Prayers of Virgil
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
IX.1-2: Speak a little while with me, learned Muses, do tell, but of nothing unknown to snow white Phoebus; a few words lend to me.
XIV: If I am to further my undertaking, to traverse all the world, O Venus, who dwells in Paphos and in Idalian groves, so that Trojan Aeneas is thought worthy at last to sail with You in song through Roman towns, not only with incense or painted tablet shall I adorn Your temple, and with pure hands bring You garlands, but a humble offering of a horned ram and a bull, the greatest sacrifice, their blood a priest shall sprinkle into the fire of an altar erected in Your honor, and a marble painted in a thousand colours for You, a picture of Amor with His quiver. Come, O Goddess of Cythera, Your own Caesar and an altar along Sorrento's shore beckon You from Olympus.
4.8-10: Only do you, at the boy's birth, in whom a golden race now arises the world over, and the men of iron first begin to pass away, you alone favor him, chaste Lucina; indeed your own Apollo reigns.
4.48-52: Take up your greatness, the time grows near, dear son of the Gods, magnificent offspring of Jupiter. Behold what the starry vault of the heavens foretells the world to consider, the whole wide earth, the vast seas, and all the profound heavens, behold, joyfully, the birth of ages.
5.65-80: A God, a God is he, Menalcas! May you be kind and good to your own. Look! Four altars: Here are two for you, Daphnis, and two for Phoebus. Each year two cups of new frothing milk, and two bowls of rich olive oil will be set before your statues, and above all the gift of Bacchus will greatly gladden our convivial feast. If winter?s cold approaches, then before a warm altar fire, if summer heat still lingers, then beneath the shade, the nectar harvested in baskets from Ariusian estates. Damoetas and Lyctian Aegon shall sing for me, and Alphesiboeus shall emulate the dancing Satyrs. This will always be yours, when we recall our yearly vows to the Nymphs, and when we perform the lustral rites in a blessing of the fields. For as long as the boar shall love the mountain heights, and fish shall love the flowing streams, for as long as bees will set upon the thyme and the crickets feed on dew, always your name will be honored and praised. As for Bacchus and Ceres, so too for you, each year the farmers will make their vows, and you will likewise oblige them these to fulfill.
7.21-4: Nymphs of Libethrides, our hearts? desire, grant me a song, as do my Codrus, next to Apollo in verse is he, or if all this is not possible for we to do, these melodious pipes shall hang from your sacred pine.
7.33-6: Priapus, a large cup of milk and this libum bread is all you can expect each year, guardian of a pauper?s garden. For a while yet your image is carved in stone, but if at breeding time you make good the herds, then of gold your image we shall make.
8.62-109: You Pieridian maidens, Muses all, tell me how Alphesiboeus responded, we cannot all do all things. (Alphesiboeus said), ?Bring water, and gird this altar with soft wool fillets, burn rich vervain and male frankincense, that I may attempt, with magic spells and sacrifice, to turn aside my love's wiser senses, nothing is to be missing save the force of my song. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Spells can draw down the moon from the heavens; Circe's incantations changed Ulysses? friends from their human forms; furthermore, by singing charms the cold-blooded serpent is burst apart. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Three times around I first bind you with this thread of three diverse colours, then three times I lead your effigy around this altar. Uneven numbers please the gods. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Bind, Amaryllis, with triple knots the three coloured strings together. Bind, Amaryllis, while singing a charm in this manner, "A chain of Venus I weave, a chain of Venus I weave, a chain of Venus I weave to bind my lover." Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
As this clay image shall harden its heart towards others, and this wax figure shall soften to me by this very same fire, so too, by our love, will Daphnis be towards me.
Pay with a mole of salt and burn the fragile bay leaf with bitumen; as cruel Daphnis makes me burn, so I with this laurel shall make Daphnis to burn for me. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Such is my love for Daphnis, even as a wearied heifer who through forest grove and woodland heights seeks out a young steer to stud her, near the water of a mountain stream, will bend down upon green sedge, abandoned, does not think to return to the safety behind bolted gates at the descent of night, such my love keeps hold of me, no cures shall remedy me. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
These garments my unfaithful lover once left to me as a pledge of his love. These now, O Earth, on this very threshold I give to you; these pledges Daphnis, bound by charms and promises, must reclaim. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
These herbs Moeris gave to me, poisons he picked herself in Pontus, (Pontus where many such baneful herbs are born). Often have I seen Moeris changed by such herbs into the form of wolf and conceal himself in the forest. Often have I seen him summon souls from their graves, and seen him transport a harvest of grain across to a fallow field. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Carry the ashes outside, Amaryllis, to the flowing stream, and throw them over your head; do not look back. With this I will attack the heart of Daphnis; he cares nothing for the Gods, he cares nothing for charms. Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
Look! The embers stir themselves to seize upon the altar with rising flames, while I delay to carry them. May it be a good omen. I know not for certain what it is, and yet Hylax, as a sign, on the threshold barks! May we believe it? Or do lovers only fool themselves with wishful dreams? Away from the city, away from his home, my charms, draw Daphnis forth to me.
