The Works of Virgil (John Dryden)

The Works of Virgil (1697), began in 1694 and published by subscription, was John Dryden's most ambitious and defining work as a translator. The publication of the translation of Virgil was a national event and brought Dryden the sum of £1,400.

Come, see what pleasures in our plains abound:
The woods, the fountains, and the flowery ground:
Here I could live, and love, and die with only you.

The Works of Virgil (1697)




Pastoral I

  • Round the wide world in banishment we roam,
    Forced from our pleasing fields and native home.
    • Line 3
  • I envy not your fortune, but admire.
    • Line 13
  • Fool that I was, I thought imperial Rome
    Like Mantua.
    • Line 29
  • Freedom, which came at length, though slow to come.
    • Line 37
  • The rest among the Britons he confined;
    A race of men from all the world disjoined.
    • Line 89

Pastoral II

  • Trust not too much to that enchanting face;
    Beauty's a charm, but soon the charm will pass.
    • Line 19

Pastoral III

The trees are clothed with leaves, the fields with grass;
The blossoms blow; the birds on bushes sing;
And Nature has accomplished all the spring.
  • The trees are clothed with leaves, the fields with grass;
    The blossoms blow; the birds on bushes sing;
    And Nature has accomplished all the spring.
    • Line 82
  • From the great Father of the Gods above
    My Muse begins: for all is full of Jove.
    • Line 89
  • So nice a difference in your singing lies,
    That both have won, or both deserved the prize.
    • Line 167
  • Now dam the ditches, and the floods restrain:
    Their moisture has already drenched the plain.
    • Line 171

Pastoral IV

  • To sing thy praise, would heaven my breath prolong,
    Infusing spirits worthy such a song.
    • Line 64

Pastoral V

  • O heavenly poet, such thy verse appears,
    So sweet, so charming to my ravished ears,
    As to the weary swain with cares oppressed,
    Beneath the sylvan shade, refreshing rest.
    • Line 69
  • Daphnis, the guest of heaven, with wondering eyes,
    Views in the milky way the starry skies,
    And far beneath him, from the shining sphere,
    Beholds the moving clouds, and rolling year.
    • Line 86
  • The mountain-tops unshorn, the rocks rejoice;
    The lowly shrubs partake of human voice.
    • Line 97

Pastoral VI

  • "Loose me," he cried, "'twas impudence to find
    A sleeping god, 'tis sacrilege to bind."
    • Line 38
  • He sung the secret seeds of Nature's frame;
    How seas, and earth, and air, and active flame,
    Fell through the mighty void, and, in their fall,
    Were blindly gathered in this goodly ball.
    The tender soil then, stiffening by degrees,
    Shut from the bounded earth the bounding seas.
    Then earth and ocean various forms disclose,
    And a new sun to the new world arose.
    • Line 49

Pastoral VII

  • Both young Arcadians, both alike inspired
    To sing, and answer as the song required.
    • Line 3
  • And I preferred my pleasure to my gains.
    • Line 24

Pastoral VIII

  • I know thee, Love! in deserts thou wert bred,
    And at the dugs of savage tigers fed;
    Alien of birth, usurper of the plains.
    • Line 60

Pastoral IX

  • But I discern their flattery from their praise.
    • Line 46

Pastoral X

Love conquers all, and we must yield to Love.
  • Come, see what pleasures in our plains abound:
    The woods, the fountains, and the flowery ground:
    As you are beauteous, were you half so true,
    Here could I live, and love, and die with only you.
    • Line 63
  • In hell, and earth, and seas, and heaven above,
    Love conquers all, and we must yield to Love.
    • Line 98



