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Make me true lover of fair field and farm,
Of streams in dewy vales, of rivers broad
And lonely forests, far from pomp and fame.

[Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Georgics [Georgica], Book 2, l. 485ff (2.485) (29 BC) [tr. Williams (1915)]

Praying to his Muse to find joy in a bucolic setting, if fear turns him back from more exotic realms of nature.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Then I'le delight in vales, nere pleasant floods,
And unrenown'd, haunt rivers, hils, and woods.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

My next Desire is, void of Care and Strife,
To lead a soft, secure, inglorious Life.
A Country Cottage near a Crystal Flood, ⁠
A winding Vally, and a lofty Wood.
[tr. Dryden (1709), l. 687ff]

May rural scenes, thro' meads rills sparkling please,
And woods, and rivers, in inglorious ease.
[tr. Nevile (1767), l. 543ff]

Oh may I yet, by fame forgotten, dwell
By gushing fount, wild wood, and shadowy dell!
[tr. Sotheby (1800)]

Let fields and streams gliding in the valleys be my delight; inglorious may I court the rivers and woods.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

At least permit me to indulge my dream
Of meads, and valleys, and the mazy stream:
Be woods and waves my unambitious love.
[tr. Blackmore (1871), l. 578ff]

May the country and the rills that water the vales be my delight; careless of fame, may I love the streams and the woodlands!
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Then be fields
And stream-washed vales my solace, let me love
Rivers and woods, inglorious.
[tr. Rhoades (1881)]

Then let the fields and running streams delight
My unambitious verse, and charm my sight.
[tr. King (1882), l. 492ff]

Let fields and streams that run among the hills be my delight; though unknown to fame, may I be content with the rivers and the woods.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

May the country and the streams that water the valleys content me, and lost to fame let me love stream and woodland.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Dear to me then be the fields, be the streams through the valleys that flow,
My fameless love upon rivers be set, and on forests.
[tr. Way (1912)]

Let my delight be the country, and the running streams amid the dells -- may I love the waters and the woods, though I be unknown to fame.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

Then let the country charm me, the rivers that channel its valleys,
Then may I love its forest and stream, and and let fame go hang.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1940)]

Still, let me relish the country, humbly revere Streams that glide through glades, the woods, the rivers.
[tr. Bovie (1956)]

May the countryside and cool streams in valleys please me; may I love rivers and forests -- inglorious though I may be.
[tr. Miles (1980)]

Then will I pray that I may find fulfilment
In the country and the streams that water valleys,
Love rivers and woods, unglamorous.
[tr. Wilkinson (1982)]

Let the country
and the flowing streams in the valleys please me,
let me love the rivers and the woods, unknown.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

May rural land and streams rushing in its valleys please me.
May I, unrecognized, love its woods and waters!
[tr. Lembke (2004)]

Then let me be satisfied with rural beauty, streams bustling through the glens; let me love woods and running water -- though I'll have failed.
[tr. Fallon (2006)]

Let the land be my delight, the streams that irrigate the vales,
the rills and forests let me love unsung.
[tr. Johnson (2009)]

Then may I find delight in the rural fields
And the little brooks that make their way through valleys,
And in obscurity love the woods and rivers.
[tr. Ferry (2015)]

Added on 23-Aug-23 | Last updated 25-Oct-23
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More quotes by Virgil

Today the Somme is a peaceful but sullen place, unforgetting and unforgiving. The people, who work largely at raising vegetables and grains, are “correct” but not friendly. To wander now over the fields destined to extrude their rusty metal fragments for centuries is to appreciate in the most intimate way the permanent reverberations of July, 1916. When the air is damp you can smell rusted iron everywhere, even though you only see wheat and barley.

Paul Fussell (1924-2012) American cultural and literary historian, author, academic
The Great War and Modern Memory, ch. 2 “The Troglodyte World” (1975)
Added on 22-Jul-21 | Last updated 22-Jul-21
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As stars in the night sky glittering
round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory
when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm …
all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs
and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts
the boundless, bright air and all the stars shine clear
and the shepherd’s heart exults.

[Ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι· οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπεῤῥάγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 8, l. 551ff (8.551-555) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 641-47]

Used as a metaphor for the campfires of the Trojan troops before Ilium. Alternate translations:

As when about the silver moon, when air is free from wind,
And stars shine clear, to whose sweet beams, high prospects, and the brows
Of all steep hills and pinnacles, thrust up themselves for shows,
And ev’n the lowly valleys joy to glitter in their sight,
When the unmeasur’d firmament bursts to disclose her light,
And all the signs in heav’n are seen, that glad the shepherd’s heart.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 486ff]

As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole,
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

As when around the clear bright moon, the stars
Shine in full splendor, and the winds are hush’d,
The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland-heights
Stand all apparent, not a vapor streaks
The boundless blue, but ether open’d wide
All glitters, and the shepherd’s heart is cheer’d.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 643ff]

As when in heaven the stars appear very conspicuous around the lucid moon, when the æther is wont to be without a breeze, and all the pointed rocks and lofty summits and groves appear, but in heaven the immense æther is disclosed, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his soul.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

As when in Heav'n, around the glitt'ring moon
The stars shine bright amid the breathless air;
And ev'ry crag and ev'ry jutting peak
Stands boldly forth, and ev'ry forest glade;
Ev'n to the gates of Heav'n is open'd wide
The boundless sky; shines each particular star
Distinct; joy fills the gazing shepherd's heart.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 629-35]

Even as when in heaven the stars about the bright moon shine clear to see, when the air is windless, and all the peaks appear and the tall headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd’s heart is glad.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

As when the stars shine clear, and the moon is bright -- there is not a breath of air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out in the ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven; the stars can all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd is glad.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Even as in heaven about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear, when the air is windless, and forth to view appear all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd joyeth in his heart.
[tr. Murray (1924)]
As when in heaven principal stars shine out around the moon when the night sky is limpid, with no wind, and all the lookout points, headlands, and mountain clearings are distinctly seen, as though pure space had broken through, downward from heaven, and all the stars are out, and in his heart the shepherd sings.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
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Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Jingo (1997)
Added on 15-Sep-20 | Last updated 15-Sep-20
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