non sibi sed toti

Classics Teaching Resources

Mosella by Ausonius


The Journey ; The Hymn ; Looking into the depths ; The Fishes ; The Vineyards ; The gods ; Reflections in the River ; Boatmen at Play ; The Anglers ; Riverside Villas ; Some of the Villas Described ; Tributaries of the Moselle ; A Salutation ; One day Ausonius will write of eminent Belgians ; The Moselle flows into the Rhine ; Ausonius on himself ; There is so much more to sing ; All other rivers will bow to the Moselle

11. Some of the villas described

One villa stands high on a natural bastion of rock. One's founded on a mole running out from the bank. This one retreats and clasps the river to its bosom. That one clings to a hill standing tall over the stream, And claims sweet views of wild and tame landscape, Like a rich man enjoying the sight of his own lands. And again, here's one built low down in lush meadows That makes up by having the fine shape of a mountain, Jutting out, its rooftop piercing the clouds, Showing off its height like the Pharos of Egypt. This one's speciality is trapping fish in an enclosed pool, Catching them between sunny fields of rock. And that one perches so high that it grows dizzy When it looks down at the river flowing below. What about the halls sited in grassy meadows, Their gleaming roofs resting on countless pillars?
The colonnade of the Mehring villa. And don't forget those baths built on a mole in the river, Which smoke when Vulcan, in his burning lair, Sends flames rolling out, panting through hollow walls, Gathering the vapours pent up in a roaring tide. Some people - I've seen them myself - tired and sweaty, Reject warm baths and cold swimming pools, And enjoy the living stream. They are soon restored, And noisily push the cold river aside as they swim. If some visitor from the seaside at Cumae came here, He'd think that he'd found a miniature resort of Baiae Here in exile. Such sparkling refinement attracts here; Its delights do not lead to any excessive indulgence.
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