10.9-15: What sacred grove had held you, or which woodland glade kept you, maiden Naiads, while for love, an unworthy love, Gallus lay wasting away? Neither the summits of Parnassus, nor the slopes of Pindus could have made you delay any then, not even Aganippe of the Aones. For Gallus even the laurels and tamarisks wept, for him also, as he lay alone, flung outstretched and dying beneath the rocky cliff, even pine-maned Mount Maenalus and the snow covered rocks of Lycaeus wept.
1.5-23: O most glorious lights above, stars illuminating the universe, you lead in the gliding year. Liber and gentle Ceres, if by your gifts the earth once changed, exchanging Chaonian acorns for rich heads of grain, and receiving your invention of wine from Acheloian cups, and you Fauns, your divine presence an aid for rustics, bring dancing feet, as when Dryad girls frolic with Fauns, of your gifts I sing. And you, O Neptune, for whom the earth first brought forth the horse from her womb by the pounding of your trident; and inhabitant of sacred groves, for whom three hundred snow white heifers graze along fertile Ceaean thickets, quitting your own native woodlands and Lycean pastures, Pan, patron god of shepherds and sheep alike, though your love for Mount Maenalus calls to you, come, O Tegean Pan, favoring us with your presence. And Minerva, inventrix of olive oil; and the boy inventor of the curved plough, Silvanus, carrying tender cypress saplings. All you Gods and Goddesses, whose affection is to watch over fields, both nourish seeds to rise up as the earth's new bounty and send ample rain down from the heavens.
1.498-501: Gods of our Fathers, Indigetes, heroes native to this land, Romulus and Mother Vesta, who preserve Etruscan Tiber and Roman Palatine, in this at least do not prohibit, a young savior come to the aid of a generation decimated by war.
2.2-8: Now shall I sing of you, Bacchus. Without you there would be no woodland or thicket, or slow growing olive grove. Come hither, O Lenaean Father, all things here beckon to be nurtured by your many gifts, the autumn vineshoots laden the countryside with blossoms, the vintage grape harvest foams plentiful to the lips of the wine vats. Hasten, O Lenaean Father, come and, stripped down, tinge your naked feet in new wine must with me.
3.1-2: Also you, great Pales, in memory of you we sing, shepherd of Amphrysis, and all of you who come from forests and streams on mount Lycaeus in Arcadia.
4.321-32: Cyrenean Mother, who lives beyond the deep abyss, Mother from harsh African shores, (o if only Thymbraen Apollo, who you call beautiful progeny of the Gods, were my father), why have you borne me such a hateful fate? Why has your love for me been driven from your heart? Why did you ever bid me hope for heaven? Look, when even the reward of this mortal life in itself becomes onerous, when success comes with difficulty and all my attempts at skillful husbandry will be for naught, I forsake that you should be my mother. Why do you not just come forth and with your own hand pluck up my fruit filled plantation, set inimical fires upon my stables, and then kill off my harvest, scorch the young shoots with drought, and take a double-edged axe to my grape vines, if you loath so much whatever praises my effort has brought me?
I.8: O Muse, relate to me the cause, of what injury to Her powers, or what sorrows did a man so renowned for his piety commit, that She drove him to so many labors. Can so much anger fill the heart of a celestial goddess?
I.326: None of your sisters have I seen or heard, O Virgin, how mindful of you can I be? For indeed not a mortal face or human voice sings to you, O Goddess, as surely you are; perhaps a sister of Phoebus, or else one with the blood of nymphs? Whoever you may be, may you favor us and lighten our labors, and may you tell us at last where on earth, where under the open skies, have we been cast? Ignorant of these lands and of the people they may hold, we roam, by winds and waves driven to this wilderness. Thus before your altar many sacrifices we will offer you by our own hand.
I.731-5: Jupiter, giver of the laws of hospitality, as it is said, may you wish this day to be pleasing and prosperous for Tyrians and Trojans alike, and that our children?s children shall remember this day. Let Bacchus, giver of gladness, and good Juno, and you as well, O Tyrians, join with us in friendship at our celebration.