Book I

  • Ye deities! who fields and plains protect,
    Who rule the seasons, and the year direct;
    Bacchus, and fostering Ceres, powers divine,
    Who gave us corn for mast, for water wine;
    Ye Fauns, propitious to the rural swains,
    Ye Nymphs, that haunt the mountains and the plains,
    Join in my work, and to my numbers bring
    Your needful succour; for your gifts I sing.
    And thou, whose trident struck the teeming earth,
    And made a passage for the courser's birth;
    And thou, for whom the Cean shore sustains
    The milky herds that graze the flowery plains;
    And thou, the shepherd's tutelary god,
    Leave for a while, O Pan! thy loved abode:
    And, if Arcadian fleeces be thy care,
    From fields and mountains to my song repair.
    Inventor, Pallas, of the fattening oil,
    Thou founder of the plough, and ploughman's toil;
    And thou, whose hands the shroud-like cypress rear,
    Come, all ye gods and goddesses, that wear
    The rural honours, and increase the year;
    You who supply the ground with seeds of grain;
    And you, who swell those seeds with kindly rain!
    • Line 7
  • Whence men, a hard laborious kind, were born.
    • Line 95
  • Thus all below, whether by Nature's curse,
    Or Fate's decree, degenerate still to worse:
    So the boat's brawny crew the current stem,
    And, slow advancing, struggle with the stream:
    But if they slack their hands, or cease to strive,
    Then down the flood with headlong haste they drive.
    • Line 288

Book II

They change their savage mind,
Their wildness lose, and, quitting nature's part,
Obey the rules and discipline of art.
  • [They] change their savage mind,
    Their wildness lose, and, quitting nature's part,
    Obey the rules and discipline of art.
    • Line 72
  • And in short space the laden boughs arise,
    With happy fruit advancing to the skies.
    The mother plant admires the leaves unknown
    Of alien trees, and apples not her own.
    • Line 114
  • No room is left for death.
    • Line 331
  • 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.
    • Line 335
  • So strong is custom, such effects can use
    In tender souls of pliant plants produce.
    • Line 366
  • Oh happy, if he knew his happy state!
    The swain, who, free from business and debate,
    Receives his easy food from Nature's hand,
    And just returns of cultivated land!
    • Line 639
  • [Here] easy quiet, a secure retreat,
    A harmless life that knows not how to cheat,
    With home-bred plenty the owner bless,
    And rural pleasures crown his happiness;
    Unvexed with quarrels, undisturbed with noise,
    The country king his peaceful realm enjoys:
    Cool grots, and living lakes, the flowery pride
    Of meads and streams that through the valley glide;
    And shady groves that easy sleep invite,
    And after toilsome days a soft repose at night.
    • Line 655
  • Ye sacred Muses, with whose beauty fired,
    My soul is ravished, and my brain inspired:
    Whose priest I am, whose holy fillets wear;
    Would you your poet's first petition hear;
    Give me the ways of wandering stars to know,
    The depths of heaven above, and earth below.
    Teach me the various labours of the moon,
    And whence proceed the eclipses of the sun;
    Why flowing tides prevail upon the main,
    And in what dark recess they shrink again;
    What shakes the solid earth; what cause delays
    The summer nights, and shortens winter days.
    • Line 673
Happy the man, who, studying nature's laws,
Through known effects can trace the secret cause.
  • My next desire is, void of care and strife,
    To lead a soft, secure, inglorious life:
    A country cottage near a crystal flood,
    A winding valley, and a lofty wood.
    • Line 688
  • Happy the man, who, studying nature's laws,
    Through known effects can trace the secret cause.
    His mind possessing, in a quiet state,
    Fearless of fortune, and resigned to fate.
    • Book II, line 698
  • Some to the seas, and some to camps, resort,
    And some with impudence invade the court.
    • Line 720
  • 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.
    • Line 759

Book III

  • New ways I must attempt, my groveling name
    To raise aloft, and wing my flight to fame.
    • Line 13
  • Without thee, nothing lofty can I sing.
    • Line 70
  • 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.
    • Line 108
  • Starting with a bound,
    He turns the turf, and shakes the solid ground:
    Fire from his eyes, clouds from his nostrils flow.
    • Line 137
  • In vain he burns, like hasty stubble fires.
    • Line 159
  • 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.
    • Line 375
  • 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.
    • Line 457

