Statius, Silvae 2.7
M = reading of the whole MS tradition
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
Lucani proprium diem frequentet
quisquis collibus Isthmiae Diones
docto pectora concitatus oestro
pendentis bibit ungulae liquorem.
ipsi quos penes est honor canendi, 5
uocalis citharae repertor Arcas
et tu, Bassaridum rotator Euhan,
et Paean et Hyantiae sorores,
laetae purpureas nouate uittas,
crinem comite, candidamque uestem 10
perfundant hederae recentiores.
docti largius euagentur amnes
et plus, Aoniae, uirete, siluae,
et, si qua patet aut diem recepit,
sertis mollibus expleatur umbra. 15
centum Thespiacis odora lucis
stent altaria uictimaeque centum
quas Dirce lauat aut alit Cithaeron.
Lucanum canimus, fauete linguis;
uestra est ista dies, fauete, Musae, 20
dum qui uos geminas tulit per artes,
et uinctae pede uocis et solutae,
Romani colitur chori sacerdos.
felix heu nimis et beata tellus,
quae pronos Hyperionis meatus 25
summis Oceani uides in undis
stridoremque rotae cadentis audis,
quae Tritonide fertilis Athenas
unctis, Baetica, prouocas trapetis:
Lucanum potes imputare terris. 30
hoc plus quam Senecam dedisse mundo
aut dulcem generasse Gallionem.
attollat refluos in astra fontes
Graio nobilior Melete Baetis;
Baetim, Mantua, prouocare noli. 35
natum protinus atque humum per ipsam
primo murmure dulce uagientem
blando Calliope sinu recepit.
tum primum posito remissa luctu
longos Orpheos exuit dolores 40
et dixit: ‘puer o dicate Musis,
longaeuos cito transiture uates,
non tu flumina nec greges ferarum
nec plectro Geticas mouebis ornos,
sed septem iuga Martiumque Thybrim 45
et doctos equites et eloquente
cantu purpureum trahes senatum.
nocturnas alii Phrygum ruinas
et tardi reducis uias Vlixis
et puppem temerariam Mineruae 50
trita uatibus orbita sequantur:
tu carus carus M: cretus Shackleton Bailey Latio memorque gentis
carmen fortior exseres exseres Markland: exseris M togatum.
ac primum teneris adhuc in annis
ludes Hectora Thessalosque currus 55
et supplex Priami potentis aurum,
et sedes reserabis inferorum;
ingratus Nero dulcibus theatris
et noster tibi proferetur Orpheus.
dices culminibus Remi uagantes 60
infandos domini nocentis ignes.
hinc castae titulum decusque Pollae
iucunda dabis adlocutione.
mox coepta generosior iuuenta
albos ossibus Italis Philippos 65
et Pharsalica bella detonabis,
quo fulmen ducis inter arma diui
* * * lac. indic. Saenger, Courtney, Shackleton Bailey
libertate grauem pia Catonem
et gratum popularitate Magnum.
tu Pelusiaci scelus Canopi 70
deflebis pius et Pharo cruenta
Pompeio dabis altius sepulcrum.
haec primo iuuenis canes sub aeuo
ante annos Culicis Maroniani.
cedet Musa rudis ferocis Enni 75
et docti furor arduus Lucreti
et qui per freta duxit Argonautas
et qui corpora prima transfigurat.
quid maius loquar? ipsa te Latinis
Aeneis uenerabitur canentem. 80
nec solum dabo carminum nitorem
sed taedis genialibus dicabo
doctam atque ingenio tuo decoram,
qualem blanda Venus daretque Iuno
forma, simplicitate, comitate, 85
censu, sanguine, gratia, decore,
et uestros hymenaeon ante postes
festis cantibus ipsa personabo.
o saeuae nimium grauesque Parcae!
o numquam data longa fata summis! 90
cur plus, ardua, casibus patetis?
cur saeua uice magna non senescunt?
sic gnatum Nasamonii Tonantis
post ortus obitusque fulminatos
angusto Babylon premit sepulcro; 95
sic fixum Paridis manu trementis
Peliden Thetis horruit cadentem;
sic ripis ego murmurantis Hebri
non mutum caput Orpheos sequebar.
sic et tu, rabidi nefas tyranni, 100
iussus praecipitem subire Lethen,
dum pugnas canis arduaque uoce
das solacia grandibus sepulcris,
(o dirum scelus, o scelus!) tacebis.’
sic fata est leuiterque decidentes 105
abrasit lacrimas nitente plectro.
at tu, seu rapidum poli per axem
famae curribus arduis leuatus,
qua surgunt animae potentiores,
terras despicis et sepulcra rides, 110
seu pacis merito nemus reclusi
felix Elysii tenes in oris,
quo Pharsalica turba congregatur,
et te nobile carmen insonantem
Pompei comitantur et Catones; 115
(tu tu M: seu Heinsius magna sacer et superbus umbra
nescis nescis M: noscis Haupt Tartaron et procul nocentum
audis uerbera pallidumque uisa
matris lampade respicis Neronem);
adsis lucidus, et uocante Polla 120
unum, quaeso, diem deos silentum
exores: solet hoc patere limen
ad nuptas redeuntibus maritis.
haec te non thiasis procax dolosis
falsi numinis induit figura, 125
ipsum sed colit et frequentat ipsum
imis altius insitum medullis;
at at Slater: nec Schwarz: ac velad M solacia uana subministrat
uultus, qui simili notatus auro
stratis praenitet incubatque somno 130
securae. procul hinc abite, Mortes:
haec uitae genitalis est origo.