II.155-62: You, eternal fires, your inviolable powers I call to witness. You altars and you impious swords from which I fled, and the sacrificial fillet I wore on my head while carrying offerings to God, it is lawful for me to now dissolve the sacred vows of fealty towards the Greeks, lawful to hate these men, and to bring forth into the light of day all that they concealed. My country?s laws no longer bind me. You alone remained faithful to your vows, and while preserved, Troy, kept your promises. If the truth I tell, then greatly am I repaid.
II.689-91: Jupiter Almighty, if any prayers bend You, look upon us. This only, and, if our piety deserves, then grant us Your assistance, Father, and confirm all these portents.
II.701-4: Any moment now, without delay, I follow, and wherever You lead, there shall I be. Gods of my fathers, preserve my house, save my grandchildren. Yours this augury, and yours the holy powers in Troy.
III.85-9: Grant us our own, Lord of Thymbra, grant the tired and worn, and their children, a city behind defensive walls in a tamed land. Safeguard a new Troy, built by those Trojan sons who escaped the Greeks and severe Achilles. Who now must I follow? Where do you urge me to go? Grant, Father, a sign, and flow into our souls.
III.265-6: Gods, avert these threats. Gods, turn aside such events, and preserve the pious in your peace.
III.528-9: Gods of land and sea, and of their potent storms, carry us on a gentle breeze and breathe a favorable wind for us to follow.
IV.206-10: Jupiter Almighty, to whom now the tattooed people of Maurusia, feasting on couches, pour libations of wine, a gift of Laenean Bacchus, offered in Your honour. Do you look upon this, Father? Or is it without any reason that we join in empty prayers and tremble in fear when You hurl lightning bolts and light the clouds in blinding fires?
IV.576-9: We follow you, Holy One of the Gods, whoever you may be, and once again joyfully obey your command. Come, O Gentle One, and with favouring stars in the heavens, lend us your aid.
IV.607-12: Sol, whose flame encompasses all earthly deeds in its light, and You diviner Juno, aware in foreknowledge of our troubles, and nocturnal Hecate, who is called at the crossroads throughout the City, and Avenging Dirae, and Elissa's gods of the dying, hear our prayers, heed them, and direct your awful powers against those who deserve it.
V.80-3: Hail, my hallowed Father! Hail once more your ashes, fruitlessly rescued, and hail my father's shade and soul. Not with you were we permitted to come to the shores of Italy and its destined fields sought, nor was it allowed for you to look upon Ausonian Tiber, whatever that may be.
V. 235-8: Gods, who commands the open seas, upon whose waves I hasten, gladly before your altar on this shore will I arrange the sacrifice of a white bull, this I vow as guarantor, to make his entrails an offering and pour clear wine on the briny sea in your honour.
V.687-93: Jupiter Almighty, if You do not yet detest every Trojan to a man, if You still regard our pious acts of old, Father, grant that the flames will now avoid our fleet, and may You pull the diminished people of Troy away from destruction. Or else, if I so deserve, then send forth Your thunderbolt from above and cast those who remain into death, and by Your power rightly bury them.
VI.55-77: O Phoebus Apollo, who always pitied Troy of its grave hardship, you who guided the hand of Paris and his Dardanan missile to the body of Aeacus? son, You who led me to penetrate all the seas that wash upon mighty shores, and deep within the remote Massylian tribes and fields that lie against Syrtian sands, until at last we came upon the fleeting shores of Italy. Let Troy's ill fortune have followed us thus far (and no further). You also may justly spare the families of Pergamus, all you gods and goddesses who stood against Troy and the greater glory of the Dardanians. And You, most holy Diviner of future events, I ask only for what fate has allotted me, grant that the sons of Teucria with their wandering gods and storm tossed spirits of Troy may settle in Latium. Then to Apollo and Hecate I shall erect a temple in marble and establish feast days celebrated in Apollo?s name. For You a great sanctuary also awaits in our new realm, for indeed I shall place within it Your divining lots and record the arcane words Your oracles have spoken to our people, Gracious One, and I will select and consecrate virtuous men to care for them. Do not commit your songs only to the leaves, that they may swirl about as the sport of whirling winds, but sing them, I pray, with your own lips for us.
VI.195-8: Be my guides, if there is any way, and make your course from the sky above into this grove, where rich boughs shade fertile land. And you, Holy Mother, do not desert us in our hour of indecision.
VI.265-8: Gods who rule over the souls of the dead and the silent shades, over Chaos, fiery Phlegethon, and the vast, silent places of the night, grant that I may speak all that I have heard; grant that I may reveal your powers that are hidden in darkness beneath the earth.
VII.37 Awaken now, Erato.
VII.120 Hail, O Mother Tellus, for whom I am destined, and you, too, faithful Gods of Troy, hail O Penates. This is our home; this, our homeland.
VII.641 Fling open now Helieon, O Muses, and move your songs (within me).
