Virgilius

"adspirant aurae in noctem nec candida cursus
Luna negat, splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus."
(Verg. Aen. 7, 8-9)

The sky is clear, the starlight´s silver sheen
Transports me to a land of in-between:
My thoughts are coursing with those ships before
Dawn-kissed their keels could touch Ausonia's shore.
The trembling moonlight dancing on the sea
Like quiet after tempests smiles at me,
While faces lined with all that lies behind
Are sailing like wet petals through my mind.

I see the silenced embers of desire
Congealed to pain and pity where the pyre
Has scarred his heart with its forsaken fire -
And did she die that he might be the sire
Of sons who soak their soil with brothers' blood?
The pastures cry with Meliboeus´ sigh,
And when I glean your lines of work and woe,
Written by hands still longing for the hoe
And for the touch of grass and bark and bud,
I feel you must have stood with tear-dimmed eye
And watched the hooves of war-steeds kill the seeds
And choke the fields of golden grain with weeds.

So did you therefore gird yourself with verse,
To make them beat their swords back into ploughs?
Was this the reason why you did immerse
Your lord in perfumed oils of praise, to rouse
Awareness in himself that he might see
The hope he meant to hearts worn out by war,
Embrace the task to heal, rebuild, restore,
And realize the blessing he could be?
Surely, when listening to your celebration
Of earth and of that ancient pious nation,
He must have longed like you - like me today -
For hands to prune the trees, to make the hay.

At times in every wind I feel a trace
Of what you sang, and when I sense your ways
There are so many things I want to know,
So many things I'd like to say and show,
And oft I long to see your rough-hewn face,
To crown you with the laurel of my praise,
To sit with you beside the Mincio's flow
And breathe the sunrise song of long ago.

"iamque rubescebat radiis mare et aethere ab alto
Aurora in roseis fulgebat lutea bigis."
(Verg. Aen. 7, 25-26)

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A/N: Virgil's work, though largely a description of war, is a plea for peace, an appeal to rulers to show consideration for the hopes and concerns of the hard-working population as well as to create a climate where the arts can thrive unhindered. I think I need not relate the story of how Aeneas went through hardship, war and personal sacrifice in giving up his love for Dido in order to fulfil his mission of founding Rome. The beginning of the second stanza refers to the tragic relationship with Dido, while Meliboeus is a persona Virgil uses for himself in order to express the unhappy fate of an evicted person in his "Bucolica" (pastoral poems). The third stanza tries to explain the true intentions behind his praise of the ruler Augustus.