cedat luctus atrox genisque manent
iam dulces lacrimae, dolorque festus
quicquid fleuerat ante, nunc adoret. 135
Let them come to celebrate Lucan’s own day, who, roused in their hearts by the learned gadfly, have drunk the waters of the falling hoof on the hills of Isthmian Dione.5 You yourselves, deities who possess the honour of singing, Mercury, Arcadian discoverer of the vocal lyre, and you, Euhan Bacchus, who make your Maenads whirl, and Paean, and you Muses, Boeotian sisters, joyfully renew your purple headbands,10 dress your hair and let fresher ivy stream down your white garments. Let the learned rivers of poetry flow more abundantly; you, Aonian woods, be greener, or, if the shade has gaps anywhere and has let daylight in,15 let it be filled with soft garlands. Let a hundred fragrant altars stand in Thespiae’s groves with a hundred victims that Dirce bathes or Cithaeron feeds. We sing of Lucan: hold your tongues.20 This is your day, too, Muses: be propitious while the poet is honoured who carried you through the twin arts of speech bound and unbound by metre, the priest of the Roman chorus.
25 Happy, ah too happy land, you who see the downward course of Hyperion on the furthest waves of the ocean and hear the hiss of the chariot wheels as they plunge, you, Baetica, who with your oily presses challenge Athens fertile in Tritonian olives!30 You can count the world in your debt for Lucan. This is a greater thing than to have given Seneca to the world or produced honey-tongued Gallio. May Baetis flow backwards, raising its sources to the stars, more renowned than Greek Meles; Mantua, do not challenge Baetis.
35 At once and while he was still down on the ground crying with his first sweet cries, Calliope received him in her welcoming lap. Then for the first time, setting her grief aside,40 she removed her long sorrow for Orpheus and said: ‘Boy devoted to the Muses, destined to surpass the ancient poets before long, it is neither rivers nor packs of wild beasts nor Getic ash-trees that you will move with your quill,45 but the seven hills of Rome and the Tiber, the river of Mars; it is cultured knights and the purple-clad Senate whom you will draw with your eloquent song. Let others pursue in verse the night-time fall of Troy and the homeward way of Ulysses, slow to return,50 and the Argo, the bold ship of Minerva, following a track well-worn by poets. You, stronger, will unsheathe a Roman poem, dear to Latium and mindful of your race.
But first, still in your boyhood,55 you will toy in verse with Hector and Achilles’ chariot and mighty Priam’s suppliant gold, and you will reveal in poetry the dwelling places of the dead. Ungrateful Nero and my Orpheus will be produced by you in pleasant theatres.60 You shall speak of the unspeakable fires of a crime-stained ruler wandering at large over the roofs of Remus. Next, in a pleasant address, you will bestow fame and glory upon chaste Polla. Soon, nobler in early manhood,65 you shall thunder Philippi white with Italian bones and Pharsalian wars, where, in the midst of the fighting, that thunderbolt of a captain, who was deified * * * [and you will thunder] Cato, stern in his devotion to freedom, and Magnus, grateful for his popularity.70 You will faithfully mourn the crime of Pelusian Canopus and give Pompey a tomb loftier than bloody Pharos. All this you shall sing as a young man in early life, before the age when Virgil wrote his Culex.75 Let the rough Muse of savage Ennius and the sublime frenzy of learned Lucretius make way, and the poet who lead the Argonauts through the seas and the one who transforms bodies from their first shapes. What more should I say? The Aeneid itself will worship you as you sing to the Latins.
80 Nor shall I give you the shine of poetry alone but, with wedding torches, bestow upon you a learned woman to complement your genius, a bride such as kindly Venus or Juno might grant,85 with beauty, candour, gentleness, wealth, blood, kindness, elegance ̶ and I myself will loudly sing a wedding song before your doors in a festive chant.
O Parcae, too cruel, too harsh!90 O long life never given to the best men! Why, great heights, are you more vulnerable to sudden fall? Why does greatness die young by a cruel lot? So great Babylon buried the son of the Nasamonian Thunderer in a narrow grave, after east and west had been struck by lightning.95 So Thetis shuddered when the son of Peleus fell, pierced by the hand of trembling Paris; so I used to follow Orpheus’ vocal head on the banks of the burbling Hebrus.100 So you too (the outrageous crime of a mad tyrant!) ordered to plunge headlong into Lethe as you sing of battles and give solace in lofty speech to mighty tombs — o terrible crime, o crime! — will be silent.’105 So she spoke and softly rubbed away her falling tears with her bright quill.
But you, whether — raised to the lofty chariots of fame through the rapid vault of heaven where the mightier souls rise —110 you look down at the earth and laugh at tombs; or whether, by your merit, you inhabit the grove of peace, blessed on the shores of Elysium now open to you, where the Pharsalian crowd gather and Pompeys and Catos are your companions as you sing your noble poem.115 (You sacred and proud in your great shade do not get to know Tartarus and hear the lashing of the guilty from a distance and look back at Nero pale at the sight of his mother’s torch);120 Come here in your splendour and when Polla calls you, I urge you, beg the gods of the silent ones for a single day. That threshold is apt to open for husbands returning to their brides. Polla does not clothe you in the form of a counterfeit deity, wantonly revelling in deceptive Bacchic worship,125 but instead worships you as yourself and cherishes you, planted deeply in her inmost marrow; but your face offers only vain consolation, which, delineated in resembling gold,130 shines very brightly before her couch and hovers over her, peaceful in her sleep. Go away from here, death! This is life’s birth and its beginning. Let bitter grief be gone and let sweet tears flow down her cheeks now, and whatever grief once wept for, let it now festively adore.