Book IV

  • A mighty pomp, though made of little things.
    • Line 5
  • Slight is the subject, but the praise not small.
    • Line 8
  • With secret joy,
    Their young succession all their cares employ.
    • Line 78
Such rage of honey in their bosom beats,
And such a zeal they have for flowery sweets.
  • With mighty souls in narrow bodies prest.
    • Line 124
  • Yet all these dreadful deeds, this deadly fray,
    A cast of scattered dust will soon allay.
    • Line 130
  • If little things with great we may compare.
    • Line 256
  • Such rage of honey in their bosom beats,
    And such a zeal they have for flowery sweets.
    • Line 299
  • The immortal line in sure succession reigns;
    The fortune of the family remains;
    And grandsires' grandsires the long list contains.
    • Line 303
  • For God the whole created mass inspires:
    Through heaven and earth and ocean's depth he throws
    His influence round, and kindles as he goes.
    • Line 324
  • Thus surely bound, yet be not over bold,
    The slippery god will try to loose his hold:
    And various forms assume to cheat thy sight;
    And with vain images of beasts affright;
    With foamy tusks, he seems a bristly boar,
    Or imitates the lion's angry roar;
    Breaks out in crackling flames to shun thy snares,
    Hisses a dragon, or a tiger stares;
    Or with a wile thy caution to betray,
    In fleeting streams attempts to slide away.
    But thou, the more he varies forms, beware
    To strain his fetters with a stricter care.
    Till, tiring all his arts, he turns again
    To his true shape, in which he first was seen.
    • Line 585
  • Then thus the bride: What fury seized on thee,
    Unhappy man! to lose thyself and me?
    Dragged back again by cruel destinies,
    An iron slumber shuts my swimming eyes.
    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!
    • Line 714
  • Affecting studies of less noisy praise.
    • Line 816




  • We must beat the iron while it is hot, but we may polish it at leisure.

Book I

  • Arms, and the man I sing, who, forced by Fate,
    And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
    Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore.
    Long labours both by sea and land he bore,
    And in the doubtful war, before he won
    The Latian realm, and built the destined town;
    His banished gods restored to rites divine,
    And settled sure succession in his line,
    From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
    And the long glories of majestic Rome.
    • Line 1
  • O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate,
    What goddess was provoked, and whence her hate:
    For what offense the Queen of Heaven began
    To persecute so brave, so just a man!
    Involved his anxious life in endless cares,
    Exposed to wants, and hurried into wars!
    Can heavenly minds such high resentment show,
    Or exercise their spite in human woe?
    • Line 11
  • If then some grave and pious man appear,
    They hush their noise, and lend a listening ear.
    • Line 217
Endure the hardships of your present state,
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
  • Endure, and conquer! Jove will soon dispose
    To future good our past and present woes.
    • Line 277
  • Resume your courage and dismiss your care.
    An hour will come, with pleasure to relate
    Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
    • Line 282
  • Through various hazards and events we move.
    • Line 285
  • Endure the hardships of your present state,
    Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
    • Line 289
  • These words he spoke, but spoke not from his heart;
    His outward smiles concealed his inward smart.
    • Line 291
  • A woman leads the way.
    • Line 502
  • The good Aeneas am I called, a name,
    While Fortune favored, not unknown to fame.
    My household gods, companions of my woes,
    With pious care I rescued from our foes.
    To fruitful Italy my course was bent;
    And from the King of Heaven is my descent.
    • Line 521
In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
And by her graceful walk the Queen of Love is known.
  • Thus having said, she turned, and made appear
    Her neck refulgent, and dishevelled hair,
    Which, flowing from her shoulders, reached the ground,
    And widely spread ambrosial scents around.
    In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
    And by her graceful walk the Queen of Love is known.
    • Line 556
  • What men, what monsters, what inhuman race,
    What laws, what barbarous customs of the place!
    • Line 760
  • If our hard fortune no compassion draws,
    Nor hospitable rights, nor human laws,
    The gods are just, and will revenge our cause.
    • Line 764
  • The gods (if gods to goodness are inclined—
    If acts of mercy touch their heavenly mind),
    And, more than all the gods, your generous heart,
    Conscious of worth, requite its own desert!
    • Line 848
  • Your honour, name, and praise shall never die.
    • Line 857
  • Like you, an alien in a land unknown,
    I learn to pity woes so like my own.
    • Line 889

