Francis Cairns Publications

Latin and Greek Texts ISSN 0951-7391

Virgil's Eclogues. The Latin text with a verse translation and brief notes

Guy Lee

LLT 1. Paper, viii+88pp. Publ. 1980 (Out of print)

This has now been reprinted in Penguin Classics, Virgil: The Eclogues. ISBN 13: 9780140444193

Virgil's Eclogues are the first poetic collection of the greatest of all Roman poets, who went on to write the Georgics and Aeneid. The Eclogues were composed in the troubled years at the end of the Roman Republic, between 42-35 B.C. Although on the surface they seem merely to present an escapist vision of an unreal pastoral world, at a deeper level they reflect the severe political and social tensions of contemporary Rome, and reveal a love and concern for the threatened life of the Italian countryside, which the author must have shared with his original audience.

Guy Lee was a powerful translator of Latin poetry. A poet and a classicist himself, the accuracy and verbal felicity of his versions are celebrated. Another of his many excellences springs from his fascination with the rhythms of the Latin and ability to represent them with an appropriate English metrical equivalent. For the Eclogues he used his flexible Alexandrines, to marvellous effect.


Greece and Rome (1981) 219. "As one expects of the best translator of Latin Poetry, and on the evidence of Lee's earlier versions of Ovid's Amores and Tibullus, the translation is excellent: a pleasure to read in its own right and constantly revealing of unnoticed nuances in the original."

Latomus 41 (1982) 181-2 (Michael C.J. Putnam)

Classical Review 31 (1981) 290 (R.G.M. Nisbet)

Times Literary Supplement August 14 1981, p.93