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

3. Looking into the depths.

Other people can go and lay smooth marble floors using imported stone to pave their panelled halls. Me, I despise what vast wealth can buy; You can throw away your grandchildrenís inheritance if you like, And bring your family to poverty; What I admire are the wonders of nature. Here the riverbank is of firm, damp sand; When I stand on it I leave no footprint. River, you have no secrets! I can see through glass-clear depths To your smooth bed. Itís just like looking through liquid air - Gentle breezes donít hinder your view; In the same way, when I look steadily I can see far down to your inner parts, and the heart of your private deep lies open, When your stream glides slowly, When your sliding waters betray Scattered shapes in the sky-blue light. Look! The sand is ridged by the gentle current; Water-plants bending with the flow make the bottom green; Beneath the natural springs Their leaves are constantly in motion; Now a pebble gleams - now it is hidden; There gravel shows off green moss. The whole picture is like Scotland, Where the tide draws back to reveal Green seaweed, red corals, The milky berries that grow in oysters, That people treasure; beneath those teeming waves Are jewels as lovely as our craftsmen work. Itís just like that here. Under the happy waters of the peaceful Moselle Plants of many hues reveal these varied stones. But ever the watching eye is wearied as it moves Now here, now there, following the slippery throng That plays among the weeds - the fish!
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