Book II

  • Great queen, what you command me to relate
    Renews the sad remembrance of our fate.
    • Line 3
Somewhat is sure designed, by fraud or force;
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.
  • Somewhat is sure designed, by fraud or force;
    Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.
    • Line 62
  • Or had not men been fated to be blind.
    • Line 71
  • All praised the sentence, pleased the storm should fall
    On one alone, whose fury threatened all.
    • Line 179
  • Meantime the rapid heavens rolled down the light,
    And on the shaded ocean rushed the night.
    • Line 328
  • Thus, when a flood of fire by wind is borne,
    Crackling it rolls, and mows the standing corn;
    Deluges, descending on the plains,
    Sweep o'er the yellow year, destroy the pains
    Of labouring oxen, and the peasant's gains;
    Unroot the forest oaks, and bear away
    Flocks, folds, and trees, an undistinguished prey:
    The shepherd climbs the cliff, and sees from far
    The wasteful ravage of the watery war.
    • Line 406
  • The fatal day, the appointed hour, is come.
    • Line 437
  • All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears;
    And grisly Death in sundry shapes appears.
    • Line 498
  • Thus Fortune on our first endeavour smiled.
    • Line 518
  • Let fraud supply the want of force in war.
    • Line 527
  • But ah! what use of valour can be made,
    When Heaven's propitious powers refuse their aid?
    • Line 541
  • As for my sepulchre, let Heaven take care.
    • Line 875
  • All things were full of horror and affright,
    And dreadful even the silence of the night.
    • Line 1024
  • Aghast, astonished, and struck dumb with fear,
    I stood; like bristles rose my stiffened hair.
    • Line 1050
  • I yield to Fate, unwillingly retire,
    And, loaded, up the hill convey my sire.
    • Line 1093

Book III

  • O sacred hunger of pernicious gold!
    What bands of faith can impious lucre hold?
    • Line 80
  • The mad prophetic Sibyl you shall find,
    Dark in a cave, and on a rock reclined.
    She sings the fates, and, in her frantic fits,
    The notes and names inscribed, to leafs commits.
    What she commits to leafs, in order laid,
    Before the cavern's entrance are displayed:
    Unmoved they lie; but, if a blast of wind
    Without, or vapors issue from behind,
    The leafs are borne aloft in liquid air,
    And she resumes no more her museful care,
    Nor gathers from the rocks her scattered verse,
    Nor sets in order what the winds disperse.
    Thus, many not succeeding, most upbraid
    The madness of the visionary maid,
    And with loud curses leave the mystic shade.
    • Line 563
  • Think it not loss of time a while to stay,
    Though thy companions chide thy long delay;
    Though summoned to the seas, though pleasing gales
    Invite thy course, and stretch thy swelling sails:
    But beg the sacred priestess to relate
    With willing words, and not to write thy fate.
    The fierce Italian people she will show,
    And all thy wars, and all thy future woe,
    And what thou may'st avoid, and what must undergo.
    She shall direct thy course, instruct thy mind,
    And teach thee how the happy shores to find.
    This is what Heaven allows me to relate:
    Now part in peace; pursue thy better fate,
    And raise, by strength of arms, the Trojan state.
    • Line 578
  • This only solace his hard fortune sends.
    • Line 869

