Eclogue 1

Silvanus:
John!
How came you to reside here upon the green
with wine-skin in hand drinking merrily and singing splendidly?
I far off heard your song and came to see.
Alas, I wander far from home
my stock finds no lush foliage for fodder while your sheep grow fat
all the while you sit idle in the shade
and turn happy thoughts.

John:
But such is the service of the God-man,
Who from on high; through many a peril
by his safe-conduct-markings and livery
has led me to this happy spot.
But I rest only anxiously content,
for happier spots beyond the farthest hill, yet remain.
Silvanus:
I marvel!
A wanderer? Peril? The God-man?
Truly so sweet a spot!
I am weary with my walking and heavy laden
while my sheep wander off, not to be found
and more than a few I’ve left under fresh mounds of earth or lame;
I left them by the roadside being too weak to carry them.

Alas, at the mighty oak I made my prayer
and saw such wondrous signs fixed at night
upon the stars; that portended much promise, yet to no avail!

Who is it that led you here?
Where can I find such a guide?
To whom do you make supplications to find so fine a set of blessings?
The brook? The daisy? Some footed or flying beast?

John:
The king known as “The three. The one.”
I, there, where so many of our set have wandered
at the foot of those distant mountains, slept
when upon the first light of morn I heard
such a wondrous tune upon the wind; a voice secure and calling.
It spoke of a Garden-city and commanded me to follow
I obliged, reluctantly but stupefied, but by midday
so heartily I moved my flock along
and soon was singing a tune I’d never heard
and merrily
that welled within and poured forth upon the ripening day.

Silvanus:
You sang a tune you’d never heard?

John:
Merrily!
in the dark of night when wolves stocked my precious woolen cargo
all day across deep rivers and on dangerous paths it contented my heart
while all along such oasis’ as this, where now you find me
sustained and freshened me.

The former ache of bones and discontent leapt from my countenance
and happily I found these little spots to rest
but wished, always, most ardently to begin the journey again
to continue to the Garden-city

Silvanus:
It seems the very sweetest of all the green earth springs forth for you.
How contented-calm your flock looks, so fat, so pure white!
Where once such darkly, blemished ewes wandered after you!
How vastly bigger your flock!
How sweet your voice, when before, I heard you with my own ears;

Such drivel and doggerel sounds you brought forth!

John:
I can say not but praise his name;
that fell voice upon the wind
that steady strength that lights upon my breast so keenly
that comforts and aids me.
There has been so much along the way…
…all such blessing I never imagined!

Silvanus:

Blessings indeed!

What chance is there for me where nothing but toil leads

and follows after?

No acreage for me to call my own.

No oasis have I found in days and months to freshen my steps.

My sheep grow ever thinner while storms and harsh terrain

receive me upon every turn of this bending and broken road.

 

John:

Take heart man.

There is such a sweet tune to sing.

That turns our hearts to permanent hearth and homage and joy complete.

Steady Silvanus, for all is not lost!

Pilgrims and wanderers are we.

 

Silvanus:
Must I go on!?
There!
My flock wanders and withers away as we speak
and wearier I grow!
Do not deny me audience with this mighty God-Man, the King.

John:
Silvanus come lie here and rest
I will to the creek, not far away
and draw water to wash you and quench your thirst
sleep, dear Silvanus, with that yearning in your breast.

I will watch your flock.
Upon the morning break; you as well will hear the wind
and we will on, together, singing a fine new tune
while come what may, we will go on toward the Garden-City
to see the King and Praise his name!

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