals Marius and Stilicho. Learn, presumptuous peoples, not to despise Rome.”



I. (XIII.)

Ad Stilichonem.

Solitas galea fulgere comas,
Stilicho, molli necte corona.
cessent litui saevumque procul
Martem felix taeda releget.
tractus ab aula rursus in aulam 5
redeat sanguis. patris officiis
iunge potenti pignora dextra.
gener Augusti pridem fueras,
nunc rursus eris socer Augusti.
quae iam rabies livoris erit? 10
vel quis dabitur color invidiae?
Stilicho socer est, pater est Stilicho.


Descriptio portus Smyrnensis.

Urbs in conspectu montana cacumina velat
tranquillo praetenta mari. ducentia portum
cornua pacatas removent Aquilonibus undas.
hic exarmatum terris cingentibus aequor
clauditur et placidam discit servare quietem. 5



I. (XIII.)

To Stilicho.

Crown with a wreath of flowers, Stilicho, that head more often graced with the shining helmet. Bid cease the trumpets and let the happy marriage-torch banish fierce war afar. Let the blood derived from a kingly race flow on through royal veins. Do a father’s duty and establish the firm bond of wedlock between thy daughter and adoptive son. Thou wert an emperor’s son-in-law; now an emperor will be thine. What cause is there now for envy, what excuse for jealousy? Stilicho is at once father and father-in-law.


Description of the harbour at Smyrna.

The city that meets our gaze veils the mountain peaks, fronting a tranquil sea. The two headlands that enclose the harbour protect the quiet water from the north wind. Here the sea is disarmed by the encircling land and learns to lie in undisturbed tranquillity.



Ad Aeternalem.

Quidquid Castalio de gurgite Phoebus anhelat,
quidquid fatidico mugit cortina recessu,
carmina sunt; sed verba negant communia Musae.
carmina sola loquor: sic me meus implet Apollo.

IV. (LIV.)

Descriptio armenti.

Non tales quondam species tulit armentorum
tellus tergemino subdita Geryoni.
non tales, Clitumne, lavas in gurgite tauros,
Tarpeio referunt quos pia vota Iovi.
non talis Tyrias sparsisse iuvencus harenas 5
dicitur, optatum quando revexit onus.
non Cretaeus ager nec amati conscia tauri
Gnosos nec similes paverit Ida feros.
ipse et dispariles monstro commissus in artus
qui crimen matris prodidit[60] ore novo 10
Cres puer haud talem potuisset reddere formam,
portassent totum si fera membra patrem.

[60] prodidit cod. Med. (and Cuiacius). Birt condidit.



To Aeternalis.[61]

Phoebus’ every breath from the Castalian spring, the tripod’s every moan within the shrine of prophecy—all these are poetry. Of prose the Muses will have none. In poetry only can I express myself, so wholly does my patron, Apollo, possess me.

IV. (LIV.)

Description of a Herd.

Not such were the beauteous herds that the land once ruled over by triple Geryon produced. Not such the bulls thou bathest, Clitumnus, in thy stream for pious vows to offer duly to Tarpeian Jove. Not such the steer that, they say, scattered the sand of Tyre[62] what time he brought home his well-loved burden. Not the fields of Crete, nor Gnossos that knew of passion for a bull, nor Ida could have pastured the like. Even he whose monstrous figure united ill-assorted limbs, the Cretan child[63] who by his strange form revealed his mother’s shame—even he could scarce have shown a shape so fair had all his rough limbs resembled those of his sire.

[61] Aeternalis was proconsul of Asia in 396 (Cod. Theod. iv. 4. 3, xi. 39. 12).

[62] Tyrias, because Europa was the daughter of Phoenix, eponymous king of Phoenicia. Ovid depicts her as being carried away from Tyre (Fasti v. 605; Met. ii. 845).

[63] i.e. the Minotaur.



Est in conspectu longe locus.

Est procul ingenti regio summota recessu,
insula qua resides fluctus mitescere cogit
in longum producta latus, fractasque per undas
ardua tranquillo curvantur brachia portu.


Rimanti telum ira facit.

In iaculum, quodcumque gerit, dementia mutat.
omnibus armatur rabies. pro cuspide ferri
cuncta volant, dum dextra ferox in vulnera saevit.
pro telo geritur quidquid suggesserit ira.


De quadriga marmorea.

1. Quis dedit innumeros uno de marmore vultus?
surgit in aurigam currus, paribusque lupatis
unanimi frenantur equi: quos forma diremit,
materies cognata tenet discrimine nullo.
2. Vir redit in currum; ducuntur ab axe iugales;
ex alio se quisque facit. quae tanta potestas?
una silex tot membra ligat ductusque per artem
mons patiens ferri varios mutatur in artus.



A distant Scene.

There is a place deep buried in a huge bay where an island, stretching far out into the sea, stills the rough waves to quiet, and steep cliffs, jutting out into the broken water, curve themselves into a peaceful harbourage.

VI. (LXXVIII.)[64]

Anger affords a weapon to him who seeks one.

Whate’er it carries, that rage converts into a weapon. Wrath supplies all with arms. When an angry man thirsts for blood anything will serve him for a spear. Fury turns a stick into a cudgel.


Statue of a Chariot.

1. Who had the skill to fashion so many figures out of one block of marble? The chariot melts into the charioteer; the horses with one common accord obey the same reins. These are distinguishable by their various forms but made from one and the same material without distinction.

2. The driver is of one piece with the car: to this are attached the steeds, each joined to, and proceeding out of, another. How admirable the artist’s skill! A single block combines within itself all these bodies: one mass of marble by submitting to the chisel has grown into all these various shapes.

[64] See Introduction, p. xviii, note 2.



De Polycaste et Perdicca.

Quid non saevus Amor flammarum numine cogat?
sanguinis en fetum mater amare timet.
pectore dum niveo miserum tenet anxia nutrix,
inlicitos ignes iam fovet ipsa parens.
ultrices pharetras tandem depone, Cupido. 5
consule iam Venerem: forsan et ipsa dolet.

IX. (XLV.)

De hystrice.

Audieram memorande tuas Stymphale volucres
spicula vulnifico quondam sparsisse volatu,
nec mihi credibilis ferratae fabula pinnae
visa diu. datur ecce fides et cognitus hystrix
Herculeas adfirmat aves.
Os longius illi 5
adsimulat porcum. mentitae cornua saetae
summa fronte rigent. oculis rubet igneus ardor.
parva sub hirsuto catuli vestigia dorso.
hanc tamen exiguam miro natura tueri
praesidio dignata feram: stat corpore toto 10
silva minax, iaculisque rigens in proelia crescit
picturata seges; quorum cute fixa tenaci



Of Polycaste and Perdiccas.[65]

To what deeds of cruelty will the flames of love not inspire mankind? Here is a mother who dares not love her child, the fruit of her body. Holding the unhappy boy to her snowy breast and wishing to give him suck, she conceives for him, though she is his mother, a shameful passion. Cupid, thou goest too far; put down thy cruel quiver. Consult Venus; mayhap she feels like pangs.

IX. (XLV.)

The Porcupine.

I had heard the strange tale, Stymphalus, that the birds that haunted thy marshes let fall from them arrows of death in their flight, and for long I could not bring myself to believe this story of iron feathers. But here is proof: the porcupine who is surely related to those birds of Hercules is their warrant.

His long snout is like that of a swine. Stiff bristles like horns stand up from his forehead. Red and fierce are his fiery eyes. Under his bristly back are short legs like those of a small dog. Small as this animal is, nevertheless Nature has seen fit to dower him with a wonderful means of defence. All over the body grows a threatening thicket: a harvest of brightly coloured spears bristles up ready

[65] Perdiccas, the young hunter, is said to have fallen in love with his mother Polycaste (or Polycarpe)=the Earth (see Mythogr. Lat. ii. 130). Claudian inverts the story. For details see Höfer in Roscher’s lexicon, art. “Perdix,” col. 1953.


alba subit radix, alternantesque colorum
tincta vices, spatiis internigrantibus, exit
in solidae speciem pinnae, tenuataque furtim 15
levis in extremum sese producit acumen.
Sed non haec acies ritu silvestris echini
fixa manet. crebris propugnat iactibus ultro
et longe sua membra tegit, tortumque per auras
evolat excusso nativum missile tergo. 20
interdum fugiens Parthorum more sequentem
vulnerat; interdum positis velut ordine castris
terrificum densa mucronum verberat unda
et consanguineis hastilibus asperat armos:
militat omne ferae corpus vibrataque rauco 25
terga fragore sonant. stimulis accensa tubarum
agmina conlatis credas confligere signis:
tantus in angusto strepitus furit. additur armis
calliditas parcusque sui tumor iraque numquam
prodiga telorum, caute contenta minari 30
nec nisi servandae iactus impendere vitae.
error abest: certum sollertia destinat ictum
nil spatio fallente modum, servatque tenorem
mota cutis doctique regit conamina nisus.
Quid labor humanus tantum ratione sagaci 35
proficit? eripiunt trucibus Gortynia capris
cornua; subiectis eadem lentescere cogunt
ignibus; intendunt taurino viscere nervos;
instruitur pinnis ferroque armatur harundo.
ecce brevis propriis munitur bestia telis 40


for battle. The roots of these weapons are white and are firmly fixed in the animal’s skin. The quills are themselves parti-coloured with black bands and come to a stiff quill-like point, diminishing in diameter towards the tip which is smooth and sharp.

But his armoury is not fixed like that of the woodland hedgehog. He can take the offensive and also protect himself at a distance by the frequent discharge of these darts of his, hurling through the air the flying missiles which his own back supplies. At times like the flying Parthian he wounds his pursuers; at times he entrenches himself and strikes his foe by the discharge of a storm of these terrible weapons which bristle on his shoulders out of which they grow. He fights with his whole body, and his back, as it moves, emits a raucous sound. You would think it was the trumpet’s note stirring an army to close with the foe and fight. Small is the animal but great the din. Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life. His aim is sure; the blow, such is his skill, unerring, nor can distance delude his range. The motion of his skin in the act of discharging ensures the speed, and accurately directs the flight, of the weapon.

Has human endeavour, with reason to guide it, ever done the like? Men rob of their horns the wild goats of Crete, then they force them to become pliant over the fire[66]; they use the guts of cattle to string their bows; they tip their arrows with iron and wing them with feathers. But here is a small animal whose arms are contained in his own body

[66] In the making of bows.


externam nec quaerit opem; fert omnia secum:
se pharetra, sese iaculo, sese utitur arcu.
unum animal cunctas bellorum possidet artes.
Quodsi omnis nostrae paulatim industria vitae
fluxit ab exemplis, quidquid procul appetit hostem,
hinc reor inventum, morem hinc traxisse Cydonas 46
bellandi Parthosque retro didicisse ferire
prima sagittiferae pecudis documenta secutos.

X. (XCII.)

De birro castoreo.

Nominis umbra manet veteris; nam dicere birrum,
si Castor iuret, castoreum nequeo.
sex emptus solidis! quid sit, iam scire potestis:
si mihi nulla fides, credite vel pretio.

XI. (XCI.)

In sepulchrum speciosae.

Pulchris stare diu Parcarum lege negatur.
magna repente ruunt; summa cadunt subito.
hic formosa iacet: Veneris sortita figuram
egregiumque decus invidiam meruit.


De balneis Quintianis quae in via posita erant.

Fontibus in liquidis paulum requiesce, viator,
atque tuum rursus carpe refectus iter.


and who needs no external defence. He carries all his own arms; himself his own quiver, arrow, and bow. Alone he possesses all the resources of war.

But if all human activities as they grow have had their source in imitation we may see here the exemplar of combat by means of missiles. It is from him that the Cretans learned to shoot and the Parthians to strike while in flight. These did but follow the example of the animal that is armed with arrows.

X. (XCII.)

Of Beaver’s Overcoat.[67]

’Tis but the shadow of a name that is left. I cannot call it a coat of beaver, not though Beaver swear it is one. It cost six shillings. Now you know what it is like. If you don’t believe me, believe the price.

XI. (XCI.)

On the Tomb of a Beauty.

Fate allows not beauty a long life: sudden is the end of all that is noble and pre-eminent. Here lies a lovely woman: hers was the beauty of Venus and hers the illwill of Heaven for a gift so rare.


Quintius’ Baths.

Stay awhile and bathe in these waters, traveller; then set forth again upon thy journey refreshed.

[67] Claudian is, I think, punning on castor=a beaver, and Castor, the name of the owner of the coat. But castor in l. 2 might be taken to refer either to the god or to the animal.


lympharum dominum nimium miraberis, hospes,
inter dura viae balnea qui posuit.


In podagrum qui carmina sua non stare dicebat.

Quae tibi cum pedibus ratio? quid carmina culpas?
scandere qui nescis, versiculos laceras?
“claudicat hic versus; haec” inquit “syllaba nutat”;
atque nihil prorsus stare putat podager


Ad Maximum qui ei mel misit.

Dulcia dona mihi semper tu, Maxime, mittis,
et, quidquid mittis, mella putare decet.


De paupere amante

Paupertas me saeva domat dirusque Cupido:
sed toleranda fames, non tolerandus amor.

XVI. (XC.)

De eodem.

Esuriens pauper telis incendor amoris.
inter utrumque malum deligo pauperiem.


An thou become its guest, warm will be thy gratitude towards him that built this bath and set it by the side of this long dusty road.


To a gouty Critic.

Canst thou talk of feet? Dost blame my verses and criticize my lines, thou whose own feet are so weak? This couplet, you say, will scarcely stand: the scansion is shaky. Dear friend, a gouty man thinks nothing at all can stand.


To thank Maximus for a Gift of Honey.

Thou dost ever send me sweet gifts, Maximus; ’tis honey whatsoever thou sendest, methinks.


The Poor Lover.

Biting poverty and cruel Cupid are my foes. Hunger I can endure; love I cannot.

XVI. (XC.)

The Same.

A hungry pauper am I, a victim fallen to love. Two ills; but poverty is the lesser.


XVII. (L.)

De piis fratribus et de statuis eorum quae sunt apud Catinam.

Adspice sudantes venerando pondere fratres,
divino meritos semper honore coli,
iusta quibus rapidae cessit reverentia flammae
et mirata vagas reppulit Aetna faces.
complexi manibus fultos cervice parentes 5
attollunt vultus accelerantque gradus.
grandaevi gemina sublimes prole feruntur
et cara natos implicuere mora.
nonne vides, ut saeva senex incendia monstret?
ut trepido genetrix invocet ore deos? 10
erexit formido comam, perque omne metallum
fusus in attonito palluit aere tremor.
in iuvenum membris animosus cernitur horror
atque oneri metuens impavidusque sui.
reiectae vento chlamydes. dextram exerit ille 15
contentus laeva sustinuisse patrem;
ast illi duplices in nodum colligit ulnas
cautior in sexu debiliore labor.
hoc quoque praeteriens oculis ne forte relinquas,
artificis tacitae quod meruere manus: 20
nam consanguineos eadem cum forma figuret,
hic propior matri fit tamen, ille patri.


XVII. (L.)

On the Statues of Two Brothers at Catina.[68]

See these two brothers toiling beneath a burden piety bade them bear. They deserve the tribute of divine honours at the hands of all men: at the sight of them the respectful flames ceased their ravages and Etna in admiration restrained his flooding lava. Seizing their parents they set them upon their shoulders and, with eyes raised to heaven, hasten their steps. The aged parents, thus carried aloft by their two sons, impede their flight, but dear to the children is that very delay. See, the old man points to the cruel flames; the aged mother’s trembling lips call upon the gods for help. Fear has set their hair on end, the bronze is terror-stricken and a pale shiver runs over all the metal. In the countenances of the sons is seen courage in face of danger, and, if fear, then fear for their burdens, none for themselves. The wind has blown back their cloaks. One raises his right hand; his left is enough to sustain his aged sire. But the other needs must clasp his burden with both arms, taking greater care for that it is his mother, one of the weaker sex, that he bears. This, too, as thou passest by, leave not unnoted, for well the craftsman’s dumb hands deserve such regard; both he has moulded with a likeness such as brothers bear, yet the one resembles rather his mother, the other his father.

[68] The story of the pietas of these brothers has often been told or referred to: the better known passages are Senec. De benef. iii. 37. 2; Martial vii. 24. 5; Sil. Ital. xiv. 197. Hyginus (Fab. 154) gives the story though with different names. The brothers’ heads appear both on Sicilian and Roman coins, e.g. Head, Hist. Num. 117; Brit. Mus. Cat. Sicily 52, Nos. 70-79; Babelon, Monn. de la répub. i. 539, ii. 353.


dissimiles annos sollertia temperat artis:
alter in alterius redditur ore parens,
et nova germanis paribus discrimina praebens 25
divisit vultus cum pietate faber.
O bene naturae memores, documenta supernae
iustitiae, iuvenum numina, vota senum:
qui spretis opibus medios properastis in ignes
nil praeter sanctam tollere canitiem. 30
haud equidem inmerito tanta virtute repressas
Enceladi fauces obriguisse reor.
ipse redundantem frenavit Mulciber Aetnam,
laederet exempli ne monumenta pii.
senserunt elementa fidem. pater adfuit aether 35
terraque maternum sedula iuvit onus.
quodsi notus amor provexit in astra Laconas,
Aenean Phrygio raptus ab igne pater,
si vetus Argolicos inlustrat gloria fratres,
qui sua materno colla dedere iugo: 40
cur non Amphinomo, cur non tibi, fortis Anapi,
aeternum Siculus templa dicavit honos?
plura licet summae dederit Trinacria laudi,
noverit hoc maius se genuisse nihil;
nec doleat damnis, quae devius intulit ardor, 45
nec gemat exustas igne furente domos.
non potuit pietas flamma cessante probari:
emptum est ingenti clade perenne decus.


The artist’s cunning has succeeded in expressing a difference of age in their faces, though a likeness to either parent is apparent in the features of both the sons; while, to ensure a further dissimilarity in that resemblance, he has varied the tenderness that either countenance expresses.

Faithful were ye to Nature’s law, bright example of divine justice, model for youth, fond hope of age! Wealth ye despised, and dashed into the flames to rescue nought save your venerable parents. Not undeservedly, methinks, did such piety quench the fires in Enceladus’ jaws. Vulcan himself checked the flow of molten lava from Etna that it should not harm those patterns of filial duty. The very elements were influenced thereby: father air and mother earth did their best to lighten the burden.

If signal piety raised Castor and Pollux to the skies, if Aeneas won immortality by rescuing his sire from burning Troy, if ancient story has rendered famous the names of those Argive brothers, Cleobis and Biton,[69] who harnessed themselves to their mother’s car, why does not Sicily dedicate a temple to the ageless memory of Amphinomos and Anapius? Though the three-cornered isle has many titles to fame, let her be sure that she has never given birth to a nobler deed. Let her not weep the destruction wrought by the spreading flames nor lament the houses burned down by the fire’s fury. The flames abating had never put affection to the proof; the great disaster purchased immortal fame.

[69] Herodotus tells their story in book i. 31.



De mulabus Gallicis.

Adspice morigeras Rhodani torrentis alumnas
imperio nexas imperioque vagas,
dissona quam varios flectant ad murmura cursus
et certas adeant voce regente vias.
quamvis quaeque sibi nullis discurrat habenis 5
et pateant duro libera colla iugo,
ceu constricta tamen servit patiensque laborum
barbaricos docili concipit aure sonos.
absentis longinqua valent praecepta magistri,
frenorumque vicem lingua virilis agit. 10
haec procul angustat sparsas spargitque coactas:
haec sistit rapidas, haec properare facit.
laeva iubet: laevo deducunt limite gressum.
mutavit strepitum: dexteriora petunt.
nec vinclis famulae nec libertate feroces, 15
exutae laqueis, sub dicione tamen
consensuque pares et fulvis pellibus hirtae
esseda concordes multisonora trahunt.
miraris, si voce feras pacaverit Orpheus,
cum pronas pecudes Gallica verba regant? 20


Epistula ad Gennadium exproconsule.

Italiae commune decus, Rubiconis amoeni
incola, Romani fama secunda fori,



Of French Mules.

Behold the docile children of fast-flowing Rhone that at their master’s word come together and at that word disperse. See how they go this way or that according to the different cries he utters, and, guided only by his voice, take the path he would have them take. Though each unguided by the rein takes his own course and no collar presses upon their necks they obey as though harnessed and, insensible to fatigue, hear and follow the directions shouted by their barbarous master. Though far away from their owner they nevertheless respect his commands, obeying the word of the muleteer as it were a bridle. It is his voice that even at a distance gathers them together when scattered or scatters them when gathered together; this that checks their haste or quickens their dragging steps. Does he shout “left,” they turn them to the left: does he alter his cry to “right,” to the right they go. Slaves, yet without bonds, free, but without licence, they go unbridled but obedient. Covered with tawny pelts they haul along the rumbling carts, each cheerfully doing his fair share. Dost thou wonder that Orpheus tamed the wild beasts with his song when the words of a Gaul can guide these swift-footed mules?


Letter to Gennadius,[70] ex-Proconsul.

Glory of all Italy, who dwellest on the pleasant banks of Rubicon, ornament of the Roman bar

[70] Gennadius was by birth a Syrian (Synesius, Ep. 30); prefect of Egypt in 396 (Cod. Theod. xiv. 27. 1). He seems to have lived at Ravenna (Rubiconis incola). Birt (praef. p. xviii) thinks that line 2 refers to Symmachus, Gennadius’ contemporary, not to Cicero.


Graiorum populis et nostro cognite Nilo
(utraque gens fasces horret amatque tuos):
carmina ieiunas poscis solantia fauces? 5
testor amicitiam nulla fuisse domi.
nam mihi mox nidum pennis confisa relinquunt
et lare contempto non reditura volant.

XX. (LII.)

De sene Veronensi qui Suburbium numquam egressus est.

Felix, qui propriis aevum transegit in arvis,
ipsa domus puerum quem videt, ipsa senem;
qui baculo nitens in qua reptavit harena
unius numerat saecula longa casae.
illum non vario traxit fortuna tumultu, 5
nec bibit ignotas mobilis hospes aquas.
non freta mercator tremuit, non classica miles,
non rauci lites pertulit ille fori.
indocilis rerum, vicinae nescius urbis
adspectu fruitur liberiore poli. 10
frugibus alternis, non consule computat annum:
autumnum pomis, ver sibi flore notat.
idem condit ager soles idemque reducit,
metiturque suo rusticus orbe diem,
ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum 15
aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus,


second only to Cicero, well known to the peoples of Greece and to Egypt, land of my birth (for both have feared and loved thy rule), dost thou ask for poems to appease thy hungry throat?

By our friendship, I swear there are none at home. My verses soon learn to trust to their own wings and leave the nest, flying far afield nor ever returning to their humble home.

XX. (LII.)

Of an old Man of Verona who never left his home.

Happy he who has passed his whole life mid his own fields, he of whose birth and old age the same house is witness; he whose stick supports his tottering steps o’er the very ground whereon he crawled as a baby and whose memory knows but of one cottage as the scene where so long a life was played out. No turns of fortune vexed him with their sudden storms;[71] he never travelled nor drank the waters of unknown rivers. He was never a trader to fear the seas nor a soldier to dread the trumpet’s call; never did he face the noisy wrangles of the courts. Unpractised in affairs, unfamiliar with the neighbouring town, he finds his delight in a freer view of the sky above him. For him the recurring seasons, not the consuls, mark the year: he knows autumn by his fruits and spring by her flowers. From the selfsame fields he watches the sun rise and set, and, at his work, measures the day with his own round of toils. He remembers yon mighty oak an acorn, and sees the plantation, set when he was born, grown old along

[71] This proves the poem to have been written before the Gothic irruption of 401. Abraham Cowley translated this poem (Essays and Plays, etc., Camb. Press, 1906, p. 447).


proxima cui nigris Verona remotior Indis
Benacumque putat litora Rubra lacum.
sed tamen indomitae vires firmisque lacertis
aetas robustum tertia cernit avum. 20
erret et extremos alter scrutetur Hiberos:
plus habet hic vitae, plus habet ille viae.


De Theodoro et Hadriano.

Manlius indulget somno noctesque diesque;
insomnis Pharius sacra profana rapit.
omnibus hoc, Italae gentes, exposcite votis,
Manlius ut vigilet, dormiat ut Pharius.


Deprecatio ad Hadrianum.

Usque adeone tuae producitur impetus irae?
nullus erit finis lacrimis? subitisque favorem
permutas odiis? quo mens ignara nocendi,
quo sensus abiere pii? tantumne licebit
invidiae? tantum strepitus valuere maligni? 5
Me dolor incautus, me lubrica duxerit aetas,
me tumor impulerit, me devius egerit ardor:
te tamen haud decuit paribus concurrere telis.
humanae superos numquam tetigere querellae
nec vaga securum penetrant convicia caelum. 10


with him. Neighbouring Verona is, for him, more distant than sun-scorched India; Benacus he accounts as the Red Sea. But his strength is unimpaired and the third generation see in him a sturdy, stout-armed grandsire. Let who will be a wanderer and explore farthest Spain: such may have more of a journey; he of Verona has more of a life.[72]


Of Theodore and Hadrian.[73]

Manlius Theodorus sleeps night and day; the sleepless Egyptian steals alike from gods and men. Peoples of Italy, be this your one prayer—that Manlius keep awake and the Egyptian sleep.


Apology to Hadrian.

Must the violence of thine anger last so long? Are my tears never to cease to flow? Dost thou thus suddenly turn thy favour to hatred? Where, then, is that leniency that knows not to harm any, that loving-kindness? Shall envy have such licence? Has the clamour of calumny so prevailed?

What though rash wrath, though heedless youth tempted me, though pride urged, though passion led me astray, yet shouldst thou be above meeting me with like weapons. Human murmurs never touch the gods nor do the loose railings of man disturb the peace of heaven. My punishment has

[72] Claudian plays on the words vitae and viae.

[73] For M. see xvi. and note (and Introduction, p. xv). H. was comes sacrarum largitionum in the East in 395, magister officiorum in 397, praetorian prefect of Italy 401. This epigram was probably written in 396: the apology (next poem) perhaps the same year.


excessit iam poena modum. concede iacenti.
en adsum; veniam confessus crimina posco.
Manibus Hectoreis atrox ignovit Achilles.
ultrices Furias matris placavit Orestes.
reddidit Alcides Priamo, quas ceperat, arces. 15
Pellaeum iuvenem regum flexere ruinae:
Darium famulis manibus doluisse peremptum
fertur et ingenti solatus fata sepulchro;
tradita captivo spatiosior India Poro.
conditor hic patriae; sic hostibus ille pepercit; 20
hunc virtus tua digna sequi. quemcumque deorum
laesimus, insultet iugulo pascatque furorem.
Gratia defluxit, sequitur feralis egestas;
desolata domus, caris spoliamur amicis:
hunc tormenta necant, hic undique truditur exul. 25
quid superest damnis? quae saeva pericula restant?
Emollit rabiem praedae mortisque facultas.
praetereunt subiecta ferae, torvique leones,
quae stravisse calent, eadem prostrata relinquunt
nec nisi bellantis gaudent cervice iuvenci 30
nobiliore fame. secuit nascentia vota
livor et ingesto turbavit gaudia luctu:
iamiam suppliciis fessos humilesque serenus
respice. quid tanta dignaris mole clientem?
in brevibus numquam sese probat Aeolus undis, 35
nec capit angustus Boreae certamina collis:
Alpes ille quatit, Rhodopeia culmina lassat.
incubuit numquam caelestis flamma salictis


been too severe; spare a fallen foe. Behold me; I confess my faults and ask pardon for my sin.

Fierce Achilles showed mercy to the shade of Hector, Orestes appeased his mother’s avenging furies, Hercules restored to Priam the cities which he had taken. A king’s overthrow won the pity of Pella’s youthful monarch, who wept, men say, for the death of Darius at a slave’s hand, and consoled his ghost with a lofty mausoleum. To captive Porus Alexander gave back an ampler kingdom. ’Twas thus the founder of our country[74] spared his conquered foes. Thine own nobility demands that thou shouldst follow his example. If it is one of the gods that I have insulted let him send down punishment upon me and sate his anger.

Now that I have lost thy favour I am become a prey to grinding poverty, my house is desolate, my friends reft from me. Death with torture is the fate of one, exile of another. What further losses can I suffer? What more cruel plagues can befall me?

The power to despoil and kill softens anger. Wild beasts turn away from their stricken prey, and fierce lions, eager to destroy, abandon the dead victim, and with a nobler hunger riot only in the flesh of the warlike steer. Envy has snapped the thread of my prosperity and turned my happiness into mourning. I am fordone with punishment and my pride is broken; look on me again with favour. Is a humble client worth so heavy a weight of anger? Aeolus makes not trial of himself where the sea’s waters are shallow; no lowly hill encounters Boreas’ blasts; ’tis the Alps he shakes, the summit of Rhodope he harasses. Never doth the lightning

[74] Alexander is called the founder of Claudian’s country (Egypt) because the first Ptolemy was one of his generals and became king of Egypt on Alexander’s death.


nec parvi frutices iram meruere Tonantis:
ingentes quercus, annosas fulminat ornos. 40
Hoc pro supplicibus ramis, pro fronde Minervae,
hoc carmen pro ture damus. miserere tuorum.
me, precor, heu, me redde mihi gravibusque medere
vulneribus vitamque iube famamque reverti.
quae per te cecidit, per te fortuna resurgat. 45
sanus Achilleis remeavit Telephus herbis,
cuius pertulerat vires, et sensit in uno
letalem placidamque manum; medicina per hostem
contigit, et pepulit quos fecerat ipse dolores.
Quodsi nec precibus fletu nec flecteris ullo, 50
eripe calcatis non prospera cingula Musis,
eripe militiam, comitem me pelle sodalis.[75]
scilicet insignis de paupere vate triumphus.
scilicet egregiis ornabere victor opimis.
inruat in miseros cognata potentia cives; 55
audiat haec commune solum longeque carinis
nota Pharos, flentemque attollens gurgite vultum
nostra gemat Nilus numerosis funera ripis.


Deprecatio in Alethium quaestorem.

Sic non Aethiopum campos aestate pererrem
nec Scythieo brumam sub Iove nudus agam,

[75] Birt sodali (EV AJ); sodalis R.


strike the humble willows nor do the modest shrubs deserve the Thunder’s angry bolt; lofty oaks and agèd elms are his victims.

Instead of the suppliant’s branch plucked from Minerva’s sacred olive, instead of incense, I offer thee this poem. Have mercy on thy servant. Restore me, even me, to my former state, heal my cruel wounds, bid life and honour return to me. Do thou, who didst overthrow my fortune, build it up again. Telephus came back cured by the magic of Achilles.[76] The same hand dealt death and healing—an enemy restoring him to health by the assuagement of the very pains he had inflicted.

But if neither my prayers nor my tears can soften thee, spurn the Muses with thy foot and take away my unlucky decorations, deprive me of my rank, cast me aside who was once thy companion. A noteworthy victory this thou hast won over a poor poet; redoubtable indeed the spoils that will grace such a triumph. Let a fellow-countryman’s power overwhelm his wretched fellows.[77] Be my fate told to our common fatherland and to Pharos, known of all who sail the distant seas, and let Father Nile raise his weeping head from out the flood and mourn my cruel case along the banks of all his seven mouths.


Apology to Alethius, the Quaestor.[78]

As I hope never to cross the plains of Ethiopia beneath a summer sun, never to pass a winter naked

[76] Telephus, wounded by Achilles’ spear, could only be cured by his “wounder.” In return for such information about Troy as should lead to its capture, Achilles cured Telephus by means of the rust on the spear that had inflicted the wound.

Herbis must here mean simply magic (cf. Prop. iv. 7. 72), but it is curious, and hasta (e) is tempting.

[77] Both Hadrian and Claudian were Egyptians.

[78] Nothing is known about this Alethius.


sic non imbriferam noctem ducentibus Haedis
Ionio credam turgida vela mari,
sic non Tartareo Furiarum verbere pulsus 5
irati relegam carmina grammatici:
nulla meos traxit petulans audacia sensus,
liberior iusto nec mihi lingua fuit.
versiculos, fateor, non cauta voce notavi,
heu miser! ignorans, quam grave crimen erat. 10
Orpheos alii libros impune lacessunt
nec tua securum te, Maro, fama vehit;
ipse parens vatum, princeps Heliconis, Homerus
iudicis excepit tela severa notae.
sed non Vergilius, sed non accusat Homerus: 15
neuter enim quaestor, pauper uterque fuit.
en moveo plausus! en pallidus omnia laudo
et clarum repeto terque quaterque “sophos”!
ignoscat placidus tandem flatusque remittat
et tuto recitet quod libet ore: placet. 20


De lucusta.

Horret apex capitis; medio fera lumina surgunt
vertice; cognatus dorso durescit amictus.
armavit natura cutem dumique rubentes
cuspidibus parvis multos acuere rubores.


beneath the northern pole, never to entrust my bellying sails to the Ionian Sea what time the Kids bring round the rainy nights, never, driven by the Furies’ hellish blows, to re-read the verses of an angry pedant,[79] ’twas not, I swear, impudent effrontery that moved me, nor did my tongue exceed a just outspokenness. I admit I incautiously found fault with a few lines, not realizing, luckless wight, the heinousness of my offence. Others attack the books of Orpheus and nothing is said; nor does thy fame, Maro, support thee in safety. The very father of poetry, Homer, lord of Helicon, knew the stigma of the censor’s pen. Yet neither Vergil nor Homer complains, for neither was a quaestor and both were poor. See, then, I applaud! See, in terror I praise every word and loudly cry again and again “bravo!” Let him be appeased and pardon at last, let him cease from wrath—and with secure voice recite whate’er he will; I applaud.


The Lobster.

Long horns project from his head; fierce eyes stand out from his forehead; his back is protected by the armour of his self-grown shell. Nature herself has rendered his skin a sufficient defence, covering it with small, red, pointed spikes.