Book IV

She fed within her veins a flame unseen.
  • She fed within her veins a flame unseen.
    • Line 2
  • Fear ever argues a degenerate kind.
    • Line 17
  • Were I not resolved against the yoke
    Of hapless marriage, never to be curst
    With second love, so fatal was my first,
    To this one error I might yield again.
    • Line 22
  • But first let yawning earth a passage rend,
    And let me through the dark abyss descend;
    First let avenging Jove, with flames from high,
    Drive down this body to the nether sky,
    Condemned with ghosts in endless night to lie,
    Before I break the plighted faith I gave!
    No! he who had my vows shall ever have;
    For, whom I loved on earth, I worship in the grave.
    • Line 32
  • Think you these tears, this pompous train of woe,
    Are known or valued by the ghosts below?
    • Line 46
  • The fatal dart
    Sticks in her side, and rankles in her heart.
    • Line 99
  • High praises, endless honours, you have won,
    And mighty trophies, with your worthy son!
    Two gods a silly woman have undone!
    • Line 134
  • Fame, the great ill, from small beginnings grows:
    Swift from the first; and every moment brings
    New vigor to her flights, new pinions to her wings.
    Soon grows the pigmy to gigantic size;
    Her feet on earth, her forehead in the skies.
    • Line 252
  • This way and that he turns his anxious mind.
    • Line 411
  • See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?
    Now, by those holy vows, so late begun,
    By this right hand, (since I have nothing more
    To challenge, but the faith you gave before)
    I beg you by these tears too truly shed,
    By the new pleasures of our nuptial bed;
    If ever Dido, when you most were kind,
    Were pleasing in your eyes, or touched your mind;
    By these my prayers, if prayers may yet have place,
    Pity the fortunes of a falling race.
    • Line 453
  • Nor can my mind forget Eliza's name,
    While vital breath inspires this mortal frame.
    • Line 485
  • Faithless is earth, and faithless are the skies!
    Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
    • Line 535
  • All-powerful Love! what changes canst thou cause
    In human hearts, subjected to thy laws!
    • Line 595
  • Sighs, groans, and tears, proclaim his inward pains,
    But the firm purpose of his heart remains.
    • Line 651
  • Despair, and rage, and love divide her heart;
    Despair and rage had some, but love the greater part.
    • Line 771
  • Woman's a various and a changeful thing.
    • Line 819
My fatal course is finished; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
  • My fatal course is finished; and I go,
    A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
    • Line 938
  • "Must I die," she said,
    "And unrevenged? 'tis doubly to be dead!
    Yet even this death with pleasure I receive:
    On any terms, 'tis better than to live."
    • Line 943

Book V

  • 'Tis fate diverts our course, and fate we must obey.
    • Line 31
  • And now the rising day renews the year—
    A day for ever sad, for ever dear.
    • Line 63
  • The partial crowd their hopes and fears divide,
    And aid, with eager shouts, the favoured side.
    Cries, murmurs, clamours, with a mixing sound,
    From woods to woods, from hills to hills rebound.
    • Line 195
  • More various colours through his body run,
    Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun.
    • Line 117
  • For they can conquer who believe they can.
    • Line 300
  • His blooming beauty, with his tender tears,
    Had bribed the judges for the promised prize.
    • Line 449
  • Down drops the beast, nor needs a second wound,
    But sprawls in pangs of death, and spurns the ground.
    • Line 640
  • O goddess-born, resigned in every state,
    With patience bear, with prudence push your fate.
    By suffering well, our Fortune we subdue;
    Fly when she frowns, and, when she calls, pursue.
    • Line 928

