I recently discovered this poem from Clement Marot from 1574. It’s a translation from the same poem from Virgil. Every time I read Marot’s poem, I am transported to the place he describes so beautifully. Without a translation, I wouldn’t have been able to understand and appreciate Virgil’s original.

J’ai à soupper assez passablement:
pommes, prunaux, tout plein de bon fruictage,
Castaignes, aulx, avec force laitage.
Puis des cités les cheminées fument.
Déjà le feu pour le souper allument.
Il s’en va nuit, et des hauts monts descendent
Les ombres grans, qui parmi l’air s’épandent.

All excited, I looked up this poet on the Internet, seeking to discover more beautiful poems of his. Found nothing like the above! Maybe he just got lucky on this one! Or… it has something to do that the ideas in the poem weren’t his to begin with…

Virgil’s original:

Sunt nobis mitia poma,
castanae molles et pressi copia lactis;
et jam umma procul villarum culmina fumant,
majoresque cadunt altis de montibus umbrae.

We have mellow apples,
Chestnuts soft and ripe, and plenty of curds and cream.
And now the high tops of the villages at a distance smoke,
and larger shadows fall from the lofty mountains.*

Such a feeling of peacefulness.

*I found this translation here:
The Works of Virgil: Translated Into English Prose, as Near the Original as the Different Idioms of the Latin and English Languages Will Allow, with the Latin Text and Order of Construction in the Same Page, and Critical, Historical, Geographical, and Classical Notes, in English, from the Best Commentators Both Ancient and Modern; Beside a Very Great Number of Notes Entirely New, Volume 1

from 1770! By Joseph Davidson. Princeton University. Notice that Davidson capitalized all the nouns, which I changed.

Addition: after posting this, I went back to read more of Davidson’s translation of Virgil, and discover the context of the story where these lines were written is nothing more than one of pederasty and slavery!

A beautiful thought surrounded by what is most vile in the world.

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