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

6. The gods

These scenes delight, not humans only. Rustic Satyrs, I fancy, Grey-eyed Naiads too, Come here, run to the waterís edge. Wanton joy spurs on goat-footed Pans. They leap into the shallows, Splash wildly with their fists, And terrify their under-water sisters.
Often, too, while stealing grapes in the hills, Among the friendly Oreiads, Panope, the river nymph, Flees country deities, the lustful Fauns. They say that when the fiery sun is highest Satyrs and glass-green Nymphs Dance by the riverside, When heat has banished mortals out of sight. Then leaping through their stream the Nymphs Duck the Satyrs in play And dodge their grasp, Since they are clumsy and unskilled in swimming. The Satyrs, cheated, chase those slippery limbs, They stretch out arms And clasp in vain The river water instead of those Nymph-bodies.
No one has watched these things; no one has seen. May I be allowed to speak As far as I know. May the river Keep its secrets and hide what has been done.

7. Reflections in the river

Reflections in the Moselle

But hereís a sight to revel in, not hide: Dark mountains, echoed in the sparkling streams, As river water sprouts fresh leaves, it seems, And young vine shoots are planted in the tide. What colours stain the ford, as Vesperís star Brings on the shades of evening! Each green hill Swims in Moselle, and mountain ridges fill All places where the rippling waters are. The absent tendril trembles, and grapes swell In glassy water. As his craft floats by, The boatman counts green vines. Hill, shadow, sky And river meet - but where, he cannot tell.
Next section
Top of page


Home Page
Top of page