Book VI

The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.
  • The sport of every wind.
    • Line 117
  • Wars, horrid wars, I view—a field of blood,
    And Tiber rolling with a purple flood.
    • Line 133
  • Some truths revealed, in terms involved the rest.
    • Line 152
  • No terror to my view,
    No frightful face of danger can be new:
    Inured to suffer, and resolved to dare;
    The Fates, without my power, shall be without my care.
    • Line 155
  • The gates of hell are open night and day;
    Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
    But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
    In this the task and mighty labor lies.
    • Line 192
  • The first thus rent, a second will arise.
    • Line 215
  • The willing metal will obey thy hand,
    Following with ease, if, favored by thy fate,
    Thou art foredoomed to view the Stygian state:
    If not, no labor can the tree constrain;
    And strength of stubborn arms, and steel, are vain.
    • Line 220
  • Far hence be souls profane!
    • Line 368
  • Ye realms, yet unrevealed to human sight,
    Ye gods who rule the regions of the night,
    Ye gliding ghosts, permit me to relate
    The mystic wonders of your silent state!
    • Line 374
  • Obscure they went through dreary shades, that led
    Along the waste dominions of the dead:
    Thus wander travellers in woods by night,
    By the moon's doubtful and malignant light.
    • Line 378
  • Just in the gate and in the jaws of hell,
    Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell,
    And pale Diseases, and repining Age,
    Want, Fear, and Famine's unresisted rage;
    Here Toils, and Death, and Death's half-brother, Sleep.
    • Line 384
  • Full in the midst of this infernal road,
    An elm displays her dusky arms abroad;
    The God of Sleep there hides his heavy head
    And empty dreams on every leaf are spread.
    • Line 394
  • He looked in years; yet in his years were seen
    A youthful vigor and autumnal green.
    • Line 420
  • Fate, and the dooming gods, are deaf to tears.
    • Line 512
  • These are the realms of unrelenting fate,
    And awful Rhadamanthus rules the state:
    He hears and judges each committed crime,
    Inquires into the manner, place, and time.
    The conscious wretch must all his acts reveal,
    Loth to confess, unable to conceal,
    From the first moment of his vital breath,
    To his last hour of unrepenting death.
    • Line 763
  • Learn righteousness, and dread the avenging deities.
    • Line 844
  • Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
    And throats of brass, inspired with iron lungs,
    I could not half those horrid crimes repeat,
    Nor half the punishments those crimes have met.
    • Line 851
  • They took their way
    Where long extended plains of pleasure lay:
    The verdant fields with those of heaven may vie,
    With ether vested, and a purple sky;
    The blissful seats of happy souls below.
    • Line 867
  • Here patriots live, who, for their country's good,
    In fighting fields, were prodigal of blood:
    Priests of unblemished lives here make abode,
    And poets worthy their inspiring god;
    And searching wits, of more mechanic parts,
    Who graced their age with new-invented arts:
    Those who to worth their bounty did extend,
    And those who knew that bounty to commend.
    The heads of these with holy fillets bound,
    And all their temples were with garlands crowned.
    • Line 895
  • The souls that throng the flood
    Are those to whom, by Fate, are other bodies owed,
    In Lethe's lake they long oblivion taste,
    Of future life secure, forgetful of the past.
    • Line 966
  • Know, first, that heaven, and earth's compacted frame,
    And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
    And both the radiant lights, one common soul
    Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
    This active mind, infused through all the space,
    Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
    • Line 980
  • By length of time
    The scurf is worn away of each committed crime;
    No speck is left of their habitual stains,
    But the pure ether of the soul remains.
    • Line 1009
  • But, Rome, 'tis thine alone, with awful sway,
    To rule mankind, and make the world obey,
    Disposing peace and war by thy own majestic way;
    To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free:
    These are imperial arts, and worthy thee.
    • Line 1173
Ah! couldst thou break through fate's severe decree,
A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
  • "Seek not to know," the ghost replied with tears,
    "The sorrows of thy sons in future years.
    This youth (the blissful vision of a day)
    Shall just be shown on earth, and snatched away.
    The gods too high had raised the Roman state,
    Were but their gifts as permanent as great.
    What groans of men shall fill the Martian field!
    How fierce a blaze his flaming pile shall yield!
    What funeral pomp shall floating Tiber see,
    When, rising from his bed, he views the sad solemnity!
    No youth shall equal hopes of glory give,
    No youth afford so great a cause to grieve;
    The Trojan honor, and the Roman boast,
    Admired when living, and adored when lost!
    Mirror of ancient faith in early youth!
    Undaunted worth, inviolable truth!
    No foe, unpunished, in the fighting field
    Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield;
    Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
    When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
    Ah! couldst thou break through fate's severe decree,
    A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!"
    • Line 1200
  • This gift which parents to their children owe,
    This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!
    • Line 1225
  • Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn;
    Of polished ivory this, that of transparent horn:
    True visions through transparent horn arise;
    Through polished ivory pass deluding lies.
    • Line 1235

Book VII

  • If Jove and heaven my just desires deny,
    Hell shall the power of heaven and Jove supply.
    • Line 432
  • Hunting their sport, and plundering was their trade.
    • Line 1029