[79] The “pedant” is doubtless Alethius himself and the “verses” the very poem which Claudian has already read once and criticized unfavourably.



Epithalamium dictum Palladio V. C. tribuno et notario et Celerinae.


Carmina per thalamum quamvis festina negare
nec volui genero nec potui socero.
hic socius, dux ille mihi nostrique per aulam
ordinis hic consors emicat, ille prior.
hunc mihi coniungit studiis communibus aetas; 5
hunc mihi praeponit vel senium vel honos.
carmen amor generi, soceri reverentia poscit
officio vatis, militis obsequio.
Forte Venus blando quaesitum frigore somnum
vitibus intexti gremio successerat antri
densaque sidereos per gramina fuderat artus
adclinis florum cumulo; crispatur opaca
pampinus et musto sudantem ventilat uvam. 5
ora decet neglecta sopor; fastidit amictum
aestus et exuto translucent pectore frondes.
Idaliae iuxta famulae triplexque vicissim
nexa sub ingenti requiescit Gratia quercu.
pennati passim pueri quo quemque vocavit 10
umbra iacent; fluitant arcus ramisque propinquis
pendentes placido suspirant igne pharetrae.



Epithalamium of Palladius and Celerina.[80]


Asked to improvise a song in honour of a marriage I find myself unwilling to refuse the bridegroom and unable to say no to his father-in-law. The former was my comrade-in-arms, the latter my general; at court the first is of equal rank with me, the second my superior. Similarity of age and pursuits made me a friend of Palladius; age and dignity set Celerinus far above me. The love I bear the one demands my good offices as a poet, the awe in which I hold the other a soldier’s obedience: I must sing.

It chanced that Venus had one day retired into the bosom of a cave overgrown with vine to woo sleep mid its alluring cool, and had laid her goddess limbs on the thick grass, her head upon a heap of flowers. The vine branches stir gently in the breeze and sway the full-veined grapes. Slumber befits the disorder of her brow, the midday heat will none of coverings, and the leaves show through them the gleam of her bare breast. Round her lie the nymphs of Ida and hard by beneath a lofty oak-tree the three Graces sleep with interlaced arms. Here and there, where’er the shade invites them, repose winged Cupids. Their bows are unstrung and their quivers hang from the branches of neighbouring trees, instinct with latent fire. Some

[80] This poem and the marriage it celebrates probably belong to the year 399. We know little of P. save that he was the friend and colleague (tribunus et notarius, cf. Introduction, p. xii) of Claudian. His father (l. 61) was probably prefect of Egypt in 382 (Cod. Theod. viii. 5. 37). Celerina’s grandfather held the same post (l. 73); her father (ll. 82 et sqq.)—the socer of line 2 of the preface—was primicerius notariorum (so Godefroy on Cod. Theod. vi. 2).


pars vigiles ludunt aut per virgulta vagantes
scrutantur nidos avium vel roscida laeti
mala legunt donum Veneri flexusque sequuntur 15
palmitis et summas pennis librantur in ulmos;
defendunt alii lucum Dryadasque procaces
spectandi cupidas et rustica numina pellunt
silvestresque deos longeque tuentibus antrum
flammea lascivis intendunt spicula Faunis: 20
cum subito varius vicina clamor ab urbe
et fausti iuvenum plausus mixtaeque choreis
auditae per rura lyrae. Celerina per omnes
Italiae canitur montes omnisque maritum
Palladium resonabat ager.
Pervenit ad aures 25
vox iucunda deae strepituque excita resedit
et reliquum nitido detersit pollice somnum
utque fuit, turbata comas, intecta papillas,
mollibus exurgit stratis interque suorum
agmen et innumeros Hymenaeum quaerit Amores 30
(hunc Musa genitum legit Cytherea ducemque
praefecit thalamis; nullum iunxisse cubile
hoc sine nec primas fas est attollere taedas).
conspicitur tandem. platano namque ille sub alta
fusus inaequales cera texebat avenas 35
Maenaliosque modos et pastoralia labris
murmura temptabat relegens orisque recursu
dissimilem tenui variabat harundine ventum.
Restitit ut vidit Venerem, digitisque remissis
ad terram tacito defluxit fistula flatu. 40


wake and play or wander through the thickets in search of birds’ nests or take delight in plucking dewy apples as a gift for Venus or hunt the gadding vine for grapes, and, poised on their wings, climb its branches to the very tops of the elm-trees. Others keep guard over the wood and drive off the wanton, curious Dryads, the country gods and the woodland deities, discharging flaming darts at the amorous Fauns who try from a distance to catch a glimpse of Venus’ bower. Suddenly there arose cries and shoutings from the neighbouring city; joyous acclamations of youth and the strains of the lyre accompanying dancing in the streets. Through all the hills of Italy the name of Celerina is chanted and every field re-echoes that of her husband Palladius.

The pleasant sound reached the goddess’ ears; aroused by the noise she sat up and with her fair hands rubbed from her eyes the residue of sleep; then, just as she was, her hair disordered, her breasts uncovered, she leapt from her soft couch and summoned Hymen from among the unnumbered Loves that formed her bodyguard. (Him, son of the Muse, Cytherea chose out and made the patron god of marriage. Without his sanction is no entry into wedlock nor is it lawful but with his leave to uplift the first wedding-torches.) At last he is found. There he lay stretched beneath a tall plane-tree joining with wax pipes of unequal length, seeking to repeat with his lips Maenalian measures and pastoral tunes, while, as his mouth ran over them, he varied his breathing upon the slender reed.

Seeing Venus he stopped; noiseless to the ground from out the nerveless grasp of his fingers fell the


dulce micant oculi; niveas infecerat igni
solque pudorque genas; dubiam lanuginis umbram
caesaries intonsa tegit. prior ipsa silentem
“Numquamne, puer, dilecta relinques
carmina? maternis numquam satiabere donis 45
dedite Musarum studio nimiumque parentis
aemule? quid medio tecum modularis in aestu?
iamne tibi sordent citharae? iam lustra Lycaei
atque pecus cordi redituraque rupibus Echo?
huc ades et tantae nobis edissere causas 50
laetitiae, cui pompa toro tam clara resultet,
quae nova dotetur virgo: patriamque genusque
pande, quibus terris orti, quo semine ducti.
haud ignarus enim, nec te conubia fallunt
ulla; tuo primae libantur[81] foedere noctes.” 55
Ille refert: “equidem dudum te, diva, morantem
mirabar, quod adhuc tanti secura maneres
coniugii. non parva tibi mandatur origo.
fascibus insignes et legum culmine fultae
convenere domus et qui lectissimus orbi 60
sanguis erat. rubris quae fluctibus insula latrat,
qui locus Aethiopum, quae sic impervia famae
secessit regio, quo non rumore secundo
Palladii penetravit amor mentisque benigna
temperies doctique sales et grata senectus? 65

[81] Birt librantur (MSS.); Delphin ed. libantur.


pipe. Affection lights up his eyes; a modest blush suffuses those sun-browned cheeks so snowy-white by nature, clothed, too, with the scarce seen down of youth where ceased the ne’er cut hair. Silent he stood and the goddess first addressed him. “Wilt thou, boy, never leave thy beloved song? Wilt thou never have enough of thy mother’s gifts, ever devoted to the Muses’ task and too eager to rival thy parent[82]? What is it thou dost practise all alone in the midday heat? Dost thou now despise the lyre and seekest thou rather the woods of Lycaeus and the herds and Echo resounding from the rocks? Come hither and tell me the reason for this general rejoicing. What marriage is this that is attended with such ceremony and such demonstrations of joy? Who is the newly dowered bride? Of what country, what race are they that are wed? Tell me from what land they spring and what their parentage. Needs must thou know, for no marriage can take place without thee and by covenant with thee are wedlock’s joys first tasted.”

He replied: “Long have I been wondering, goddess, at thy delay, and marvelled that thou didst take no notice of so world-famed an union. They are no common folk that now submit them to thy laws. Two families are united illustrious with consulships, upheld by the highest offices, in whose veins flows the noblest blood of all the world. What island on whose coasts thunder the waves of the Red Sea, what tract of Ethiopia, what land so far withdrawn from human intercourse but has heard the blessings that the affection of his country calls down on the head of Palladius’ sire for his clemency, his learning, his wit, his genial age? He has trodden

[82] i.e. Calliope. Venus is in effect saying to him: attend to your own business, play your own instrument (the cithara )and do not seek the haunts, and imitate the pipes, of Pan.


per cunctos iit ille gradus aulaeque labores
emensus tenuit summae fastigia sedis
Eoum stabili moderatus iure senatum.
hic splendor iuveni. cunabula prima puellae
Danuvius veteresque Tomi. Mavortia matris 70
nobilitas spoliis armisque exultat avitis
inmensamque trahit Celerini robore lucem,
qui quondam Meroën iussus Nilumque tueri,
cum sibi post obitus et Parthica fulmina Cari[83]
sceptra daret miles rebusque imponere vellet, 75
despexit fremitus et praetulit otia regno;
respuit ingestum, quod vi, quod poscere ferro
posthabita pietate solent. tum purpura primum
inferior virtute fuit meruitque repulsam
obvia maiestas. doluit Fortuna minorem 80
se confessa viro. magnum delata potestas,
maiorem contempta probat.
“Cognomina sumpsit
plena ducum genitor. paulatim vectus ad altum
princeps militiae, qua non inlustrior extat
altera, cunctorum tabulas adsignat honorum, 85
regnorum tractat numeros, constringit in unum
sparsas imperii vires cuneosque recenset
dispositos: quae Sarmaticis custodia ripis,
quae saevis obiecta Getis, quae Saxona frenat
vel Scottum legio, quantae cinxere cohortes 90
Oceanum, quanto pacatur milite Rhenus.

[83] Birt caro (the reading of E and V); Cari Heinsius.


every rung of the ladder of honours, has held every place at court, and reached the highest of all offices, directing the deliberations of the senate of the East with a sure authority. Such is the bridegroom’s brilliance. The bride first saw the light in the old city of Tomi by the mouth of the Danube. She is descended on her mother’s side from noble ancestors famed in war and enriched by war’s spoils and derives especial glory from the renown of that stalwart Celerinus who, when appointed to the defence of Meroë and the Nile, and, after the death by lightning of Carus[84] in Parthia, offered the throne and dominion of the world by his soldiers, paid no heed to their clamour and preferred repose to an empire. Of his own will he refused when it was offered that which men will use every sort of violence and outrage every sort of right to acquire. For the first time virtue was reckoned above a throne and sovereignty, making offer of herself, met with a refusal. Sadly did Fortune confess herself beaten by a mortal. Great it is to deserve high office, still greater to have despised it.

“Celerina’s father has won every title that a warrior may. Step by step he has reached the highest of all ranks, that of commander-in-chief; it is he who dispenses titles of honour, settles the garrisons of the provinces, unites the scattered forces of the empire, and checks the disposition of its troops. He decides the defences of Sarmatia and the legions that are to face the wild Getae or keep Saxon and Scot in subjection. He knows how many cohorts fringe the shore of Ocean, how great an army maintains peace along the banks of the Rhine. In the family of Celerina is to be found unspotted

[84] Carus was struck by lightning (or murdered) during his Persian campaign, A.D. 283; (cf. Sidon. Apol. c. 23. 91).


casta domus, sincera fides, industria sollers.
elegit Stilicho; nihil ultra laudibus addi
iudiciove potest. tali nubente puella
nonne tibi cessare nefas? duc protinus omnes, 95
duc age. marcentes cupio quassare coronas
et vibrare faces et noctem ducere ludo.
haec quoque non vilem iam fistula commodat usum
responsura choris.”
Vix haec Hymenaeus; at illa
fontibus abluitur gelidis legemque capillo 100
reddit et ornatum formae prelisque solutae
mira Dioneae sumit velamina telae.
floribus extruitur currus; iuga floribus halant;
florea purpureas adnectunt frena columbas.
undique concurrunt volucres, quaecumque frementem
permulcent Athesin cantu, quas Larius audit, 106
quas Benacus alit, quas excipit amne quieto
Mincius: ereptis obmutuit unda querellis.
Eridani ripas et raucae stagna Padusae
diffugiens nudavit olor. laetantur Amores 110
frenatisque truces avibus per nubila vecti
ostentant se quisque deae magnoque tumultu
confligunt pronique manus in verbera tendunt
atque impune cadunt: lapsus meliore volatu
consequitur vincitque suos auriga iugales. 115
Ut thalami tetigere fores, tum vere rubentes
desuper invertunt calathos largosque rosarum
imbres et violas plenis sparsere pharetris
collectas Veneris prato, quibus ipse pepercit


virtue, unfeigned loyalty, and diligence guided by knowledge. She is Stilicho’s choice; to such choice and judgement no praise can be added. It were a shame, Venus, shouldst thou not be present at the marriage of such a maid. Come, bring all thy train. Fain would I shake the withering wreaths, brandish the torches, and devote the night to pleasure. Now even this my pipe gives no dishonoured service answering the choirs’ songs.”

Scarce had Hymen spoken and she bathes her in the cool stream, gathers her flowing hair, and renews her charms, taking from out the press the wondrous garments spun by her mother Dione. Her chariot is heaped with flowers and the yoke thereof is fragrant with blossoms. Flowers entwine the reins that fetter her bright doves. From all sides the birds flock together, those that soothe with their song the roar of Athesis, those whom Larius hears, Benacus feeds, or Mincius welcomes with his quiet flood. Quiet are those waters now that the birds’ plaintive notes resound there no more. The swans have flown away and left the banks of Eridanus and the sounding marshes of Padusa. Right glad are the wanton Loves; they catch and harness the birds and ride them through the clouds before the eyes of Venus. There they join in noisy battle, lean forward to strike one another, and fall but suffer no hurt. Fallen they overtake their steeds with flight swifter than theirs, for the charioteer is fleeter than the chariot.

Soon as they reached the doors of the marriage-chamber they empty baskets full of red spring flowers, pouring forth showers of roses and scattering from their laden quivers violets gathered in Venus’ meadow, violets untouched e’en by the heat of the


Sirius et teneras clementi sidere fovit. 120
gemmatis alii per totum balsama tectum
effudere cadis, duro quae saucius ungue
Niliacus pingui desudat vulnere cortex.
adgreditur Cytherea nurum flentemque pudico
detraxit matris gremio. matura tumescit 125
virginitas superatque nives ac lilia candor
et patrium flavis testatur crinibus Histrum.
tum dextram complexa viri dextramque puellae
tradit et his ultro sancit conubia dictis:
“Vivite concordes et nostrum discite munus. 130
oscula mille sonent; livescant brachia nexu;
labra ligent animas. neu tu virtute proterva
confidas, iuvenis; non est terrore domanda,
sed precibus placanda tibi. concede marito
tu quoque neu Scythicas infensis unguibus iras 135
exercere velis: vinci patiare, rogamus.
sic uxor, sic mater eris. quid lumina tinguis,
virgo? crede mihi: quem nunc horrescis, amabis.”
Dixit et aligera geminos arcuque manuque
praestantes e plebe vocat. puer ilicet Aethon 140
et Pyrois rutilas respersi murice plumas
prosiliunt puroque imbutis melle sagittis
hic nuptam petit, ille virum. sonuere reducta
cornua; certa notos pariter sulcavit harundo
et pariter fixis haeserunt tela medullis. 145


Dog-star who had tempered for their frail beauty his accustomed fires. Others throughout the palace poured forth from jewelled caskets unguents gathered by the banks of the Nile from trees whose bark, when wounded by the cruel finger-nail, oozed with rich gum. Cytherea approaches the bride, and, despite her tears, drew her from her mother’s arms. Her swelling breast betokens maidenhood ripe for marriage, her skin is whiter than lilies or than snow, and her golden hair points to the Danube as her birthplace. Then, taking the hand of the bridegroom, Venus joins to it that of the bride and with these words blesses their union: “Live as one and fulfil all my rites. Give a thousand kisses, let arm be bruised with enfolding arm, and lips so join that soul may meet soul. And thou, husband, put not thy confidence in rude love-making; thy wife’s love cannot be won by threats, but must be gained by entreaty. And do thou yield to thy husband nor seek to show anger; use not thy nails as weapons like the women of Scythia. I beg thee submit to conquest; so shalt thou be indeed a wife, so a mother. Why are there tears in thine eyes? Believe me, thou shalt love him whom now thou fearest.”

So spake she, and chose from out her winged attendants the two whose bows were strongest and their aim most sure. At once Aethon and Pyrois leaped forward, their bright wings tinged with purple. Dipping their shafts in pure honey the one aims his at the bride, the other his at the bridegroom. They draw their bows; the strings twang and the sure arrows cleave the air with equal speed and implant themselves at equal depths in the hearts of the twain.




Fons, Antenoreae vitam qui porrigis urbi
fataque vicinis noxia pellis aquis,
cum tua vel mutis tribuant miracula vocem,
cum tibi plebeius carmina dictet honos
et sit nulla manus, cuius non pollice ductae 5
testentur memores prospera vota notae:
nonne reus Musis pariter Nymphisque tenebor,
si tacitus soli praetereare mihi?
ludibrium quid enim fas est a vate relinqui
hunc qui tot populis pervolat ora locum? 10
Alto colle minor, planis erectior arvis
conspicuo clivus molliter orbe tumet
ardentis fecundus aquae; quacumque cavernas
perforat, offenso truditur igne latex.
spirat putre solum, conclusaque subter anhelo 15
pumice rimosas perfodit[85] unda vias.
umida flammarum regio: Vulcania terrae
ubera, sulphureae fervida regna plagae.
quis sterilem non credat humum? fumantia vernant
pascua; luxuriat gramine cocta silex 20
et, cum sic rigidae cautes fervore liquescant,
contemptis audax ignibus herba viret.
Praeterea grandes effosso marmore sulci
saucia longinquo limite saxa secant. 25

[85] perfodit Koch; codd. (Birt) perforat.




Fount that prolongest life for the dwellers in Antenor’s city, banishing by thy neighbouring waters all harmful fates, seeing that thy marvels stir utterance even in the dumb, that a people’s love bids poets to honour thee in song, and that there is no hand whose fingers have not traced for thee some lines in thankful witness of prayers granted, shall I not be held guilty alike by the Muses and the Nymphs if I alone sing not thy praises? How can a spot whose fame is on so many lips rightly be passed over by me in slighting silence?

Lower than a lofty hill yet higher than the level plain rises a gentle eminence, clear to see from all around. Prolific is it in hot springs, for wherever water penetrates its recesses encountering fires drive it forth. The crumbling ground exhales vapours, and the water, closed down in its prison of burning rock, forces its way out by many a fissured channel. ’Tis a region of liquid fire where Vulcan’s flames spring forth from earth’s breast, a land of burning and of sulphur. Who would not think it barren? Yet are those fiery fields green with verdure; grass grows o’er the burning marl and, though the very rocks melt at the heat, plants, mocking at the flames, boldly flourish.

Beyond this are vast furrows cut in the rock, scarring and cleaving it in long lines. Traces are

[86] Aponus (mod. Abano) near Padua, famous for its hot mineral springs (cf. Mart. vi. 42. 4; Lucan, vii. 193; Sil. Ital. xii. 218, etc.). Padua (Patavinum) is said to have been founded by Antenor.


Herculei (sic fama refert) monstratur aratri
semita, vel casus vomeris egit opus,
in medio pelagi late flagrantis imago
caerulus inmenso panditur ore lacus
ingenti fusus spatio; sed maior in altum
intrat et arcanae rupis inane subit: 30
densus nube sua tactuque inmitis et haustu,
sed vitreis idem lucidus usque vadis.
consuluit natura sibi, ne tota lateret,
admisitque oculos, quo vetat ire calor:
turbidus impulsu venti cum spargitur aër 35
glaucaque fumiferae terga serenat aquae,
tunc omnem liquidi vallem mirabere fundi,
tunc veteres hastae, regia dona, micant
(quas inter, nigrae tenebris obscurus harenae,
discolor abruptum flumen hiatus agit; 40
adparent infra latebrae, quas gurges opacus
implet et abstrusos ducit in antra sinus);
tunc montis secreta patent, qui flexus in arcum
aequora pendenti margine summa ligat.
Viva coronatos adstringit scaena vapores, 45
et levis exili cortice terra natat
calcantumque oneri numquam cessura virorum
sustentat trepidum, fida ruina, pedem.
facta manu credas, sic levis circuit oras
ambitus et tenuis perpetuusque riget. 50


they—so tradition tells—of Hercules’ plough, or else chance did the ploughshare’s work. In the middle of the hill is what seems a broad, steaming sea, an azure lake of vast extent. Great is the space it covers, still greater its depth where it plunges down and loses itself beneath the rocky caverns. A thick pall of steam hangs over it; its waters cannot be touched nor drunk though they are transparent as crystal to the very bottom. Nature took counsel for herself and lest that lake should be entirely beyond our ken she let our eyes penetrate what, because of its heat, our bodies could not enter. When a breeze scatters the thick clouds of steam and clears the grey surface of the erstwhile vaporous water you can gaze with wonder on the valley floor below that glassy flood where glint old weapons, king’s gifts[87] of bygone days (between these a gulf of other hue, dark with the eddyings of black sand, swallows the hastening waters; below there opens a cavern into which the darkling flood pours, filling every nook and cranny with its swirling eddies); then are revealed the hidden places of the hill which, bent round in a bow, encircles the surface of the water with an overhanging rim.[88]

A verdant amphitheatre surrounds this steaming cauldron, and the ground floats lightly with slender film[89]; never will it give way beneath the visitor’s weight, upholding his timorous feet, trusty though seeming so unsure. One would think it the work of man’s hand, so smoothly does its circuit enfold the shore, slight and yet firm all the way. The water

[87] Doubtless ex voto offerings.

[88] The “hidden places” (i.e. the sides of the mountain below the water-level) are “revealed” because of the translucency of the water.

[89] Claudian describes a film or crust which encircles the lake and forms a path.


haerent stagna lacu plenas aequantia ripas
praescriptumque timent transiluisse modum;
quod superat, fluvius devexa rupe volutus
egerit et campi dorsa recurva petit,
devehit exceptum nativo spira[90] meatu; 55
in patulas plumbi labitur inde vias;
nullo cum strepitu madidis infecta favillis
despumat niveum fistula cana salem.
multifidas dispergit opes artemque secutus,
qua iussere manus, mobile torquet iter 60
et iunctos rapido pontes subtermeat aestu
adflatasque vago temperat igne tholos.
acrior interius, rauci cum murmure saxi,
spumeus eliso pellitur amne vapor.—
hinc pigras repetunt fessi sudore lacunas, 65
frigora quis longae blanda dedere morae.
Salve Paeoniae largitor nobilis undae,
Dardanii salve gloria magna soli,
publica morborum requies, commune medentum
auxilium, praesens numen, inempta salus. 70
seu ruptis inferna ruunt incendia ripis
et nostro Phlegethon devius orbe calet,
sulphuris in venas gelidus seu decidit amnis
accensusque fluit (quod manifestat odor),
sive pares[91] flammas undarum lance rependens 75
arbiter in foedus mons elementa vocat,
ne cedant superata sibi, sed legibus aequis
alterius vires possit utrumque pati:

[90] spira Heinsius; Birt follows MSS. spina.

[91] pares EVJ; Birt reads pari (A). If pari, probably a juristic formula (= aequa lance); cf. Symm. Epp. ii. 56. 1.


in the lake stands motionless, filling it to the brim and fearing to o’erstep its appointed limit. The overflow runs in a stream down a sloping rock and seeks the undulating plain below. A natural but tortuous channel carries the water away and thence it flows into an open conduit of lead. These pipes, noiselessly impregnated with some powderous mineral that the water carries down, produce a snow-white distillation of salt. The streams branch off in all directions carrying with them this natural wealth whithersoever art has directed their going, flexing this way and that their errant courses, flowing in swift torrent below aqueducts and warming the arches with the heat of their rushing waters. Within the arches, amid the roarings of the echoing rock, issues forth fiercer steam and vapour as the water rushes out. Then the sick, weak with sweating, seek next the stagnant pools that long time has made pleasantly cool.

Hail to thee, stream, generous giver of the waters of healing, chief glory of the land of Italy, doctor of all that come to thee, common helper of all Aesculapius’ sons; a very present deity for whose aid there is nought to pay. Whether it be that hell’s fiery streams have burst their banks and that Phlegethon gone astray bestows his heat upon the upper world, or that a river, originally of cold water, sinks down into veins of sulphur and rises thence afire (as one would think from the smell), or that the mountain in arbitration summons the two elements to a treaty, balancing a certain quantity of fire against a similar amount of water that neither yield to the other but under a just law of equipoise each may withstand the other’s might—whatsoever


quidquid erit causae, quocumque emitteris ortu,
non sine consilio currere certa fides. 80
quis casum meritis adscribere talibus audet?
quis negat auctores haec statuisse deos?
ille pater rerum, qui saecula dividit astris,
inter prima poli te quoque sacra dedit
et fragilem nostri miseratus corporis usum 85
telluri medicas fundere iussit aquas,
Parcarumque colos exoratura severas
flumina laxatis emicuere iugis.
Felices, proprium qui te meruere, coloni,
fas quibus est Aponon iuris habere sui. 90
non illis terrena lues corrupta nec Austri
flamina nec saevo Sirius igne nocet,
sed quamvis Lachesis letali stamine damnet,
in te fata sibi prosperiora petunt.
quodsi forte malus membris exuberat umor 95
languida vel nimio viscera felle rubent,
non venas reserant nec vulnere vulnera sanant
pocula nec tristi gramine mixta bibunt:
amissum lymphis reparant impune vigorem,
pacaturque aegro luxuriante dolor. 100



Oceani summo circumfluus aequore lucus
trans Indos Eurumque viret, qui primus anhelis
sollicitatur equis vicinaque verbera sentit,
umida roranti resonant cum limina curru,


shall prove to be the cause, whatever the origin, of this we may be sure—that thou flowest not without design. Who would dare to ascribe such a miracle to chance? Who could deny that the overruling gods have so ordained? Nature’s lord, who measures the centuries by the stars, has given thee a place of honour among the works of his divinity, and, pitying the feebleness of our human bodies, has bidden pour forth healing waters for the earth, and from the riven hills burst forth streams that should win pardon from the Fates’ relentless distaffs.

Happy ye whose lot it is to dwell by those banks and to possess Aponus for your own; you no plague of earth, no pestilence-fraught winds of the south, nor Sirius with his cruel fires can harm. Should Lachesis’ fatal thread threaten death men find in thee a more propitious fate. If it chance that noxious humours swell their limbs or that excess of bile inflames their ailing bowels they need not to open their veins nor to cure one wound with another nor yet to drink medicine of bitter herbs. By thy water’s aid they renew their lost strength without suffering; ’mid luxury the sick find relief from pain.


The Phoenix.[92]

There is a leafy wood fringed by Ocean’s farthest marge beyond the Indes and the East where Dawn’s panting coursers first seek entrance; it hears the lash close by, what time the watery threshold echoes to the dewy car; and hence comes forth the rosy

[92] C. follows Herodotus (ii. 73) fairly closely.


unde rubet ventura dies longeque coruscis 5
nox adflata rotis refugo pallescit amictu:
haec fortunatus nimium Titanius ales
regna colit solusque plaga defensus iniqua
possidet intactas aegris animalibus oras
saeva nec humani patitur contagia mundi. 10
par volucer superis, stellas qui vividus aequat
durando membrisque terit redeuntibus aevum,
non epulis saturare famem, non fontibus ullis
adsuetus prohibere sitim; sed purior illum
solis fervor alit ventosaque pabula potat 15
Tethyos, innocui carpens alimenta vaporis.
arcanum radiant oculi iubar. igneus ora
cingit honos. rutilo cognatum vertice sidus
attollit cristatus apex tenebrasque serena
luce secat. Tyrio pinguntur crura veneno. 20
antevolant Zephyros pinnae, quas caerulus ambit
flore color sparsoque super ditescit in auro.
Hic neque concepto fetu nec semine surgit,
sed pater est prolesque sui nulloque creante
emeritos artus fecunda morte reformat 25
et petit alternam totidem per funera vitam.
namque ubi mille vias longinqua retorserit aestas,
tot ruerint hiemes, totiens ver cursibus actum,
quas tulit autumnus, dederit cultoribus umbras:
tum multis gravior tandem subiungitur annis 30
lustrorum numero victus: ceu lassa procellis
ardua Caucasio nutat de culmine pinus
seram ponderibus pronis tractura ruinam;
pars cadit adsiduo flatu, pars imbre peresa
rumpitur, abripuit partem vitiosa vetustas. 35


morn while night, illumined by those far-shining wheels of fire, casts off her sable cloak and broods less darkly. This is the kingdom of the blessèd bird of the sun where it dwells in solitude defended by the inhospitable nature of the land and immune from the ills that befall other living creatures; nor does it suffer infection from the world of men. Equal to the gods is that bird whose life rivals the stars and whose renascent limbs weary the passing centuries. It needs no food to satisfy hunger nor any drink to quench thirst; the sun’s clear beam is its food, the sea’s rare spray its drink—exhalations such as these form its simple nourishment. A mysterious fire flashes from its eye, and a flaming aureole enriches its head. Its crest shines with the sun’s own light and shatters the darkness with its calm brilliance. Its legs are of Tyrian purple; swifter than those of the Zephyrs are its wings of flower-like blue dappled with rich gold.

Never was this bird conceived nor springs it from any mortal seed, itself is alike its own father and son, and with none to recreate it, it renews its outworn limbs with a rejuvenation of death, and at each decease wins a fresh lease of life. For when a thousand summers have passed far away, a thousand winters gone by, a thousand springs in their course given to the husbandmen that shade[93] of which autumn robbed them, then at last, fordone by the number of its years, it falls a victim to the burden of age; as a tall pine on the summit of Caucasus, wearied with storms, heels over with its weight and threatens at last to crash in ruin; one portion falls by reason of the unceasing winds, another breaks away rotted by the rain, another consumed by the decay of years.

[93] i.e. given leaves which in turn supply shade.


Iam breve decrescit lumen languetque senili
segnis stella gelu, qualis cum forte tenetur
nubibus et dubio vanescit Cynthia cornu.
iam solitae medios alae transcurrere nimbos
vix ima tolluntur humo. tum conscius aevi 40
defuncti reducisque parans exordia formae
arentes tepidis de collibus eligit herbas
et tumulum texens pretiosa fronde Sabaeum
componit, bustumque sibi partumque futurum.
Hic sedet et Solem blando clangore salutat 45
debilior miscetque preces ac supplice cantu
praestatura novas vires incendia poscit.
quem procul adductis vidit cum Phoebus habenis,
stat subito dictisque pium solatur alumnum:
“o senium positure rogo falsisque sepulcris 50
natales habiture vices, qui saepe renasci
exitio proprioque soles pubescere leto,
accipe principium rursus corpusque coactum
desere. mutata melior procede figura.”
Haec fatus propere flavis e crinibus unum 55
concussa cervice iacit missoque volentem
vitali fulgore ferit. iam sponte crematur
ut redeat gaudetque mori festinus in ortum.
fervet odoratus telis caelestibus agger
consumitque senem. nitidos stupefacta iuvencos 60
luna premit pigrosque polus non concitat axes
parturiente rogo: curis Natura laborat,


Now the Phoenix’s bright eye grows dim and the pupil becomes palsied by the frost of years, like the moon when she is shrouded in clouds and her horn begins to vanish in the mist. Now his wings, wont to cleave the clouds of heaven, can scarce raise them from the earth. Then, realizing that his span of life is at an end and in preparation for a renewal of his splendour, he gathers dry herbs from the sun-warmed hills, and making an interwoven heap of the branches of the precious tree of Saba he builds that pyre which shall be at once his tomb and his cradle.

On this he takes his seat and as he grows weaker greets the Sun with his sweet voice; offering up prayers and supplications he begs that those fires will give him renewal of strength. Phoebus, on seeing him afar, checks his reins and staying his course consoles his loving child with these words: “Thou who art about to leave thy years behind upon yon pyre, who, by this pretence of death, art destined to rediscover life; thou whose decease means but the renewal of existence and who by self-destruction regainest thy lost youth, receive back thy life, quit the body that must die, and by a change of form come forth more beauteous than ever.”

So speaks he, and shaking his head casts one of his golden hairs and smites willing Phoenix with its life-giving effulgence. Now, to ensure his rebirth, he suffers himself to be burned and in his eagerness to be born again meets death with joy. Stricken with the heavenly flame the fragrant pile catches fire and burns the aged body. The moon in amaze checks her milk-white heifers and heaven halts his revolving spheres, while the pyre conceives the new life; Nature takes care that the deathless bird


aeternam ne perdat avem, flammasque fideles
admonet, ut rerum decus inmortale remittant.
Continuo dispersa vigor per membra volutus 65
aestuat et venas recidivus sanguis inundat.
victuri cineres nullo cogente moveri
incipiunt plumaque rudem vestire favillam.
qui fuerat genitor, natus nunc prosilit idem
succeditque novus: geminae confinia vitae 70
exiguo medius discrimine separat ignis.
Protinus ad Nilum manes sacrare paternos
auctoremque globum Phariae telluris ad oras
ferre iuvat. velox alienum pergit in orbem
portans gramineo clausum velamine funus. 75
innumerae comitantur aves stipatque volantem
alituum suspensa cohors. exercitus ingens
obnubit vario late convexa meatu.
nec quisquam tantis e milibus obvius audet
ire duci, sed regis iter fragrantis adorant. 80
non ferus accipiter, non armiger ipse Tonantis
bella movet: commune facit reverentia foedus.
talis barbaricas flavo de Tigride turmas
ductor Parthus agit: gemmis et divite cultu
luxurians sertis apicem regalibus ornat; 85
auro frenat equum, perfusam murice vestem
Assyria signatur acu tumidusque regendo
celsa per famulas acies dicione superbit.
Clara per Aegyptum placidis notissima sacris
urbs Titana colit, centumque adcline columnis 90
invehitur templum Thebano monte revulsis.


perish not, and calls upon the sun, mindful of his promise, to restore its immortal glory to the world.

