"Ad C: Favonium Aristium"
"Ad C: Favonium Aristium"
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Title/Paratext] "[Prose translation by J. R. [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.
"[Prose translation by J. R. Hendrickson:]
"To Gaius Favonius Aristius"
O thou about to go with me to the barbaric temple which restless Eris always haunts, where legal strife resounds on every side and the toga-clad army swarms!
How much sweeter it would be to forget business and stretch at ease beneath the spreading branches of a sheltering elm and while away the idle hours with books and the humble Muse?
For now I often wander with care-free mind, while, as I meditate the soft Italian Muse, I scarce remember to heed the sickly dew or the lateness of the night; and, wherever my feet take me, I seem to see in every hill a forest-clad Parnassus and in every spring a cool Aganippe.
Spring smiles on me, and gracious nymphs; my fastidious nose makes mine whatever the passing breeze of morning has stolen from the violets, as I lie at ease on the tender grass, wheresoever a brook traces its light course and hesitates with sweet clashings at every pebble.
About the time of the year's renewal these simple cares engrossed my heart, as long as the brighter season of Favonius afforded cloudless skies: nor yet have I abandoned leisure and the fields, nor is Clytie more faithful to Phoebus (though the winds are rising and the softer summer is fading).
For I am his diligent and faithful slave, a worshipper of the orb that sheds splendour so lavishly, whether, as his car brings new life to the joyful labours of men, to meadow and mountain, he is rising and clothing the lands of the East in purple and gold, or whether he is about to paint his beloved Calpe with a more tempered fire: aye, to the very moment when, as the splendour grows dimmer and dimmer, the many-coloured cloud slips away like a thief and the scene fades into green shadows.
Oh, how blessed would I think myself (though I could never rise again), if kindly fate would permit me, sinking low in like fashion, to hide myself in peaceful death!
Ah, how little would I envy the god, blazing with many fires and crowned with unclouded rays, when the middle of heaven feels his flaming chariot!"
- The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966.
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Contractions, italics and initial capitalization have been largely eliminated, except where of real import. Initial letters of sentences have been capitalized, all accents have been removed. The editor would like to express his gratitude to library staff at Pembroke College, Cambridge, at the British Library, and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for their invaluable assistance.