  • Ye gods, and mighty Jove, in pity bring
    Relief, and hear a father and a king!
    If fate and you reserve these eyes, to see
    My son return with peace and victory;
    If the loved boy shall bless his father's sight;
    If we shall meet again with more delight;
    Then draw my life in length; let me sustain,
    In hopes of his embrace, the worst of pain.
    But if your hard decrees—which, O! I dread—
    Have doomed to death his undeserving head;
    This, O this very moment, let me die!
    While hopes and fears in equal balance lie;
    While, yet possessed of all his youthful charms,
    I strain him close within these aged arms;
    Before that fatal news my soul shall wound!
    • Line 759

Book IX

O happy friends! for, if my verse can give
Immortal life, your fame shall ever live,
Fixed as the Capitol's foundation lies,
And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies!
  • Then Nisus thus: "Or do the gods inspire
    This warmth, or make we gods of our desire?"
    • Line 235
  • "Me! me!" he cried—"turn all your swords alone
    On me—the fact confessed, the fault my own.
    He neither could nor durst, the guiltless youth—
    Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth!
    His only crime (if friendship can offend)
    Is too much love to his unhappy friend."
    • Line 571
  • His snowy neck reclines upon his breast,
    Like a fair flower by the keen share oppressed:
    Like a white poppy sinking on the plain,
    Whose heavy head is overcharged with rain.
    • Line 581
  • Dying, he slew; and, staggering on the plain,
    With swimming eyes he sought his lover slain;
    Then quiet on his bleeding bosom fell,
    Content, in death, to be revenged so well.
    • Line 593
  • O happy friends! for, if my verse can give
    Immortal life, your fame shall ever live,
    Fixed as the Capitol's foundation lies,
    And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies!
    • Line 597
  • And now the trumpets terribly, from far,
    With rattling clangor, rouse the sleepy war.
    The soldiers' shouts succeed the brazen sounds;
    And heaven, from pole to pole, the noise rebounds.
    • Line 667
  • [O] less than women, in the shapes of men!
    • Line 846

Book X

  • Such hopes I had indeed, while Heaven was kind.
    • Line 63
  • Fortune befriends the bold.
    • Line 398
  • O mortals! blind in fate, who never know
    To bear high fortune, or endure the low!
    • Line 698

Book XI

  • Bold at the council board,
    But cautious in the field, he shunned the sword.
    • Line 512
  • Why thus, unforced, should we so tamely yield,
    And, ere the trumpet sounds, resign the field?
    • Line 655
  • Caught in the train, which thou thyself hast laid.
    • Line 1056

Book XII

  • The proffered medicine but provoked the pain.
    • Line 73
  • Who knows what changeful fortune may produce?
    • Line 240
  • Rage boiling from the bottom of his breast,
    And sorrow, mixed with shame, his soul oppressed;
    And conscious worth lay labouring in his thought;
    And love by jealousy to madness wrought.
    • Line 969

Postscript to the Reader

  • What Virgil wrote in the vigour of his age, in plenty and at ease, I have undertaken to translate in my declining years; struggling with wants, oppressed with sickness, curbed in my genius, liable to be misconstrued in all I write.
  • What I have done, imperfect as it is for want of health and leisure to correct it, will be judged in after-ages, and possibly in the present, to be no dishonour to my native country...

About Dryden's The Works of Virgil

  • It certainly excelled whatever had appeared in English, and appears to have satisfied [Dryden's] friends, and, for the most part, to have silenced his enemies.
  • It is in this art of communicating the ancient poet's ideas with force and energy equal to his own, that Dryden has so completely exceeded all who have gone before, and all who have succeeded him.
    • Walter Scott, Memoirs of John Dryden, Vol. II (1826), p. 203
  • Where you most admire Mr. Dryden, you see the least of Virgil.
    • Joseph Trapp, The Works of Virgil: Translated Into English Blank Verse, Vol. I (1731), Preface to the Aeneis, p. lxxxiii
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