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The Georgics (29 BC) is a poem in four books, the second major work by the Latin poet Virgil, following his Eclogues and preceding the Aeneid.


Book I[edit]

  • Audacibus annue coeptis.
    • Look with favor upon a bold beginning.
    • Line 40
  • Unde homines nati, durum genus.
    • Whence men, a hard laborious kind, were born.
    • Line 63 (tr. John Dryden)
  • Umida solstitia atque hiemes orate serenas,
    • O farmers, pray that your summers be wet and your winters clear.
    • Lines 100–101
  • Ut varias usus meditando extunderet artis
Toil conquered the world, unrelenting toil.
  • Labor omnia vicit
    improbus et duris urgens in rebus egestas.
    • Toil conquered the world, unrelenting toil, and want that pinches when life is hard.
    • Lines 145–146 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough)
  • Sic omnia fatis
    In peius ruere ac retro sublapsa referri.
    • Thus by law of fate all things speed towards the worst, and slipping away fall back.
    • Lines 199–200 (tr. Fairclough)
  • In primis venerare Deos.
    • Above all, worship the gods.
    • Line 338 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Solem quis dicere falsum
    • Who dare say the Sun is false?
    • Lines 463–464 (tr. Fairclough)

Book II[edit]

  • Exuerint sylvestrem animum, cultuque frequenti
    In quascunque voces artes haud tarda sequentur.
    • [They] change their savage mind,
      Their wildness lose, and, quitting nature's part,
      Obey the rules and discipline of art.
    • Lines 51–52 (tr. Dryden)
  • Apertos
    Bacchus amat collis.
    • Bacchus loves open hills.
    • Lines 112–113 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Hic ver adsiduum, atque alienis mensibus aestas.
    • Here is eternal spring, and summer in months not her own.
    • Line 149 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Salve, magna parens.
    • Hail, mighty parent!
    • Line 173
  • Pinguis item quae sit tellus, hoc denique pacto
    discimus: haud umquam manibus iactata fatiscit,
    Sed picis in morem ad digitos lentescit habendo.
    • The fatter earth by handling we may find,
      With ease distinguished from the meagre kind:
      Poor soil will crumble into dust; the rich
      Will to the fingers cleave like clammy pitch.
    • Lines 248–250 (tr. Dryden)
  • Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est.
    • So strong is habit in tender years.
    • Line 272 (tr. Fairclough)
      • James Rhoades' translation:
        So strong is custom formed in early years.
      • Compare:
        • Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.
  • O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint
    Agricolas, quibus ipsa, procul discordibus armis,
    Fundit humo facilem victum justissima tellus!
    • How lucky, if they know their happiness,
      Are farmers, more than lucky, they for whom,
      Far from the clash of arms, the earth herself,
      Most fair in dealing, freely lavishes
      An easy livelihood.
    • Lines 458–460 (tr. L. P. Wilkinson)
  • At secura quies et nescia fallere vita,
    Dives opum variarum.
    • Yet theirs is repose without care, and a life that knows no fraud, but is rich in treasures manifold.
    • Lines 467–468 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Me vero primum dulces ante omnia Musae,
    Quarum sacra fero ingenti percussus amore,
    Accipiant caelique vias et sidera monstrent,
    Defectus solis varios lunaeque labores;
    Unde tremor terris, qua vi maria alta tumescant
    Obicibus ruptis rursusque in se ipsa residant.
    Quid tantum Oceano properent se tingere soles
    Hiberni, vel quae tardis mora noctibus obstet.
    • But as for me—first above all, may the sweet Muses whose holy emblems, under the spell of a mighty love, I bear, take me to themselves, and show me heaven's pathways, the stars, the sun's many lapses, the moon's many labours; whence come tremblings of the earth, the force to make deep seas swell and burst their barriers, then sink back upon themselves; why winter suns hasten so fast to dip in Ocean, or what delays clog the lingering nights.
    • Lines 475–482 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
    Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius.
  • O ubi campi!
    • O, where are those fields!
    • Line 486; expressing longing for the country-side.
Happy the man, who, studying nature's laws,
Thro' known effects can trace the secret cause.
  • Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.
    • Blessed is he who has been able to win knowledge of the causes of things.
    • Line 490 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough); homage to Lucretius.
    • Variant translation: Happy the man who has been able to learn the causes of things.
      • John Dryden's translation:
        Happy the man, who, studying nature's laws,
        Thro' known effects can trace the secret cause.
  • Interea dulces pendent circum oscula nati,
    Casta pudicitiam servat domus.
    • His cares are eased with intervals of bliss;
      His little children, climbing for a kiss,
      Welcome their father's late return at night;
      His faithful bed is crowned with chaste delight.
    • Lines 523–524 (tr. Dryden)
  • Sed nos immensum spatiis confecimus aequor,
    et iam tempus equum fumantia soluere colla.
    • But, over-laboured with so long a course,
      'Tis time to set at ease the smoking horse.
    • Lines 541–542 (tr. Dryden)

