Aurea prima sata est aetas, quae vindice nullo,
sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat.
poena metusque aberant, nec verba minantia fixo
aere legebantur, nec supplex turba timebat
iudicis ora sui, sed erant sine vindice tuti.
nondum caesa suis, peregrinum ut viseret orbem,
montibus in liquidas pinus descenderat undas,
nullaque mortales praeter sua litora norant;
nondum praecipites cingebant oppida fossae;
non tuba derecti, non aeris cornua flexi,
non galeae, non ensis erat: sine militis usu
mollia securae peragebant otia gentes.
ipsa quoque inmunis rastroque intacta nec ullis
saucia vomeribus per se dabat omnia tellus,
contentique cibis nullo cogente creatis
arbuteos fetus montanaque fraga legebant
cornaque et in duris haerentia mora rubetis
et quae deciderant patula Iovis arbore glandes.
ver erat aeternum, placidique tepentibus auris
mulcebant zephyri natos sine semine flores;
mox etiam fruges tellus inarata ferebat,
nec renovatus ager gravidis canebat aristis;
flumina iam lactis, iam flumina nectaris ibant,
flavaque de viridi stillabant ilice mella.
First was sown the golden age, which, with no protector, of its own will fostered faith and virtue without law. Punishment and fear were absent, nor were threatening words read on fixed brass, nor did the suppliant multitude fear the looks of its judge, but they were safe without a protector. No cut-down pine had yet gone down from its mountains to the liquid waves, so that it would visit a foreign land, and no mortals knew shores other than their own.
Iuppiter e terra genitam mentitur, ut auctor
desinat inquiri: petit hanc Saturnia munus.
quid faciat? crudele suos addicere amores,
non dare suspectum est: Pudor est, qui suadeat illinc,
hinc dissuadet Amor. victus Pudor esset Amore,
sed leve si munus sociae generisque torique
vacca negaretur, poterat non vacca videri!
Jupiter pretends that she is born from the land, so that the parent may cease to be inquired for: Juno requests her as a gift. What can he do? It is cruel to resign his own loves; it is suspicious not to give her. It is Shame which would persuade him from the one; Love dissuades him from the other. Shame would have been overcome by Love, but if the cow, a light gift, should be denied to the partner both of his family and his bed, it might not seem a cow!
quem postquam caelo non repperit, ‘aut ego fallor
aut ego laedor’ ait delapsaque ab aethere summo
constitit in terris nebulasque recedere iussit.
coniugis adventum praesenserat inque nitentem
Inachidos vultus mutaverat ille iuvencam;
bos quoque formosa est. speciem Saturnia vaccae,
quamquam invita, probat nec non, et cuius et unde
quove sit armento, veri quasi nescia quaerit.
After she did not find him in heaven, she says: ‘Either I am mistaken or I am betrayed’. And gliding down from the high ether she stood on the earth and ordered the clouds to recede. He had foreseen the approach of his wife, and had changed the appearance of the daughter of Inachus into a sleek heifer; even as a cow she was beautiful. Juno, although unwilling, approved the appearance of the cow, and asks to whom, and from where, and to which herd it belongs, as if not knowing the truth.
- nitens, -tis (participle): sleek
- Inachidos: daughter of Inachus
- vultus, -us: appearance
- iuvenca, -ae: a young cow, heifer
- quamquam (conj.): though, although, albeit
Interea medios Iuno despexit in Argos
et noctis faciem nebulas fecisse volucres
sub nitido mirata die, non fluminis illas
esse, nec umenti sensit tellure remitti;
atque suus coniunx ubi sit circumspicit, ut quae
deprensi totiens iam nosset furta mariti.
In the meantime, Juno looked down on the midst of Argos and, amazed the floating clouds had made the appearance of night during the shining day, she perceived that they were not of the river, nor sent back by the humid earth; and she looks around where her husband may be, as one who already knew the wiles of her husband so often detected.
- medius — middle, half, midst (of)
- umens (pres. participle) — wet, humid
- sentio, sentire — to perceive
- tellus, telluris — earth, ground
- coniunx, coniugis — spouse, husband, wife
- deprensus, a, um (participle)— caught, discovered
- maritus, mariti — husband
- nosco, noscere, novi, notum — to know, be acquainted with
- The phrase suus coniunx means “her husband” even though it takes the masculine. This is because adjectives agree with the nouns they modify.
Iam pascua Lernae
consitaque arboribus Lyrcea reliquerat arva,
cum deus inducta latas caligine terras
occuluit tenuitque fugam rapuitque pudorem.
Already she had left behind the pastures of Lerna, and the Lyrcean fields planted with trees, when the god covered the wide fields with a fog that he introduced, and seized her in flight, and ravished her chastity.
- pascuus, a, um — of or for pasture, grazing
- arvum, arvi — field, dry land
- caligo, caliginis — fog, mist, vapor
- occulo, occulere, occului, occultum — cover, hide, conceal
- pudor, pudoris — chastity
- pascua (adjective) is used substantively
- consita = past participle (“planted”)
- Lerna — A region in Greece. Famous for having a gate to the Underworld and the Lernean Hydra as its gatekeeper.
- Lyrcea — a plain where Io was born
- inducta caligine = ablative absolute
“dum calet et medio sol est altissimus orbe.
Quodsi sola times latebras intrare ferarum,
praeside tuta deo nemorum secreta subibis,
nec de plebe deo, sed qui caelestia magna
sceptra manu teneo, sed qui vaga fulmina mitto.
Ne fuge me!”—fugiebat enim.
“while it is hot and the sun is at its highest in the middle of the sky. But if you fear to enter the dens of wild beasts alone, you shall enter the recesses of the groves safe with a god as your protector, and not a common god, but I who hold the celestial scepter in my mighty hand, and I who send the roaming thunderbolts. Do not flee me!”—for she fled.
- caleo, calere — to be warm or hot, glow
- latebra, ae — den, lair, hiding place
- ferus, a, um — wild
- praeses, praesidis — guard, protector
- subeo, subire — enter
- fulmen, fulminis — lightning, thunderbolt
Viderat a patrio redeuntem Iuppiter illam
flumine et “o virgo Iove digna tuoque beatum
nescio quem factura toro, pete” dixerat “umbras
altorum nemorum” (et nemorum monstraverat umbras),
Jove had seen the girl returning from her father’s river and said, “O virgin worthy of immortal Jove, about to make happy on your bed I know not whom, seek the shade of these tall woods”—and he pointed out the shade of the woods—
- patrius, a, um — father’s, fatherly
- redeuntem (pres. participle of redeo) — returning
- virgo, virginis — virgin
- beatum, beati — happiness, blessedness, good fortune
- umbra, umbrae — a shade, shadow
- peto, petere — seek