Straightway the life spirit surges through his scattered limbs; the renovated blood floods his veins. The ashes show signs of life; they begin to move though there is none to move them, and feathers clothe the mass of cinders. He who was but now the sire comes forth from the pyre the son and successor; between life and life lay but that brief space wherein the pyre burned.

His first delight is to consecrate his father’s spirit by the banks of the Nile and to carry to the land of Egypt the burned mass from which he was born. With all speed he wings his way to that foreign strand, carrying the remains in a covering of grass. Birds innumerable accompany him, and whole flocks thereof throng his airy flight. Their mighty host shuts out the sky where’er it passes. But from among so vast an assemblage none dares outstrip the leader; all follow respectfully in the balmy wake of their king. Neither the fierce hawk nor the eagle, Jove’s own armour-bearer, fall to fighting; in honour of their common master a truce is observed by all. Thus the Parthian monarch leads his barbarous hosts by yellow Tigris’ banks, all glorious with jewels and rich ornament and decks his tiara with royal garlands; his horse’s bridle is of gold, Assyrian embroidery embellishes his scarlet robes, and proud with sovereignty he lords it o’er his numberless slaves.

There is in Egypt a well-known city celebrated for its pious sacrifices and dedicated to the worship of the Sun. Its temple rests on a hundred columns hewn from the quarries of Thebes. Here, as the


illic, ut perhibent, patriam de more reponit
congeriem vultumque dei veneratus erilem
iam flammae commendat onus, iam destinat aris
semina relliquiasque sui: mirata relucent 95
limina; divino spirant altaria fumo,
et Pelusiacas productus ad usque paludes
Indus odor penetrat nares completque salubri
tempestate viros et nectare dulcior aura
ostia nigrantis Nili septena vaporat. 100
O felix heresque tui! quo solvimur omnes,
hoc tibi suppeditat vires; praebetur origo
per cinerem, moritur te non pereunte senectus.
vidisti quodcumque fuit; te saecula teste
cuncta revolvuntur; nosti quo tempore pontus 105
fuderit elatas scopulis stagnantibus undas,
quis Phaëthonteis erroribus arserit annus,
et clades te nulla rapit solusque superstes
edomita tellure manes: non stamina Parcae
in te dira legunt nec ius habuere nocendi. 110



Felix, qui Pharias proscindit vomere terras:
nubila non sperat tenebris condentia caelum
nec graviter flantes pluviali frigore Cauros
invocat aut arcum variata luce rubentem.


story tells, the Phoenix is wont to store his father’s ashes and, adoring the image of the god, his master, to entrust his precious burden to the flames. He places on the altar that from which he is sprung and that which remains of himself. Bright shines the wondrous threshold; the fragrant shrine is filled with the holy smoke of the altar and the odour of Indian incense, penetrating even as far as the Pelusiac marshes, fills the nostrils of men, flooding them with its kindly influence and with a scent sweeter than that of nectar perfumes the seven mouths of the dark Nile.

Happy bird, heir to thine own self! Death which proves our undoing restores thy strength. Thine ashes give thee life and though thou perish not thine old age dies. Thou hast beheld all that has been, hast witnessed the passing of the ages. Thou knowest when it was that the waves of the sea rose and o’erflowed the rocks, what year it was that Phaëthon’s error devoted to the flames. Yet did no destruction overwhelm thee; sole survivor thou livest to see the earth subdued; against thee the Fates gather not up their threads, powerless to do thee harm.


The Nile.[94]

Blessèd is the man who cleaves the soil of Egypt with his plough; he need not hope for clouds to shroud the heavens in darkness nor call upon the storm-winds that bring the chilling rain or the rainbow bright with its various colours.

[94] Claudian again borrows from Herodotus (ii. 20-27).


Aegyptus sine nube ferax imbresque serenos 5
sola tenet; secura poli, non indiga venti
gaudet aquis, quas ipsa vehit, Niloque redundat:
qui rapido tractu mediis elatus ab Austris,
flammiferae patiens zonae cancrique calentis,
fluctibus ignotis nostrum procurrit in orbem 10
secreto de fonte cadens, qui semper inani
quaerendus ratione latet, nec contigit ulli
hoc vidisse caput: fertur sine teste creatus
flumina profundens alieni conscia caeli.
inde vago lapsu Libyam dispersus in omnem 15
Aethiopum per mille ruit nigrantia regna
et loca continuo solis damnata vapore
inrorat populisque salus sitientibus errat
per Meroën Blemyasque feros atramque Syenem.
hunc bibit infrenis Garamas domitorque ferarum 20
Gyrraeus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra,
qui ramos ebeni, dentes qui vellit eburnos,
et gens compositis crinem velata sagittis.
Nec vero similes causas crescentibus undis
aut tempus meruit. glacie non ille soluta 25
nec circumfuso scopulis exuberat imbre.
nam cum tristis hiems alias produxerit undas,
tunc Nilum retinent ripae; cum languida cessant
flumina, tunc Nilus mutato iure tumescit.
quippe quod ex omni fluvio spoliaverit aestas, 30
hoc Nilo natura refert, totumque per orbem
collectae partes unum revocantur in amnem;


Fertile is Egypt without clouds; here alone is sunshine and yet rain. She regards not the sky, needs not the wind; enough for her the water she herself contains, Nile’s overflow. This swiftly-flowing river rises in the mountainous country of the south where it suffers the heats of the torrid zone and of the scorching Crab and issues forth from regions unknown into our world. Whence it comes none knows, for vain has ever been the search after its springing nor has any ever seen that source. ’Tis said that, fashioned without witness, it pours forth waters that have known a clime other than ours. Thence with errant stream it stretches through all Libya, and through Ethiopia’s thousand dusky kingdoms where it waters lands condemned to the sun’s unceasing fires, saviour of thirsting peoples, and threads its course across Meroë and black Syene and through the country of the wild Blemyae. The unconquered Garamantes and the Gyrraei who can tame wild animals drink of its waters, as do those tribes who dwell in huge rocky caverns, gathering the wood of ebony-trees and robbing the elephant of his tusks of ivory, and the folk who wear arrows in their hair.

Neither the cause nor yet the season of its overflow is the same as that of other rivers. Its waters rise neither because of melted snows nor by reason of rains flooding its rocky marge; for when dull winter giveth increase to other rivers Nile keeps within his banks; when other rivers flow with diminished stream, Nile, under other laws, rises. For of a truth whatever toll summer has exacted from all rivers Nature repays to the Nile, and waters gathered together from the whole world meet thus


quoque die Titana canis flagrantior armat
et rapit umores madidos venasque calore
compescit radiisque potentibus aestuat axis, 35
Nilo bruma venit, contraria tempora mundo:
defectis solitum referens cultoribus aequor
effluit Aegaeo stagnantior, acrior alto
Ionio seseque patentibus explicat arvis:
fluctuat omnis ager; remis sonuere novales; 40
saepius, aestivo iaceat cum forte sopore,
cernit cum stabulis armenta natantia pastor.



Quisquis sollicita mundum ratione secutus
semina rimatur rerum, quo luna laborat
defectu, quae causa iubet pallescere solem,
unde rubescentes ferali crine cometae,
unde fluant venti, trepidae quis viscera terrae 5
concutiat motus, quis fulgura ducat hiatus,
unde tonent nubes, quo lumine floreat arcus,
hoc mihi quaerenti, si quid deprendere veri
mens valet, expediat.
Lapis est cognomine magnes
decolor obscurus vilis. non ille repexam 10
caesariem regum, non candida virginis ornat
colla nec insigni splendet per cingula morsu;
sed nova si nigri videas miracula saxi,
tunc pulchros superat cultus et quidquid Eois


in one river. Then when the Dog-star increases the heat of the sun and sucks up all moisture, drying up earth’s veins and filling heaven with its scorching rays, winter comes upon the Nile, though elsewhere all is summer. Then, bringing back to the fainting husbandmen its accustomed waters, it o’erflows ampler than the Aegean, fiercer than the deep Ionian, and spreads itself over the low-lying country. All the fields are aswim; plough-land sounds to the beat of the oar, and full often the shepherd, o’ercome with summer’s heat, wakes to see flocks and fold carried away by the flood.


The Magnet.

Whosoever with anxious thought examines the universe and searches out the origin of things—the reason of the sun’s and moon’s eclipse, the causes of comets’ red and baneful fires, the source of the winds, the motion that makes the earth to quake, the force that splits the heavens in twain, the noise of the thunder, the brilliance of the rainbow, let this man (if man’s mind has any power to conceive the truth) explain to me something I would fain understand.

There is a stone called the loadstone; black, dull, and common. It does not adorn the braided hair of kings nor the snowy necks of girls, nor yet shine in the jewelled buckles of warriors’ belts. But consider the marvellous properties of this dull-looking stone and you will see that it is of more worth than lovely gems and any pearl sought of


Indus litoribus Rubra scrutatur in alga. 15
nam ferro meruit vitam ferrique rigore
vescitur; hoc dulces epulas, hoc pabula novit;
hinc proprias renovat vires; hinc fusa per artus
aspera secretum servant alimenta vigorem;
hoc absente perit: tristi morientia torpent 20
membra fame, venasque sitis consumit apertas.
Mavors, sanguinea qui cuspide verberat urbes,
et Venus, humanas quae laxat in otia curas,
aurati delubra tenent communia templi.
effigies non una deis: sed ferrea Martis 25
forma nitet, Venerem magnetica gemma figurat.
illis conubium celebrat de more sacerdos.
ducit flamma choros; festa frondentia myrto
limina cinguntur, roseisque cubilia surgunt
floribus, et thalamum dotalis purpura velat. 30
hic mirum consurgit opus: Cytherea maritum
sponte rapit caelique toros imitata priores
pectora lascivo flatu Mavortia nectit
et tantum suspendit onus galeaeque lacertos
implicat et vivis totum complexibus ambit. 35
ille lacessitus longo spiraminis actu
arcanis trahitur gemma de coniuge nodis.
pronuba fit Natura deis ferrumque maritat
aura tenax: subitis sociantur numina furtis.
Quis calor infudit geminis alterna metallis 40
foedera? quae duras iungit concordia mentes?
flagrat anhela silex et amicam saucia sentit
materiem placidosque chalybs cognoscit amores.


Indian amid the seaweed on the Red Sea’s shores. It lives on iron and feeds on its inflexible nature; iron is its food and nourishment; from iron it recruits its strength. This seemingly inedible food, circulating throughout its body, renews its hidden powers. Without iron the loadstone dies; its bulk wastes away from lack of nourishment and thirst parches its emptied veins.

Mars, who strikes cities with his bloody spear, and Venus, who changes human cares to ease, share a common shrine and temple built of gold. Each deity has his own image; Mars, a polished iron statue, Venus, one fashioned of the loadstone. The priest duly celebrates their union. The nuptial torch precedes the choir; myrtle wreaths adorn the portals, the couches are piled with roses, while cloth of scarlet dye, as befits a marriage, adorns the bridal chamber. But, lo, a prodigy: Cytherea, without quitting her station, attracts her husband to her, and recalling the scene of which heaven was once witness, clasps Mars to her bosom with amorous breath. There she holds him suspended; her arms enfold the helmet of the god and clasp his whole body in a lifelike embrace. He, stirred by the far-compelling influence of her breath, is drawn towards her by the secret chains of his jewel-bride. Nature presides over the divine marriage; a binding breath woos the steel to wedlock; suddenly two deities are mated in secret union.

What hidden warmth infuses mutual sympathy into these twin metals? What harmony makes one their stubborn souls? The stone sighs and burns, and smitten with love recognizes in the iron the object of its desire, while the iron experiences a


sic Venus horrificum belli compescere regem
et vultum mollire solet, cum sanguine praeceps 45
aestuat et strictis mucronibus asperat iras.
sola feris occurrit equis solvitque tumorem
pectoris et blando praecordia temperat igni.
pax animo tranquilla datur, pugnasque calentes
deserit et rutilas declinat in oscula cristas. 50
Quae tibi, saeve puer, non est permissa potestas?
tu magnum superas fulmen caeloque relicto
fluctibus in mediis cogis mugire Tonantem.
iam gelidas rupes vivoque carentia sensu
membra feris, iam saxa tuis obnoxia telis, 55
et lapides suus ardor agit, ferrumque tenetur
inlecebris; rigido regnant in marmore flammae.


Laus Serenae.

Dic, mea Calliope, tanto cur tempore differs
Pierio meritam serto redimire Serenam?
vile putas donum, solitam consurgere gemmis
et Rubro radiare mari si floribus ornes
reginae regina comam? sed floribus illis, 5
quos neque frigoribus Boreas nec Sirius urit
aestibus, aeterno sed veris honore rubentes


gentle attraction for the stone. It is thus that Venus often holds the fierce god of war in check and softens his fiery glance when the angry blood boils within him and with drawn sword he whets his wrath. She alone can face his fierce steeds and appease the tumult of his heart, calming his anger with gentle flame. Peace and quiet are restored within his soul; he abjures the heat of battle and bends his head, helmed with ruddy plumes, to kiss the goddess.

Cruel boy, is aught beyond thy powers? Thou dost master the mighty thunderbolt; thou canst force the Thunderer to leave the sky and bellow amid the waves. Now thou showest that thou canst smite cold rocks and shapes not instinct with feeling or life, that stone can be wounded by thine arrows. Rocks are stirred by a passion of their own; iron is obedient to thy blandishments; thy flames exercise dominion over hardest marl.


In praise of Serena.[95]

Say, my Muse, why tarriest thou so long to crown Serena’s brows with the Pierian garland they so well deserve? Thinkest thou the gift too poor shouldst thou, a queen, deck but with flowers the head of a queen accustomed rather to wear a tiara bright with all the jewels of the Red Sea? Nay, those flowers of thine are such that neither Boreas’ cold blast nor Sirius’ scorching heat can hurt them; theirs is the bloom of everlasting spring for they

[95] For Serena, niece and adoptive daughter of Theodosius and wife of Stilicho, cf. Introduction, p. xvi. I follow Vollmer (in Pauly-Wissowa, art. “Claudianus”) rather than Birt in dating this poem circ. 398 and XXXI. as 404.


fons Aganippea Permessius educat unda:
unde piae pascuntur apes et prata legentes
transmittunt saeclis Heliconia mella futuris. 10
Dignius an vates alios exercuit unum
femineae virtutis opus? quod sponte redempto
casta maritali successit Thessala fato
inque suos migrare virum non abnuit annos,
hoc Grai memorant. Latiis movet ora Camenis 15
praescia fatorum Tanaquil rediensque per undas
Cloelia Thybrinas et eodem flumine ducens
Claudia virgineo cunctantem crine Cybeben.
anne aliud toto molitur carminis actu
Maeonii mens alta senis? quod stagna Charybdis 20
armavit, quod Scylla canes, quod pocula Circe,
Antiphatae vitata fames surdoque carina
remige Sirenum cantus transvecta tenaces,
lumine fraudatus Cyclops, contempta Calypso:
Penelopae decus est atque uni tanta paratur 25
scaena pudicitiae. terrae pelagique labores
et saevi totidem bellis quot fluctibus anni
coniugii docuere fidem. sit Claudia felix
teste dea castosque probet sub numine mores
absolvens puppisque moras crimenque pudoris: 30
Penelope trahat arte procos fallatque furentes
stamina nocturnae relegens Laërtia telae:
non tamen audebunt titulis certare Serenae.


have grown by Permessus’ fount and been watered by Aganippe’s wave. Those flowers have fed the holy bees that skim the meadows and transmit the honey of Helicon to coming generations.

Did ever the single theme of woman’s worth more fitly stir other bards? The Greeks sing of Alcestis, that chaste Thessalian, who, to win her husband from death, freely offered herself in his stead, allowing him to enjoy her own span of life. The Latin Muse takes prophetic Tanaquil[96] for her theme or Cloelia breasting Tiber’s waves in her return to Rome or the maiden Claudia dragging with her own hair the ship which bore Cybele, what time it stuck fast in that same stream. Does old Homer’s soaring soul essay aught else throughout his song? Dangers from Charybdis’ gulf, from Scylla’s dogs, from Circe’s cup, the escape of Ulysses from the greed of Antiphate, the passage of the ship between the rocks where sat the Sirens to whose alluring voices the rowers were deaf, the blinding of Cyclops, the desertion of Calypso—all these do but redound to the glory of Penelope, and the whole scene is set to display her chastity alone. Toils by land and sea, ten years of war, ten years of wandering, all do but illustrate the fidelity of a wife. Let Claudia rejoice in the goddess’ witness and with heaven’s help vindicate her claim to chastity, freeing at the same moment the vessel’s stern and her own character from shame. Let Penelope by artful delays deceive the madness of the suitors and, ever faithful to Ulysses, delude their solicitations, ever winding up again by night the warp of her day-spun web. Yet shall not one of these heroines dare to vie with Serena.

[96] Tanaquil, sister of the elder Tarquin, wife of the Etruscan Lucumo; for her prophetic powers see Livy i. 34. 8. Cloelia, a hostage with Porsenna, swam back to Rome (Livy ii. 13. 6). When the image of Cybele was brought to Rome (204 B.C.) and the boat stuck in a shallow at the Tiber’s mouth it was said that only a chaste woman could move it. Claudia, who had been accused of adultery, took hold of the rope and towed the vessel to shore.


Quodsi nobilitas cunctis exordia pandit
laudibus atque omnes redeunt in semina causae, 35
quis venerabilior sanguis, quae maior origo
quam regalis erit? non hoc privata dedere
limina nec tantum poterat contingere nomen
angustis laribus; patruo te principe celsam
bellipotens inlustrat avus, qui signa Britanno 40
intulit Oceano Gaetulaque reppulit arma.
claram Scipiadum taceat Cornelia gentem
seque minus iactet Libycis dotata trophaeis.
cardine tu gemino laurus praetendis avitas:
inde Caledoniis, Australibus inde parentum 45
cingeris exuviis. necdum moderamina mundi
sumpserat illa domus, cum te Lucina beatis
adderet astrorum radiis, o maxima rerum
gloria: post genitam didicit regnare Serenam.
Quid dignum memorare tuis, Hispania, terris 50
vox humana valet? primo lavat aequore solem
India: tu fessos exacta luce iugales
proluis inque tuo respirant sidera fluctu.
dives equis, frugum facilis, pretiosa metallis,
principibus fecunda piis, tibi saecula debent 55
Traianum; series his fontibus Aelia fluxit.
hinc senior, pater, hinc iuvenum diademata fratrum.
namque aliae gentes, quas foedere Roma recepit
aut armis domuit, varios aptantur in usus
imperii; Phariae segetes et Punica messis 60
castrorum devota cibo; dat Gallia robur


But if noble birth opens the first path to fame and all its causes are to be traced to ancestry, what blood more noble, what birth more gentle than that of royalty? Such majesty could not have flourished within the house of a mere commoner nor could glory so great have sprung from any simple home. Thou art famous for that thine uncle was an emperor, more famous by reason of the warlike deeds of thy grandsire[97] who carried the Roman eagles across the British Channel and repulsed the armed bands of the Gaetulians. Cornelia, daughter of the Scipios, must cease to vaunt her high birth and to boast that she received for dower the spoils of Carthage. Thou canst point to ancestral triumphs in either hemisphere; on thy brow sit two crowns, the one won by thy sires from Scotland, the other from the South. Thou glory of the world, what time Lucina assisted at the birth of thee, our new star, thy house had not yet taken on itself the government of the whole earth; not till after Serena’s birth did it know world-empire.

What human voice can worthily sing thy praises, Spain? Though India first bathes the new-born sun in her ocean yet when the light dies thou waterest his wearied steeds and in thy waves the stars find refreshment. Rich in horses, bounteous in crops, dowered with mines, prolific in good emperors, to thee the world owes Trajan, from thee sprang the Aelian[98] race. From thy land came the brothers who now govern us and their father. Other races whom Rome has either received into alliance or subdued by arms serve the varying needs of empire: the corn of Egypt, the harvests of Africa go to feed our armies; Gaul recruits our powerful legions;

[97] For Theodosius the elder cf. note on xv. 216.

[98] Referring to Hadrian.


militis; Illyricis sudant equitatibus alae:
sola novum Latiis vectigal Hiberia rebus
contulit Augustos. fruges, aeraria, miles
undique conveniunt totoque ex orbe leguntur: 65
haec generat qui cuncta regant. nec laude virorum
censeri contenta fuit, nisi matribus aeque
vinceret et gemino certatim splendida sexu
Flaccillam Mariamque daret pulchramque Serenam.
Te nascente ferunt per pinguia culta tumentem 70
divitiis undasse Tagum; Callaecia risit
floribus et roseis formosus Duria ripis
vellere purpureo passim mutavit ovile.
Cantaber Oceanus vicino litore gemmas
expuit; effossis nec pallidus Astur oberrat 75
montibus: oblatum sacris natalibus aurum
vulgo vena vomit, Pyrenaeisque sub antris
ignea flumineae legere ceraunia Nymphae;
quaeque relabentes undas aestumque secutae
in refluos venere palam Nereides amnes 80
confessae plausu dominam cecinere futuris
auspicium thalamis. alio tum parvus in axe
crescebat Stilicho votique ignarus agebat,
debita cui longe coniunx, penitusque remoto
orbe parabatur tanti concordia fati. 85
Nec tua mortalis meruit cunabula nutrix.
ubera prima dabant gremio redolente Napaeae
ternaque te nudis innectens Gratia membris
adflavit docuitque loqui. quacumque per herbam
reptares, fluxere rosae, candentia nasci 90


Illyria produces stout horsemen for our cavalry. But Spain alone pays that rarest tribute—the gift of emperors. Corn, money, soldiers come from all the world over and are gathered together from every quarter of the globe; Spain gives us men to govern and direct all this. Nor was she content to be esteemed only for her famous heroes, did she not also excel in heroines, and, emulous to win glory from either sex, bestow upon us Flaccilla,[99] Maria, and the fair Serena.

At thy[100] birth they tell how swelling Tagus o’erflowed the rich fields with gold; Galicia laughed with flowers and on the rose-covered banks of Duria’s fair stream the once white fleeces of the sheep were everywhere turned to purple grain. The Cantabrian main cast up jewels upon the shore, and the pale Asturian delves no more into the bowels of the mountain; on the day hallowed by thy birth earth poured forth gold as dross from her open veins. Beneath the caves of the Pyrenees the river Nymphs gather the fiery thunder-stones. The Nereids, yielding to the flowing tide, followed the flooding waves up the river’s courses; there, in the sight of all, they acknowledged thee their queen by their applause and celebrated thy coming marriage in prophetic strains. And all the time beneath another sky grew the young Stilicho; he lived unwitting of his fortune, of the destined bride that awaited him afar, and in a distant world was the union of such high destinies prepared.

No mortal nurse was worthy to watch over thy cradle. First the Nymphs gave thee suck at their fragrant breasts; the three Graces held thee in their arms and breathing upon thee taught thee to speak. Roses sprang where’er thou didst creep over the

[99] Flaccilla, wife of Theodosius the Great (cf. x. 43).

[100] i.e. Serena’s.


lilia; si placido cessissent lumina somno,
purpura surgebat violae, factura cubile
gramineum, vernatque tori regalis imago,
omina non audet genetrix tam magna fateri
successusque suos arcani conscia voti 95
spe trepidante tegit.
Gestabat Honorius arto
te pater amplexu. quotiens ad limina princeps
Theodosius privatus adhuc fraterna veniret,
oscula libabat teque ad sua tecta ferebat
laetior; in matrem teneris conversa querellis: 100
“quid me de propriis auferre penatibus?” inquis:
“imperat hic semper!” praesagia luserat error
et dedit augurium regnis infantia linguae,
defuncto genitore tuo sublimis adoptat
te patruus magnique animo solacia luctus 105
restituens propius quam si genuisset amavit
defuncti fratis subolem; nec carior olim
mutua Ledaeos devinxit cura Lacones:
addidit et proprio germana vocabula nato
quaque datur fratris speciem sibi reddit adempti. 110
denique cum rerum summas electus habenas
susciperet, non ante suis intendit amorem
pignoribus quam te pariter fidamque sororem
litus ad Eoum terris acciret Hiberis.
Deseritur iam ripa Tagi Zephyrique relictis 115
sedibus Aurorae famulas properatur ad urbes.
incedunt geminae proles fraterna puellae:
inde Serena minor, prior hinc Thermantia natu,
expertes thalami, quarum Cythereia necdum


grass and white lilies blossomed there; didst thou close thine eyes in quiet sleep, there burgeoned the purple violet to adorn thy grassy couch with her imperial colour. Thy mother dared not tell of such great omens and, knowing her own secret vow, hides with eager hope the fulfilment she prays for.

Thy father Honorius held thee in a close embrace. Whenever Theodosius—not emperor then—came to his brother’s house he covered thee with kisses and loved to take thee with him to his own home. Then turning to thy mother with gentle complaint, “Why,” thou saidst, “take me from my own home? This man ever commands.[101]” Prophetic was the sportive word and thine infant lips gave augury of empire. At the death of thy sire thine illustrious uncle adopted thee and to console thee for the bitterness of that loss, bestowed upon thee, his brother’s child, more love than he could have bestowed on any child of his own. Leda’s twin sons were not united with a bond of affection more sure. He gave his own son the name his brother had borne, hoping in some way to discover in that son the image of the brother he had loved and lost. Finally, when the people’s choice had summoned him to take up the reins of empire, Theodosius would not vouchsafe his sons any proof of his affection for them until he had summoned thee and thy faithful sister from Spain to the lands of morning.

So now they leave Tagus’ banks and the home of the west winds and hasten towards the cities that recognize the empery of the east. They come, the maidens twain, his brother’s children, on this side Serena the younger, on that Thermantia[102] the elder born, strange as yet to love; nor has Hymen bent

[101] Claudian plays on the words imperat and imperator.

[102] This Thermantia is not to be confused with her niece Thermantia, daughter of Serena and Stilicho (x. 339).


sub iuga cervices niveas Hymenaeus adegit. 120
utraque luminibus timidum micat, utraque pulchro
excitat ore faces. qualis Latonia virgo
et solo Iove nata soror cum forte revisunt
aequorei sortem patrui (spumantia cedunt
aequora castarum gressus venerata dearum; 125
non ludit Galatea procax, non improbus audet
tangere Cymothoën Triton totoque severos
indicit mores pelago pudor ipsaque Proteus
arcet ab amplexu turpi Neptunia monstra):
tales sceptriferi visurae tecta parentis 130
limen Honoriades penetrant regale sorores.
ambas ille quidem patrio complexus amore,
sed merito pietas in te proclivior ibat;
et quotiens, rerum moles ut publica cogit,
tristior aut ira tumidus flagrante redibat, 135
cum patrem nati fugerent atque ipsa timeret
commotum Flaccilla virum, tu sola frementem
frangere, tu blando poteras sermone mederi.
adloquiis haerere tuis, secreta fateri.[103]
Prisca puellares reverentia transilit annos. 140
non talem Triviae confert laudator Homerus
Alcinoo genitam, quae dum per litora vestes
explicat et famulas exercet laeta choreis,
auratam iaculata pilam post naufraga somni
otia progressum foliis expavit Ulixen. 145
Pierius labor et veterum tibi carmina vatum
ludus erat: quos Smyrna dedit, quos Mantua libros

[103] MSS. have fideli; P marks the passage as corrupt. I adopt Birt’s fateri and, with Heinsius and Buecheler, suppose a line fallen out between 138 and 139.


their snowy necks to the yoke of Venus. Spirited yet modest is the glance of each; of each the beauty fires the hearts of men. Such as are Diana and her sister, motherless child of Jove, when they visit the realm of their uncle, lord of the sea (the foaming waves grow smooth before them in honour of the approach of the chaste goddesses; Galatea ceases her mad frolics, bold Triton dares not clasp Cymothoë in his embrace; o’er the whole ocean the dictates of purity hold sway and Proteus prevents even Neptune’s flocks from indulging in their shameless amours)—even such the daughters of Honorius enter the palace and view the home of their royal parent. Both did the prince embrace with a father’s love but justly did affection turn more readily to thee. Often when, his heart troubled by the anxieties of public business, he returned home depressed or angered, when his own sons fled his presence and even Flaccilla feared to approach her exasperated husband, thou alone wert able to stay his wrath and bring healing with sweet converse. On thy words he would hang, to thee confess his secret thoughts.

Thy modesty, worthy of an earlier age, surpassed even that of modest girlhood. Less chaste than thee was that daughter of Alcinous whom Homer, in his praises of her, compares to Diana; she who spread her clothes on the shore to dry and sported with her attendant maids, throwing a golden ball from hand to hand until she fled in alarm from Ulysses issuing forth from the thicket where he had been enjoying sleep after his shipwreck.

The study of the Muses and the songs of poets of olden time were thy delight. Turning the pages of Homer, bard of Smyrna, or those of Virgil,


percurrens damnas Helenam nec parcis Elissae.
nobiliora tenent animos exempla pudicos:
Laodamia sequens remeantem rursus ad umbras 150
Phylaciden et prona ruens Capaneia coniunx
communes ardente viro mixtura favillas,
et gravis incumbens casto Lucretia ferro,
vulnere quae proprio facinus testata tyranni
armavit patriae iustos in bella dolores 155
exule Tarquinio, memorandaque concidit uno
ulta pudicitiam libertatemque cruore.
talia facta libens non tu virtute minore,
sed fato meliore legis.
Iam nubilis aetas
principe sollicito votis erexerat aulam 160
incertis, quem tanta tori fortuna maneret.
Antiquos loquitur Musarum pagina reges,
quod dura sub lege procos certare iuberent,
empturos thalamum dubii discrimine leti,
et sua crudeles gauderent pignora mortis 165
ambitione peti. curru Pisaea marino
fugit praeda Pelops; nam perfidus obice regis
prodidit Oenomai deceptus Myrtilus axem.
Hippomenes trepidus cursu ferroque secutam
aurato volucrem flexit Schoeneida pomo. 170
Herculeas vidit Fluvio luctante palaestras
moenibus ex altis Calydon pretiumque labori
Deianira fuit, cum pectore victor anhelo
Alcides fremeret retroque Acheloius iret
decolor: attonitae stringebant vulnera Nymphae; 175
saucia truncato pallebant flumina cornu.


poet of Mantua, thou findest fault with Helen nor canst approve of Dido. Thy chaste mind fastens upon examples more noble: Laodamia following Protesilaus as he returned to the shades; Euadne who cast herself on the flaming pyre whereon her husband Capaneus perished, wishing to mingle her ashes with his; grave Lucrece who fell upon a chaste sword, she who self-slain bore witness to the tyrant’s crime, aroused to war her country’s righteous wrath, drove Tarquin into exile and died gloriously, having avenged by her one sacrifice both chastity and freedom. Of such deeds thou dost read with joy, thyself not less in virtue though more blessed of fortune.

Now that thou art of an age for marriage the hopes of the young courtiers run high, but the prince hesitates to select the happy man who is to share thy couch and regal state.

The pages of the poets tell how ancient kings bade suitors contend on the hard terms of purchasing the bride at hazard of their lives, and rejoiced that death should be the wooer of their daughters. Pelops escaped the weapons of Pisa’s king, thanks to the chariot Neptune gave him, for it was Myrtilus who tricked King Oenomaus by withdrawing the lynch-pin from the chariot-wheel. Panting Hippomenes got the better of Atalanta, daughter of Schoeneus, who followed close on his traces, a sword in her hand, by means of the golden apples. The inhabitants of Calydon watched from their high battlements the struggle of Hercules with the river-god when, Deianira being the prize of victory, the panting hero shouted in triumph and Achelous paled and shrank away, shorn of his horn, the wound whereof the astonished river nymphs sought to heal.


te non Hesperidum pomis, non amne subacto,
non socerum fallente rota, sed iudice dignus
Augusto variis Stilicho spectatus in armis
accipit et regni dotes virtute paravit. 180
saepe duces meritis bello tribuere coronas:
hunc cingit muralis honos; hunc civica quercus
nexuit; hunc domitis ambit rostrata carinis.
solus, militiae mira mercede, iugalem
promeruit Stilicho socero referente coronam. 185
Agnovit patrui similem Thermantia curam;
nupsit et illa duci; sed longe fata sororis
inferiora tuis. alio tibi numine taedas
accendit Romana Salus magnisque coronis
coniugium fit causa tuum. dilectus equorum, 190
quos Phrygiae matres Argaeaque gramina pastae
semine Cappadocum sacris praesaepibus edunt,
primus honor, gemino mox inde e germine[104] duxit
agmina commissosque labor sic gessit honores,
ut semper merito princeps cum magna dedisset, 195
deberet maiora tamen. si bellica nubes
ingrueret, quamvis annis et iure minori
cedere grandaevos equitum peditumque magistros
adspiceres totumque palam permittere Martem,
nec gradus aetatisque pudor senioribus obstat, 200
ne iuveni parere velint. ceu flamine molli

[104] germine is the reading adopted by the Aldine ed. The MSS. vary. Birt conjectures ex ordine.


But it is neither to the apples of the Hesperides nor to victory over a river nor to treacherous tampering with a chariot-wheel that Stilicho owes the winning of thy hand; the emperor himself adjudged him worthy thereof, for that his valour had been proved in countless wars; his own courage won him an empress to wife. Generals have often bestowed decorations on those who have deserved them in battle: one man wins the mural crown, another the civic wreath, a third, for having defeated an enemy’s fleet, the naval decoration. Stilicho is the only warrior who, as the reward for signal services in war, has won from a grateful father’s hand the crown of marriage.