VIII.71 Nymphs, Laurentine Nymphs, from whom the rivers flow, and you, Tiber, you, O Father, into your holy waters receive Aeneas and finally grant him safe haven from his perils.
VIII.301-2 Hail, Hercules, true son of Jove, an added Glory for the Gods are you. Come now, and dance at your holy rites with skillful feet.
IX.18-9 Iris, colorful Glory of the Sky, who has called you forth from the clouds to walk upon the earth before me?
IX.247 Gods of our fathers, may your presence always be with us Trojans.
IX.404-5 You, O divine daughter of Latona, Glory of the Stars and Guardian of the Sacred Groves, be present, Diana, that you may succor us who labor.
IX.495 O Great Father of the Gods, have pity and with your lightning bolt strike down this detested head to Tartarus, for there is no other way to break off the bonds of this cruel life.
IX.525 To you I pray, Calliope, and to your sisters, inspire my singing.
IX.625-9 Jupiter Almighty, give your approval to my audacious venture, and each year I shall carry solemn gifts with my own hand to your temple, and I shall place before your altar a snow white bullock with gilded horns of gold, carrying his head held high like his proud mother, seeking to strike with his horns, as his hooves churn the sand along the seashore.
X.252-5 Nurturing Idean Mother of the Gods, for whom Dindymus is dear, you who love turreted cities and bridled lions, lead me now into battle, and rightly fulfill the omens. Come with your favoring step, O Goddess, lead and we Phrygians will follow.
X.421 Grant now, Father Tiber, a fortunate flight to this iron tipped spear that it may pierce through Halaesus' breast, and his arms and manly armor your oak shall bear as spoils.
X.668-70; 675-9 Almighty Father, have you thought me worthy of so great an accusation, and has it been your will for me to suffer such punishment? What sin do I bear? From where have I come? What flight draws me back and in what manner? What am I to do? What earth gapes open to depths enough to receive me? Rather you, O Winds, take pity! On rocks and shoals dash my ship, willingly I, Turnus, implore you, and raging make your way to send it on to some African shore where neither the Rutuli nor guilty shame may follow.
XI.483-5 (Diana), skillful in arms, leader in battle and guardian of soldiers, with your hand, Tritonian virgin, shatter the spear of this Phrygian pirate; throw him to the ground and stretch him out prostrate beneath our high gate.
XI.557-60 Gracious (Diana), virgin daughter of Latona, who inhabits sacred groves and nurtures woodlands, I, her father, vow this child into service as your handmaiden. Holding your weapons before all others, your suppliant flees on the wind from the enemy. Bear witness to my vow, I pray, O Goddess, and accept her as your own, whom I now commit to a precarious breeze.
XI.785-93 Apollo, Highest of the Gods, Guardian of Holy Soracte, we who are foremost among your worshippers, for you we set to flame the piled pine-wood, and your worshippers, piously trusting our faith in you among the fires, press our step across the glowing embers. Grant, Father Almighty, that by our arms we may erase this disgrace. No plunder did I seek, no trophy to win from virgins, or any spoils; my fame shall follow from my feats. But while this dire plague strikes me with illness, inglorious I must return to the cities of our fathers.
XII.176-82 May the Sun now bear witness, and so too the Earth, I pray, for whom I have been able to endure these many labors, and you, Almighty Father, and you his consort, (Juno), daughter of Saturnus, at one time more beneficial, at another kinder, be so now as I pray to you, O Goddess, and to you, too, Father Mavors, who wields all warfare under your powers, and on all the springs and rivers of this land I invoke as witnesses, and all the powers of the high heavens and those of the deep blue seas on whom it is proper to call.
XII.197-211 By these same deities I, Aeneas, swear, by the Earth and the Sea, by the stars and Latona?s twin children, and dual-faced Janus, and the powers of the gods below, and the harsh shrines of Father Dis. May the Great Father hear my vow, he that sanctions alliances with his thunderbolt. I touch the altars, and by the fires and by the divine powers who I have called to witness, I so swear, that never shall I breach this alliance or the peace of Italy, no matter what or how things happen, nothing shall divert my will (to keep my vow), not even if waves would cover the earth, plunging all into deluge, and the Heavens fell into deepest Tartarus. (By this vow I swear to be bound), even as this scepter, (the scepter that he now held up in his right hand), shall never bud new foliage, or branch out to lend shade, once it was cut deep in the forest, seized from its mother tree, its leaves and branches now encased in steel; once a tree, now an artifact turned by hand, decorated with bronze, and given to the Latin fathers to bear.
XII.777-9 Faunus, have pity, I pray, and you, opulent Earth, hold fast this weapon, if always I have honored your worship in good faith, that now instead the sons of Aeneas defile by war.