Book III[edit]

  • Tentanda via est, qua me quoque possim
    Tollere humo victorque virum volitare per ora.
    • I must essay a path whereby I, too, may rise from earth and fly victorious on the lips of men.
    • Lines 8–9 (tr. Fairclough); the poet's ambition.
      • Often quoted as Alia tentanda via est. ("Another way must be tried.")
  • Te sine nil altum mens inchoat.
    • Without thee, nothing lofty can I sing.
    • Line 42 (tr. Dryden)
  • Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi
    Prima fugit; subeunt morbi tristisque senectus
    Et labor, et durae rapit inclementia mortis.
    • In youth alone, unhappy mortals live;
      But, ah! the mighty bliss is fugitive:
      Discoloured sickness, anxious labour, come,
      And age, and death's inexorable doom.
    • Lines 66–68 (tr. Dryden)
  • Collectumque premens volvit sub naribus ignem.
    • And snorting rolls beneath his nostrils the gathered fire.
    • Line 85 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Magnus sine viribus ignis
    Incassum furit.
    • A great fire, unless you feed it, spends its rage in vain.
    • Lines 99–100
  • Nec mora, nec requies.
    • Neither delay, nor rest.
    • Line 110

Amor omnibus idem.

Love is lord of all, and is in all the same.

  • Omne adeo genus in terris hominumque ferarumque,
    Et genus aequoreum, pecudes, pictaeque volucres,
    In furias ignemque ruunt. Amor omnibus idem.
    • Thus every creature, and of every kind,
      The secret joys of sweet coition find.
      Not only man's imperial race, but they
      That wing the liquid air, or swim the sea,
      Or haunt the desert, rush into the flame:
      For love is lord of all, and is in all the same.
    • Lines 242–244 (tr. John Dryden)
      • H. Rushton Fairclough's translation: Every single race on earth, man and beast, the tribes of the sea, cattle and birds brilliant of hue, rush into fires of passion: all feel the same Love.
Tempus fugit. (Time flies.)
  • Sed fugit interea, fugit irreparabile tempus.
    • But time meanwhile is flying, flying beyond recall.
    • Line 284 (tr. Fairclough); often quoted as tempus fugit ('time flies').
    • Variant translations:
      • Time flies, never to be recalled.
      • But meanwhile it is flying, irretrievable time is flying.
  • Sed me Parnasi deserta per ardua dulcis
    Raptat amor; juvat ire jugis, qua nulla priorum
    Castaliam molli devertitur orbita clivo.
    • But the commanding Muse my chariot guides,
      Which o'er the dubious cliff securely rides;
      And pleased I am, no beaten road to take,
      But first the way to new discoveries make.
    • Lines 291–293 (tr. Dryden)
  • Alitur vitium, vivitque tegendo.
    • Vice thrives and lives by concealment.
    • Line 454

Book IV[edit]

  • Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum.
    • A mighty pomp, though made of little things.
    • Line 3 (tr. Dryden)
  • In tenui labor, at tenuis non gloria.
    • Slight is the subject, but the praise not small.
    • Line 6 (tr. Dryden); of bees as the subject.
    • Compare:
      • Slight is the subject, but not so the praise.
  • Nare per aestatem liquidam.
    • Floating towards the starry sky through the clear summer air.
    • Line 59 (tr. Fairclough); of bees.
  • Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta
    Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.
    • These storms of passion, these conflicts so fierce, by the tossing of a little dust are quelled and laid to rest.
    • Lines 86–87 (tr. Fairclough); of bees swarming.
  • Agmine facto
    Ignavum fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent.
    • All, with united force, combine to drive
      The lazy drones from the laborious hive.
    • Lines 167–168 (tr. Dryden)
  • Si parva licet componere magnis.
    • If we may compare small things with great.
    • Line 176 (tr. H. R. Fairclough). Cf. Eclogues 1.23.
  • Tantus amor florum et generandi gloria mellis.
    • So deep is their love of flowers and their glory in begetting honey.
    • Line 205 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
    Stat fortuna domus, et avi numerantur avorum.
    • The immortal line in sure succession reigns,
      The fortune of the family remains,
      And grandsires' grandsires the long list contains.
    • Lines 208–209 (tr. Dryden)
  • Deum namque ire per omnes
    Terrasque tractusque maris, coelumque profundum.
    • For God, they say, pervades all things, earth and sea's expanse and heaven's depth.
    • Lines 221–222 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Nec morti esse locum.
    • There is no place for death.
    • Line 226
  • Animasque in vulnere ponunt.
    • And lay down their lives in the wound.
    • Line 238 (tr. Fairclough); of bees.
  • Verum ubi correptum manibus vinclisque tenebis,
    tum variae eludent species atque ora ferarum
    Fiet enim subito sus horridus atraque tigris
    squamosusque draco et fulva cervice leaena,
    aut acrem flammae sonitum dabit atque ita vinclis
    excidet, aut in aquas tenues dilapsus abibit.
    • But when you hold him in the grasp of hands and fetters, then will manifold forms baffle you, and figures of wild beasts. For of a sudden he will become a bristly boar, a deadly tiger, a scaly serpent, or a lioness with tawny neck; or he will give forth the fierce roar of flame, and thus slip from his fetters, or he will melt into fleeting water and be gone.
    • Lines 405–410 (tr. Fairclough); of Proteus.
  • Fata vocant.
    • The fates call.
    • Lines 496
  • Iamque vale: feror ingenti circumdata nocte
    Invalidasque tibi tendens, heu non tua, palmas!
    • And now farewell! Involved in shades of night,
      For ever I am ravished from thy sight.
      In vain I reach my feeble hands to join
      In sweet embraces—ah! no longer thine!
    • Lines 497–498 (tr. Dryden)
  • Illa / flet noctem...maestis late loca questibus implet.
    • She weeps all night long, ... filling the region round with sad laments.
    • Lines 513–515 (tr. Fairclough)
  • Illo Vergilium me tempore dulcis alebat
    Parthenope studiis florentem ignobilis oti.
    • In those days I, Virgil, was nursed of sweet Parthenope, and rejoiced in the arts of inglorious ease.
    • Lines 563–564 (tr. Fairclough)



  • [Virgil] delivers the meanest of his precepts with a kind of grandeur: he breaks the clods and tosses the dung about with an air of gracefulness.
  • The best poem by the best poet.
    • John Dryden, as quoted in Narrative and Simile from the Georgics in the Aeneid (1980) by Ward W. Briggs, Jr., footnote on p. 7
  • Cum "Georgica" scriberet, traditur cotidie meditatos mane plurimos versus dictare solitus ac per totum diem retractando ad paucissimos redigere, non absurde carmen se more ursae parere dicens et lambendo demum effingere.
    • When [Virgil] was writing the "Georgics," it is said to have been his custom to dictate each day a large number of verses which he had composed in the morning, and then to spend the rest of the day in reducing them to a very small number, wittily remarking that he fashioned his poem after the manner of a she-bear, and gradually licked it into shape.
    • Suetonius, Vita Vergili 22, in Suetonius, with an English translation by J. C. Rolfe, Vol. II (1914), pp. 471–473

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