Thermantia owes her uncle no lesser debt of gratitude: she too was married to a general. But how far inferior to thine, Serena, was thy sister’s fortune! For thee with fairer promise Rome’s guardian-angel kindles the torches, and glorious are the garlands that thy marriage brings. First to be set in his charge is the care of the horses reared in the royal stables, whose dams were Phrygian mares, or such as have pastured on Argos’ plains, whose sires were Cappadocians. Soon he exercises a double command in the army[105] and fulfils his functions with such energy and success that, howsoever great the honours heaped upon him by the emperor, his deserts are ever in excess of his reward. Whenever the cloud of war threatened thou mightest have seen experienced commanders of horse and foot give way to a leader younger and of less exalted rank and without more ado entrust to him the whole war. Neither rank nor age stays older men through shame from ready obedience to a youth. As when on a calm sea

[105] i.e. magister utriusque militiae in the East.


tranquillisque fretis clavum sibi quisque regendum
vindicat; incumbat si turbidus Auster et unda
pulset utrumque latus, posito certamine nautae
contenti meliore manu seseque pavere 205
confessi (finem studiis fecere procellae):
haud aliter Stilicho, fremuit cum Thracia belli
tempestas, cunctis pariter cedentibus unus
eligitur ductor; suffragia quippe peregit
iudex vera timor; victus ratione salutis
Quis tibi tunc per membra tremor quantaeque cadebant
ubertim lacrimae, cum saeva vocantibus arma
iam lituis madido respectans lumina vultu
optares reducem galeaeque inserta minaci 215
oscula cristati raperes festina mariti!
gaudia quae rursus, cum post victricia tandem
classica sidereas ferratum pectus in ulnas
exciperes, castae tuto per dulcia noctis
otia pugnarum seriem narrare iuberes! 220
non illo nitidos umquam bellante capillos
comere, non solitos gemmarum sumere cultus:
numinibus votisque vacas et supplice crine
verris humum: teritur neglectae gratia formae
cum proprio reditura viro.
Nec deside cura 225
segnis marcet amor: laudem prudentia belli
feminea pro parte subit. dum gentibus ille
confligit, vigili tu prospicis omnia sensu,
ne quid in absentem virtutibus obvia semper
audeat invidiae rabies neu fervor iniquus, 230
ne qua procul positis furto subsederit armis


every sailor maintains his right to manage the rudder, but if the blustering south wind comes upon them and the waves buffet them on either side, then contention ceases and the sailors accepting a more skilful hand admit their fear (for the storm has set a term to their jealousy), even so Stilicho when the storm of war broke out in Thrace was chosen as commander-in-chief over the heads of all. Fear, that surest of judges, won him the votes of all; regard for safety o’ermastered ambition and jealousy was overthrown by dread.

How thou didst tremble and weep when the cruel bugles summoned thy lord to arms! With a countenance wet with tears thou saw’st him leave thy home praying for his safe return after snatching the final hasty kiss from between the bars of his crested helmet’s visor. But again what joy when at length he returned, preceded by the clarion of victory and thou couldst hold his still mailed form in thy loving arms once more! How sweet the long hours of the chaste night wherein thou badest him tell in safety the story of his battles. Whilst he was at the wars thou didst not comb thy shining hair nor wear the jewels that were wont to adorn thee. Thy time is spent in worship and in prayer as thy suppliant tresses sweep the temple floor; uncared for perishes the gracious beauty that shall return with thine own lord.

But love languishes not in idleness and sloth; as far as it could a woman’s watchful care seconds his deeds of glory. While he warred with foreign nations thou keepest guard lest mad envy or burning calumny should dare aught against him while far away, and lest, when war was ended abroad, treachery should lie secretly in wait to injure him


calliditas nocitura domi. tu sedula quondam
Rufino meditante nefas, cum quaereret artes
in ducis exitium coniuratosque foveret
contra pila Getas, motus rimata latentes 235
mandatis tremebunda virum scriptisque monebas.


Epistula ad Serenam.

Orphea cum primae sociarent numina taedae
ruraque compleret Thracia festus Hymen,
certavere ferae picturataeque volucres,
dona suo vati quae potiora darent,
quippe antri memores, cautes ubi saepe sonorae 5
praebuerant dulci mira theatra lyrae.
Caucasio crystalla ferunt de vertice lynces,
grypes Hyperborei pondera fulva soli,
furatae Veneris prato per inane columbae
florea conexis serta tulere rosis, 10
fractaque nobilium ramis electra sororum
cycnus oloriferi vexit ab amne Padi,
et Nilo Pygmaea grues post bella remenso
ore legunt Rubri germina cara maris.
venit et extremo Phoenix longaevus ab Euro 15
adportans unco cinnama rara pede.
nulla avium pecudumque fuit, quae ferre negaret
vectigal meritae conubiale lyrae.
Tunc opibus totoque Heliconis sedula regno
ornabat propriam Calliopea nurum. 20


at home. Thou didst indeed once show thy vigilance what time Rufinus, hatching his plots, sought means to destroy his master by traitorously stirring up the Getae against Rome, for thou didst search out his foul conspiracy and in fear for thy husband’s safety, didst send him warning by letters and messages.


Letter to Serena.

At the first kindling of Orpheus’ marriage-torch when festive Hymen filled the countryside of Thrace the beasts and gay-plumaged birds strove among themselves what best gifts they could bring their poet. Mindful of the cave whose sounding rocks had offered a wondrous theatre for his tuneful lyre, the lynxes brought him crystal from the summits of Caucasus; griffins golden nuggets from regions of the north; doves wreaths of roses and other flowers which they had flown to gather from Venus’ meadow; the swan bore from the stream of its native Padus amber broken from the boughs of the famed sisters[106]; while the cranes, after their war with the pygmies, recrossed the Nile and gathered in their mouths the precious pearls of the Red Sea. There came, too, immortal Phoenix from the distant East, bearing rare spices in his curvèd talons. No bird nor beast was there but brought to that marriage-feast tribute so richly deserved by Orpheus’ lyre.

Busily Calliopea decked her son’s bride with her riches and all the treasures of Helicon, and, moreover,

[106] i.e. of Phaëthon, who were changed into poplars.


ipsam praeterea dominam stellantis Olympi
ad nati thalamos ausa rogare parens.
nec sprevit regina deum vel matris honore
vel iusto vatis ducta favore pii,
qui sibi carminibus totiens lustraverat aras 25
Iunonis blanda numina voce canens
proeliaque altisoni referens Phlegraea mariti,
Titanum fractas Enceladique minas.
ilicet adventu noctem dignata iugalem
addidit augendis munera sacra toris, 30
munera mortales non admittentia cultus,
munera, quae solos fas habuisse deos.
sed quod Threicio Iuno placabilis Orphei,
hoc poteris votis esse, Serena, meis.
illius expectent famulantia sidera nutum; 35
sub pedibus regitur terra fretumque tuis.
non ego, cum peterem, sollemni more procorum
promisi gregibus pascua plena meis
nec, quod mille mihi lateant sub palmite colles
fluctuet et glauca pinguis oliva coma, 40
nec, quod nostra Ceres numerosa falce laboret
aurataeque ferant culmina celsa trabes.
suffecit mandasse deam: tua littera nobis
et pecus et segetes et domus ampla fuit.
inflexit soceros et maiestate petendi 45
texit pauperiem nominis umbra tui.
quid non perficeret scribentis voce Serenae
vel genius regni vel pietatis amor?
Atque utinam sub luce tui contingeret oris
coniugis et castris et solio generi 50


with a mother’s pride dared to invite to her son’s wedding the queen of starry heaven herself. The queen of the gods spurned not her request either out of respect for Calliopea herself or because she was drawn by a just affection for the pious poet who had so often in her honour chanted his songs before her altars, hymning Juno’s godhead with his sweet voice and telling of the battles of her lord the Thunderer waged on the plains of Phlegra, and of the menace of Enceladus and the Titans there broken. Straightway, counting the marriage—night worthy of her presence, she brought heavenly gifts to deck the bridal, gifts such as stoop not to adorn mortals, gifts that the gods alone may possess. But as Juno showed herself gracious to Thracian Orpheus, so wilt thou, Serena, be favourable to my prayers. The stars, her slaves, obey the nod of her head; thee land and sea, subdued beneath thy feet, obey. I did not, as other suitors use, promise at my courtship fields where graze unnumbered flocks nor hills covered with countless vines, nor rich olive-trees waving in the breeze their grey foliage, nor harvests reaped by a thousand scythes, nor a lofty palace with golden pillars. Enough was the mandate of a goddess; thy letter, Serena, stands me in stead of flocks, of harvests, of palace. The shadow of thy name has won over her parents and an imperial prayer concealed my poverty. When Serena writes, what with such words could not the empire’s spirit or duteous love accomplish?[107]

Would heaven had allowed me to solemnize the longed-for day in the light of thy presence, in thy

[107] Claudian means that Serena’s imperial position and his own respect therefor ensure his obedience. Serena had written (littera, l. 43) urging Claudian to marry, and the poet uses the letter to urge his suit (ll. 37-46).


optatum celebrare diem! me iungeret auspex
purpura, me sancto cingeret aula choro.
et mihi quam scriptis desponderat ante puellam,
coniugiis eadem pronuba dextra daret.
nunc medium quoniam votis maioribus aequor 55
invidet et Libycae dissidet ora plagae,
saltem absens, regina, fave reditusque secundos
adnue sidereo laeta supercilio.
terrarum tu pande vias, tu mitibus Euris
aequora pacari prosperiora iube, 60
ut tibi Pierides doctumque fluens Aganippe
debita servato vota cliente canant.


De salvatore.

Christe potens rerum, redeuntis conditor aevi,
vox summi sensusque dei, quem fudit ab alta
mente pater tantique dedit consortia regni,
impia tu nostrae domuisti crimina vitae
passus corporea numen[108] vestire figura 5
adfarique palam populos hominemque fateri;
quemque utero inclusum Mariae mox numine viso
virginei tumuere sinus, innuptaque mater
arcano stupuit compleri viscera partu

[108] numen Koch; mundum Birt (following the MSS.); he suggests mentem.


lord’s camp, before thy son-in-law’s throne. The royal purple would have been a good omen for our union, the august assembly of the court would have graced the ceremony and the hand which, by writing that letter, promised me my bride would have kindled the torch to light her to the altar. Now that the envious sea deprives me of my fondest hopes and stretches between thee and the coasts of Libya, yet, though absent, be gracious unto me, O queen, and of thy goodness grant me a safe return as by a nod of thy head thou, a goddess, canst do. Make straight the paths of earth; bid but gentle breezes blow and a calm sea prosper my voyage, that the Muses and Aganippe’s stream, the fount of song, may hymn thy praises in gratitude for the saving of their servant, the poet.[109]


Of the Saviour.

Christ, lord of the world, founder of a new age of gold, voice and wisdom of the Most High, proceeding from the Father’s lofty mind and given by that Father a share in the governance of this great universe, thou hast overcome the sins of this our mortal life, for thou hast suffered thy Godhead to be clothed in human form and hath allowed mankind to address thee face to face and confess thee man. The swelling womb of the Virgin Mary conceived thee after that she had been visited by the angel, and the unwed mother, destined to give birth to her own creator, was astonished at the unborn

[109] The Muses themselves are to hymn Serena for having by her prayers (l. 60) secured the safe return of their servant, Claudian.


auctorem paritura suum: mortalia corda 10
artificem texere poli, mundique repertor
pars fuit humani generis, latuitque sub uno
pectore, qui totum late complectitur orbem,
et qui non spatiis terrae, non aequoris unda
nec capitur caelo, parvos confluxit in artus. 15
quin et supplicii nomen nexusque subisti,
ut nos subriperes leto mortemque fugares
morte tua, mox aetherias evectus in auras
purgata repetens laetum tellure parentem.
Augustum foveas, festis ut saepe diebus 20
annua sinceri celebret ieiunia sacri.


De crystallo cui aqua inerat.


Possedit glacies naturae signa prioris
et fit parte lapis, frigora parte negat.
sollers lusit hiems, imperfectoque rigore
nobilior vivis gemma tumescit aquis.


Lymphae, quae tegitis cognato carcere lymphas,
et, quae nunc estis quaeque fuistis, aquae,
quod vos ingenium iunxit? qua frigoris arte
torpuit et maduit prodigiosa silex?
quis tepor inclusus securas vindicat undas? 5
interior glacies quo liquefacta Noto?
gemma quibus causis arcano mobilis aestu
vel concreta fuit vel resoluta gelu?


child that grew within her body. A mortal womb hid the artificer of the heavens: the creator of the world became a part of human nature. In one body was conceived the God who embraces the whole wide world, and he whom nor earth nor sea nor sky can contain was enclosed by the limbs of a little child. Thou wert punished and didst suffer too, for our sins, to save us from destruction, and didst by thy death overcome Death. Then didst Thou ascend into Heaven, returning to the Father who rejoiced at the salvation of the world.

Bless Thou our Emperor that at holy seasons he may for many years to come observe the fast-days of the calendar.


On a Crystal enclosing a Drop of Water.

1. This piece of ice still shows traces of its original nature: part of it has become stone, part resisted the cold. It is a freak of winter’s, more precious by reason of its incomplete crystallization, for that the jewel contains within itself living water.

2. Ye waters, who confine waters in a prison akin to them, ye that are liquid still and ye that were so, what wit has united you? By what trick of freezing is the marvellous stone at once hard and wet? What containèd heat has protected those enclosed waters? what warm wind melted that heart of ice? How comes it that the jewel in whose heart the water ebbs and flows was either made solid or liquid by frost?



Solibus indomitum glacies Alpina rigorem
sumebat nimio iam pretiosa gelu
nec potuit toto mentiri corpore gemmam,
sed medio mansit proditor orbe latex.
auctus honor; liquidi crescunt miracula saxi,
et conservatae plus meruistis aquae.


Adspice porrectam splendenti fragmine venam,
qua trahitur limes lucidiore gelu.
hic nullum Borean nec brumam sentit opacus
umor, sed varias itque reditque vias.
non illum constrinxit hiems, non Sirius axis, 5
aetatis spatium non tenuavit edax.


Clauditur inmunis convexo tegmine rivus,
duratisque vagus fons operitur aquis.
nonne vides, propriis ut spumet gemma lacunis
et refluos ducant pocula viva sinus
udaque pingatur radiis obstantibus Iris,
secretas hiemes sollicitante die? 5
mira silex mirusque latex, et flumina vincit
et lapides merito, quod fluit et lapis est.


Dum crystalla puer contingere lubrica gaudet
et gelidum tenero pollice versat onus,
vidit perspicuo deprensas marmore lymphas,
dura quibus solis parcere novit hiems,
et siccum relegens labris sitientibus orbem 5
inrita quaesitis oscula fixit aquis.


3. Alpine ice was becoming so hard that the sun could not melt it, and this excess of cold was like to make it precious as diamond. But it could not imitate that stone in its entirety for at its heart lay a drop of water which betrayed its nature. As crystal its value is enhanced, for this liquid rock is accounted a miracle and the water enclosed within it increases its rarity.

4. See this vein which runs in a bright streak through the translucent ice. This hidden water fears not any blast of Boreas nor winter’s chill but runs this way and that. It is not frozen by December’s cold, nor dried up by July’s sun, nor wasted away by all-consuming time.

5. Safely hidden away in this round covering is a stream, an errant spring, enclosed within frozen waters. Mark you not how the crystal is all awash in its cavernous heart where living waters surge this way and that, and how, when the sun penetrates its frozen depths, the hues of the rainbow are reflected in it? Wonderful stone, wonderful water: stranger than all rivers and all stones because it is a stone and yet fluid.

6. Children love to handle this shining crystal and turn its chilly mass over and over in their little hands; they see imprisoned in the transparent rock the water which alone winter forebore to freeze. Placing the dry sphere against their thirsty lips they press useless kisses on that which guards the waters they desire.



Marmoreum ne sperne globum: spectacula transit
regia nec Rubro vilior iste mari.
informis glacies, saxum rude, nulla figurae
gratia, sed raras inter habetur opes.

XL. (XLI.)

Epistula ad Olybrium.

Quid rear, adfatus quod non mihi dirigis ullos
nec redit alterno pollice ducta salus?
scribendine labor? sed quae tam prona facultas,
carmina seu fundis seu Cicerone tonas?
cedere divitiis animi fortuna fatetur 5
et tantas oris copia vincit opes.
An rarus qui scripta ferat? quin tempore nullo
cessant Flaminiae pulverulenta viae.
cum fluat ingenium, cum sit qui dicta reportet,
quae, nisi contemnor, causa relicta tibi? 10
despicis ergo tuum, si fas est credere, vatem
perfidus, et spatio debilitatur amor.
Excidimusne tibi? lucem iam condet Hydaspes,
et Tartesiaco, Sol, oriere vado,
candescet Geticis Meroë conversa pruinis 15
claraque se vetito proluet Ursa mari,
et, si iam nostros fastidit Olybrius ignes,
constat Oresteam nil valuisse fidem.


7. Do not despise this sphere of rock-crystal. Kings’ palaces contain no rarer jewel, nor are the Red Sea’s pearls of greater value. It may be shapeless ice, unpolished rock, a rough, uncarven mass, yet is it accounted among the most precious of riches.

XL. (XLI.)

Letter to Olybrius.

What am I to think, that you send me no greeting, that no “Good wishes” traced by your fingers come back to me in turn? Is writing so difficult? Nay, who so eloquent as thou whether thou dost compose verses or, a second Cicero, thunder forth thy speeches? Greater even than thy riches is thy genius, greater thine eloquence even than thy wealth. Are the posts infrequent? Nay, couriers’ feet never allow the dust to lie on the Flaminian Way. If, then, thou hast the power to write and messengers in plenty to carry thy letters what reason hast thou for thy silence unless indeed thou wish to slight me? I take it thou hast abandoned thy poet and wilt have none of him (though I can scarce believe it); or distance has made thy heart less fond. Dost thou forget me? Now shall Hydaspes lay the day to rest, and thou, O sun, rise from out the seas of Spain; now shall Egypt change her nature and glisten with Getic frost and the Bear bathe him in forbidden waters. No, if Olybrius now disdains my love then ’tis sure Orestes’ loyalty availed nought. Nay come, banish


Quin age rumpe moras solaturusque sodalem
absens eloquio fertiliore doce, 20
crebraque facundo festinet littera cursu
libris atque animis insinuanda meis.
dignatus tenui Caesar scripsisse Maroni,
nec tibi dedecori Musa futura. vale.


Ad Probinum.

Quem, precor, inter nos habitura silentia finem?
quando dabit caras littera grata vices?
me timidum vel te potius dixisse superbum
convenit? alterius crimen utrumque tenet.
transfluxere dies et, dum scripsisse priorem 5
paenitet, aeternas itur in usque moras.
sed quid agam? coepisse vetat reverentia vestri;
hinc amor hortatur scribere. vincat amor.
“fors iuvat audentes” prisci sententia vatis.
hac duce non dubitem te reticente loqui; 10
audax aut si quid penitus peccasse videbor,
arguar, ingrati non subiturus onus.
Romanos bibimus primum te consule fontes
et Latiae accessit Graia Thalia togae,
incipiensque tuis a fascibus omina cepi 15
fataque debebo posteriora tibi.
ergo lacessitus tandem rescribe roganti
et patria florens sorte, Probine, vale.


delay and to console thy friend speak to him from far away with richer eloquence; hither let many a letter hasten with winged speech, to find its way to my shelves and to my heart. Augustus disdained not to write to poor Vergil and my muse shall never bring thee shame. Farewell.


Letter to Probinus.[110]

How long, pray, shall there be silence between us? When shall a welcome letter win a dear return? Is it right to call me timid or rather thee proud? Surely each shares the other’s fault. The days slip away and while each is ashamed to be the first to write our hesitation leads to an unbroken silence. Yet what am I to do? Respect forbids me to write first; love encourages me to do so. Let love have his way. Fortune favours the brave, as the old poet sang. Under her guidance I could not hesitate to speak, though thou still keep silence. If I shall seem overbold or guilty of some grave fault, thou mayst blame but I shall not bear the burden of ingratitude. ’Twas when thou wert consul that I first drank of the stream of Latin song and that my Muse, deserting Hellas, assumed the Roman toga.[111] From thy consulship my youth drew its omens and to thee I shall owe my future destiny. Be moved by my importunity and after so long a delay answer my letter. Farewell, Probinus; be thy father’s fortune thine.

[110] See note on i. 8 and Introduction, p. xiii.

[111] See Introduction, p. xiii.



De apro et leone.

Torvus aper fulvusque leo coiere superbis
viribus, hic saeta saevior, ille iuba;
hunc Mars, hunc laudat Cybele. dominatur uterque
montibus; Herculeus sudor uterque fuit.


In Curetium.

Fallaces vitreo stellas componere mundo
et vaga Saturni sidera saepe queri
venturumque Iovem paucis promittere nummis
Cureti genitor noverat Uranius.
in prolem dilata ruunt periuria patris 5
et poenam merito filius ore luit.
nam spurcos avidae lambit meretricis hiatus
consumens luxu flagitiisque domum
et, quas fallacis collegit lingua parentis,
has eadem nati lingua refundit opes. 10


In eundem Curetium.

Si tua, Cureti, penitus cognoscere quaeris
sidera, patre tuo certius ipse loquar.
quod furis, adversi dedit inclementia Martis;
quod procul a Musis, debilis Arcas erat;



The Wild Boar and the Lion.

A dark boar and a tawny lion met once in battle, each exulting in his strength: the one shook his cruel bristles, the other his dreadful mane. One was Mars’ favourite, the other Cybele’s: both are kings of the mountains, both engaged the labours of Hercules.


Against Curetius.[112]

Uranius, Curetius’ father, could set deceptive stars in a sphere of glass, gloomily shake his head over the errant course of Saturn, or ensure for a trifle the favourable influence of Jupiter. The father’s chicanery meets with its punishment, so long deferred, in the son whose mouth needs must pay the just penalty. For filthy are his delights and he wastes all his substance in wantoning and debauchery. And so the tongue of the son has squandered all the riches which that of his lying father gathered together.


The Same.

Wouldst thou, Curetius, have sure knowledge of thy horoscope, I can give it thee better than even thy father. Thy madness thou owest to the evil influence of Mars; thine ignorance of poetry to

[112] We know nothing further of Curetius.


quod turpem pateris iam cano podice morbum, 5
femineis signis Luna Venusque fuit;
attrivit Saturnus opes. hoc prorsus in uno
haereo: quae cunnum lambere causa facit?

XLV. (LV.)

De concha.

Transferat huc liquidos fontes Heliconia Nais
et patulo conchae divitis orbe fluat.
namque latex doctae qui laverit ora Serenae,
ultra Pegaseas numen habebit aquas.


De chlamyde et frenis.

Non semper clipei metuendum gentibus orbem
dilecto studiosa parens fabricabat Achilli,
Lemnia nec semper supplex ardentis adibat
antra dei nato galeam factura comantem,
sed placidos etiam cinctus et mitia pacis 5
ornamenta dabat, bello quibus ille peracto
conspicuus reges inter fulgeret Achivos.
ipsa manu chlamydes ostro texebat et auro,
frenaque, quae volucrem Xanthum Baliumque decerent,
aequore quaesitis onerabat sedula gemmis. 10
At tibi diversis, princeps altissime, certant
obsequiis soceri. Stilicho Mavortia confert
munera, barbaricas strages Rhenique triumphos.
reginae contenta modum servare Serena
in tua sollicitas urget velamina telas. 15


enfeebling Mercury; thy shameful disease and premature decay to lady Moon and lady Venus; Saturn has robbed thee of thy property. But this one fact is beyond me:—what causes thy filthy ways?

XLV. (LV.)

The Shell.

Nymph, come from Helicon and pour herein thy limpid waters; fill all the vast extent of this wondrous shell. Surely the water that has bathed the face of the poetess Serena will have more virtue than all the streams of Castalia.


On a Cloak and a Bridle.

His loving mother did not always fashion for her dear son Achilles those round shields that did affright the world; she did not constantly approach the fiery caverns of the god of Lemnos, begging a plumèd helmet for her son. She gave him, besides these, garments of peace and unwarlike adornments wherewith, after the toils of war, he might shine conspicuous among the chiefs of the Achaeans. With her own hand she wove him cloaks of purple and gold and with patient care studded with ocean gems bridles to adorn his fleet steeds, Xanthus and Balius.

On thee, most puissant emperor, thy wife’s parents bestow diverse presents. Stilicho gives thee warlike gifts—slaughter of barbarians and victories on the Rhine; Serena, content to do such work as befits a queen, plies her busy loom to weave thee raiment.



De equo dono dato.

O felix sonipes, tanti cui frena mereri
numinis et sacris licuit servire lupatis,
seu tua per campos vento iuba lusit Hiberos,
seu te Cappadocum gelida sub valle natantem
Argaeae lavere nives, seu laeta solebas 5
Thessaliae rapido perstringere pascua cursu:
accipe regales cultus et crine superbus
erecto virides spumis perfunde smaragdos.
luxurient tumido gemmata monilia collo,
nobilis auratos iam purpura vestiat armos, 10
et medium te zona liget variata colorum
floribus et castae manibus sudata Serenae,
Persarum gentile decus. sic quippe laborat
maternis studiis nec dedignatur equestres
moliri phaleras genero latura decorem. 15


De zona equi regii missa Honorio Augusta a Serena.

Accipe parva tuae, princeps venerande, sororis
munera, quae manibus texuit ipsa suis,
dumque auro phalerae, gemmis dum frena renident,
hac uterum zona cinge frementis equi,
sive illum Armeniis aluerunt gramina campis 5
turbidus Argaea seu nive lavit Halys,
sanguineo virides morsu vexare smaragdos
et Tyrio dignum terga rubere toro.



On a Gift to a Horse.

Happy steed, whose good fortune it is to obey the directing hand of a god and to be guided by a sacred bit. Whether on the plains of Spain the wind tossed thy mane in sport, or thou didst bathe in the melted snows of Mount Argaeus, in some fertile valley of Cappadocia, or thou didst scour the rich pasture-lands of Thessaly in wind-swift course, receive this royal harness and, tossing thy proud mane, fleck with foam the bridle studded with emeralds. Arch thy haughty neck beneath its collar of pearls; let cloth of purple and gold clothe thy shoulders and a belt of many colours worked by Serena’s chaste hands pass beneath thy belly. ’Tis an ornament worthy the kings of Persia. Such is her motherly love that to enhance her son-in-law’s glory she disdains not to embroider the very harness of his horses.


On a Strap embroidered by Serena for Honorius’ Horse.

Receive at a sister’s hand a small gift, revered prince, a gift embroidered by her own hand; the bridle of thy champing steed is of gold, his head-harness studded with jewels; use now this strap to pass beneath his belly. Whether his home was the grassy plain of Armenia, or by the Halys, swollen with the melted snows of Mount Argaeus wherein he was wont to bathe, he well deserves an emerald-encrusted bit to champ in his blood-flecked mouth and cloth of Tyrian purple to adorn his back. How


o quantum formae sibi conscius erigit armos
spargit et excussis colla superba iubis! 10
augescit brevitas doni pietate Serenae,
quae volucres etiam fratribus ornat equos.


De torpedine.

Quis non indomitam dirae torpedinis artem
audiit et merito signatas nomine vires?
Illa quidem mollis segnique obnixa natatu
reptat et attritis vix languida serpit harenis.
sed latus armavit gelido natura veneno, 5
et frigus, quo cuncta rigent animata[113], medullis
miscuit et proprias hiemes per viscera duxit.
naturam iuvat ipsa dolis et conscia sortis
utitur ingenio longeque extenta per algas
attactu confisa subit. inmobilis haeret: 10
qui tetigere iacent. successu laeta resurgit
et vivos impune ferox depascitur artus.
Si quando vestita cibis incautior aera
hauserit et curvis frenari senserit hamis,
non fugit aut vano conatur vellere morsu, 15
sed proprius nigrae iungit se callida saetae
et meminit captiva sui longeque per undas
pigra venenatis effundit flamina venis.
per saetam vis alta meat fluctusque relinquit
absentem victura virum: metuendus ab imis 20

[113] MSS. armata which Birt prints, suggesting afflata in a note; animata is Scaliger’s emendation.


conscious he is of his own beauty as he steps high and shakes his flowing mane over his proud neck! The slight nature of the present is dignified by the affection of Serena who for her brothers decks even their swift steeds.


The Electric Ray.

Who has not heard of the invincible skill of the dread torpedo and of the powers that win it its name?

Its body is soft and its motion slow. Scarcely does it mark the sand o’er which it crawls so sluggishly. But nature has armed its flanks with a numbing poison and mingled with its marrow chill to freeze all living creatures, hiding as it were its own winter in its heart. The fish seconds nature’s efforts with its own guilefulness; knowing its own capabilities, it employs cunning, and trusting to its power of touch lies stretched full length among the seaweed and so attacks its prey. It stays motionless; all that have touched it lie benumbed. Then, when success has crowned its efforts, it springs up and greedily devours without fear the living limbs of its victim.

Should it carelessly swallow a piece of bait that hides a hook of bronze and feel the pull of the jagged barbs, it does not swim away nor seek to free itself by vainly biting at the line; but artfully approaches the dark line and, though a prisoner, forgets not its skill, emitting from its poisonous veins an effluence which spreads far and wide through the water. The poison’s bane leaves the sea and creeps up the line; it will soon prove too much for the distant fisherman.


emicat horror aquis et pendula fila secutus
transit harundineos arcano frigore nodos
victricemque ligat concreto sanguine dextram.
damnosum piscator onus praedamque rebellem
iactat et amissa redit exarmatus avena. 25


In Iacobum magistrum equitum.

Per cineres Pauli, per cani limina Petri,
ne laceres versus, dux Iacobe, meos.
sic tua pro clipeo defendat pectora Thomas
et comes ad bellum Bartholomaeus eat;
sic ope sanctorum non barbarus inruat Alpes, 5
sic tibi det vires sancta Susanna suas;
sic quicumque ferox gelidum transnaverit Histrum,
mergatur volucres ceu Pharaonis equi;
sic Geticas ultrix feriat romphaea catervas
Romanasque regat prospera Thecla manus; 10
sic tibi det magnum moriens conviva triumphum
atque tuam vincant dolia fusa sitim;
sic numquam hostili maculetur sanguine dextra:
ne laceres versus, dux Iacobe, meos.


In sphaeram Archimedis.

Iuppiter in parvo cum cerneret aethera vitro,
risit et ad superos talia dicta dedit:


The dread paralysing force rises above the water’s level and climbing up the drooping line, passes down the jointed rod, and congeals, e’er he is even aware of it, the blood of the fisherman’s victorious hand. He casts away his dangerous burden and lets go his rebel prey, returning home disarmed without his rod.


Against James Commander of the Cavalry.[114]

By the ashes of S. Paul and the shrine of revered S. Peter, do not pull my verses to pieces, General James. So may S. Thomas prove a buckler to protect thy breast and S. Bartholomew bear thee company to the wars; so may the blessed saints prevent the barbarians from crossing the Alps and Suzanna[115] endow thee with her strength; so, should any savage foe seek to swim across the Danube, let him be drowned therein like the swift chariots of Pharaoh; so may an avenging javelin strike the Getic hordes and the favour of Thecla[116] guide the armies of Rome; so may thy guests dying in their efforts to out-drink thee assure thy board its triumph of hospitality and the broached casks o’ercome thy thirst; so may thy hand ne’er be red with an enemy’s blood—do not, I say, pull my verses to pieces.


Archimedes’ Sphere.

When Jove looked down and saw the heavens figured in a sphere of glass he laughed and said to

[114] Nothing is known of this man. Birt dates the poem 401.

[115] Suzanna was martyred under Diocletian.

[116] There were several virgins, saints, and martyrs of this name. Claudian probably means the proto-martyr of Iconium, the friend and companion of S. Paul.


“hucine mortalis progressa potentia curae?
iam meus in fragili luditur orbe labor?
iura poli rerumque fidem legesque deorum 5
ecce Syracusius transtulit arte senex.
inclusus variis famulatur spiritus astris
et vivum certis motibus urget opus.
percurrit proprium mentitus Signifer annum,
et simulata novo Cynthia mense redit, 10
iamque suum volvens audax industria mundum
gaudet et humana sidera mente regit.
quid falso insontem tonitru Salmonea miror?
aemula naturae parva reperta manus.”



Terra parens quondam caelestibus invida regnis
Titanumque simul crebros miserata dolores
omnia monstrifero complebat Tartara fetu
invisum genitura nefas Phlegramque retexit
tanta prole tumens et in aethera protulit hostes. 5
fit sonus: erumpunt crebri necdumque creati
iam dextras in bella parant superosque lacessunt
stridula volventes gemino vestigia lapsu.
pallescunt subito stellae flectitque rubentes
Phoebus equos docuitque timor revocare meatus. 10
Oceanum petit Arctos inocciduique Triones
occasum didicere pati. tum fervida natos
talibus hortatur genetrix in proelia dictis:
“O pubes domitura deos, quodcumque videtis,


the other gods: “Has the power of mortal effort gone so far? Is my handiwork now mimicked in a fragile globe? An old man of Syracuse has imitated on earth the laws of the heavens, the order of nature, and the ordinances of the gods. Some hidden influence within the sphere directs the various courses of the stars and actuates the lifelike mass with definite motions. A false zodiac runs through a year of its own, and a toy moon waxes and wanes month by month. Now bold invention rejoices to make its own heaven revolve and sets the stars in motion by human wit. Why should I take umbrage at harmless Salmoneus and his mock thunder? Here the feeble hand of man has proved Nature’s rival.”


The Battle of the Giants.

