Poems of Virgil


Publius Virgilius Maro lived from around 70 to 19 BC. He was born near present-day Mantua. He is best known for his Eclogues, a series of pastoral poetry, the Georgics, a didactic poem on farming, and the Aeneid, an epic poem about Aeneas, an expatriate of Troy and mythical founder of Rome.

In Praise of Augustus

As the story goes, Virgil wrote this poem anonymously on a wall. Another poet, Bathyllus, took credit for it, and was rewarded by the Emperor Augustus.

Nocte pluit tota; redeunt spectacula mane:
Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet.
It rained the whole night long; the shows resumed next morning.
Thus Caesar holds a shared command with Jove.


Not happy that Bathyllus took credit for the above poem, Virgil wrote "Sic non vos" four times on the wall, and when Bathyllus couldn't finish the poem, he was exposed as a fraud.

Virgil then completed the poem with the lines below, and claimed due credit.

This is the same poem alluded to on my Dease penny and halfpenny from Tasmania.

I made two translations below; the second one is a little freer.

Hos ego versiculos, tulit alter honores:
Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves;
Sic vos non vobis vellera fertis oves;
Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes;
Sic vos non vobis fertis aratra boves.
I wrote this little couplet, another took the credit.
Thus not for yourself do you birds feather your nests;
Thus not for yourself do you sheep bear wool;
Thus not for yourself do you bees make honey;
Thus not for yourself do you oxen pull the plough.
  I wrote the story; another took the glory.
So not for yourself do you birds make your nests.
Nor for you, sheep, are you in your wool dressed.
Nor make you bees honey for yourself in your hive;
Nor for yourself, oxen, through soil the ploughs drive.


Some famous Romans and me

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