Once upon a time mother Earth, jealous of the heavenly kingdoms and in pity for the ceaseless woes of the Titans, filled all Tartarus with a monster brood, thus giving birth to that which proved a very bane. Her womb swollen with this monstrous birth she opened Phlegra’s side and brought forth foes against heaven. With a noise as of thunder they burst forth in profusion and, scarce born, prepare their hands for war, as with twofold trail[117] they writhe their hissing course. Suddenly the stars grow pale, Phoebus turns his rosy steeds and, impelled by fear, retraces his steps. The Bear takes refuge in the Ocean, and the unsetting Triones learned to endure setting. Then their angry mother stirred up her sons to war with words such as these: “Children, ye shall conquer

[117] They were twiform; cf. l. 81.


pugnando dabitur; praestat victoria mundum. 15
sentiet ille meas tandem Saturnius iras,
cognoscet, quid Terra potest, si viribus ullis
vincor, si Cybele nobis meliora creavit!
cur nullus Telluris honos? cur semper acerbis
me damnis urgere solet? quae forma nocendi 20
defuit? hinc volucrem vivo sub pectore pascit
infelix Scythica fixus convalle Prometheus;
hinc Atlantis apex flammantia pondera fulcit
et per canitiem glacies asperrima durat.
quid dicam Tityon, cuius sub vulture saevo 25
viscera nascuntur gravibus certantia poenis?
sed vos, o tandem veniens exercitus ultor,
solvite Titanas vinclis, defendite matrem.
sunt freta, sunt montes: nostris ne parcite membris;
in Iovis exitium telum non esse recuso. 30
ite, precor, miscete polum, rescindite turres
sidereas. rapiat fulmen sceptrumque Typhoeus;
Enceladi iussis mare serviat; alter habenas
Aurorae pro Sole regat: te Delphica laurus
stringet, Porphyrion, Cirrhaeaque templa tenebis.” 35
His ubi consiliis animos elusit inanes,
iam credunt vicisse deos mediisque revinctum
Neptunum traxisse fretis; hic sternere Martem
cogitat, hic Phoebi laceros divellere crines;
hic sibi promittit Venerem speratque Dianae 40
coniugium castamque cupit violare Minervam.


heaven: all that ye see is the prize of victory; win, and the universe is yours. At last shall Saturn’s son feel the weight of my wrath; shall recognize Earth’s power. What! can any force conquer me? Has Cybele born sons superior to mine? Why has Earth no honour? Why is she ever condemned to bitter loss? Has any form of injury passed me by? There hangs luckless Prometheus in yon Scythian vale, feeding the vulture on his living breast; yonder, Atlas supports the weight of the starry heavens upon his head, and his grey hair is frozen stiff with cruel cold. What need to tell of Tityus whose liver is ever renewed beneath the savage vulture’s beak, to contend with his heavy punishment? Up, army of avengers, the hour is come at last, free the Titans from their chains; defend your mother. Here are seas and mountains, limbs of my body, but care not for that. Use them as weapons. Never would I hesitate to be a weapon for the destruction of Jove. Go forth and conquer; throw heaven into confusion, tear down the towers of the sky. Let Typhoeus seize the thunderbolt and the sceptre; Enceladus, rule the sea, and another in place of the sun guide the reins of dawn’s coursers. Porphyrion, wreathe thou thy head with Delphi’s laurel and take Cirrha for thy sanctuary.”

This exhortation filled their minds with vain hopes. They think themselves already victors o’er the gods, imagine they have thrown Neptune into chains and dragged him a prisoner from Ocean’s bed. One thinks to lay Mars low, one to tear Phoebus’ locks from his head; one assigns Venus to himself, another anticipates in thought his marriage with Diana, and another is all aflame to do violence to chaste Minerva.


Interea superos praenuntia convocat Iris.
qui fluvios, qui stagna colunt, cinguntur et ipsi
auxilio Manes; nec te, Proserpina, longe
umbrosae tenuere fores; rex ipse silentum 45
Lethaeo vehitur curru lucemque timentes
insolitam mirantur equi trepidoque volatu
spissas caeruleis tenebras e naribus efflant.
ac velut hostilis cum machina terruit urbem,
undique concurrunt arcem defendere cives: 50
haud secus omnigenis coeuntia numina turmis
ad patris venere domos. tum Iuppiter infit:
“O numquam peritura cohors, o debita semper
caelo progenies, nullis obnoxia fatis:
cernitis ut Tellus nostrum coniuret in orbem 55
prole nova dederitque alios interrita partus?
ergo, quot dederit natos, tot funera matri
reddamus: longo maneat per saecula luctu
tanto pro numero paribus damnata sepulcris.”
Iam tuba nimborum sonuit, iam signa ruendi 60
his Aether, his Terra dedit confusaque rursus
pro domino Natura timet. discrimina rerum
miscet turba potens: nunc insula deserit aequor,
nunc scopuli latuere mari. quot litora restant
nuda! quot antiquas mutarunt flumina ripas! 65
hic rotat Haemonium praeduris viribus Oeten;
hic iuga conixus manibus Pangaea coruscat;
hunc armat glacialis Athos; hoc Ossa movente
tollitur; his Rhodopen Hebri cum fonte revellit


Meanwhile Iris, messenger of the gods, summons the immortal council. There come the deities of river and lake; the very ghosts were there in heaven’s defence. Hell’s shady portals could not hold Proserpine afar; the king of the silent himself advances in his Lethaean chariot. His horses fear the light which hitherto their astonished eyes have never looked upon and, swerving this way and that, they breathe forth thick vapour from their soot-black nostrils. As, when an enemy’s siege-engine affrights a town, the citizens run together from all sides to defend their citadel, so gods of all shapes and forms came together to protect their father’s home. Them Jove thus addressed: “Deathless army, whose dwelling-place is, and must ever be, the sky, ye whom no adverse fortune can ever harm, mark ye how Earth with her new children conspires against our kingdom and undismayed has given birth to another brood? Wherefore, for all the sons she bore, let us give back to their mother as many dead; let her mourning last through the ages as she weeps by as many graves as she now has children.”

The clouds echo the blast of heaven’s trumpets; on this side Heaven, on that Earth, sounds the attack. Once more Nature is thrown into confusion and fears for her lord. The puissant company of the giants confounds all differences between things; islands abandon the deep; mountains lie hidden in the sea. Many a river is left dry or has altered its ancient course. One giant brandishes Thessalian Oeta in his mighty hand, another gathers all his strength and hurls Pangaeus at the foe, Athos with his snows arms another; this one roots up Ossa, that tears out Rhodope and Hebrus’ source, dividing the


et socias truncavit aquas summaque levatus 70
rupe Giganteos umeros inrorat Enipeus:
subsedit patulis Tellus sine culmine campis
in natos divisa suos.
Horrendus ubique
it fragor et pugnae spatium discriminat aër.
primus terrificum Mavors non segnis in agmen 75
Odrysios impellit equos, quibus ille Gelonos
sive Getas turbare solet: splendentior igni
aureus ardescit clipeus, galeamque nitentes
adrexere iubae. tum concitus ense Pelorum
transigit adverso, femorum qua fine volutus 80
duplex semifero conectitur ilibus anguis,
atque uno ternas animas interficit ictu.
tum super insultans avidus languentia curru
membra terit multumque rotae sparsere cruorem.
Occurrit pro fratre Mimas Lemnumque calentem 85
cum lare Vulcani spumantibus eruit undis
et prope torsisset, si non Mavortia cuspis
ante revelato cerebrum fudisset ab ore.
ille, viro toto moriens, serpentibus imis
vivit adhuc stridore ferox et parte rebelli 90
victorem post fata petit.
Tritonia virgo
prosilit ostendens rutila cum Gorgone pectus;
adspectu contenta suo non utitur hasta
(nam satis est vidisse semel) primumque furentem
longius in faciem saxi Pallanta reformat. 95
ille procul subitis fixus sine vulnere nodis
ut se letifero sensit durescere visu
(et steterat iam paene lapis) “quo vertimur?” inquit,


waters that before were one; Enipeus, gathered up with its beetling crags, scatters its waters over yon giant’s shoulders: robbed of her mountains Earth sank into level plains, parted among her own sons.

On all sides a horrid din resounds and only the air divides the rival armies. First impetuous Mars urges against the horrid band his Thracian steeds that oft have driven in rout Getae or Geloni. Brighter than flame shines his golden shield, high towers the crest of his gleaming helmet. Dashing into the fray he first encounters Pelorus and transfixes him with his sword, where about the groin the two-bodied serpent unites with his own giant form, and thus with one blow puts an end to three lives. Exulting in his victory he drives his chariot over the dying giant’s limbs till the wheels ran red with blood.

Mimas ran forward to avenge his brother. He had torn Lemnos and with it Vulcan’s fiery house from out the foaming main, and was on the point of hurling it when Mars’ javelin prevented him, scattering the brain from his shattered skull. What was giant in him died, but the serpent legs still lived, and, hissing vengeance, sought to attack the victor after Mimas’ death.

Minerva rushed forward presenting her breast whereon glittered the Gorgon’s head. The sight of this, she knew, was enough: she needed not to use a spear. One look sufficed. Pallas drew no nearer, rage as he might, for he was the first to be changed into a rock. When, at a distance from his foe, without a wound, he found himself rooted to the ground, and felt the murderous visage turn him, little by little, to stone (and all but stone he was) he called out, “What is happening to me? What


“quae serpit per membra silex? qui torpor inertem
marmorea me peste ligat?” vix pauca locutus, 100
quod timuit, iam totus erat; saevusque Damastor,
ad depellendos iaculum cum quaereret hostes,
germani rigidum misit pro rupe cadaver.
Hic vero interitum fratris miratus Echion
inscius, auctorem dum vult temptare nocendo, 105
te, Dea, respexit, solam quam cernere nulli
bis licuit. meruit sublata audacia poenas
et didicit cum morte deam. sed turbidus ira
Palleneus, oculis aversa tuentibus atrox,
ingreditur caecasque manus in Pallada tendit. 110
hunc mucrone ferit dea comminus; ac simul angues
Gorgoneo riguere gelu corpusque per unum
pars moritur ferro, partes periere videndo.
Ecce autem medium spiris delapsus in aequor
Porphyrion trepidam conatur rumpere Delon, 115
scilicet ad superos ut torqueat improbus axes.
horruit Aegaeus; stagnantibus exilit antris
longaevo cum patre Thetis desertaque mansit
regia Neptuni famulis veneranda profundis.
exclamant placidae Cynthi de vertice Nymphae, 120
Nymphae, quae rudibus Phoebum docuere sagittis
errantes agitare feras primumque gementi
Latonae struxere torum, cum lumina caeli
parturiens geminis ornaret fetibus orbem.
implorat Paeana suum conterrita Delos 125
auxiliumque rogat: “si te gratissima fudit


is this ice that creeps o’er all my limbs? What is this numbness that holds me prisoner in these marble fetters?” Scarce had he uttered these few words when he was what he feared, and savage Damastor, seeking a weapon wherewith to repel the foe, hurled at them in place of a rock his brother’s stony corpse.

Then Echion, marvelling, all ignorant, at his brother’s death, even as he seeks to assail the author of the deed, turned his gaze upon thee, goddess, whom alone no man may see twice. Beaten audacity well deserved its punishment and in death he learned to know the goddess. But Palleneus, mad with anger, turning his eyes aside, rushed at Minerva, striking at her with undirected sword. Nigh at hand the goddess smote him with her sword, and at the same time the snakes froze at the Gorgon’s glance, so that of one body a part was killed by a weapon and a part by a mere look.

Impious Porphyrion, carried by his serpents into the middle of the sea, tries to uproot trembling Delos, wishing to hurl it at the sky. The Aegean was affrighted; Thetis and her agèd sire fled from their watery caverns; the palace of Neptune, regarded with awe by all the denizens of the deep, lay deserted. The summit of Cynthus rang with the cries of the gentle nymphs who had taught Phoebus’ unpractised hand to shoot at the wandering beasts with his bow, they who first had prepared the bed for weeping Latona when, in labour with the lights of heaven, she blessed the world with twin offspring. Delos in terror called her lord Phoebus to help her and begged him for aid. “In remembrance of the


in nostros Latona sinus, succurre precanti.
en iterum convulsa feror.”


time when Latona entrusted thine infant life to my care, help me who thus call upon thee. Behold, once more they seek to uproot me.…”[118]

[118] Like the De raptu Proserpinae, the Gigantomachia was probably never completed. S. Jerome in his commentary on Isaiah (viii. 27) quotes from a Gigantomachia, not giving the name of its author. It is possible that the lines, which do not occur in Claudian’s poem as we possess it, belong to a final portion which has been lost. But it is more likely that they come from some other poet’s work and that the abrupt end of Claudian’s poem is due not to loss but to the poet’s sudden death.





Inventa secuit primus qui nave profundum
et rudibus remis sollicitavit aquas,
qui dubiis ausus committere flatibus alnum
quas natura negat praebuit arte vias:
tranquillis primum trepidus se credidit undis 5
litora securo tramite summa legens;
mox longos temptare sinus et linquere terras
et leni coepit pandere vela Noto.
ast ubi paulatim praeceps audacia crevit
cordaque languentem dedidicere metum, 10
iam vagus inrumpit pelagus caelumque secutus
Aegaeas hiemes Ioniumque domat.



Inferni raptoris equos adflataque curru
sidera Taenario caligantesque profundae
Iunonis thalamos audaci promere cantu





He who first made a ship and clave therewith the deep, troubling the waters with roughly hewn oars, who first dared trust his alder-bark to the uncertain winds and who by his skill devised a way forbidden of nature, fearfully at the first essayed smooth seas, hugging the shore in an unadventurous course. But soon he began to attempt the crossing of broad bays, to leave the land and spread his canvas to the gentle south wind; and, as little by little his growing courage led him on, and as his heart forgot numbing fear, sailing now at large, he burst upon the open sea and, with the signs of heaven to guide him, passed triumphant through the storms of the Aegean and the Ionian main.



My full heart bids me boldly sing the horses of the ravisher from the underworld and the stars darkened by the shadow of his infernal chariot


mens congesta iubet. gressus removete profani.
iam furor humanos nostro de pectore sensus 5
expulit et totum spirant praecordia Phoebum;
iam mihi cernuntur trepidis delubra moveri
sedibus et claram dispergere limina lucem
adventum testata dei; iam magnus ab imis
auditur fremitus terris templumque remugit 10
Cecropium sanctasque faces extollit Eleusis.
angues Triptolemi strident et squamea curvis
colla levant attrita iugis lapsuque sereno
erecti roseas tendunt ad carmina cristas.
ecce procul ternis Hecate variata figuris 15
exoritur, levisque simul procedit Iacchus
crinali florens hedera, quem Parthica velat
tigris et auratos in nodum colligit ungues:
ebria Maeonius firmat vestigia thyrsus.
Di, quibus innumerum vacui famulatur Averni 20
vulgus iners, opibus quorum donatur avaris
quidquid in orbe perit, quos Styx liventibus ambit
interfusa vadis et quos fumantia torquens
aequora gurgitibus Phlegethon perlustrat anhelis—
vos mihi sacrarum penetralia pandite rerum 25
et vestri secreta poli: qua lampade Ditem
flexit Amor; quo ducta ferox Proserpina raptu
possedit dotale Chaos quantasque per oras
sollicito genetrix erraverit anxia cursu;
unde datae populis fruges et glande relicta 30
cesserit inventis Dodonia quercus aristis.
Dux Erebi quondam tumidas exarsit in iras


and the gloomy chambers of the queen of Hell. Come not nigh, ye uninitiate. Now has divine madness driven all mortal thoughts from my breast, and my heart is filled with Phoebus’ inspiration; now see I the shrine reel and its foundations totter while the threshold glows with radiant light telling that the god is at hand. And now I hear a loud din from the depths of the earth, the temple of Cecrops re-echoes and Eleusis waves its holy torches. The hissing snakes of Triptolemus raise their scaly necks chafed by the curving collar, and, uptowering as they glide smoothly along, stretch forth their rosy crests towards the chant. See from afar rises Hecate with her three various heads and with her comes forth Iacchus smooth of skin, his temples crowned with ivy. There clothes him the pelt of a Parthian tiger, its gilded claws knotted together, and the Lydian thyrsus guides his drunken footsteps.

Ye gods, whom the numberless host of the dead serves in ghostly Avernus, into whose greedy treasury is paid all that perishes upon earth, ye whose fields the pale streams of intertwining Styx surround, while Phlegethon, his rapids tossed in spray, flows through them with steaming eddies—do you unfold for me the mysteries of your sacred story and the secrets of your world. Say with what torch the god of love overcame Dis, and tell how Proserpine was stolen away in her maiden pride to win Chaos as a dower; and how through many lands Ceres, sore troubled, pursued her anxious search; whence corn was given to man whereby he laid aside his acorn food, and the new-found ear made useless Dodona’s oaks.

Once on a time the lord of Erebus blazed forth


proelia moturus superis, quod solus egeret
conubiis sterilesque diu consumeret annos
impatiens nescire torum nullasque mariti 35
inlecebras nec dulce patris cognoscere nomen.
iam quaecumque latent ferali monstra barathro
in turmas aciemque ruunt contraque Tonantem
coniurant Furiae, crinitaque sontibus hydris
Tesiphone quatiens infausto lumine pinum 40
armatos ad castra vocat pallentia Manes,
paene reluctatis iterum pugnantia rebus
rupissent elementa fidem penitusque revulso
carcere laxatis pubes Titania vinclis
vidisset caeleste iubar rursusque cruentus 45
Aegaeon positis aucto de corpore nodis
obvia centeno vexasset fulmina motu.
Sed Parcae vetuere minas orbique timentes
ante pedes soliumque ducis fudere severam
canitiem genibusque suas cum supplice fletu 50
admovere manus, quarum sub iure tenentur
omnia, quae seriem fatorum pollice ducunt
longaque ferratis evolvunt saecula fusis.
prima fero Lachesis clamabat talia regi
incultas dispersa comas:
“O maxime noctis 55
arbiter umbrarumque potens, cui nostra laborant
stamina, qui finem cunctis et semina praebes
nascendique vices alterna morte rependis,
qui vitam letumque regis (nam quidquid ubique
gignit materies, hoc te donante creatur 60
debeturque tibi certisque ambagibus aevi


in swelling anger, threatening war upon the gods, because he alone was unwed and had long wasted the years in childless state, brooking no longer to lack the joys of wedlock and a husband’s happiness nor ever to know the dear name of father. Now all the monsters that lurk in Hell’s abyss rush together in warlike bands, and the Furies bind themselves with an oath against the Thunderer. Tisiphone, the bloody snakes clustering on her head, shakes the lurid pine-torch and summons to the ghostly camp the armèd shades. Almost had the elements, once more at war with reluctant nature, broken their bond; the Titan brood, their deep prison-house thrown open and their fetters cast off, had again seen heaven’s light; and once more bloody Aegaeon, bursting the knotted ropes that bound his huge form, had warred against the thunderbolts of Jove with hundred-handed blows.

But the dread Fates brought these threats to naught, and, fearing for the world, gravely laid their hoary locks before the feet and throne of the lord of Hell, and with suppliant tears touched his knees with their hands—those hands beneath whose rule are all things set, whose thumbs twist the thread of fate and spin the long ages with their iron spindles. First Lachesis, her hair unkempt and disordered, thus called out upon the cruel king: “Great lord of night, ruler over the shades, thou at whose command our threads are spun, who appointest the end and origin of all things and ordainest the alternation of birth and destruction; arbiter thou of life and death—for whatsoever thing comes anywhere into being it is by thy gift that it is created and owes its life to thee, and after a fixed


rursus corporeos animae mittuntur in artus):
ne pete firmatas pacis dissolvere leges,
quas dedimus nevitque colus, neu foedera fratrum
civili converte tuba. cur impia tollis 65
signa? quid incestis aperis Titanibus auras?
posce Iovem; dabitur coniunx.”
Vix illa[119]: pepercit
erubuitque preces, animusque relanguit atrox
quamvis indocilis flecti: ceu turbine rauco
cum gravis armatur Boreas glacieque nivali 70
hispidus et Getica concretus grandine pennas
disrumpit pelagus, silvas camposque sonoro
flamine rapturus; si forte adversus aënos
Aeolus obiecit postes, vanescit inanis
impetus et fractae redeunt in claustra procellae. 75
Tunc Maia genitum, qui fervida dicta reportet,
imperat acciri. Cyllenius adstitit ales
somniferam quatiens virgam tectusque galero.
ipse rudi fultus solio nigraque verendus
maiestate sedet: squalent inmania foedo 80
sceptra situ; sublime caput maestissima nubes
asperat et dirae riget inclementia formae;
terrorem dolor augebat. tunc talia celso
ore tonat (tremefacta silent dicente tyranno
atria: latratum triplicem compescuit ingens 85
ianitor et presso lacrimarum fonte resedit
Cocytos tacitisque Acheron obmutuit undis
et Phlegethonteae requierunt murmura ripae):

[119] illa ς; Birt reads ille with the better MSS.


cycle of years them sendest souls once more into mortal bodies—seek not to break the stablished treaty of peace which our distaffs have spun and given thee, and overturn not in civil war the compact fixed ’twixt thee and thy two brothers. Why raisest thou unrighteous standards of war? Why freest the foul band of Titans to the open air? Ask of Jove; he will give thee a wife.”

Scarce had she spoken when Pluto stopped, shamed by her prayer, and his grim spirit grew mild though little wont to be curbed: even so great Boreas, armed with strident blasts and tempestuous with congealed snow, his wings all frozen with Getic hail as he seeks battle, threatens to overwhelm the sea, the woods, and the fields with sounding storm; but should Aeolus chance to bar against him the brazen doors idly his fury dies away and his storms retire baulked to their prison-house.

Then he bids summon Mercury, the son of Maia, that he may carry these flaming words to Jove. Straightway the wingèd god of Cyllene stands at his side shaking his sleepy wand, his herald cap upon his head. Pluto himself sits propped on his rugged throne, awful in funereal majesty; foul with age-long dust is his mighty sceptre; boding clouds make grim his lofty head; unpitying is the stiffness of his dread shape; rage heightened the terror of his aspect. Then with uplifted head he thunders forth these words, while, as the tyrant speaks, his halls tremble and are still; the massy hound, guardian of the gate, restrains the barking of his triple head, and Cocytus sinks back repressing his fount of tears; Acheron is dumb with silent wave, and the banks of Phlegethon cease their murmuring.


“Atlantis Tegeaee nepos, commune profundis
et superis numen, qui fas per limen utrumque 90
solus habes geminoque facis commercia mundo,
i celer et proscinde Notos et iussa superbo
redde Iovi: ‘tantumne tibi, saevissime frater,
in me iuris erit? sic nobis noxia vires
cum caelo Fortuna tulit? num robur et arma 95
perdidimus, si rapta dies? an forte iacentes
ignavosque putas, quod non Cyclopia tela
stringimus aut vanas tonitru deludimus auras?
nonne satis visum, grati quod luminis expers
tertia supremae patior dispendia sortis 100
informesque plagas, cum te laetissimus ornet
Signifer et vario cingant splendore Triones;
sed thalamis etiam prohibes? Nereia glauco
Neptunum gremio complectitur Amphitrite;
te consanguineo recipit post fulmina fessum 105
Iuno sinu. quid enim narrem Latonia furta,
quid Cererem magnamque Themin? tibi tanta creandi
copia; te felix natorum turba coronat.
ast ego deserta maerens inglorius aula
implacidas nullo solabor pignore curas? 110
non adeo toleranda quies. primordia testor
noctis et horrendae stagna intemerata paludis:
si dicto parere negas, patefacta ciebo
Tartara, Saturni veteres laxabo catenas,
obducam tenebris solem, compage soluta 115
lucidus umbroso miscebitur axis Averno.’”


“Grandchild of Atlas, Arcadian-born, deity that sharest hell and heaven, thou who alone hast the right to cross either threshold, and art the intermediary between the two worlds, go swiftly, cleave the winds, and bear these my behests to proud Jove. ‘Hast thou, cruel brother, such complete authority over me? Did injurious fortune rob me at once of power and light? Because day was reft from me, lost I therefore strength and weapons? Thinkest thou me humble and cowed because I hurl not bolts forged by the Cyclops and fool not the empty air with thunder? Is it not enough that deprived of the pleasant light of day I submit to the ill-fortune of the third and final choice and these hideous realms, whilst thee the starry heavens adorn and the Wain surrounds with twinkling brilliance—must thou also forbid our marriage? Amphitrite, daughter of Nereus, holds Neptune in her sea-grey embrace; Juno, thy sister and thy wife, takes thee to her bosom when wearied thou layest aside thy thunderbolts. What need to tell of thy secret love for Lato or Ceres or great Themis? How manifold a hope of offspring was thine! Now a crowd of happy children surrounds thee. And shall I in this empty palace, sans joy, sans fame, know no child’s love to still instant care? I will not brook so dull a life. I swear by elemental night and the unexplored shallows of the Stygian lake, if thou refuse to hearken to my word I will throw open Hell and call forth her monsters, will break Saturn’s old chains, and shroud the sun in darkness. The framework of the world shall be loosened and the shining heavens mingle with Avernus’ shades.’”


Vix ea fatus erat, iam nuntius astra tenebat.
audierat mandata Pater secumque volutat
diversos ducens animos, quae tale sequatur
coniugium Stygiosque velit pro sole recessus. 120
certa requirenti tandem sententia sedit.
Hennaeae Cereri proles optata virebat
unica, nec tribuit subolem Lucina secundam
fessaque post primos haeserunt viscera partus
infecunda quidem; sed cunctis altior extat 125
matribus et numeri damnum Proserpina pensat.
hanc fovet, hanc sequitur: vitulam non blandius ambit
torva parens, pedibus quae nondum proterit arva
nec nova lunatae curvavit germina frontis.
iam matura toro plenis adoleverat annis 130
virginitas, tenerum iam pronuba flamma pudorem
sollicitat mixtaque tremit formidine votum.
personat aula procis: pariter pro virgine certant
Mars clipeo melior, Phoebus praestantior arcu;
Mars donat Rhodopen, Phoebus largitur Amyclas 135
et Delon Clariosque lares; hinc aemula Iuno,
hinc poscit Latona nurum. despexit utrumque
flava Ceres raptusque timens (heu caeca futuri!)
commendat Siculis furtim sua gaudia terris
[infidis Laribus natam commisit alendam, 140
aethera deseruit Siculasque relegat in oras][120]
ingenio confisa loci.
Trinacria quondam
Italiae pars iuncta fuit; sed pontus et aestus
mutavere situm. rupit confinia Nereus
victor et abscissos interluit aequore montes, 145

[120] Heinsius bracketed these lines as spurious, and neither D nor V has l. 140.


Scarce had he spoken when his messenger trod the stars. The Father heard the message and, communing with himself, debated long who would dare such a marriage, who would wish to exchange the sun for the caves of Styx. He would fain decide and at length his fixed purpose grew.

Ceres, whose temple is at Henna, had but one youthful daughter, a child long prayed for; for the goddess of birth granted no second offspring, and her womb, exhausted by that first labour, became unfruitful. Yet prouder is the mother above all mothers, and Proserpine such as to take the place of many. Her mother’s care and darling is she; not more lovingly does the fierce mother cow tend her calf that cannot as yet scamper over the fields and whose growing horns curve not yet moonwise over her forehead. As the years were fulfilled she had grown a maiden ripe for marriage, and thoughts of the torch of wedlock stir her girlish modesty, but while she longs for a husband she yet fears to plight troth. The voice of suitors is heard throughout the palace; two gods woo the maiden, Mars, more skilled with the shield, and Phoebus, the mightier bowman. Mars offers Rhodope, Phoebus would give Amyclae, and Delos and his temple at Claros; in rivalry Juno and Latona claim her for a son’s wife. But golden-haired Ceres disdains both, and fearing lest her daughter should be stolen away (how blind to the future!) secretly entrusts her jewel to the land of Sicily, confident in the safe nature of this hiding-place.

Trinacria was once a part of Italy but sea and tide changed the face of the land. Victorious Nereus brake his bounds and interflowed the cleft mountains


parvaque cognatas prohibent discrimina terras.
nunc illam socia ruptam tellure trisulcam
opposuit Natura mari: caput inde Pachyni
respuit Ionias praetentis rupibus iras;
hinc latrat Gaetula Thetis Lilybaeaque pulsat 150
brachia consurgens; hinc indignata teneri
concutit obiectum rabies Tyrrhena Pelorum.
in medio scopulis se porrigit Aetna perustis,
Aetna Giganteos numquam tacitura triumphos,
Enceladi bustum, qui saucia terga revinctus 155
spirat inexhaustum flagranti vulnere sulphur
et, quotiens detractat onus cervice rebelli
in laevum dextrumque latus, tunc insula fundo
vellitur et dubiae nutant cum moenibus urbes.
Aetnaeos apices solo cognoscere visu, 160
non aditu temptare licet, pars cetera frondet
arboribus; teritur nullo cultore cacumen.
nunc movet indigenas nimbos piceaque gravatum
foedat nube diem, nunc motibus astra lacessit
terrificis damnisque suis incendia nutrit. 165
sed quamvis nimio fervens exuberet aestu,
scit nivibus servare fidem pariterque favillis
durescit glacies tanti secura vaporis,
arcano defensa gelu, fumoque fideli
lambit contiguas innoxia flamma pruinas. 170
quae scopulos tormenta rotant? quae tanta cavernas


with his waves whereby a narrow channel now separates these kindred lands. Nature now thrusts out into the sea the three-cornered island, cut off from the mainland to which it once belonged. At one extremity the promontory of Pachynum hurls back with jutting crags the furious waves of the Ionian main, round another roars the African sea that rises and beats upon the curving harbour of Lilybaeum, at the third the raging Tyrrhenian flood, impatient of restraint, shakes the obstacle of Cape Pelorus. In the midst of the island rise the charred cliffs of Aetna, eloquent monument of Jove’s victory over the Giants, the tomb of Enceladus, whose bound and bruised body breathes forth endless sulphur clouds from its burning wounds. Whene’er his rebellious shoulders shift their burden to the right or left, the island is shaken from its foundations and the walls of tottering cities sway this way and that.

The peaks of Aetna thou must know by sight alone; to them no foot may approach. The rest is clothed with foliage but the summit no husbandman tills. Now it sends forth native smoke and with pitch-black cloud darkens and oppresses the day, now with awful stirrings it threatens the stars and feeds its flame with the dread fruit of its own body. But though it boils and bursts forth with such great heat yet it knows how to observe a truce with the snow, and together with glowing ashes the ice grows hard, protected from the great heat and secured by indwelling cold, so that the harmless flame licks the neighbouring frost with breath that keeps its compact. What huge engine hurls those rocks; what vast force piles rock on


vis glomerat? quo fonte ruit Vulcanius amnis?
sive quod obicibus discurrens ventus opertis
offenso rimosa furit per saxa meatu,
dum scrutatur iter, libertatemque reposcens 175
putria multivagis populatur flatibus antra;
seu mare sulphurei ductum per viscera montis
oppressis ignescit aquis et pondera librat.
Hic ubi servandum mater fidissima pignus
abdidit, ad Phrygios tendit secura penates 180
turrigeramque petit Cybelen sinuosa draconum
membra regens, volucri qui pervia nubila tractu
signant et placidis umectant frena venenis:
frontem crista tegit; pingunt maculosa virentes
terga notae; rutilum squamis intermicat aurum. 185
nunc spiris Zephyros tranant; nunc arva volatu
inferiore secant, cano rota pulvere labens
sulcatam fecundat humum: flavescit aristis
orbita; surgentes condunt vestigia fruges;
vestit iter comitata seges.
Iam linquitur Aetna 190
totaque decrescit refugo Trinacria visu.
heu quotiens praesaga mali violavit oborto
rore genas! quotiens oculos ad tecta retorsit
talia voce movens: “salve, gratissima tellus,
quam nos praetulimus caelo, tibi gaudia nostri 195
sanguinis et caros uteri commendo labores.
praemia digna manent: nullos patiere ligones
et nullo rigidi versabere vomeris ictu.
sponte tuus florebit ager; cessante iuvenco


rock? Whence flows forth that fiery stream? Whether it be that the wind, forcing its way past hidden barriers, rages amid the fissured rocks that seek to bar its passage and, seeking a way of escape, sweeps the crumbling caverns with its wandering blasts in its bid for freedom, or that the sea, flowing in through the bowels of the sulphurous mountain, bursts into flame when its waters are compressed and casts up great rocks, I know not.

When the loving mother had entrusted her charge to the secret keeping of Henna she went freed from care to visit tower-crowned Cybele in her Phrygian home, driving a car drawn by twining serpents which cleave the pervious clouds on their wingèd course and fleck the bit with harmless poison. Their heads are crested and spots of green mottle their backs while sparkling gold glints amid their scales. Now they swim circling through the air, now they skim the fields with low-driven course. The passing wheels sow the plough-land with golden grain and their track grows yellow with corn. Sprouting stalks cover their traces and attendant crops clothe the path of the goddess.

Now is left behind Aetna, and all Sicily sinks lessening into the distance. Ah, how often, foreknowing of coming ill, did she mar her cheek with welling tears; how often look back upon her home with words like these: “Be happy, dear land, dearer than heaven to me, into thy safe keeping I commend my daughter, my sole joy, loved fruit of my labour. No despicable reward shall be thine, for thou shalt suffer no hoe nor shall the cruel iron of the ploughshare know thy soil. Untilled thy fields shall bear fruit, and though thine oxen plough not, a richer


ditior oblatas mirabitur incola messes.” 200
sic ait et fulvis tetigit serpentibus Idam.
Hic sedes augusta deae templique colendi
relligiosa silex, densis quam pinus obumbrat
frondibus et nulla lucos agitante procella
stridula coniferis modulatur carmina ramis. 205
terribiles intus thiasi vesanaque mixto
concentu delubra gemunt; ululatibus Ide
bacchatur; timidas inclinant Gargara silvas.
postquam visa Ceres, mugitum tympana frenant;
conticuere chori; Corybas non impulit ensem; 210
non buxus, non aera sonant blandasque leones
summisere iubas. adytis gavisa Cybebe
exilit et pronas intendit ad oscula turres.
Viderat haec dudum summa speculatus ab arce
Iuppiter ac Veneri mentis penetralia pandit: 215
“curarum, Cytherea, tibi secreta fatebor.
candida Tartareo nuptum Proserpina regi
iam pridem decreta dari: sic Atropos urget;
sic cecinit longaeva Themis. nunc matre remota
rem peragi tempus. fines invade Sicanos 220
et Cereris prolem patulis inludere campis,
crastina puniceos cum lux detexerit ortus,
coge tuis armata dolis, quibus urere cuncta,
me quoque, saepe soles, cur ultima regna quiescunt?
nulla sit inmunis regio nullumque sub umbris 225
pectus inaccensum Veneri. iam tristis Erinys


husbandman shall view with wonder the self-sown harvest.” So spake she and reached Mount Ida, drawn by her yellow serpents.

Here is the queenly seat of the goddess and in her holy temple the sacred statue, o’ershadowed by the thick leaves of the pine wood which, though no storm wind shakes the grove, gives forth creakings with its cone-bearing branches. Within are the dread bands of the initiate with whose wild chantings the shrine rings; Ida is loud with howlings and Gargarus bends his woods in fear. As soon as Ceres appears the drums restrain their rattle; the choirs are silent and the Corybantes stay the flourish of their knives. Pipes and cymbals are still, and the lions sink their manes in greeting. Cybele[121] rejoicing runs forth from the shrine and bends her towered head to kiss her guest.

Long had Jove seen this, watching from his lofty seat, and to Venus he thus enfolded the secrets of his heart: “Goddess of Cythera, I will impart to thee my hidden troubles; long ago I decided that fair Proserpine should be given in marriage to the lord of Hell; such is Atropos’ bidding, such old Themis’ prophecy. Now that her mother has left her is the time for action. Do thou visit the confines of Sicily, and armed with thy wiles, lead Ceres’ daughter to sport in the level meads what time to-morrow’s light has unfolded the rosy dawn; employ those arts with which thou art wont to inflame all things, often even myself. Why should the nether kingdoms know not love? Let no land be free and no breast even amid the shades unfired by Venus. At last let the gloomy Fury

[121] Cybele and Cybebe are alternative forms in Latin. The normal English form is Cybele.


sentiat ardores; Acheron Ditisque severi
ferrea lascivis mollescant corda sagittis.”
Accelerat praecepta Venus; iussuque parentis
Pallas et inflexo quae terret Maenala cornu 230
addunt se comites. divino semita gressu
claruit, augurium qualis laturus iniquum
praepes sanguineo dilabitur igne cometes
prodigiale rubens: non illum navita tuto,
non impune vident populi, sed crine minaci 235
nuntiat aut ratibus ventos aut urbibus hostes.
devenere locum, Cereris quo tecta nitebant
Cyclopum firmata manu: stant ardua ferro
moenia, ferrati postes, inmensaque nectit
claustra chalybs. nullum tanto sudore Pyragmon 240
nec Steropes construxit opus: non talibus umquam
spiravere Notis animae nec flumine tanto
incoctum maduit lassa cervice metallum.
atria cingit ebur; trabibus solidatur aënis
culmen et in celsas surgunt electra columnas. 245
Ipsa domum tenero mulcens Proserpina cantu
inrita texebat rediturae munera matri.
hic elementorum seriem sedesque paternas
insignibat acu, veterem qua lege tumultum
discrevit Natura parens et semina iustis 250
discessere locis: quidquid leve, fertur in altum;
in medium graviora cadunt; incanduit aër;
legit flamma polum; fluxit mare; terra pependit.
nec color unus erat: stellas accendit in auro,


feel the sting of passion and Acheron and the steely heart of stern Dis grow tender with love’s arrows.”

Venus hastes to do his bidding; and at their sire’s behest there join her Pallas and Diana whose bent bow affrights all Maenalus’ slopes. Neath her divine feet the path shone bright, even as a comet, fraught with augury of ill, falls headlong, a glowing portent of blood-red fire; no sailor may look on it and live, no people view it but to their destruction; the message of its threatening tail is storm to ships and an enemy’s attack to cities. They reached the place where shone Ceres’ palace, firm-built by the Cyclops’ hands; up tower the iron walls, iron stand the gates, and steel bars secure the massy doors. Neither Pyragmon nor Steropes e’er builded a work with toil so great as that, nor ever did bellows breathe forth such blasts nor the molten mass of metal flow in a stream so deep that the very furnaces were weary of heating it. The hall was walled with ivory; the roof strengthened with beams of bronze and supported by lofty columns of electron.

Proserpine herself, soothing the house with sweet song, was sewing all in vain a gift against her mother’s return. In this cloth she embroidered with her needle the concourse of atoms and the dwelling of the Father of the gods and pictured how mother Nature ordered elemental chaos, and how the first principles of things sprang apart, each to his proper place—those that were light being born aloft, the heavier ones falling to a centre. The air grew bright and fire chose the pole as its seat. Here flowed the sea; there hung the earth suspended. Many were the colours she employed, tricking the stars with gold and flooding the sea


ostro fundit aquas, attollit litora gemmis 255
filaque mentitos iamiam caelantia fluctus
arte tument: credas inlidi cautibus algam
et raucum bibulis inserpere murmur harenis.
addit quinque plagas: mediam subtegmine rubro
obsessam fervore notat; squalebat inustus 260
limes et adsiduo sitiebant stamina sole.
vitales utrimque duas, quas mitis oberrat
temperies habitanda viris; in fine supremo
torpentes traxit geminas brumaque perenni
foedat et aeterno contristat frigore telas. 265
nec non et patrui pingit sacraria Ditis
fatalesque sibi Manes; nec defuit omen,
praescia nam subitis maduerunt fletibus ora.
Coeperat et vitreis summo iam margine texti
Oceanum sinuare vadis; sed cardine verso 270
cernit adesse deas imperfectumque laborem
deserit et niveos infecit purpura vultus
per liquidas succensa genas castaeque pudoris
inluxere faces: non sic decus ardet eburnum,
Lydia Sidonio quod femina tinxerit ostro. 275
Merserat unda diem; sparso nox umida somno
languida caeruleis invexerat otia bigis,
iamque viam Pluto superas molitur ad auras
germani monitu. torvos invisa iugales
Allecto temone ligat, qui pascua mandunt 280
Cocyti pratisque Erebi nigrantibus errant


with purple. The shore she embossed with precious stones and cunningly employed raised threadwork to imitate the swelling billows. You might have thought you saw the seaweed dashed against the rocks and heard the murmur of the hissing waves flooding up the thirsty sands. Five zones she added; indicating that the centre was the torrid zone by embroidering it with red yarn: its desert confines are parched and the thread she used was dried by the sun’s unfailing heat. On either side lay the two habitable zones, blessed with a mild climate fit for the life of man. At the top and bottom she set the two frozen zones, portraying eternal winter’s horror in her weaving and the gloom of never-ceasing cold. Further she embroidered the accursèd seat of her uncle, Dis, and the nether gods, her destined fellows. Nor did the omen pass unmarked, for prophetic of the future her cheeks grew wet with sudden tears.

Next she began to trace Ocean’s glassy shallows at the tapestry’s farthest edge, but at that moment the doors opened, she saw the goddesses enter, and left her work unfinished. A glowing blush that mantled to her clear cheeks suffused her fair countenance and lit the torches of stainless purity. Not so beautiful even the glow of ivory which a Lydian maid has stained with Sidon’s scarlet dye.

Now the sun was dipped in Ocean and misty night scattering sleep had brought for mortals ease and leisure in her black two-horsed chariot; when Pluto, warned by his brother, made his way to the upper air. The dread fury Allecto yokes to the chariot-pole the two fierce pairs of steeds that grace Cocytus’ banks and roam the dark meads of Erebus, and,


stagnaque tranquillae potantes marcida Lethes
aegra soporatis spumant oblivia linguis:
Orphnaeus crudele micans Aethonque sagitta
ocior et Stygii sublimis gloria Nycteus 285
armenti Ditisque nota signatus Alastor.
stabant ante fores iuncti saevumque fremebant
crastina venturae spectantes gaudia praedae.



Otia sopitis ageret cum cantibus Orpheus
neglectumque diu deposuisset opus,
lugebant erepta sibi solacia Nymphae,
quaerebant dulces flumina maesta modos.
saeva feris natura redit metuensque leonem 5
implorat citharae vacca tacentis opem.
illius et duri flevere silentia montes
silvaque Bistoniam saepe secuta chelyn.
Sed postquam Inachiis Alcides missus ab Argis
Thracia pacifero contigit arva pede 10
diraque sanguinei vertit praesaepia regis
et Diomedeos gramine pavit equos,
tunc patriae festo laetatus tempore vates
desuetae repetit fila canora lyrae


drinking the rotting pools of sluggish Lethe, let dark oblivion drip from their slumbrous lips—Orphnaeus, savage and fleet, Aethon, swifter than an arrow, great Nyctaeus, proud glory of Hell’s steeds, and Alastor, branded with the mark of Dis. These stood harnessed before the door and savagely champed the bit all eager for the morrow’s enjoyment of their destined booty.



When Orpheus sought repose and, lulling his song to sleep, had long laid aside his neglected task, the Nymphs complained that their joy had been reft from them and the sad rivers mourned the loss of his tuneful lays. Nature’s savagery returned and the heifer in terror of the lion looked in vain for help from the now voiceless lyre. The rugged mountains lamented his silence and the woods that had so often followed his Thracian lute.

But after that Hercules, setting forth from Inachian Argos, reached the plains of Thrace on his mission of salvation, and destroying the stables of Diomede, fed the horses of the bloody tyrant on grass, then it was that the poet, o’erjoyed at his country’s happy fate, took up once more the tuneful strings of his lute long laid aside, and touching its


et resides levi modulatus pectine nervos 15
pollice festivo nobile duxit ebur.
vix auditus erat: venti frenantur et undae,
pigrior adstrictis torpuit Hebrus aquis,
porrexit Rhodope sitientes carmina rupes,
excussit gelidas pronior Ossa nives; 20
ardua nudato descendit populus Haemo
et comitem quercum pinus amica trahit,
Cirrhaeasque dei quamvis despexerit artes,
Orpheis laurus vocibus acta venit.
securum blandi leporem fovere Molossi 25
vicinumque lupo praebuit agna latus.
concordes varia ludunt cum tigride dammae;
Massylam cervi non timuere iubam.
Ille novercales stimulos actusque canebat
Herculis et forti monstra subacta manu, 30
quod timidae matri pressos ostenderit angues
intrepidusque fero riserit ore puer:
“te neque Dictaeas quatiens mugitibus urbes
taurus nec Stygii terruit ira canis,
non leo sidereos caeli rediturus ad axes, 35
non Erymanthei gloria montis aper.
solvis Amazonios cinctus, Stymphalidas arcu
adpetis, occiduo ducis ab orbe greges
tergeminique ducis numerosos deicis artus
et totiens uno victor ab hoste redis. 40
non cadere Antaeo, non crescere profuit hydrae;
nec cervam volucres eripuere pedes.
Caci flamma perit; rubuit Busiride Nilus;
prostratis maduit nubigenis Pholoë.


idle chords with the smooth quill, plied the famed ivory with festal fingers. Scarce had they heard him when the winds and waves were stilled; Hebrus flowed more sluggishly with reluctant stream, Rhodope stretched out her rocks all eager for the song, and Ossa, his summit less exalted, shook off his coat of snow. The tall poplar and the pine, accompanied by the oak, left the slopes of treeless Haemus, and even the laurel came, allured by the voice of Orpheus, though erstwhile it had despised Apollo’s art. Molossian dogs fawned playfully on fearless hares, and the lamb made room for the wolf by her side. Does sported in amity with the striped tiger and hinds had no fear of the lion’s mane.

He sang the stings of a step-dame’s ire[122] and the deeds of Hercules, the monsters overcome by his strong right arm; how while yet a child he had shown the strangled snakes to his terrified mother, and had laughed, fearlessly scorning such dangers. “Thee nor the bull that shook with his bellowing the cities of Crete alarmed, nor the savagery of the hound of Hell; thee not the lion, soon to become a constellation in the heavens, nor the wild boar that brought renown to Erymanthus’ height. Thou hast stripped the Amazons of their girdles, shot with thy bow the birds of Stymphalus, and driven home the cattle of the western clime. Thou hast o’erthrown the many limbs of the triple-headed monster and returned thrice victorious from a single foe. Vain the falls of Antaeus, vain the sprouting of the Hydra’s new heads. Its winged feet availed not to save Diana’s deer from thy hand. Cacus’ flames were quenched and Nile ran rich with Busiris’ blood. Pholoë’s slopes reeked with the slaughter of the

[122] Juno is called the stepmother of Hercules.


te Libyci stupuere sinus, te maxima Tethys 45
horruit, imposito cum premerere polo:
firmior Herculea mundus cervice pependit;
lustrarunt umeros Phoebus et astra tuos.”
Thracius haec vates. sed tu Tirynthius alter,
Florentine, mihi: tu mea plectra moves 50
antraque Musarum longo torpentia somno
excutis et placidos ducis in orbe choros.



Impulit Ionios praemisso lumine fluctus
nondum pura dies; tremulis vibratur in undis
ardor et errantes ludunt per caerula flammae.
iamque audax animi fidaeque oblita parentis
fraude Dionaea riguos Proserpina saltus 5
(sic Parcae iussere) petit. ter cardine verso
praesagum cecinere fores; ter conscia fati
flebile terrificis gemuit mugitibus Aetna,
nullis illa tamen monstris nulloque tenetur
prodigio. comites gressum iunxere sorores. 10
Prima dolo gaudens et tanto concita voto
it Venus et raptus metitur corde futuros,
iam dirum flexura chaos, iam Dite subacto
ingenti famulos Manes ductura triumpho.


cloud-born Centaurs. Thee the curving shore of Libya held in awe; thee the mighty Ocean gazed at in amaze when thou laidst the world’s bulk on thy back; on the neck of Hercules the heaven was poised more surely; the sun and stars coursed over thy shoulders.”

So sang the Thracian bard. But thou, Florentinus,[123] art a second Hercules to me. ’Tis thou causest my quill to stir, ’tis thou disturbest the Muses’ cavern long plunged in sleep and leadest their gentle bands in the dance.



Not yet had bright day with herald beams struck the waves of the Ionian main; the light of dawn shimmered on the waters and the straying brilliance flickered over the deep blue sea. And now bold Proserpine, forgetful of her mother’s jealous care and tempted by the wiles of Venus, seeks the stream-fed vale. Such was the Fates’ decree. Thrice did the doors sound a warning note as the hinges turned; thrice did prophetic Aetna rumble mournfully with awful thunders. But her can no portent, no omen detain. The sister goddesses bore her company.

First goes Venus exulting in her trickery and inspired by her great mission. In her heart she takes account of the coming rape; soon she will rule dread Chaos, soon, Dis once subdued, she will lead the subject ghosts. Her hair, parted into many

[123] See Introduction, p. xiv.


illi multifidos crinis sinuatur in orbes 15
Idalia divisus acu; sudata marito
fibula purpureos gemma suspendit amictus.
Candida Parrhasii post hanc regina Lycaei
et Pandionias quae cuspide protegit arces,
utraque virgo, ruunt: haec tristibus aspera bellis, 20
haec metuenda feris. Tritonia casside fulva
caelatum Typhona gerit, qui summa peremptus
ima parte viget, moriens et parte superstes;
hastaque terribili surgens per nubila ferro
instar habet silvae; tantum stridentia colla 25
Gorgonis obtentu pallae fulgentis inumbrat.
at Triviae lenis species et multus in ore
frater erat, Phoebique genas et lumina Phoebi
esse putes, solusque dabat discrimina sexus.
brachia nuda nitent; levibus proiecerat auris 30
indociles errare comas, arcuque remisso
otia nervus agit; pendent post terga sagittae.
crispatur gemino vestis Gortynia cinctu
poplite fusa tenus, motoque in stamine Delos
errat et aurato trahitur circumflua ponto. 35
Quas inter Cereris proles, nunc gloria matris,
mox dolor, aequali tendit per gramina passu
nec membris nec honore minor potuitque videri
Pallas, si clipeum ferret, si spicula, Phoebe.
collectae tereti nodantur iaspide vestes. 40
pectinis ingenio numquam felicior artis
contigit eventus; nulli sic consona telae
fila nec in tantum veri duxere figuras.
hic Hyperionio Solem de semine nasci


locks, is braided round her head and secured by a Cyprian pin, and a brooch cunningly fabricated by her spouse Vulcan supports her cloak thick studded with purple jewels.

Behind her hasten Diana, fair queen of Arcadian Lycaeus, and Pallas who, with her spear, protects the citadel of Athens—virgins both; Pallas, cruel goddess of war, Diana bane of wild creatures. On her burnished helmet the Triton-born goddess wore a carved figure of Typhon, the upper part of his body lifeless, the lower limbs yet writhing, part dead, part quick. Her terrible spear, piercing the clouds as she brandished it, resembled a tree; only the Gorgon’s hissing neck she hid in the spread of her glittering cloak. But mild was Diana’s gaze and very like her brother looked she; Phoebus’ own one had thought her cheeks and eyes, her sex alone disclosed the difference. Her shining arms were bare, her straying locks fluttered in the gentle breeze, and the chord of her unstrung bow hung idle, her arrows slung behind her back. Her Cretan tunic, gathered with girdles twain, flows down to her knees, and on her waving dress Delos wanders and stretches surrounded by a golden sea.

Between the two Ceres’ child, now her mother’s pride, so soon to be her sorrow, treads the grass with equal pace, their equal, too, in stature and beauty; Pallas you might have thought her, had she carried a shield, Diana, if a javelin. A brooch of polished jasper secured her girded dress. Never did art give happier issue to the shuttle’s skill; never was cloth so beautifully made nor embroidery so lifelike. In it she had worked the birth of the sun from the seed of Hyperion, the birth, too, of the moon,


fecerat et pariter, forma sed dispare, Lunam, 45
aurorae noctisque duces; cunabula Tethys
praebet et infantes gremio solatur anhelos
caeruleusque sinus roseis radiatur alumnis.
invalidum dextro portat Titana lacerto
nondum luce gravem nec pubescentibus alte 50
cristatum radiis: primo clementior aevo
fingitur et tenerum vagitu despuit ignem.
laeva parte soror vitrei libamina potat
uberis et parvo signatur tempora cornu.
Tali luxuriat cultu. comitantur euntem 55
Naides et socia stipant utrimque caterva,
quae fontes, Crinise, tuos et saxa rotantem
Pantagiam nomenque Gelam qui praebuit urbi
concelebrant, quas pigra vado Camerina palustri,
quas Arethusaei latices, quas advena nutrit 60
Alpheus; Cyane totum supereminet agmen:
qualis Amazonidum peltis exultat aduncis
pulchra cohors, quotiens Arcton populata virago
Hippolyte niveas ducit post proelia turmas,
seu flavos stravere Getas seu forte rigentem 65
Thermodontiaca Tanaim fregere securi;
aut quales referunt Baccho sollemnia Nymphae
Maeoniae, quas Hermus alit, ripasque paternas
percurrunt auro madidae: laetatur in antro
amnis et undantem declinat prodigus urnam. 70
Viderat herboso sacrum de vertice vulgus
Henna parens florum curvaque in valle sedentem


though diverse was her shape—of sun and moon that bring the dawning and the night. Tethys affords them a cradle and soothes in her bosom their infant sobs; the rosy light of her foster-children irradiates her dark blue plains. On her right shoulder she carried the infant Titan, too young as yet to vex with his light, and his encircling beams not grown; he is pictured as more gentle in those tender years, and from his mouth issues a soft flame that accompanies his infant cries. The moon, his sister, carried on Tethys’ left shoulder, sucks the milk of that bright breast, her forehead marked with a little horn.

Such is the wonder of Proserpine’s dress. The Naiads bear her company and on either side crowd around her, those who haunt thy streams, Crinisus, and Pantagia’s rocky torrent and Gela’s who gives his name to the city; those whom Camerina, the unmoved, nurtures in her shallow marshes, whose home is Arethusa’s flood or the stream of Alpheus, her foreign lover; tallest of their company is Cyane. So move they as the beauteous band of Amazons, brandishing their moon-shaped shields what time the maiden warrior Hippolyte, after laying waste the regions of the north, leads home her fair army after battle, whether they have o’erthrown the yellow-haired Getae or cloven frozen Tanais with the axe of their native Thermodon; or as the Lydian Nymphs celebrate the festivals of Bacchus—the Nymphs whose sire was Hermus along whose banks they course, splashed with his golden waters: the river-god rejoices in his cavern home and pours forth the flooding urn with generous hand.

Henna, mother of blossoms, had espied the goddess’ company from her grassy summit and thus addressed


compellat Zephyrum: “pater o gratissime veris,
qui mea lascivo regnas per prata meatu
semper et adsiduis inroras flatibus annum, 75
respice Nympharum coetus et celsa Tonantis
germina per nostros dignantia ludere campos.
nunc adsis faveasque, precor; nunc omnia fetu
pubescant virgulta velis, ut fertilis Hybla
invideat vincique suos non abnuat hortos. 80
quidquid turiferis spirat Panchaia silvis,
quidquid odoratus longe blanditur Hydaspes,
quidquid ab extremis ales longaeva colonis
colligit optato repetens exordia leto,[124]
in venas disperge meas et flamine largo 85
rura fove. merear divino pollice carpi
et nostris cupiant ornari numina sertis.”
Dixerat; ille novo madidantes nectare pennas
concutit et glaebas fecundo rore maritat,
quaque volat vernus sequitur rubor; omnis in herbas
turget humus medioque patent convexa sereno. 91
sanguineo splendore rosas, vaccinia nigro
imbuit et dulci violas ferrugine pingit.
Parthica quae tantis variantur cingula gemmis
regales vinctura sinus? quae vellera tantum 95
ditibus Assyrii spumis fucantur aëni?
non tales volucer pandit Iunonius alas,
nec sic innumeros arcu mutante colores
incipiens redimitur hiems, cum tramite flexo
semita discretis interviret umida nimbis. 100
Forma loci superat flores: curvata tumore
parvo planities et mollibus edita clivis
creverat in collem; vivo de pumice fontes

[124] leto Heinsius; Birt saeclo (FDWB1V1).


Zephyrus, lurking in the winding vale: “Gracious father of the spring, thou who ever rulest over my meads with errant breeze and bringest rain upon the summer lands with thine unceasing breath, behold this company of Nymphs and Jove’s tall daughters who deign to sport them in my meadows. Be present to bless, I pray. Grant that now all the trees be thick with newly-grown fruit, that fertile Hybla may be jealous and admit her paradise surpassed. All the sweet airs of Panchaea’s incense-bearing woods, all the honied odours of Hydaspes’ distant stream, all the spices which from furthest fields the long-lived Phoenix gathers, seeking new birth from wished for death—spread thou all these through my veins and with generous breath refresh my country. May I be worthy to be plundered by divine fingers and goddesses seek to be decked with my garlands.”

So spake she, and Zephyrus shook his wings adrip with fresh nectar and drenches the ground with their life-giving dew. Wheresoe’er he flies spring’s brilliance follows. The fields grow lush with verdure and heaven’s dome shines cloudless above them. He paints the bright roses red, the hyacinths blue and the sweet violets purple. What girdles of Babylon, meet cincture of a royal breast, are adorned with such varied jewels? What fleece so dyed in the rich juice of the murex where stand the brazen towers of Tyre? Not the wings of Juno’s own bird display such colouring. Not thus do the many-changing hues of the rainbow span young winter’s sky when in curved arch its rainy path glows green amid the parting clouds.

Even more lovely than the flowers is the country. The plain, with gentle swell and gradual slopes, rose into a hill; issuing from the living rock gushing


roscida mobilibus lambebant gramina rivis,
silvaque torrentes ramorum frigore soles 105
temperat et medio brumam sibi vindicat aestu:
apta fretis abies, bellis accommoda cornus,
quercus amica Iovi, tumulos tectura cupressus,
ilex plena favis, venturi praescia laurus;
fluctuat hic denso crispata cacumine buxus, 110
hic hederae serpunt, hic pampinus induit ulmos.
haud procul inde lacus (Pergum dixere Sicani)
panditur et nemorum frondoso margine cinctus
vicinis pallescit aquis: admittit in altum
cernentes oculos et late pervius umor 115
ducit inoffensos liquido sub flumine visus
imaque perspicui prodit secreta profundi.
[huc elapsa cohors gaudet per florida rura.][125]
Hortatur Cytherea legant. “nunc ite, sorores,
dum matutinis praesudat solibus aër, 120
dum meus umectat flaventes Lucifer agros
roranti praevectus equo.” sic fata doloris
carpit signa sui. varios tum cetera saltus
invasere cohors: credas examina fundi
Hyblaeum raptura thymum, cum cerea reges 125
castra movent fagique cava dimissus ab alvo
mellifer electis exercitus obstrepit herbis.
pratorum spoliatur honos: haec lilia fuscis
intexit violis; hanc mollis amaracus ornat;
haec graditur stellata rosis, haec alba ligustris. 130
te quoque, flebilibus maerens Hyacinthe figuris,

[125] Written into F by a later hand. Doubtless an interpolation and as such erased in C. It anticipates the saltus invasere cohors of 123.


streams bedewed their grassy banks. With the shade of its branches a wood tempers the sun’s fierce heat and at summer’s height makes for itself the cold of winter. There grows the pine, useful for seafaring, the cornel-tree for weapons of war, the oak, friendly to Jove, the cypress, sentinel of graves, the holm filled with honeycombs, and the laurel foreknowing of the future; here the box-tree waves its thick crown of leaves, here creeps the ivy, here the vine clothes the elm. Not far from here lies a lake called by the Sicani Pergus, girt with a cincture of leafy woods close around its pallid waters. Deep down therein the eye of whoso would can see, and the everywhere transparent water invites an untrammelled gaze into its oozy depths and betrays the uttermost secrets of its pellucid gulfs. [Hither came their company well pleased with the flowery climb.]

Venus bids them gather flowers. “Come, sisters, while yet the morning sun shines through the moist air, and while Lucifer, my harbinger of dawn, yet drives his dewy steeds and waters the flower-bright field.” So spake she and gathered the flower that testifies to her own woe.[126] Her companions ranged the various vales. You could have believed a swarm of bees was on the wing, eager to gather its sweetness from Hyblaean thyme, where the king bees lead out their wax-housed armies and the honey-bearing host, issuing from the beech-tree’s hollow bole, buzzes around its favourite flowers. The meadows are despoiled of their glory; this goddess weaves lilies with dark violets, another decks herself with pliant marjoram, a third steps forth rose-crowned, another wreathed with white privet. Thee also, Hyacinthus,

[126] Traditionally said to be the anemone, which is supposed to have sprung up red from the spot where Adonis was killed by the boar.


Narcissumque metunt, nunc inclita germina veris,
praestantes olim pueros: tu natus Amyclis,
hunc Helicon genuit; disci te perculit error,
hunc fontis decepit amor; te fronte retusa 135
Delius, hunc fracta Cephisus harundine luget.
Aestuat ante alias avido fervore legendi
frugiferae spes una deae: nunc vimine texto
ridentes calathos spoliis agrestibus implet;
nunc sociat flores seseque ignara coronat, 140
augurium fatale tori. quin ipsa tubarum
armorumque potens dextram, qua fortia turbat
agmina, qua stabiles portas et moenia vellit,
iam levibus laxat studiis hastamque reponit
insuetisque docet galeam mitescere sertis; 145
ferratus lascivit apex horrorque recessit
Martius et cristae pacato fulgure vernant.
nec, quae Parthenium canibus scrutatur odorem,
aspernata choros libertatemque comarum
iniecta voluit tantum frenare corona. 150
Talia virgineo passim dum more geruntur,
ecce repens mugire fragor, confligere turres
pronaque vibratis radicibus oppida verti.
causa latet; dubios agnovit sola tumultus
diva Paphi mixtoque metu perterrita gaudet. 155
iamque per anfractus animarum rector opacos
sub terris quaerebat iter gravibusque gementem


they gather, thy flower inscribed with woe, and Narcissus too—once lovely boys, now the pride of flowering spring. Thou, Hyacinthus, wert born at Amyclae, Narcissus was Helicon’s child; thee the errant discus slew; him the amorous water-nymphs beguiled; for thee weeps Delos’ god with sorrow-weighted brow; for him Cephisus with his broken reeds.

But beyond her fellows she, the one hope of the corn-bearing goddess, burned with a fierce desire to gather flowers. Now she fills with the spoil of the fields her laughing baskets, osier-woven; now she twines a wreath of flowers and crowns herself therewith, little seeing in this a foreshadowing of the marriage fate holds in store for her. E’en Pallas herself, goddess of the trumpets and of the weapons of war, devotes to gentler pursuits the hand wherewith she o’erwhelms the host of battle and throws down stout gates and city walls. She lays aside her spear and wreaths her helmet with soft flowers—strange aureole! The iron peak is gay, o’ershadowed the fierce martial glint, and the plumes, erstwhile levin bolts, now nod with blossoms. Nor does Diana, who scours Mount Parthenius with her keen-scented hounds, disdain this company but would fain bind her free-flowing tresses with a flowery crown.

But while the maidens so disport themselves, wandering through the fields, a sudden roar is heard, towers crash and towns, shaken to their foundations, totter and fall. None knows whence comes the tumult; Paphus’ goddess alone recognized the sound that set her companions in amaze, and fear mixed with joy fills her heart. For now the king of souls was pricking his way through the dim labyrinth of the underworld and crushing Enceladus, groaning


Enceladum calcabat equis: inmania findunt
membra rotae pressaque Gigas cervice laborat
Sicaniam cum Dite ferens temptatque moveri 160
debilis et fessis serpentibus impedit axem:
fumida sulphureo praelabitur orbita dorso.
ac velut occultus securum pergit in hostem
miles et effossi subter fundamina campi
transilit inclusos arcano limite muros 165
turbaque deceptas victrix erumpit in arces
terrigenas imitata viros: sic tertius heres
Saturni latebrosa vagis rimatur habenis
devia, fraternum cupiens exire sub orbem.
ianua nulla patet; prohibebant undique rupes 170
oppositae duraque deum compage tenebant:
non tulit ille moras indignatusque trabali
saxa ferit sceptro. Siculae sonuere cavernae;
turbatur Lipare; stupuit fornace relicta
Mulciber et trepidus deiecit fulmina Cyclops. 175
audiit et si quem glacies Alpina coërcet
et qui te, Latiis nondum praecincte tropaeis
Thybri, natat missamque Pado qui remigat alnum.
Sic, cum Thessaliam scopulis inclusa teneret
Peneo stagnante palus et mersa negaret 180
arva coli, trifida Neptunus cuspide montes
impulit adversos: tunc forti saucius ictu
dissiluit gelido vertex Ossaeus Olympo;
carceribus laxantur aquae factoque meatu
redduntur fluviusque mari tellusque colonis. 185


beneath the weight of his massy steeds. His chariot-wheels severed the monstrous limbs, and the giant struggles, bearing Sicily along with Pluto on his burdened neck, and feebly essays to move and entangle the wheels with his weary serpents; still o’er his blazing back passes the smoking chariot. And as sappers seek to issue forth upon their unsuspecting enemy and, following a minèd path beneath the foundations of the tunnelled field, pass unmarked beyond the foe-invested walls of the city to break out, a victorious party, into the citadel of the outwitted enemy, seeming sprung from earth, even so Saturn’s third son scours the devious darkness whithersoever his team hurries him, all eager to come forth beneath his brother’s sky. No door lies open for him; rocks bar his egress on every side and detain the god in their escapeless prison. He brooked not the delay but wrathfully smote the crags with his beam-like staff. Sicily’s caverns thundered, Lipare’s isle was confounded, Vulcan left his forge in amaze and the Cyclops let drop their thunderbolts in fear. The pent-up denizens of the frozen Alps heard the uproar and he who then swam thy wave, father Tiber, thy brows not as yet graced with the crown of Italy’s triumphs; there heard it he who rows his bark down Padus’ stream.

So when the rock-encircled lake, ere Peneus’ wave rolled seaward, covered all Thessaly and allowed not its submerged fields to be tilled, Neptune smote the imprisoning mountain with his trident. Then did the peak of Ossa, riven with the mighty blow, spring apart from snowy Olympus; a passage was made and the waters were released, whereby the sea won back her feeding streams and the husbandman his fields.


Postquam victa manu duros Trinacria nexus
solvit et inmenso late discessit hiatu,
adparet subitus caelo timor; astra viarum
mutavere fidem; vetito se proluit Arctos
aequore; praecipitat pigrum formido Booten; 190
horruit Orion. audito palluit Atlas
hinnitu: rutilos obscurat anhelitus axes
discolor et longa solitos caligine pasci
terruit orbis equos; pressis haesere lupatis
attoniti meliore polo rursusque verendum 195
in chaos obliquo certant temone reverti.
mox ubi pulsato senserunt verbera tergo
et solem didicere pati, torrentius amne
hiberno tortaque ruunt pernicius hasta:
quantum non iaculum Parthi, non impetus Austri, 200
non leve sollicitae mentis discurrit acumen.
sanguine frena calent; corrumpit spiritus auras
letifer; infectae spumis vitiantur harenae.
Diffugiunt Nymphae: rapitur Proserpina curru
imploratque deas. iam Gorgonis ora revelat 205
Pallas et intento festinat Delia telo
nec patruo cedunt: stimulat communis in arma
virginitas crimenque feri raptoris acerbat.
ille velut stabuli decus armentique iuvencam
cum leo possedit nudataque viscera fodit 210
unguibus et rabiem totos exegit in armos:
stat crassa turpis sanie nodosque iubarum
excutit et viles pastorum despicit iras.
“Ignavi domitor vulgi, deterrime fratrum,”


When Trinacria beneath Pluto’s stroke loosed her rocky bonds and yawned wide with cavernous cleft, sudden fear seized upon the sky. The stars deserted their accustomed courses; the Bear bathed him in forbidden Ocean; terror hurried sluggish Boötes to his setting; Orion trembled. Atlas paled as he heard the neighing coursers; their smoky breath obscures the bright heavens and the sun’s orb affrighted them, so long fed on darkness. They stood biting the curb astonied at the brighter air, and struggle to turn the chariot and hurry back to dread Chaos. But soon, when they felt the lash on their backs and learned to bear the sun’s brightness, they gallop on more rapidly than a winter torrent and more fleet than the hurtling spear; swifter than the Parthian’s dart, the south wind’s fury or nimble thought of anxious mind. Their bits are warm with blood, their death-bringing breath infects the air, the polluted dust is poisoned with their foam.

The Nymphs fly in all directions; Proserpine is hurried away in the chariot, imploring aid of the goddesses. Now Pallas unveils the Gorgon’s head, Diana strings her bow and hastes to help. Neither yields to her uncle’s violence; a common virginity compels them to fight and enrages them at the crime of the fierce ravisher. Pluto is like a lion when he has seized upon a heifer, the pride of the stall and the herd, and has torn with his claws the defenceless flesh and has sated his fury on all its limbs, and so stands all befouled with clotted blood and shakes his tangled mane and scorns the shepherds’ feeble rage.

“Lord of the strengthless dead,” cries Pallas,


Pallas ait “quae te stimulis facibusque profanis 215
Eumenides movere? tua cur sede relicta
audes Tartareis caelum incestare quadrigis?
sunt tibi deformes Dirae, sunt altera Lethes
numina, sunt tristes Furiae, te coniuge dignae.
fratris linque domos, alienam desere sortem; 220
nocte tua contentus abi. quid viva sepultis
admisces? nostrum quid proteris advena mundum?”
Talia vociferans avidos transire minaci
cornipedes umbone ferit clipeique retardat
obice Gorgoneisque premens adsibilat hydris 225
praetentaque operit crista; libratur in ictum
fraxinus et nigros inluminat obvia currus
missaque paene foret, ni Iuppiter aethere summo
pacificas rubri torsisset fulminis alas
confessus socerum: nimbis hymenaeus hiulcis 230
intonat et testes firmant conubia flammae.
Invitae cessere deae. compescuit arcum
cum gemitu talesque dedit Latonia voces:
“Sis memor o longumque vale. reverentia patris
obstitit auxilio, nec nos defendere contra 235
possumus: imperio vinci maiore fatemur.
in te coniurat genitor populoque silenti
traderis, heu! cupidas non adspectura sorores
aequalemque chorum. quae te fortuna supernis
abstulit et tanto damnavit sidera luctu? 240


“wickedest of thy brothers, what Furies have stirred thee with their goads and accursed torches? Why hast thou left thy seat and how darest thou pollute the upper world with thy hellish team? Thou hast the hideous Curses, the other deities of Hell, the dread Furies—any of them would be a worthy spouse for thee. Quit thy brother’s realm, begone from the kingdom allotted to another. Get thee hence; let thine own night suffice thee. Why mix the quick with the dead? Why treadest thou our world, an unwelcome visitant?”

So exclaiming she smote with her threatening shield the horses who sought to advance and barred their way with the bulk of her targe, thrusting them back with the hissing snake-hair of Medusa’s head and o’ershadowing them with its outstretched plumes. She poised for throwing her beechen shaft whose radiance met and illumed Pluto’s black chariot. Almost had she cast it had not Jove from heaven’s height hurled his red thunderbolt on peaceful wings, acknowledging his new son; mid the riven clouds thunders the marriage-paean and attesting fires confirm the union.

All unwilling the goddesses yielded, and weeping Diana laid aside her weapons and thus spake: “Fare well, a long farewell; forget us not. Reverence for our sire forbade our help, and against his will we cannot defend thee. We acknowledge defeat by a power greater than our own. The Father hath conspired against thee and betrayed thee to the realms of silence, no more, alas! to behold the sisters and companions who crave sight of thee. What fate hath reft thee from the upper air and condemned the heavens to so deep mourning? Now no more


iam neque Partheniis innectere retia lustris
nec pharetram gestare libet: securus ubique
spumet aper saevique fremant impune leones.
te iuga Taygeti, posito te Maenala flebunt
venatu maestoque diu lugebere Cyntho. 245
Delphica quin etiam fratris delubra tacebunt.”
Interea volucri fertur Proserpina curru
caesariem diffusa Noto planctuque lacertos
verberat et questus ad nubila tendit inanes:
“Cur non torsisti manibus fabricata Cyclopum 250
in nos tela, pater? sic me crudelibus umbris
tradere, sic toto placuit depellere mundo?
nullane te flectit pietas nihilumque paternae
mentis inest? tantas quo crimine movimus iras?
non ego, cum rapido saeviret Phlegra tumultu, 255
signa deis adversa tuli; non robore nostro
Ossa pruinosum vexit glacialis Olympum.
quod conata nefas aut cuius conscia culpae
exul ad inmanes Erebi detrudor hiatus?
o fortunatas alii quascumque tulere 260
raptores! saltem communi sole fruuntur.
sed mihi virginitas pariter caelumque negatur,
eripitur cum luce pudor, terrisque relictis
servitum Stygio ducor captiva tyranno.
o male dilecti flores despectaque matris 265
consilia! o Veneris deprensae serius artes!
mater, io! seu te Phrygiis in vallibus Idae
Mygdonio buxus circumsonat horrida cantu,


can we rejoice to set Parthenius’ steep with nets nor wear the quiver; at large as he lists let the wild boar, raven and the lion roar savagely with none to say him nay. Thee, Taygetus’ crest, thee Maenalus’ height shall weep, their hunting laid aside. Long shalt thou be food for weeping on sorrowing Cynthus’ slopes. E’en my brother’s shrine at Delphi shall speak no more.”

Meanwhile Proserpine is borne away in the winged car, her hair streaming before the wind, beating her arms in lamentation and calling in vain remonstrance to the clouds: “Why hast thou not hurled at me, father, bolts forged by the Cyclops’ hands? Was this thy will to deliver thy daughter to the cruel shades and drive her for ever from this world? Does love move thee not at all? Hast thou nothing of a father’s feeling? What ill deed of men has stirred such anger in thee? When Phlegra raged with war’s madness I bore no standard against the gods; ’twas through no strength of mine that ice-bound Ossa supported frozen Olympus. For attempt of what crime, for complicity with what guilt, am I thrust down in banishment to the bottomless pit of Hell? Happy girls whom other ravishers have stolen; they at least enjoy the general light of day, while I, together with my virginity, lose the air of heaven; stolen from me alike is innocence and daylight. Needs must I quit this world and be led a captive bride to serve Hell’s tyrant. Ye flowers that I loved in so evil an hour, oh, why did I scorn my mother’s warning? Too late did I detect the wiles of Venus. Mother, my mother, whether in the vales of Phrygian Ida the dread pipe sounds about thine ears with Lydian


seu tu sanguineis ululantia Dindyma Gallis
incolis et strictos Curetum respicis enses: 270
exitio succurre meo! compesce furentem!
comprime ferales torvi praedonis habenas!”
Talibus ille ferox dictis fletuque decoro
vincitur et primi suspiria sensit amoris.
tunc ferrugineo lacrimas deterget amictu 275
et placida maestum solatur voce dolorem:
“Desine funestis animum, Proserpina, curis
et vano vexare metu. maiora dabuntur
sceptra nec indigni taedas patiere mariti.
ille ego Saturni proles, cui machina rerum 280
servit et inmensum tendit per inane potestas.
amissum ne crede diem: sunt altera nobis
sidera, sunt orbes alii, lumenque videbis
purius Elysiumque magis mirabere solem
cultoresque pios; illic pretiosior aetas, 285
aurea progenies habitat, semperque tenemus
quod superi meruere semel. nec mollia desunt
prata tibi; Zephyris illic melioribus halant
perpetui flores, quos nec tua protulit Henna.
est etiam lucis arbor praedives opacis 290
fulgentes viridi ramos curvata metallo:
haec tibi sacra datur fortunatumque tenebis
autumnum et fulvis semper ditabere pomis.
parva loquor: quidquid liquidus complectitur aër,
quidquid alit tellus, quidquid maris aequora verrunt, 295
quod fluvii volvunt, quod nutrivere paludes,
cuncta tuis pariter cedent animalia regnis
lunari subiecta globo, qui Septimus auras
ambit et aeternis mortalia separat astris.


strains, or thou hauntest mount Dindymus, ahowl with self-mutilated Galli, and beholdest the naked swords of the Curetes, aid me in my bitter need; frustrate Pluto’s mad lust and stay the funereal reins of my fierce ravisher.”

Her words and those becoming tears mastered e’en that rude heart as Pluto first learned to feel love’s longings. The tears he wiped away with his murky cloak, quieting her sad grief with these soothing words: “Cease, Proserpine, to vex thy heart with gloomy cares and causeless fear. A prouder sceptre shall be thine, nor shalt thou face marriage with a husband unworthy of thee. I am that scion of Saturn whose will the framework of the world obeys, whose power stretches through the limitless void. Think not thou hast lost the light of day; other stars are mine and other courses; a purer light shalt thou see and wonder rather at Elysium’s sun and blessed habitants. There a richer age, a golden race has its home, and we possess for ever what men win but once. Soft meads shall fail thee not, and ever-blooming flowers, such as thy Henna ne’er produced, breathe to gentler zephyrs. There is, moreover, a precious tree in the leafy groves whose curving branches gleam with living ore—a tree consecrate to thee. Thou shalt be queen of blessed autumn and ever enriched with golden fruit. Nay more; whatsoe’er the limpid air embraces, whatever earth nourishes, the salt seas sweep, the rivers roll, or the marsh-lands feed, all living things alike shall yield them to thy sway, all, I say, that dwell beneath the orb of the moon that is the seventh of the planets and in its ethereal journey separates things mortal from the deathless


sub tua purpurei venient vestigia reges 300
deposito luxu turba cum paupere mixti
(omnia mors aequat); tu damnatura nocentes,
tu requiem latura piis; te iudice sontes
improba cogentur vitae commissa fateri.
accipe Lethaeo famulas cum gurgite Parcas, 305
sitque ratum quodcumque voles.”
Haec fatus ovantes
exhortatur equos et Tartara mitior intrat.
conveniunt animae, quantas violentior Auster
decutit arboribus frondes aut nubibus imbres
colligit aut frangit fluctus aut torquet harenas; 310
cunctaque praecipiti stipantur saecula cursu
insignem visura nurum. mox ipse serenus
ingreditur facili passus mollescere risu
dissimilisque sui. dominis intrantibus ingens
adsurgit Phlegethon: flagrantibus hispida rivis 315
barba madet totoque fluunt incendia vultu.
Occurrunt properi lecta de plebe ministri:
pars altos revocant currus frenisque solutis
vertunt emeritos ad pascua nota iugales;
pars aulaea tenent; alii praetexere ramis 320
limina et in thalamum cultas extollere vestes.
reginam casto cinxerunt agmine matres
Elysiae teneroque levant sermone timores
et sparsos religant crines et vultibus addunt
flammea sollicitum praevelatura pudorem. 325
Pallida laetatur regio gentesque sepultae


stars. To thy feet shall come purple-clothed kings, stripped of their pomp, and mingling with the unmoneyed throng; for death renders all equal. Thou shalt give doom to the guilty and rest to the virtuous. Before thy judgement-throne the wicked must confess the crimes of their evil lives. Lethe’s stream shall obey thee and the Fates be thy handmaidens. Be thy will done.”

So speaking he urges on his triumphant steeds and enters Tartarus in gentler wise. The shades assemble, thick as the leaves the stormy south wind shakes down from the trees, dense as the rainclouds it masses, countless as the billows it curls or the sand it scatters. The dead of every age throng with hastening foot to see so illustrious a bride. Soon Pluto himself enters with joyful mien submitting him to the softening influence of pleasant laughter, all unlike his former self. At the incoming of his lord and mistress huge Phlegethon rises; his bristly beard is wet with burning streams and flames dart o’er all his countenance.

There hasten to greet the pair slaves chosen from out the number. Some put away the lofty chariot, take the bits from the mouths of the toil-freed horses and turn them out to graze in their accustomed pastures. Some hold back the curtains, others decorate the doorway with branches and fasten broidered hangings in the bridal chamber. In chaste bands the matrons of Elysium throng their queen, and with sweet converse banish her fear; they gather and braid her dishevelled hair and place the wedding-veil upon her head to hide her troubled blushes.

Joy fills that grey land, the buried throng holds


luxuriant epulisque vacant genialibus umbrae.
grata coronati peragunt convivia Manes;
rumpunt insoliti tenebrosa silentia cantus;
sedantur gemitus. Erebi se sponte relaxat 330
squalor et aeternam patitur rarescere noctem,
urna nec incertas versat Minoia sortes.
verbera nulla sonant nulloque frementia luctu
impia dilatis respirant Tartara poenis:
non rota suspensum praeceps Ixiona torquet; 335
non aqua Tantaleis subducitur invida labris.
solvitur Ixion et Tantalus invenit undas
et Tityos tandem spatiosos erigit artus
squalentisque novem detexit iugera campi
(tantus erat), laterisque piger sulcator opaci 340
invitus trahitur lasso de pectore vultur
abreptasque dolet iam non sibi crescere fibras.
Oblitae scelerum formidatique furoris
Eumenides cratera parant et vina feroci
crine bibunt flexisque minis iam lene canentes 345
extendunt socios ad pocula plena cerastas
et festas alio succendunt lumine taedas.
tunc et pestiferi pacatum flumen Averni
innocuae transistis, aves, flatumque repressit
Amsanctus: fixo tacuit torrente vorago. 350
tunc Acheronteos mutato gurgite fontes
lacte novo tumuisse ferunt, hederisque virentem
Cocyton dulci perhibent undasse Lyaeo.
stamina nec rumpit Lachesis; nec turbida sacris
obstrepitant lamenta choris. mors nulla vagatur 355


high festival, and the ghosts sport them at the nuptial feast. The flower-crowned Manes sit at a joyous banquet and unwonted song breaks the gloomy silence; wailing is hushed. Hell’s murk gladly disperses and suffers the darkness of age-long night to grow less impenetrable. Minos’ urn of judgement throws no ambiguous lots; the sound of blows is stilled, and Tartarus, the prison of the wicked, is hushed and still, for punishments are intermitted. No longer is Ixion tortured by the ever-turning wheel to which he is bound; from Tantalus’ lips no more is the flying water withdrawn. Ixion is freed, Tantalus reaches the stream, and Tityus at length straightens out his huge limbs and uncovers nine acres of foul ground (such was his size), and the vulture, that burrows lazily into the dark side, is dragged off from his wearied breast sore against its will, lamenting that no longer is the devoured flesh renewed for it.

The Furies, forgetful of crimes and dread wrath, make ready the wine-bowl and drink therefrom for all their snaky hair. Nay, with gentle song, their threatenings laid aside, they stretch out their snakes to the full cups and kindle the festal torches with unusual flame. Then, too, the birds flew unhurt over the now appeasèd stream of poisonous Avernus, and Lake Amsanctus checked his deadly exhalations; the stream was stayed and the whirlpool grew still. They say that then the springs of Acheron were changed and welled up with new milk, while Cocytus, enwreathed with ivy, flowed along in streams of sweet wine. Lachesis slit not the thread of life nor did funeral dirge sound in challenge to the holy chant. Death walked not


in terris, nullique rogum planxere parentes.
navita non moritur fluctu, non cuspide miles;
oppida funerei pollent inmunia leti,
impexamque senex velavit harundine frontem
portitor et vacuos egit cum carmine remos. 360
Iam suus inferno processerat Hesperus orbi:
ducitur in thalamum virgo. stat pronuba iuxta
stellantes Nox picta sinus tangensque cubile
omina perpetuo genitalia foedere sancit;
exultant cum voce pii Ditisque sub aula 365
talia pervigili sumunt exordia plausu:
“Nostra potens Iuno tuque o germane Tonantis
et gener, unanimi consortia discite somni
mutuaque alternis innectite vota lacertis.
iam felix oritur proles; iam laeta futuros 370
expectat Natura deos. nova numina rebus
addite et optatos Cereri proferte nepotes.”



Iuppiter interea cinctam Thaumantida nimbis
ire iubet totoque deos arcessere mundo.
illa colorato Zephyros illapsa volatu
numina conclamat pelagi Nymphasque morantes
increpat et Fluvios umentibus evocat antris. 5


on earth and no parents wept beside the funeral pyre. The wave brought not destruction to the sailor nor the spear to the warrior. Cities flourished and knew not death, the destroyer. Charon crowned his uncombed locks with sedge and singing plied his weightless oars.

And now its own evening-star had shone upon the underworld. The maiden is led into the bridal chamber. Night, clad in starry raiment, stands by her as her brideswoman; she touches the couch and blesses the union of marriage with a bond that cannot be broken. The blessed shades raise their voices and beneath the palace roof of Dis thus begin their song with sleepless acclaim: “Proserpine, queen of our realm, and thou, Pluto, at once the brother and the son-in-law of Jove, the Thunderer, be it yours to know the alliance of conjoined sleep; pledge mutual troth as ye hold each other in intertwining arms. Happy offspring shall be yours; joyous Nature awaits gods yet to be born. Give the world a new divinity and Ceres the grandchildren she longs for.”



Meanwhile Jove bids cloud-girt Iris go gather the gods from the whole universe. She, outstripping the breezes in her rainbow flight, calls to the sea-deities, chides the Nymphs for their delay, and summons forth the river-gods from their moist


ancipites trepidique ruunt, quae causa quietos
excierit, tanto quae res agitanda tumultu.
ut patuit stellata domus, considere iussi,
nec confusus honor: caelestibus ordine sedes
prima datur; tractum proceres tenuere secundum 10
aequorei, placidus Nereus reverendaque Phorci
canities; Glaucum series extrema biformem
accipit et certo mansurum Protea vultu.
nec non et senibus Fluviis concessa sedendi
gloria; plebeio stat cetera more iuventus, 15
mille Amnes. liquidis incumbunt patribus udae
Naides et taciti mirantur sidera Fauni.
Tum gravis ex alto genitor sic orsus Olympo:
“abduxere meas iterum mortalia curas
iam pridem neglecta mihi, Saturnia postquam 20
otia et ignavi senium cognovimus aevi;
sopitosque diu populos torpore paterno
sollicitae placuit stimulis impellere vitae,
incultis ne sponte seges grandesceret arvis,
undaret neu silva favis, neu vina tumerent 25
fontibus et totae fremerent in pocula ripae
(haud equidem invideo—neque enim livescere fas est
vel nocuisse deos—sed, quod dissuasor honesti
luxus et humanas oblimat copia mentes),
provocet ut segnes animos rerumque remotas 30
ingeniosa vias paulatim exploret egestas
utque artes pariat sollertia, nutriat usus.
“Nunc mihi cum magnis instat Natura querellis


caverns. Out they haste in doubt and fear what this disturbance of their peace may signify or what has caused so great an upheaval. The starry heaven is thrown open and the gods are bidden take their seats as merit, not chance, dictates. The first places are accorded to the heavenly powers, next come the ocean-deities, calm Nereus and grey-haired Phorcus, last twiform Glaucus and Proteus, for once of unvarying shape. The agèd river-gods, too, are privileged to take their seats; the other rivers, a thousand strong, stand as stands the youth of an earthly assembly. Dripping water-nymphs lean on their moist sires and Fauns in silence marvel at the stars.

Then the grave Father from his seat on high Olympus thus began: “Once more the affairs of men have won care from me, affairs long neglected since I looked upon the repose of Saturn’s reign and knew the torpor of that stagnant age, when I had fain urged the race of man, long sunk in lethargy by reason of my sire’s sluggish rule, with the goads of anxious life, whereby their crops should no more grow to maturity of their own accord in the untilled fields nor yet the forest trees drip with honey nor wine flow from springs nor every stream course sounding into cups. ’Twas not that I grudged their blessings—gods may not envy nor hurt—but because luxury is a foe to a godly life, and plenty dulls the mind of men; therefore I bade necessity, invention’s mother, provoke their sluggish spirits and little by little search out the hidden tracks of things; bade industry give birth to civilization and practice nourish it.

“Nature now with ceaseless complaint bids me


humanum relevare genus, durumque tyrannum
inmitemque vocat regnataque saecula patri 35
commemorat parcumque Iovem se divite clamat,
qui campos horrere situ dumisque repleri
rura velim, nullis exornem fructibus annum.
se iam, quae genetrix mortalibus ante fuisset,
in dirae subito mores transisse novercae; 40
‘quid mentem traxisse polo, quid profuit altum
erexisse caput, pecudum si more pererrant
avia, si frangunt communia pabula glandes?
haecine vita iuvat silvestribus abdita[127] lustris,
indiscreta feris?’ tales cum saepe parentis 45
pertulerim questus, tandem clementior orbi
Chaonio statui gentes avertere victu:
atque adeo Cererem, quae nunc ignara malorum
verberat Idaeos torva cum matre leones,
per mare, per terras avido discurrere luctu 50
decretum, natae donec laetata repertae
indicio tribuat fruges, currusque feratur
nubibus ignotas populis sparsurus aristas
et iuga caerulei subeant Actaea dracones.
quodsi quis Cereri raptorem prodere divum 55
audeat, imperii molem pacemque profundam
obtestor rerum, natus licet ille sororve
vel coniunx fuerit natarumve agminis una,
se licet illa meo conceptam vertice iactet:
sentiet iratum procul aegide, sentiet ictum 60
fulminis et genitum divina sorte pigebit
optabitque mori: tunc vulnere saucius ipsi

[127] abdita ς; Birt reads addita, following the other MSS.


succour the race of man, calls me cruel and implacable tyrant, calls to mind the centuries of my sire’s empery and dubs me miser of her riches, for that I would have the world a wilderness and the land covered with scrub and would beautify the year with no fruits. She complained that she, who was erstwhile the mother of all living things, had suddenly taken upon her the hated guise of a stepmother. ‘Of what avail that man derived his intelligence from above, that he has held up his head to heaven, if he wander like the beasts through trackless places, if with them he crushes acorns for food? Can such a life as this bring him happiness, hid in the forest glades, indistinguishable from the life of animals?’ Since I bore so often such complaints from the lips of mother Nature, at length I took pity on the world and decided to make man to cease from his oak-tree food; wherefore I have decreed that Ceres, who now, ignorant of her loss, lashes the lions of Mount Ida, accompanying her dread mother, should wander over sea and land in anxious grief, until, in her joy at finding the traces of her lost daughter, she grant man the gift of corn and her chariot is borne aloft through the clouds to scatter among the people ears before unknown and the steel-blue serpents submit them to the Attic yoke.[128] But if any of the gods dare inform Ceres who is the ravisher, I swear by the immensity of mine empire, by the firm-stablished peace of the world, be he son or sister, spouse or daughter, vaunt he his birth as from mine own head, he shall feel afar the wrath of mine arms, the thunderbolt’s blow, and be sorry he was born a god and pray for death. Then, sore wounded, he shall be handed

[128] Attic, because Ceres in her wanderings came to Eleusis where she instructed Triptolemus, son of Celeus, King of Eleusis, in the art of agriculture.


tradetur genero, passurus prodita regna,
et sciet an propriae conspirent Tartara causae.
hoc sanctum; mansura fluant hoc ordine fata.” 65
dixit et horrendo concussit sidera motu.
At procul armisoni Cererem sub rupibus antri
securam placidamque diu iam certa peracti
terrebant simulacra mali, noctesque timorem
ingeminant omnique perit Proserpina somno. 70
namque modo adversis invadi viscera telis,
nunc sibi mutatas horret nigrescere vestes,
nunc steriles mediis frondere penatibus ornos.
stabat praeterea luco dilectior omni
laurus, virgineos quondam quae fronde pudica 75
umbrabat thalamos: hanc imo stipite caesam
vidit et incomptos foedari pulvere ramos
quaesivitque nefas. Dryades dixere gementes
Tartarea Furias debellavisse bipenni.
Sed tunc ipsa sui iam non ambagibus ullis 80
nuntia materno facies ingesta sopori:
namque videbatur tenebroso obtecta recessu
carceris et saevis Proserpina vincta catenis,
non qualem Siculis olim mandaverat arvis
nec qualem roseis nuper convallibus Aetnae 85
suspexere deae: squalebat pulchrior auro
caesaries et nox oculorum infecerat ignes
exhaustusque gelu pallet rubor, ille superbi
flammeus oris honos, et non cessura pruinis
membra colorantur picei caligine regni. 90


over to my son-in-law, Pluto himself, for punishment in those regions he had fain betray. There he shall learn whether Hell is true to her own monarch’s cause. Such is my will; thus let the unchangeable fates fulfil my decree.” He spake and shook the stars with his dread nod.

But, far from Sicily, no uncertain suspicions of the loss she had suffered alarmed Ceres, where long she had dwelt peaceful and secure beneath the rocky roof of the cave resounding with arms. Dreams doubled her dread and a vision of Proserpine lost troubled her every sleep. Now she dreams that an enemy’s spear is piercing her body, now (oh horror!) that her raiment is changed and is become black, now that the infecund ash is budding in the midst of her house. Moreover, there stood a laurel, loved above all the grove, that used with maiden leaf to o’ershadow the virgin bower of Proserpine. This she saw hewn down to the roots, its straggling branches fouled with dust, and when she asked the cause of this disaster weeping dryads told her that the Furies had destroyed it with an axe of Hell.

Next her very image appeared in the mother’s dreams, announcing her fate in no uncertain manner. She saw Proserpine shut in the dark confines of a prison-house and bound with cruel chains. Yet not so had she entrusted her to the fields of Sicily, not so had the wondering goddesses beheld her in Etna’s flowery meadows. Foul was now that hair, more beauteous erstwhile than gold; night had dimmed the fire of her eyes and frost banished the roses from her pale cheeks. The gracious flush of her skin and those limbs whose whiteness matched the hoar-frost are alike turned to hell-tinctured


ergo hanc ut dubio vix tandem agnoscere visu
evaluit: “cuius tot poenae criminis?” inquit
“unde haec informis macies? cui tanta potestas
in me saevitiae? rigidi cur vincula ferri
vix aptanda feris molles meruere lacerti? 95
tu mea, tu proles? an vana fallimur umbra?”
Illa refert: “heu dira parens nataeque peremptae
immemor! heu fulvas animo transgressa leaenas!
tantane te nostri tenuere oblivia? tantum
unica despicior? certe Proserpina nomen 100
dulce tibi, tali quae nunc, ut cernis, hiatu
suppliciis inclusa teror! tu saeva choreis
indulges? Phrygias vel nunc interstrepis urbes?
quodsi non omnem pepulisti pectore matrem,
si tua nata, Ceres, et non me Caspia tigris 105
edidit, his, oro, miseram defende cavernis
inque superna refer, prohibent si fata reverti,
vel tantum visura veni.”
Sic fata trementes
tendere conatur palmas. vis improba ferri
impedit et motae somnum solvere catenae. 110
obriguit visis; gaudet non vera fuisse;
complexu caruisse dolet. penetralibus amens
prosilit et tali compellat voce Cybeben:
“Iam non ulterius Phrygia tellure morabor,
sancta parens: revocat tandem custodia cari 115
pignoris et cunctis obiecti fraudibus anni.


grain. When, therefore, she was at last able to recognize her daughter, albeit with doubtful gaze, she cried: “What crime hath merited these many punishments? Whence comes this dreadful wasting away? Who hath power to wreak such cruelty upon me? How have thy soft arms deserved fetters of stubborn iron, scarce fitted for beasts? Art thou my daughter or does a vain shadow deceive me?”

Thus she answered: “Cruel mother, forgetful of thy daughter’s fate, more hard of heart than the tawny lioness! Could’st thou be so heedless of me? Didst thou hold me cheap for that I am thy sole daughter? Dear indeed to thee must be the name of Proserpine who now, shut in this vast cavern, as thou seest, am plagued with torment! Hast thou heart to dance, cruel mother? Canst thou revel through the cities of Phrygia? If thou hast not banished the mother from thy breast, if thou, Ceres, art really my mother and ’twas no Hyrcanian tiger gave me birth, save me, I pray thee, from this prison and restore me to the upper world. If the fates forbid my return come thou down at least and visit me.”

So spake she and strove to hold out her trembling hands. The iron’s ruthless strength forbade it, and the clangour of the chains awoke her sleeping mother. Ceres lay stiff with terror at the vision, rejoices that it was not true, but grieves that she cannot embrace her daughter. Maddened with fear she rushes out of the cavern and thus addresses Cybele: “No longer now will I tarry in the land of Phrygia, holy mother; the duty of protecting my dear daughter calls me back after so long an absence, for she is of an age that is exposed to many dangers. I put not


nec mihi Cyclopum quamvis extructa caminis
culmina fida satis. timeo ne fama latebras
prodiderit leviusque meum Trinacria celet
depositum. terret nimium vulgata locorum 120
nobilitas. aliis sedes obscurior oris
exquirenda mihi; gemitu flammisque propinquis
Enceladi nequeunt umbracula nostra taceri.
somnia quin etiam variis infausta figuris
saepe monent, nullusque dies non triste minatur 125
augurium. quotiens flaventia serta comarum
sponte cadunt! quotiens exundat ab ubere sanguis!
larga vel invito prorumpunt flumina vultu
iniussaeque manus mirantia pectora tundunt.
si buxus inflare velim, ferale gemiscunt; 130
tympana si quatiam, planctus mihi tympana reddunt.
ah vereor, ne quid portendant omina veri!
hae longae nocuere morae!”
“Procul inrita venti
dicta ferant” subicit Cybele; “nec tanta Tonanti
segnities, ut non pro pignore fulmina mittat. 135
i tamen et nullo turbata revertere casu.”
Haec ubi, digreditur templis. sed nulla ruenti
mobilitas: tardos queritur non ire dracones
inmeritasque movens alterno verbere pennas
Sicaniam quaerit, cum necdum absconderit Idam. 140
cuncta pavet speratque nihil. sic aestuat ales,
quae teneros humili fetus commiserit orno
adlatura cibos, et plurima cogitat absens:
ne gracilem ventus decusserit arbore nidum,
ne furtum pateant homini, ne praeda colubris. 145


complete trust in my palace, though built with iron from the Cyclops’ furnace. I fear lest rumour disclose her hiding-place and Sicily too lightly guard my trust. The fame of that place too widely bruited abroad alarms me; needs must I find elsewhere some obscurer abode. Our retreat must be on all men’s tongues by reason of the groanings of Enceladus and the neighbour flames. Ill-omened dreams, too, with diverse visions often give me pause, and no day passes but brings some inauspicious hap. How often has my crown of golden ears fallen of itself! How often blood flowed from my breast! In mine own despite streams of tears course down my cheeks and unbidden my hands beat my astonished breast. Would I blow up the flute, funereal is the note; do I shake the cymbals, the cymbals echo a sound of mourning. Alas! I fear there is some trouble in these portents. This long sojourn, has wrought me woe.”

“May the wind carry far away thy vain words,” replies Cybele; “not such the Thunderer’s want of care that he would not hurl his bolt in his daughter’s defence. Yet go and return, dismayed by no evil hap.”

This said, Ceres left the temple; but no speed is enough for her haste; she complains that her sluggish dragons scarce move, and, lashing the wings now of this one and now of that (though little they deserved it), she hopes to reach Sicily e’er yet out of sight of Ida. She fears everything and hopes nothing, anxious as the bird that has entrusted its unfledged brood to a low-growing ash and while absent gathering food has many fears lest perchance the wind has blown the fragile nest from the tree, lest her young ones be exposed to the theft of man or the greed of snakes.


Ut domus excubiis incustodita remotis
et resupinati neglecto cardine postes
flebilis et tacitae species adparuit aulae,
non expectato respectu cladis amictus
conscidit et fractas cum crine avellit aristas. 150
haeserunt lacrimae; nec vox aut spiritus oris
redditur, atque imis vibrat tremor ossa medullis;
succidui titubant gressus; foribusque reclusis,
dum vacuas sedes et desolata pererrat
atria, semirutas confuso stamine telas 155
atque interceptas agnoscit pectinis artes.
divinus perit ille labor, spatiumque relictum
audax sacrilego supplebat aranea textu.
Nec deflet plangitve malum; tantum oscula telae
figit et abrumpit mutas in fila querellas; 160
attritosque manu radios proiectaque pensa
cunctaque virgineo sparsa oblectamina ludo
ceu natam pressat gremio; castumque cubile
desertosque toros et, sicubi sederat olim,
perlegit: attonitus stabulo ceu pastor inani, 165
cui pecus aut rabies Poenorum inopina leonum
aut populatrices infestavere catervae;
serus at ille redit vastataque pascua lustrans
non responsuros ciet imploratque iuvencos.
Atque ibi secreta tectorum in parte iacentem 170
conspicit Electram, natae quae sedula nutrix
Oceani priscas inter notissima Nymphas.
par Cereri pietas; haec post cunabula dulci
ferre sinu summoque Iovi deducere parvam
sueverat et genibus ludentem aptare paternis. 175


When she saw the gate-keepers fled, the house unguarded, the rusted hinges, the overthrown doorposts, and the miserable state of the silent halls, pausing not to look again at the disaster, she rent her garment and tore away the shattered corn-ears along with her hair. She could not weep nor speak nor breathe and a trembling shook the very marrow of her bones; her faltering steps tottered. She flung open the doors and wandering through the empty rooms and deserted halls, recognized the half-ruined warp with its disordered threads and the work of the loom broken off. The goddess’ labours had come to naught, and what remained to be done, that the bold spider was finishing with her sacrilegious web.

She weeps not nor bewails the ill; only kisses the loom and stifles her dumb complaints amid the threads, clasping to her bosom, as though it had been her child, the spindles her child’s hand had touched, the wool she had cast aside, and all the toys scattered in maiden sport. She scans the virgin bed, the deserted couch, and the chair where Proserpine had sat: even as a herd, whose drove the unexpected fury of an African lion or bands of marauding beasts have attacked, gazes in amaze at the vacant stall, and, too late returned, wanders through the emptied pastures, sadly calling to the unreplying steers.

And there, in the innermost parts of the house, she saw lying Electra, loving nurse of Proserpine, best known among the old Nymphs of Ocean; she who loved Proserpine as did Ceres. ’Twas she who, when Proserpine had left her cradle, would bear her in her loving bosom and bring the little girl to mighty Jove and set her to play on her father’s


haec comes, haec custos, haec proxima mater haberi.
tunc laceras effusa comas et pulvere cano
sordida sidereae raptus lugebat alumnae.
Hanc adgressa Ceres, postquam suspiria tandem
laxavit frenosque dolor: “quod cernimus” inquit 180
“excidium? cui praeda feror? regnatne maritus
an caelum Titanes habent? quae talia vivo
ausa Tonante manus? rupitne Typhoia cervix
Inarimen? fractane iugi compage Vesevi
Alcyoneus Tyrrhena pedes per stagna cucurrit? 185
an vicina mihi quassatis faucibus Aetna
protulit Enceladum? nostros an forte penates
adpetiit centum Briareia turba lacertis?
heu, ubi nunc es, nata, mihi? quo, mille ministrae,
quo, Cyane? volucres quae vis Sirenas abegit? 190
haecine vestra fides? sic fas aliena tueri
Contremuit nutrix, maerorque pudori
cedit, et adspectus miserae non ferre parentis
emptum morte velit longumque inmota moratur
auctorem dubium certumque expromere funus. 195
vix tamen haec:
“Acies utinam vesana Gigantum
hanc dederit cladem! levius communia tangunt.
sed divae, multoque minus quod rere, sorores
in nostras (nimium!) coniuravere ruinas.
insidias superum, cognatae vulnera cernis 200
invidiae. Phlegra nobis infensior aether.
“Florebat tranquilla domus; nec limina virgo


knee. She was her companion, her guardian, and could be deemed her second mother. There, with torn and dishevelled hair, all foul with grey dust, she was lamenting the rape of her divine foster-child.

Ceres approached her, and when at length her grief allowed her sighs free rein: “What ruin is here?” she said. “Of what enemy am I become the victim? Does my husband yet rule or do the Titans hold heaven? What hand hath dared this, if the Thunderer be still alive? Have Typhon’s shoulders forced up Inarime or does Alcyoneus course on foot through the Etruscan Sea, having burst the bonds of imprisoning Vesuvius? Or has the neighbouring mountain of Etna oped her jaws and expelled Enceladus? Perchance Briareus with his hundred arms has attacked my house? Ah, my daughter, where art thou now? Whither are fled my thousand servants, whither Cyane? What violence has driven away the winged Sirens? Is this your faith? Is this the way to guard another’s treasure?”

The nurse trembled and her sorrow gave place to shame; fain would she have died could she so escape the gaze of that unhappy mother, and long stayed she motionless, hesitating to disclose the suspected criminal and the all too certain death. Scarce could she thus speak: “Would that the raging band of Giants had wrought this ruin! Easier to bear is a common lot. ’Tis the goddesses, and, though thou wilt scarce credit it, her own sisters, who have conspired to our undoing. Thou seest the devices of gods and wounds inflicted by sisters’ jealousy. Heaven is a more cruel enemy than Hell.

“All quiet was the house, the maiden dared not


linquere nec virides audebat visere saltus
praeceptis obstricta tuis. telae labor illi;
Sirenes requies. sermonum gratia mecum, 205
mecum somnus erat cautique per atria ludi:
cum subito (dubium quonam monstrante latebras
rescierit) Cytherea venit suspectaque nobis
ne foret, hinc Phoeben comites, hinc Pallada iunxit.
protinus effuso laetam se fingere risu 210
nec semel amplecti nomenque iterare sororis
et dura de matre queri, quae tale recessu
maluerit damnare decus vetitamque dearum
colloquio patriis procul amandaverit astris.
nostra rudis gaudere malis et nectare largo 215
instaurare dapes. nunc arma habitumque Dianae
induitur digitisque attemptat mollibus arcum,
nunc crinita iubis galeam, laudante Minerva,
implet et ingentem clipeum gestare laborat.
“Prima Venus campos Aetnaeaque rura maligno 220
ingerit adflatu. vicinos callida flores
ingeminat meritumque loci velut inscia quaerit
nec credit, quod bruma rosas innoxia servet,
quod gelidi rubeant alieno genuine menses
verna nec iratum timeant virgulta Booten. 225
dum loca miratur, studio dum flagrat eundi,
persuadet; teneris heu lubrica moribus aetas!
quos ego nequidquam planctus, quas inrita fudi


o’erstep the threshold nor visit the grassy pastures, close bound by thy commands. The loom gave her work, the Sirens with their song relaxation—with me she held pleasant converse, with me she slept; safe delights were hers within the halls. Then suddenly Cytherea came (who showed her the way to our hid abode I know not), and, that she might not rouse our suspicions, she brought with her Diana and Minerva, attending her on either side. Straightway with beaming smiles she put on a pretence of joy, kissed Proserpine many a time, and repeated the name of sister, complaining of that hard-hearted mother who chose to condemn such beauty to imprisonment and complaining that by forbidding her intercourse with the goddesses she had removed her far from her father’s heaven. My unwitting charge rejoiced in these evil words and bade a feast be spread with plentiful nectar. Now she dons Diana’s arms and dress and tries her bow with her soft fingers. Now crowned with horse-hair plumes she puts on the helmet, Minerva commending her, and strives to carry her huge shield.

“Venus was the first with guileful suggestion to mention fields and the vale of Henna. Cunningly she harps upon the nearness of the flowery mead, and as though she knew it not, asks what merits the place boasts, pretending not to believe that a harmless winter allows the roses to bloom, that the cold months are bright with flowers not rightly theirs, and that the spring thickets fear not there Boötes’ wrath. So with her wonderment, her passion to see the spot, she persuades Proserpine. Alas! how easily does youth err with its weak ways! What tears did I not shed to no purpose, what vain


ore preces! ruit illa tamen confisa sororum
praesidio; famulae longo post ordine Nymphae. 230
“Itur in aeterno vestitos gramine colles
et prima sub luce legunt, cum rore serenus
albet ager sparsosque bibunt violaria sucos.
sed postquam medio sol altior institit axi,
ecce polum nox foeda rapit tremefactaque nutat 235
insula cornipedum pulsu strepituque rotarum.
nosse nec aurigam licuit: seu mortifer ille
seu Mors ipsa fuit. livor permanat in herbas;
deficiunt rivi; squalent rubigine prata
et nihil adflatum vivit: pallere ligustra, 240
expirare rosas, decrescere lilia vidi.
ut rauco reduces tractu detorsit habenas,
nox sua prosequitur currum, lux redditur orbi.
Persephone nusquam. voto rediere peracto
nec mansere deae. mediis invenimus arvis 245
exanimem Cyanen: cervix redimita iacebat
et caligantes marcebant fronte coronae.
adgredimur subito et casus scitamur eriles
(nam propior cladi steterat): quis vultus equorum?
quis regat? illa nihil, tacito sed laesa veneno 250
solvitur in laticem: subrepit crinibus umor;
liquitur in roremque pedes et brachia manant
nostraque mox lambit vestigia perspicuus fons.
discedunt aliae. rapidis Acheloides alis
sublatae Siculi latus obsedere Pelori 255


entreaties did my lips not utter! Away she flew, trusting to the sisters’ protection; the scattered company of attendant nymphs followed after her.

“They went to the hills clothed with undying grass and gather flowers ’neath the twilight of dawn, when the quiet meads are white with dew and violets drink the scattered moisture. But when the sun had mounted to higher air at noon, behold! murky night hid the sky and the island trembled and shook beneath the beat of horses’ hoofs and the rumble of wheels. Who the charioteer was none might tell—whether he was the harbinger of death or it was Death himself. Gloom spread through the meadows, the rivers stayed their courses, the fields were blighted, nor did aught live, once touched with those horses’ breath. I saw the bryony pale, the roses fade, the lilies wither. When in his roaring course the driver turned back his steeds the night it brought accompanied the chariot and light was restored to the world. Proserpine was nowhere to be seen. Their vows fulfilled, the goddesses had returned and tarried not. We found Cyane half dead amid the fields; there she lay, a garland round her neck and the blackened wreaths faded upon her forehead. At once we approached her and inquired after her mistress’s fortune, for she had been a witness of the disaster. What, we asked, was the aspect of the horses; who their driver? Naught said she, but corrupted with some hidden venom, dissolved into water. Water crept amid her hair; legs and arms melted and flowed away, and soon a clear stream washed our feet. The rest are gone; the Sirens, Achelous’ daughters, rising on rapid wing, have occupied the coast of Sicilian Pelorus, and in wrath


accensaeque malo iam non impune canoras
in pestem vertere lyras: vox blanda carinas
adligat; audito frenantur carmine remi.
sola domi luctu senium tractura relinquor.”
Haeret adhuc suspensa Ceres et singula demens 260
ceu nondum transacta timet; mox lumina torquens
vultu ad caelicolas furiato pectore fertur.
arduus Hyrcana quatitur sic matre Niphates,
cuius Achaemenio regi ludibria natos
advexit tremebundus eques: fremit illa marito 265
mobilior Zephyro totamque virentibus iram
dispergit maculis timidumque hausura profundo
ore virum vitreae tardatur imagine formae.
Haud aliter toto genetrix bacchatur Olympo
“reddite” vociferans. “non me vagus edidit amnis; 270
non Dryadum de plebe sumus. turrita Cybebe
me quoque Saturno genuit. quo iura deorum,
quo leges cecidere poli? quid vivere recte
proderit? en audet noti Cytherea pudoris
ostentare suos post Lemnia vincula vultus! 275
hos animos bonus ille sopor castumque cubile
praebuit! amplexus hoc promeruere pudici!
nec mirum, si turpe nihil post talia ducit.
quid vos expertes thalami? tantumne relictus


at this crime now turned their lyres to man’s destruction, tuneful now for ill. Their sweet voices stay ships, but once that song is heard the oars can move no more. I alone am left in the house to drag out an old age of mourning.”

Ceres is still a prey to anxiety; half distraught she fears everything as though all were not yet accomplished. Anon she turns her head and eyes to heaven and with raging breast inveighs against its denizens; even as lofty Niphates shakes to the roaring of the Hyrcan tigress whose cubs the terrified horseman has carried off to be the playthings of Persia’s king. Speedier than the west wind that is her paramour[129] rushes the tigress, anger blazing from her stripes, but just as she is about to engulf the terrified hunter in her capacious maw, she is checked by the mirrored image of her own form[130]: so the mother of Proserpine rages over all Olympus crying: “Give her back; no wandering stream gave me birth; I spring not from the Dryad rabble. Towered Cybele bare me also to Saturn. Where are the ordinances of the gods, where the laws of heaven? What boots it to live a good life? See, Cytherea dares show her face (modest goddess!) even after her Lemnian[131] bondage! ’Tis that chaste sleep and a loverless couch have given her this courage! This is, I suppose, the reward of those maidenly embraces! Small wonder that after such infamy she account nothing disgraceful. Ye goddesses that have known not marriage, is it thus that ye neglect the honour due to virginity?

[129] marito Zephyro (ll. 265, 266) refers to the theory of impregnation by wind commonly accepted by the ancients (see Arist. H.A. vi. 19; Verg. Georg. iii. 275, etc.).

[130] It was supposed that the robbed tigress on being confronted with a convex mirror supposed the reduced image to be her cub and contentedly retired with the mirror in her mouth. Another story makes the tigress vent her anger on an ordinary (not convex) mirror.

[131] A reference to the binding by Hephaestus (to whom Lemnos was sacred) of Ares and Aphrodite whom he had surprised in adulterous intercourse. The story is told in Homer (Θ 266 et sqq.). Statius (Silv. i. 2. 60) uses this very phrase “Lemnia vincula.”


virginitatis honos? tantum mutata voluntas? 280
iam Veneri iunctae, sociis raptoribus, itis?
o templis Scythiae atque hominem sitientibus aris
utraque digna coli! tanti quae causa furoris?
quam mea vel tenui dicto Proserpina laesit?
scilicet aut caris pepulit te, Delia, silvis 285
aut tibi commissas rapuit, Tritonia, pugnas.
an gravis eloquio? vestros an forte petebat
importuna choros? atqui Trinacria longe,
esset ne vobis oneri, deserta colebat.
quid latuisse iuvat? rabiem livoris acerbi 290
nulla potest placare quies.”
His increpat omnes
vocibus. ast illae (prohibet sententia patris)
aut reticent aut nosse negant responsaque matri
dant lacrimas. quid agat? rursus se victa remittit
inque humiles devecta preces:
“Ignoscite, si quid 295
intumuit pietas, si quid flagrantius actum
quam miseros decuit. supplex miserandaque vestris
advolvor genibus: liceat cognoscere sortem:
hoc tantum liceat—certos habuisse dolores.
scire peto, quae forma mali; quamcumque dedistis 300
fortunam, sit nota: feram fatumque putabo,
non scelus. adspectum, precor, indulgete parenti;
non repetam. quaesita manu securus habeto
quisquis es; adfirmo praedam; desiste vereri.
quodsi nos aliquo praevenit foedere raptor, 305
tu certe, Latona, refer; confessa Diana
forte tibi. nosti quid sit Lucina, quis horror


Have ye so changed your counsel? Do ye now go allied with Venus and her accomplice ravishers? Worthy each of you to be worshipped in Scythian temples and at altars that lust after human blood. What hath caused such great anger? Which of you has my Proserpine wronged even in her slightest word? Doubtless she drove thee, Delian goddess, from thy loved woods, or deprived thee, Triton-born, of some battle thou hadst joined. Did she plague you with talk? Break rudely upon your dances? Nay, that she might be no burden to you, she dwelt far away in the solitudes of Sicily. What good hath her retirement done her? No peace can still the madness of bitter jealousy.”

Thus she upbraids them all. But they, obedient to the Father’s word, keep silence or say they know nothing, and make tears their answer to the mother’s questionings. What can she do? She ceases, beaten, and in turn descends to humble entreaty. “If a mother’s love swelled too high or if I have done aught more boldly than befitted misery, oh forgive! A suppliant and wretched I fling me at your feet; grant me to learn my doom; grant me at least this much—sure knowledge of my woes. Fain would I know the manner of this ill; whatsoever fortune ye have visited upon me that will I bear and account it fate, not injustice. Grant a parent the sight of her child; I ask her not back. Whosoever thou art, possess in peace what thine hand has taken. The prey is thine, fear not. But if the ravisher has thwarted me, binding you by some oath, yet do thou, at least, Latona, tell me his name; to thee mayhap Diana hath confessed her knowledge. Thou hast known childbirth, the anxiety


pro genitis et quantus amor, partusque tulisti
tu geminos: haec una mihi. sic crine fruaris
semper Apollineo, sic me felicior aevum 310
mater agas.”
Largis tunc imbribus ora madescunt.
“quid? tantum dignum fleri dignumque taceri?
hei mihi, discedunt omnes. quid vana moraris
ulterius? non bella palam caelestia sentis?
quin potius natam pelago terrisque requiris? 315
accingar lustrare diem, per devia rerum
indefessa ferar. nulla cessabitur hora,
non requies, non somnus erit, dum pignus ademptum
inveniam, gremio quamvis mergatur Hiberae
Tethyos et Rubro iaceat vallata profundo. 320
non Rheni glacies, non me Riphaea tenebunt
frigora; non dubio Syrtis cunctabitur aestu.
stat finem penetrare Noti Boreaeque nivalem
vestigare domum; primo calcabitur Atlas
occasu facibusque meis lucebit Hydaspes. 325
impius errantem videat per rura, per urbes
Iuppiter; extincta satietur paelice Iuno.
insultate mihi, caelo regnate superbi,
ducite praeclarum Cereris de stirpe triumphum!”
Haec fatur notaeque iugis inlabitur Aetnae 330
noctivago taedas informatura labori.
Lucus erat prope flumen Acin, quod candida praefert
saepe mari pulchroque secat Galatea natatu,
densus et innexis Aetnaea cacumina ramis
qua licet usque tegens. illic posuisse cruentam 335


and love for children; to offspring twain hast thou given birth; this was mine only child. So mayest thou ever enjoy Apollo’s locks, so mayest thou live a happier mother than I.”

Plenteous tears then bedewed her cheeks. She continued: “Why these tears? why this silence? Woe is me; all desert me. Why tarriest thou yet to no purpose? Seest thou not ’tis open war with heaven? were it not better to seek again thy daughter by sea and land? I will gird myself and scour the world, unwearied I will penetrate its every corner, nor ever stay my search, nor rest nor sleep till I find my reft treasure, though she lie whelmed in the Spanish Ocean bed or hedged around in the depths of the Red Sea. Neither ice-bound Rhine nor Alpine frosts shall stay me; the treacherous tides of Syrtes shall not give me pause. My purpose holds to penetrate the fastnesses of the North and to tread the snowy home of Boreas. I will climb Atlas on the brink of the sunset and illumine Hydaspes’ stream with my torches. Let wicked Jove behold me wandering through towns and country, and Juno’s jealousy be sated with her rival’s ruin. Have your sport with me, triumph in heaven, proud gods, celebrate your illustrious victory o’er Ceres’ conquered daughter.”

So spake she and glides down upon Etna’s familiar slopes, there to fashion torches to aid her night-wandering labours.

There was a wood, hard by the stream of Acis, which fair Galatea oft chooses in preference to Ocean and cleaves in swimming with her snowy breast—a wood dense with foliage that closed in Etna’s summit on all sides with interwoven branches. “Tis there that Jove is said to have laid down his


aegida captivamque pater post proelia praedam
advexisse datur. Phlegraeis silva superbit
exuviis totumque nemus victoria vestit.
hic patuli rictus et prodigiosa Gigantum
tergora dependent, et adhuc crudele minantur 340
adfixae truncis facies, inmaniaque ossa
serpentum passim cumulis exanguibus albent,
et rigidae multo suspirant fulmine pelles;
nullaque non magni iactat se nominis arbor:
haec centumgemini strictos Aegaeonis enses 345
curvata vix fronde levat; liventibus illa
exultat Coei spoliis; haec arma Mimantis
sustinet; hos onerat ramos exutus Ophion.
altior at cunctis abies umbrosaque late
ipsius Enceladi fumantia gestat opima, 350
summi terrigenum regis, caderetque gravata
pondere, ni lassam fulciret proxima quercus.
inde timor numenque loco, nemorisque senectae
parcitur, aetheriisque nefas nocuisse tropaeis.
pascere nullus oves nec robora laedere Cyclops 355
audet et ipse fugit sacra Polyphemus ab umbra.
Non tamen hoc tardata Ceres. accenditur ultro
relligione loci vibratque infesta securim
ipsum etiam feritura Iovem: succidere pinus
aut magis enodes dubitat prosternere cedros 360
exploratque habiles truncos rectique tenorem
stipitis et certo pertemptat brachia nisu.
sic, qui vecturus longinqua per aequora merces
molitur tellure ratem vitamque procellis
obiectare parat, fagos metitur et alnos 365


bloody shield and set his captured spoil after the battle. The grove glories in trophies from the plain of Phlegra and signs of victory clothe its every tree. Here hang the gaping jaws and monstrous skins of the Giants; affixed to trees their faces still threaten horribly, and heaped up on all sides bleach the huge bones of slaughtered serpents. Their stiffening sloughs smoke with the blow of many a thunderbolt, and every tree boasts some illustrious name. This one scarce supports on its down-bended branches the naked swords of hundred-handed Aegaeon; that glories in the murky trophies of Coeus; this bears up the arms of Mimas; spoiled Ophion weighs down those branches. But higher than all the other trees towers a pine, its shady branches spread wide, and bears the reeking arms of Enceladus himself, all powerful king of the Earth-born giants; it would have fallen beneath the heavy burden did not a neighbouring oak-tree support its wearied weight. Therefore the spot wins awe and sanctity; none touches the aged grove, and ’tis accounted a crime to violate the trophies of the gods. No Cyclops dares pasture there his flock nor hew down the trees, Polyphemus himself flies from the hallowed shade.

Not for that did Ceres stay her steps; the very sanctity of the place inflames her wrath; with angry hand she brandishes her axe, ready to strike Jove himself. She hesitates whether to cut down pines or lay low knotless cedars, scans likely trunks and lofty trees and shakes their branches with vigorous hand. Even so when a man, fain to carry merchandise over distant seas, builds a ship on dry land and makes ready to expose his life to the tempest, he hews down


et varium rudibus silvis accommodat usum:
quae longa est, tumidis praebebit cornua velis;
quae fortis, clavo potior; quae lenta, favebit
remigio: stagni patiens aptanda carinae.
Tollebant geminae capita inviolata cupressus 370
caespite vicino: quales non rupibus Idae
miratur Simois, quales non divite ripa
lambit Apollinei nemoris nutritor Orontes.
germanas adeo credas; sic frontibus aequis
adstant et socio despectant vertice lucum. 375
hae placuere faces. pernix invadit utramque
cincta sinus, exerta manus, armata bipenni
alternasque ferit totisque obnixa trementes
viribus impellit. pariter traxere ruinam
et pariter posuere comas campoque recumbunt, 380
Faunorum Dryadumque dolor. complectitur ambas,
sicut erant, alteque levat retroque solutis
crinibus ascendit fastigia montis anheli
exuperatque aestus et nulli pervia saxa
atque indignantes vestigia calcat harenas: 385
qualis pestiferas animare ad crimina taxos
torva Megaera ruit, Cadmi seu moenia poscat
sive Thyesteis properet saevire Mycenis:
dant tenebrae manesque locum plantisque resultant
Tartara ferratis, donec Phlegethontis ad undam 390
constitit et plenos excepit lampade fluctus.
Postquam perventum scopuli flagrantis in ora,
protinus arsuras aversa fronte cupressus
faucibus iniecit mediis lateque cavernas
texit et undantem flammarum obstruxit hiatum. 395


beech and elm and marks the diverse utility of the yet growing forest; the lofty tree he selects as yardarms for the swelling sail; the strong he prefers as a mast; the pliant will make good oars; the waterproof is suitable for the keel.

Two cypresses in the grass hard by raised their inviolate heads to heaven; Simois looks not on such in amaze amid the crags of Ida, nor does Orontes water their like, Orontes that feeds Apollo’s grove and harbours rich cities on his banks. You would know them for sisters for they tower equal in height and look down upon the wood with twin tops. These she would have as torches; she attacks each with vigorous blows, her gown girt back, her arms bared and armed with the axe. First one she strikes, then the other, and rains blows upon their trembling trunks with might and main. Together they crash to the ground, lay their foliage in the dust and lie upon the plain, wept of Fauns and wood-nymphs. She seizes both just as they are, uplifts them and, with hair out-streaming behind her, climbs panting the slopes of the mountain, passes beyond the flames and inaccessible precipices, and treads the lava that brooks no mortal footstep: even as the grim Megaera hastens to kindle yew-trees to light her to crime, speeding her journey to the walls of Cadmus’ city or meaning to work her devilment in Thyestean Mycenae; darkness and the shades give her passage, and Hell rings to her iron tread, till she halts beside Phlegethon’s wave and fires her torch from its brimming waves.

When she had climbed to the mouth of the burning rock, straightway, turning aside her head, she thrust the kindling cypresses into its inmost depths, thus closing in the cavern on all sides and stopping up the


compresso mons igne tonat claususque laborat
Mulciber: obducti nequeunt exire vapores.
coniferi micuere apices crevitque favillis
Aetna novis: strident admisso sulphure rami.
tum, ne deficerent tantis erroribus, ignes 400
semper inocciduos insopitosque manere
iussit et arcano perfudit robora suco,
quo Phaëthon inrorat equos, quo Luna iuvencos.
Iamque soporiferas nocturna silentia terris
explicuere vices: laniato pectore longas 405
incohat illa vias et sic ingressa profatur:
“Non tales gestare tibi, Proserpina, taedas
sperabam; sed vota mihi communia matrum
et thalami festaeque faces caeloque canendus
ante oculos hymenaeus erat. sic numina fatis 410
volvimur et nullo Lachesis discrimine saevit?
quam nuper sublimis eram quantisque procorum
cingebar studiis! quae non mihi pignus ob unum
cedebat numerosa parens! tu prima voluptas,
tu postrema mihi; per te fecunda ferebar. 415
o decus, o requies, o grata superbia matris,
qua gessi florente deam, qua sospite numquam
inferior Iunone fui: nunc squalida, vilis.
hoc placitum patri. cur autem adscribimus illum
his lacrimis? ego te, fateor, crudelis ademi, 420
quae te deserui solamque instantibus ultro
hostibus exposui. raucis secura fruebar
nimirum thiasis et laeta sonantibus armis


blazing exit of the flames. The mountain thunders with repressed fire and Vulcan is shut in a grievous prison; the enclosed smoke cannot escape. The cone-bearing tops of the cypresses blaze and Etna grows with new ashes; the branches crackle, kindled with the sulphur. Then, lest their long journey should cause them to fail, she bids the flames never die nor sleep and drenches the wood with that secret drug[132] wherewith Phaëthon bedews his steeds and the Moon her bulls.

Silent night had now in her turn visited upon the world her gift of sleep. Ceres, with her wounded breast, starts on her long journey and, as she sets out, speaks as follows: “Little thought I, Proserpine, to carry for thee such torches as these. I had hoped what every mother hopes; marriage and festal torches and a wedding-song to be sung in heaven—such was my expectation. Are we divinities thus the sport of fate? does Lachesis vent her spleen on us as on mankind? How lofty was but now mine estate, surrounded with suitors innumerable for my daughter’s hand! What mother of many children but would have owned her my inferior by reason of my only daughter! Thou wast my first joy and my last; I was called prolific for that I bare thee. Thou wert my glory, my comfort, dear object of a mother’s pride; with thee alive I was goddess indeed, with thee safe I was Juno’s equal. Now am I outcast, beggared. ’Tis the Father’s will. Yet why make Jove answerable for my tears? ’Twas I who so cruelly undid thee, I confess it, for I deserted thee and heedlessly exposed thee to threatening foes. Too deeply was I enmeshed in careless enjoyment of shrill-voiced revel, and, happy amid the din of arms,

[132] A magic drug or herb on which the sun is said to have fed his horses in order to render them non-inflammable. Ovid tells how Phaëthon was treated by his father in a like way (Met. ii. 122).


iungebam Phrygios, cum tu raperere, leones.
accipe quas merui poenas. en ora fatiscunt 425
vulneribus grandesque rubent in pectore sulci.
immemor en uterus crebro contunditur ictu.
“Qua te parte poli, quo te sub cardine quaeram?
quis monstrator erit? quae me vestigia ducent?
qui currus? ferus ipse quis est? terraene, marisne 430
incola? quae volucrum deprendam signa rotarum?
ibo, ibo quocumque pedes, quocumque iubebit
casus; sic Venerem quaerat deserta Dione.
“Efficietne labor? rursus te, nata, licebit
amplecti? manet ille decor, manet ille genarum 435
fulgor? an infelix talem fortasse videbo,
qualis nocte venis, qualem per somnia vidi?”
Sic ait et prima gressus molitur ab Aetna
exitiique reos flores ipsumque rapinae
detestata locum sequitur dispersa viarum 440
indicia et pleno rimatur lumine campos
inclinatque faces, omnis madet orbita fletu;
omnibus admugit,[133] quocumque it in aequore, sulcis.[134]
adnatat umbra fretis extremaque lucis imago
Italiam Libyamque ferit: clarescit Etruscum 445
litus et accenso resplendent aequore Syrtes.
antra procul Scyllaea petit canibusque reductis
pars stupefacta silet, pars nondum exterrita latrat.

[133] Birt omnibus admugit. quocumque it in aequore, fulvis adnatat.…

[134] sulcis ς; fulvis FSV; silvis W.


I was yoking Phrygian lions whilst thou wast being carried off. Yet see the punishment visited upon me. My face is seared with wounds and long gashes furrow my bloody breast. My womb, forgetful that it gave thee birth, is beaten with continual blows.

“Where under heaven shall I find thee? Beneath what quarter of the sky? Who shall point the way, what path shall lead me? What chariot was it? Who was that cruel ravisher? A denizen of earth or sea? What traces of his wingèd wheels can I discover? Whithersoever my steps lead me or chance direct, thither will I go. Even so may Dione be deserted and seek for Venus!

“Will my labours be successful? Shall I ever again be blest with thine embrace, my daughter? Art thou still fair; still glows the brightness of thy cheeks? Or shall I perchance see thee as thou cam’st in my nightly vision; as I saw thee in my dreams?”

So spake she and from Etna first she drags her steps, and, cursing its guilty flowers and the spot whence Proserpine was ravaged, she follows the straying tracks of the chariot-wheels and examines the fields in the full light of her lowered torch. Every rut is wet with her tears; she weeps at each trace she espies in her wanderings over the plain. She glides a shadow o’er the sea and the farthest ray of her torches’ gleam strikes the coasts of Italy and Libya. The Tuscan shore grows bright and the Syrtes gleam with kindled wave. The light reaches the distant cave of Scylla, of whose dogs some shrink back and are still in dumb amaze, others, not yet horrified into silence, continue to bark.[135]

[135] For the unfinished state of the poem see Introduction, p. xiv.




[The numbers in the right-hand column are those of Gesner’s edition retained by Birt]

Panegyricus Probini et OlybriiI.
In Rufinum I. praef.II.
In Rufinum IIII.
In Rufinum II. praef.IV.
In Rufinum IIV.
Bellum Gildonicum IXV.
In Eutropium IXVIII.
In Eutropium II. praef.XIX.
In Eutropium IIXX.
Fescennina de nuptiis Honorii IXI.
Fescennina IIXII.
Fescennina IIIXIII.
Fescennina IVXIV.
Epithalamii de nuptiis Honorii praef.IX.
Epithalamium de nuptiis HonoriiX.
De tertio consulatu Honorii praef.VI.
De tertio consulatu HonoriiVII.
De quarto consulatu HonoriiVIII.
Panegyrici Manlii Theodori praef.XVI.
Panegyricus Manlii TheodoriXVII.
De consulatu Stilichonis IXXI.
De consulatu Stilichonis IIXXII.
De consulatu Stilichonis III. praef.XXIII.
De consulatu Stilichonis IIIXXIV.
De sexto consulatu Honorii praef.XXVII.
De sexto consulatu HonoriiXXVIII.
De bello Gothico praef.XXV.
De bello GothicoXXVI.
[380]c. m. I.: Ad StilichonemXIII.
c. m. II.: Descriptio portus SmyrnensisLXXXV.
c. m. III.: Ad AeternalemLXXXI.
c. m. IV.: Descriptio armentiLIV.
c. m. V.: Est in conspectu l.l.LXXXVI.
c. m. VI.: Rimanti telum ira facitLXXVIII.
c. m. VII.: De quadriga marmoreaLXXXVII.
c. m. VIII.: De Polycaste et PerdiccaLXIX.
c. m. IX.: De hystriceXLV.
c. m. X.: De birro castoreoXCII.
c. m. XI.: In sepulchrum speciosaeXCI.
c. m. XII.: De balneis QuintianisLXXXIV.
c. m. XIII.: In podagrumLXXIX.
c. m. XIV.: Ad MaximumLXXXII.
c. m. XV.: De paupere amanteLXXXIX.
c. m. XVI.: De eodemXC.
c. m. XVII.: De piis fratribusL.
c. m. XVIII.: De mulabus GallicisLI.
c. m. XIX.: Ad GennadiumXLIII.
c. m. XX.: De sene VeronensiLII.
c. m. XXI.: De Theodoro et HadrianoLXXX.
c. m. XXII.: Deprecatio ad HadrianumXXXIX.
c. m. XXIII.: Deprecatio in AlethiumLXXIV.
c. m. XXIV.: De locustaLXXXIII.
c. m. XXV.: Epithalamium PalladiiXXX., XXXI.
c. m. XXVI.: AponusXLIX.
c. m. XXVII.: PhoenixXLIV.
c. m. XXVIII.: NilusXLVII.
c. m. XXIX.: MagnesXLVIII.
c. m. XXX.: Laus SerenaeXXIX.
c. m. XXXI.: Epistula ad SerenamXL.
c. m. XXXII.: De SalvatoreXCV.
c. m. XXXIII.-XXXIX.: De crystalloLVI-LXII.
c. m. XL.: Epistula ad OlybriumXLI.
c. m. XLI.: Ad ProbinumXLII.
c. m. XLII.: De apro et leoneLIII.
c. m. XLIII.: In CuretiumLXXV.
c. m. XLIV.: In eundem CuretiumLXXVI.
c. m. XLV.: De conchaLV.
c. m. XLVI.: De chlamyde et frenisLXXII.
c. m. XLVII.: De equo dono datoLXXIII.
c. m. XLVIII.: De zona equi regiiLXX.
[381]c. m. XLIX.: De torpedineXLVI.
c. m. L.: In IacobumLXXVII.
c. m. LI.: In sphaeram ArchimedisLXVIII.
c. m. LII.: GigantomachiaXXXVII.
De raptu Proserpinae I. praef.XXXII.
De raptu Proserpinae I.XXXIII.
De raptu Proserpinae II. praef.XXXIV.
De raptu Proserpinae II.XXXV.
De raptu Proserpinae III.XXXVI.




[c. m. = Carmina minora]


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